Posts Tagged 'Policy Press'

2016: a good year for publishing with a purpose

It’s rare that there’s something positive to say about 2016, given the recent political upheaval, but we’re thankful that it has been a good year for Policy Press.

Alison Shaw

Alison Shaw

We celebrated 20 years, won an Independent Publishers Guild award and are about to host a high-profile Festival of Ideas event. Most significantly, October saw the announcement of the new University of Bristol Press, an exciting new venture in collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Here, Director Alison Shaw explains the developments, highlights key moments from 2016 and describes what they mean to her.

Creating the University of Bristol Press

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The formation of University of Bristol Press (UBP) is the beginning of an exciting new era. When I created Policy Press (PP) 20 years ago I never dreamed that we would have achieved so much. UBP represents a wonderful recognition of our team’s achievements, and an opportunity to take what we have learned into new disciplines.

With the creation of UBP we will be able to expand into new areas – economics, politics and international development, business and management and law – whilst continuing our commitment to high quality scholarship and author care. We will also be expanding our publishing in sociology, criminology and social geography under UBP, keeping the Policy Press imprint focused on social problems and social action.

“…new opportunities for our authors and their work.”

The world has changed dramatically since 1996. The world of scholarly research dissemination, teaching and learning especially has changed and, with UBP, we can help support the international academic community through these developments. Flexible formats, Open Access and digital developments are all roads we are travelling down, allowing us to offer new opportunities for our authors and their work.

We are delighted to be part of the thriving University Press sector here in the UK. I believe there is a resurgence in support for University Presses, both among scholars and educational institutions, as publishers from within the scholarly community working for the scholarly community. It is extremely important to me that we continue to operate as a not-for-profit press focused on this community and not shareholders.

The social mission at the heart of what we do

social-mission-titles

I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump. I am afraid the work we publish led me to predict that both votes would happen. I believe that when people see their standard of living fall and no clear future ahead, they retract into their own communities and fear those that are ‘other’ than themselves.  There are many other factors behind both votes, but the outcome is the that the ‘left behind’ in our globalised world have made their voices heard.

I am equally unsurprised by the continued lack of care for the most vulnerable in our society we saw with the announcements in last Wednesday’s autumn statement. The gap between rich and poor is ever growing and policy, unfortunately, continues to benefit the better off. In these cruel times of austerity and political turmoil, we will continue our ongoing commitment to social change through our publishing under the Policy Press imprint.

“I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump.”

Making a difference and finding ways for research to reach an audience where it can help policy and practice to address social issues and improve individual’s lives has remained fundamental to the development of the business. Policy Press will keep its focus on these social action aspects where UBP will focus on the more traditional scholarly work across all the core social science disciplines.

Winning the IPG award

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Winning the IPG Frankfurt Bookfair Independent Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year award was a turning point for Policy Press.

This recognition by our industry means so much to me, and to the team. It means that all the hard work over 20 years incrementally building a business from its tiny start was a goal worth pursuing.

It says ‘thank you’ to the amazing authors, editors and partners that we work with and without whom we could not have won the award. It also shows that the faith the University of Bristol has shown in us has been repaid a little.

Why we’re hosting ‘The Future of Social Justice’ event

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On 5 December we are hosting ‘The future of social justice’ event in Bristol, with Melissa Benn, Danny Dorling, Kayleigh Garthwaite and Owen Jones speaking. It’s a huge privilege to bring together these speakers and the general public in a debate that I’m sure will present some hope for the future.

This will also be the final event in our 20 year celebrations and the official launch of University of Bristol Press by Professor Hugh Brady, University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President.

And the future?

I am optimistic about the future for publishing and fundamentally believe that if we continue to publish great quality books and journals well, University of Bristol Press and Policy Press will continue to go from strength to strength. We will be there to help researchers, teachers and professionals to get their work read and used.

“Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world”

Over the next few years the team is going to grow significantly, with new staff from commissioning to marketing and sales. This will bring exciting new opportunities for creative collaboration and product development as we become stronger in our existing subject areas and emerge in those that are new. Policy Press, as an imprint, is now in a better place than ever to produce books that can really make a difference.

Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world a tiny bit. That’s the beauty of publishing – particularly academic publishing – and of being a press dedicated to making a positive difference.

It’s in this that a more hopeful, socially just, future lies.

Keep up-to-date with developments at Policy Press/University of Bristol Press by signing up to our newsletter. You will also receive a code that gives you 35% off all our books when ordered at www.policypress.co.uk.

Policy Press 20th anniversary – interview with the original ‘dream team’

The original Policy Press 'dream team' (left to right) Ann Moore, Head of Sales (retired), Ali Shaw, Director, Dave Worth, Production Manager, Julia Mortimer, Assistant director

The original Policy Press ‘dream team’ (left to right) Ann Moore, Sales Manager (retired), Ali Shaw, Director, Dave Worth, Production Manager, Julia Mortimer, Assistant Director

Tonight we’ll be celebrating 20 years of Policy Press at our party with many people from the past, present and future of Policy Press.

To get the spirit of nostalgia just right for the day we interviewed three Policy Pressers who’ve been part of the organisation from its basement beginnings – Ann Moore, Sales Manager (now retired), Dave Worth, Production Manager and Julia Mortimer, Assistant Director – to find out what they remember from way back when and how times have changed…

1) What was your first day at Policy Press like?

Dave Worth

Dave Worth

Dave: I never really had a first day at PP as I kind of was always around before it formed. And I can’t remember anyway!

Ann: I had been working at the School for Advanced Urban Studies (SAUS) on a part-time basis before becoming the Policy Press Publishing Assistant, so on my first day the staff were familiar but the work wasn’t. We processed and dispatched book, journal and report orders direct from the basement office – so I was the first contact for our customers and authors – from day one!

Julia: I started work at Policy Press’ predecessor SAUS publications on the day that everyone else had left to go on holiday so it was rather a baptism of fire! It was all fine though! Continue reading ‘Policy Press 20th anniversary – interview with the original ‘dream team’’

“Unbelievably proud and stunned!” Winning the Independent Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year 2016

The Independent Publishers Guild  (IPG), the key publishing industry trade body for independent publishers, have been running their annual award programme now for 10 years.
With Policy Press already celebrating 20 years of publishing with a purpose, we were thrilled first to be short listed  for the Frankfurt Book Fair Independent Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year award and then to be announced last week as winners of the award.
 Director Alison Shaw shares her thoughts and feelings on what winning this award means to her…

Alison ShawAs anyone who knows me will appreciate, I’m not one for the limelight – much better to plug away doing the best job we can for our authors, customers and partners. BUT I have to say that receiving this award was amazing!

I was sure we couldn’t win as we were shortlisted with three fantastic publishers Berghahn Books, Bloomsbury Publishing and SAGE Publications. How could we beat that? Despite the determination that we wouldn’t win, on the day the tension mounted as the preceding awards were announced at the IPG Awards Dinner.

The shortlisted names were read out and why they had been shortlisted. For PP the judges said

Policy Press had a standout year in 2015, publishing a range of important, influential and well-reviewed books, experimenting with activities including short reads, apps and freemium content and hitting record turnover.

“It has increased sales and stepped up its publishing in a difficult market, and that takes a lot of nerve,” judges said. “It really punches above its weight.”

and the winner is…..Policy Press

Then we heard it ‘the winner is …. Policy Press’ – I could have cried (and nearly did).

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Director Alison Shaw and Assistant Director Julia Mortimer receiving the award

Assistant Director Julia Mortimer, who has been with me from the start of Policy Press, and I headed for the stage – what to say? Well to start with I was pretty speechless – as you can see from this photo:

All I knew was I wanted to say three things:
– that this award was for the team, both present and past, who made it happen and who are all so committed and passionate about our mission to make a difference and to provide the best service to our authors and partners;

– that highlighting the social problems society faces – whether here, in Europe or around the world – and trying to find ways to improve life for disadvantaged people is vitally important;

– that from the moment I went to my first IPG event, I have received advice and mentoring from many other wonderful publishers, including our group of excellent UK university presses. There can be few industries that show such support for each other, even when in competition.

I think I said this in a roundabout way, I probably went on too long, but I meant every word sincerely and deeply.

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Alison and Julia celebrating with some well deserved champagne on the night

This recognition by our industry means so much to me, and to the team. It means that all the hard work over 20 years incrementally building a business from its tiny start was worth it.

It says ‘thank you’ to the amazing authors, editors and partners that we work with and without whom we could not have won the award. It also shows that the faith the University of Bristol has shown in us has been repaid a little.

Many thanks to the IPG for all the support to independent publishers over many years, to the Frankfurt Book Fair for sponsoring the award and to the judges for carefully assessing the individual merits of presses from large multinationals to small university presses.

I always aimed that the work we do will make a difference – to improve lives, to make things a little bit better – and I think that on Thursday evening I actually felt that perhaps that might be true!

Celebrations back at the office on Friday

Celebrations back at the office on Friday

 

If you liked this you might also be interested in….

IPG Meet the Member: Policy Press
Policy Press Shortlisted for the IPG Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year Award 2016

Policy Press celebrates 20 years of publishing with a purpose

Happy National Voter Registration Day 2015 #TakePower

One of the things we have been talking about at Policy Press is how we can do more to affect social change. Given that this is an election year our first area of focus is around increasing youth voter participation and so we are pleased to be supporting National Voter Registration Day today. Alison Shaw shares her thoughts on why Policy Press are supporting the campaign…

Policy Press - 018 resizeThe Scottish Referendum in September last year had the highest voter turn out in recent history, with a staggering 84.59% of people voting. The election enabled 16 – 17 year olds to vote for the first time in the UK and over 100,000 of them turned out, shattering the idea that young people as a whole are disengaged by the political process. 

Of course turning up at the polling station and making your mark in the voting booth is really the end point of a much longer journey – and one that starts with making sure that people are registered to vote.

Living in a democracy, as we do, voting is the main way in which we all have the power to make our voices heard. Consequently we’re supporting National Voter Registration Day (#NVRD) today. The campaign was set up in response to the lack of education and awareness around voter registration in the UK and last year NVRD registered 50,000 people. Raising the bar even higher, this year they have set a target of registering 250,000 people.

417-2NVRD focus on encouraging young people to register to vote and a quick look at the figures show why this is such an important group to focus on. In the 1964 general election just over 76% of 18 – 24 year olds turned out to vote. By 2010 that figure had fallen to 52% – though that was at least up on the 38% of young people who had turned out to vote in the 2005 general election.

What worries me is the sense that we have moved from a position of action and activism in the sixties, to a place of increasing youth voter apathy from the nineties, to a position now, potentially, of actively choosing not to vote. Whilst influential celebrities such as Russell Brand have done a sterling job of putting politics into the spotlight for a more disengaged generation, the idea of actively not voting as a way to give voice to the opinion that those who govern us do not fully represent us, is deeply counterintuitive to me.

I believe that not voting is a way to give those who go on to govern us more power not less. The lack of an overall majority in the 2010 general election left us with a hung parliament, resolved by the coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. In effect the Conservative party became the first party on the basis of achieving only 36% of the overall vote. By not voting, we effectively give politicians a mandate to do as they see fit, irrespective of whether that is in our best interests (and with a good chance that it won’t be).

Voting now is more important than ever. Since 2010 we have seen the rise and rise of austerity measures in politics and the impact that has on the lives of everyday people, including young people. Nearly 17% of 16 – 24 year olds are unemployed, and those who have opted to go to university will start their working lives with high levels of debt, and no guarantee of jobs when they graduate.

I believe we have a responsibility to be actively engaged in our democracy and to actively engage other people, including young people, in the process of democracy. What is positive is that we have access to more information, analysis and opinion on politics and policies today than we’ve ever had in modern history. And more than ever it would seem people are accessing this information from a variety of different sources, hungry for information they can trust.

The first step however is to make sure that people are registered to vote. Then, and only then, can we take the next steps to support them on that journey to the polling booth. We will be watching with interest today and engaging with bitetheballot.co.uk activities over the coming months, keeping you updated on our progress here. #TakePower #NVRD

If you enjoyed this, you may be interested in reading…

….the first in a new election series from the University of Bristol called Speakers’ Corner:

Speakers’ Corner: Have the Liberal Democrats lost the student vote?

Policy Press – a year in charity

Throughout 2014 Policy Press supported St Mungo’s, a charity supporting the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. We got involved in some great activities. Below is a summary of the year.

December 2013

Victoria

Victoria wins the mince pie bake-off!

Policy Press staff and authors kick-started our year of activity by donating to St Mungo’s in lieu of sending Christmas cards.

We also held a mince-pie bake off amongst staff. Congratulations Victoria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2014

Woolly hat day

Woolly Hat Day 2014

On Friday 31st January we took part in St Mungo’s Woolly Hat day, wearing our woolliest hats to work and holding a cake sale.

 

 

 

 

March, April, May, June

Our monthly charity coffee mornings were a real success with Policy Press staff and colleagues in other University departments.

 

September

Charity quiz poster

For our big fundraising event of the year Policy Press held a ‘pub’ quiz. The event was a great success with teams from other Bristol publishers taking part, and prizes donated from local Bristol businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October

painting

Painting and decorating at St Mungo’s

Policy Press staff spent the day volunteering at a St Mungo’s crisis centre for men, in Bristol – decorating, making soft furnishings and cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2015 we will be supporting Off the Record, a charity that runs a range of projects across Bristol and South Gloucestershire to support young people to improve their mental health and well-being.

If you would like to donate please visit our local giving page.

A response to the European and UK local elections by Alison Shaw, Director of Policy Press

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When I set up Policy Press it was because I was passionate about social issues.  I felt strongly that we needed to fight for a fairer society, one that looked after all its citizens regardless of their wealth and background; race, ethnicity or faith; gender, age or (dis)abilities; regardless of whether they lived in England or Ethiopia.

Our authors are the experts on how to achieve that goal, from understanding the challenges at a theoretical level through to how to implement policy and practice on the ground, and until today, I have been delighted to let them do the talking.  But following the recent results in the UK local and European elections I am moved to join the conversation and speak out.

This weekend we have seen again the rise of the extreme right in politics, both in the UK and across Europe.  This move appears to be a response to a range of factors – a belief that the European Union is inefficient and has too much control over nation state policies; a fear that immigration is a threat to jobs, security and culture; and an understandable anxiety for many as the global recession continues to take its toll.

It may be that the European Union as an institution is in need of reform, but we have to remember why we have a Union.  Initially a post-World War II settlement, it was a means for ensuring cooperation to avoid future conflict.  More recently it has been more about power and global influence in response to the rise of the emerging economies of China, India and Brazil – but the initial  collaborative intent must not be forgotten.

My fear is that, if we remain silent, then things we take for granted like the belief in equality and fairness will be lost and things we don’t think possible, will happen.  Our authors’ thoughtful writing has helped me to contemplate many of these issues and the three books below stand out for me.

ImageThe UK Government’s response to the global recession was an ‘Austerity’ drive, cutting back spending dramatically, especially to the welfare budget. This has hit those already in challenging circumstances in a devastating way.  Mary O’Hara, a journalist and Fulbright Scholar spent a year travelling the UK interviewing those facing hardship and those supporting them.  Her eloquent, insightful book Austerity Bites, published today, provides first hand testimony of what it is like to be struggling –  not to have enough to feed your family despite working your hardest in low paid, insecure jobs.

When we feel our security is challenged, one response is to fight back.  When we feel threatened we can look around for those that are different to blame.  Perhaps this points to why we are facing an increasing tide of anti-immigration rhetoric.  The headlines in some of the UK tabloid papers have been shocking: “We must stop the migrant invasion” Daily Express, “4,000 foreign murderers and rapists we can’t throw out” Daily Mail or “How Romanian criminals terrorise our streets” Daily Express.

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Malcolm Dean, previously Social Affairs Editor for the Guardian, looked at how the media influences and manipulates public opinion and the effect this has on politics and policy in his highly praised book Democracy under Attack.  It provides perhaps one possible answer to how and why we have seen the French National Front, the Dutch Freedom Party and the UK Independence Party (UKiP) gaining such traction in the recent elections.

Image Dimitris Ballas, of Sheffield University and Danny Dorling and Ben Hennig of Oxford University have created the first European Social Atlas and it  analyses social and political Europe in detail.  This beautifully produced book shows in clear graphic form that Europe is a blend of cultures, languages, traditions, landscapes and ideologies that are often not bound by state or regional borders.  The social atlas of Europe is “an insightful look at today’s Europe” (Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley) and will be published on 25 June. It shows Europe and the Europeans in an entirely new light and highlights why we should be, working together, not pulling apart.

Reflections and recovery after the London Book Fair

Ann Moore

Ann Moore

Thoughts on the London Book Fair from Ann Moore, Sales and Distribution Manager at Policy Press.

Policy Press staff were at the London Book Fair last week and the weekend after is always a time to recover, reflect and, this year, reminisce as the fair was held in the iconic Earls Court exhibition centre for the very last time.

Earls Court has been a familiar venue for fair goers for a generation and many of the digital companies born over the past 10 years will not have known anywhere else for this important showcase and meeting place for our industry.

It is going to be demolished and replaced in phase one, with the building of residential homes and retail units plus open space areas in the new West Brompton Village plan. See Yvonne Rydin’s books, The purpose of planning and The future of planning and see how this new development fits with her thoughts on the vision for planning in the UK.

Earls Court

Earls Court

Making the most of the traditional 30 minute meeting slots at these events is an art that your staff have to learn. They are never long enough in most cases but may enable you to have that first face-to-face encounter with a new supplier or customer, sort that one outstanding query on a contract clause or addendum, close a new title rights deal and in many cases just enable you to continue to support those important ongoing relationships in the global marketplace we work in. And those are only the prearranged meetings! There are always chance meetings that lead to new opportunities and can be followed up on after the event. It also provides the perfect setting to meet and share information with other publishers of all sorts and sizes.

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Carl Fry (Sales Executive) and Ann Moore (Sales and Distribution Manager) in a meeting at the London Book Fair

Some of us have known previous sites for the fair, including the home for the 2015 event, Olympia, but the 30 million pound refurbishment of the venue will mean that it will not appear the same as it did 11 years ago. A promise of more space, natural light and new facilities makes it an encouraging prospect to hold our heavy schedule of meetings and networking opportunities within.

I would like to say thank you to all the wonderful people I met at the London Book Fair this year, many new and familiar faces among them, and for making the last three days in this grand old building such a vibrant, positive and inspiring place to be. See you in Olympia in 2015!

Ann Moore, Sales and Distribution Manager, Policy Press 

If you would like to get in touch with the Policy Press Sales Team, please email pp-sales@bristol.ac.uk.


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