Do you remember the first magazine you bought? I do: I was twelve years old, and I was visiting my favourite library when my eyes were drawn to the magazine stand: I bought an issue of Bravo, a Spanish magazine featuring celebrity gossip, interviews, music, tv, cinema and various quizzes. What my teenage self didn’t know was that she would work in the promotion of magazines from around the world thirteen years later, and she would do that as part of her master’s degree in Publishing in a Scottish university!
From November 2019 until last March, I got the chance to do my placement at the International Magazine Centre. Every year, its director, Nikki Simpson, gives a MSc Publishing student the opportunity to work alongside her in this innovative project, and this time she was kind enough to accept two of us.
The work of the International Magazine Centre consists of highlighting all kinds of magazine publications from around the world, so people get to know them. But not only that, the International Magazine Centre also promotes and organizes events magazine-related, offers a learning platform for people interested in getting a job in the magazine industry, and connects industry professionals with each other; all while working on pursuing its first major goal: the creation of a building dedicated to all-things-magazine, with office and incubator space, events and exhibitions, incredible magazine shop and cafe.
As a marketing assistant, my tasks consisted on doing research for the training course the International Magazine Centre is preparing, on expanding their Incubator offering, and on their social media strategy. I could use my past experience on running social media accounts for other organizations to increase the presence of the centre on Facebook and Twitter, and to spread the word about the wonders of today’s magazine world, the fascinating events and talks hosted and run by the International Magazine Centre, and the incredible people that support this ambitious project. Moreover, my position as a Publishing student was perfect to evaluate the resources the International Magazine Centre offers to newbies in the industry: mine and my classmate’s feedback was very useful for it because we could determine which topics we consider to be more important to know before and/or during our first jobs in magazine publishing, as well as asking our course peers what would they consider to be important to know before getting a job in magazine publishing.
If I had to highlight one day of all my placement experience at the International Magazine Centre, that would definitely be the event hosted at Merchiston Campus last February, called (Re)presenting Cover Girls: Exploring Female Diversity in Magazines. As part of the International Magazine Centre staff I participated in social media advertisement campaign prior to the event, and when the day arrived I could enjoy talking to some of the speakers of the event while working to make their evening pleasant. So I could not only work on the organization of a real-life magazine publishing event, but I also met and talked to prestigious professionals of the magazine world while learning more about the representation (or more like lack of it) of women (particularly non-white women) in UK and Brazilian magazine covers. I strongly encourage you to read the interesting work of Dr Ivana Ebel and Dr Gabrielle Bittelbrun comparing more than 550 magazine covers, and the revealing findings of their research.
In conclusion, my time at the International Magazine Centre taught me valuable assets that enhance the knowledge I am getting from my Publishing course, as well as my personal strengths. I had an enviable position to explore the vast world of magazine publication and the people involved in it, encouraging me to read more magazines of all kind and to pursue a career in magazine publishing. I will always be grateful to Nikki not only for letting me collaborate with her and her project, but also for pushing me out of my comfort zone and making me think creatively and outside the box, two things that are not only necessary in the publishing sphere, but also in all aspects of our lives.