Alumni - Sophie Hall, MA Publishing

In making the decision to do the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes, I was really convinced by the international aspects of the course. Working with students from all over the world was a great social experience and allowed me insight into publishing and reading cultures in places as diverse as China, India, and South Africa, to name just a few.


As well as the diverse mix of people, the international focus of the course suited me well.  In June 2012, I was fortunate enough to attend the international publishing summer school in Florence with four other Brookes students. This was a fantastic opportunity and a lot of fun. Guest speakers from the publishing industries in Germany, France and Slovenia talked about their experiences of publishing and bookselling, and debated over issues in digital publishing, self-publishing and publishing translated literature. It was great to see how these issues we learned about at Brookes manifest in international industries and reading cultures. We were joined by a group of library studies and publishing students from Paris,who accompanied us on our research project: to compare bookselling in the UK, France and Italy. Apart from a lot of sightseeing, gelato–eating and laughter, this was an incredible experience in looking at publishing and bookselling in international contexts.

I think it was this experience which made me so determined to take up the internship at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva: to continue my learning experience of international publishing. I have always wanted the experience of working for an international organization, and this internship allowed me the valuable experience of working for a UN agency within a publishing role.  

I was fortunate enough to be joined with Kristen Scott, who also did the MA in publishing and we worked both independently, and together on editorial and digital production projects. Perhaps most exciting of all, we worked on the ILO’s first venture into EPUB and kindle editions to produce a ‘digital-first’ report. We were able to see the project from its initial editorial stages, and conversion to HTML, to its completion and launch in the UN’s Palais des Nations. This was a great experience to feel part of an organization’s ‘move to digital’.  I have benefited from my duties: liaising with ebook partners, editing manuscripts and promotional material, and over the course of six months I developed a strong sense of ownership over my tasks and responsibilities in the unit. I think what was perhaps most interesting was the opportunity to work with other communications professionals in the ILO; these included journalists, web developers, photographers and even video experts. I gained a real sense of the value and importance of sharing skills, as publishing is becoming increasingly multimedia.

Aside from my professional life, six months living in Geneva allowed me to meet other interns from all over the world. I have been hiking, skiing and really made the most of being in the heart of Europe. I encourage future MA students to apply for this internship for the experience of working, and living, in such an international environment.

Posted on 25 Mar 2013 around 11am