This was a particularly unique placement; not only was it with a trade body rather than a publishing house, it was also offered as part of a specific project; creating an exhibition on 100 Years of Scottish Magazine Publishing, as part of PPA Scotland’s centenary celebrations.
I worked closely with Nikki Simpson, PPA Scotland’s business manager, and my major role was researching magazines from the 1900s and contacting publishers, archivists, librarians, bloggers – anyone who could help us track down the relevant information.
This was an excellent opportunity for me to begin collating secondary material for my dissertation, in which I will be discussing contract magazine publishing. As well as this, contacting publishers proved to be a useful networking opportunity and, as with any industry, it is always a bonus to know the people who may interview you or be your future colleague.
As a bit of a magazine geek it was a genuine delight to hold beautiful 1950s editions of the Scottish Farmer; delicately unfold irreplaceable D.C Thompson marketing posters from the 1910s; read about an 1800s duel in which one man died over libellous comments printed in Blackwoods magazine. I was personally able to collate and help preserve our rich magazine publishing history in a very hands-on role. At present there is no such collection, and through my placement I am confident that I have made a lasting impact on magazine publishing by helping to create this collection.
After the exhibition’s reveal on the 30th May at the National Museum of Scotland it will go on tour around the country to universities, colleges and libraries, acting as an educational collection as well as a tourist attraction. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of this, and I feel that it was an excellent choice in terms of the experience I gained.