The months have whizzed by since our first meetings in February with Claire Squires and Padmini Ray Murray to discuss the parameters of the AHRC Book Unbound project.
Neither Scott Russell nor I live in Stirling, so our first production meeting was a phone call one chilly Monday in late February, where we discussed everything from mission statements to page counts, Twitter feeds to job descriptions. As Scott mentioned in his blog post, we presented these job descriptions, along with a call for content, to the Publishing and Creative Writing students, and waited for their response.
In March, the full steering committee – the Gang of Four – met to discuss the applicants for the project assistant roles. We had a lot of CVs and ideas to sift through, but we soon agreed on the three most suitable candidates: Helen Lewis-McPhee as Associate Editor, and two Production Assistants, Louisa Preston and Aileen Taylor. Our aim was to create a balanced team, with a range of experience (and, hopefully, some good ideas).
Our fleshed-out production team met in April, in a typically dispiriting university conference room. We gathered around the white board and discussed practical issues – like information-sharing via Podio and Dropbox – as well as creative ones. What kind of content could we expect for the app we were developing? What kind of attributes did we want the finished product to have? How would everything work together? What could we call this thing?
At this stage, Scott said, no idea was out of bounds. (‘Out of Bounds’: one of our title ideas!) Everything went up on the white board. We agreed that none of the title ideas were quite the thing, but that was OK. Maybe something would emerge from the content, or from the process of reading and working with the content. Two-and-a-half months later, we still don’t have a title. It’s still OK. I’m confident that something will strike one – or all – of us, as the app continues to take shape and come to life.