On Tuesday evening I went to a postgraduate open day at the London College of Communication, as this is one of the universities which offers a Master’s degree in Publishing, which is what I hope to do once I graduate. The open day was structured as a ‘drop-in’ event, and to be honest I didn’t really feel there was enough information on offer. There was one general talk about the College, and a couple of tutors from each subject area available to talk to. There were meant to be students around too, but the girl who apparently did the Publishing MA only seemed to be around whilst we were doing a tour of the college, and didn’t seem very talkative or approachable.

I had a chat with Les Claridge, the Associate Dean for the School of Printing and Publishing, and with David Penfold, one of the tutors for the MA Publishing. Both were very friendly and willing to talk about how the course was structured and the ethos and strategy behind their approach, but to be honest they didn’t tell me much that I hadn’t already discovered by exploring the LCC’s excellent website. We also had a tour of the School of Printing and Publishing, which was pretty interesting.

The LCC is unique in having professional quality printers on site, allowing students to get involved in very hands-on projects, producing and publishing their own magazine from start to finish. I was given a copy of this magazine, BLURB, and it did look incredibly professional and impressive. Because the LCC is part of the University of Arts, London, their publishing course seems to come at things from a more artistic, design and production orientated approach – they also offer courses in book arts, book binding and restoration, digital media, graphic design and so on.

This is a real strength of their course if you come from a design background, as it puts your artistic skills and knowledge into a business context, but after the open day, I’m not sure if it’s the right course for me. The impression I got may be wrong – I was only there for a couple of hours and I didn’t get to talk to any of the students properly – but personally I think I need a slightly more business-management orientated course with a stronger taught element in things such as Publishing law, rights, finance, editorial management etc. The LCC was really impressive and I think I would still consider applying there, but I’m now researching and considering the MA Publishing at UCL as my first choice option. The time for applications for the academic year 2009/10 is approaching alarmingly rapidly – it will be this September/October – so it pays to be looking carefully at courses now. It is a big investment to do a postgraduate degree straight after graduating, so I want to be certain I’m picking the right one if I decide to do it!

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