By Tabitha Ives, Intern at Thames & Hudson
Monday 23 October 2017.
The Spare Room Project is an initiative supported by the Publishers Association and run by James Spackman of Profile Books. Publishers offer up their spare rooms for interns based outside of London.
Living in Suffolk and studying in Birmingham, I am lucky enough to live only short train journeys away from London. While this is ideal for day trips, looking into commuting in and out of London every day soon proved far too expensive, even for my one week of work experience. Without having any friends or family to put me up, I started to look into Airbnb options after having great experiences with it before. I thought that was my only option, but I delayed booking my week’s stay because I couldn’t face the amount of money that would be coming out of my already depleted student account.
Luckily, before my work experience in Publicity at Thames & Hudson, I attended Penguin Random House’s JobHack event in Norwich. This scheme offers a unique insight into publishing and demonstrates how important it is to reach people living outside of London who may not have had any previous opportunities to learn about the industry. At the speed-networking event held there, a Marketing Executive recommended the Spare Room Project to me, another scheme encouraging inclusivity in publishing.
Thinking the scheme was too good to be true, I emailed James and within a week he had put me in contact with Sarah, who works in the legal department at Penguin Random House and lives in Blackheath. I cannot thank Sarah enough for making me feel so at ease and treating me more like a friend than just a random student staying in her spare room. It was great to come home from an exciting day of work experience and share my day and what I had learned with someone who also has a passion for the industry.
I would highly recommend this project to any students looking to undertake work experience in London. Not only does it make staying in London more achievable, it was great to meet Sarah and learn about her experiences in the industry, and the scheme is an ingenious step towards encouraging inclusivity and diversity in the industry.