You might remember that back in January I shared my word of the year, which was Trust. In 2020 I'd completely changed how I was working with publishers, and I needed to trust that my plans would work and have the impact that I hoped.
That word stood me in good stead for the first few months as I talked to various publishers about the Inclusion Incubator, and listened to their concerns about whether it would work for them.
It stood me in good stead when I met with the director of the UK Schools Division at OUP and they trusted that my programme would have the transformative impact I promised.
It stood me in good stead for working with Secondary textbook teams, and had to trust that my knowledge of inclusion in children's trade books could be transferred to that context.
And it stands me in good stead as I look forward to 2022 and start to book publishing teams onto the Inclusion Incubator for the new year.
Trust has involved me relying on my instincts
Since I came up with the idea for the Inclusion Incubator, I completely trusted that the combination of training, consultancy and tasks was exactly what was needed to have an impact. Working with the first cohort of teams from OUP over June and July was an incredible process and the power of this model was evident. As one participant said, "Its a great model as it really enables you to apply what you are learning to your own context."
But trust doesn't mean I always get it right. For some participants, fitting in everything alongside a busy job was challenging, so I've tweaked the format of the Inclusion Incubator to run it over 12 weeks rather than 8, allowing more time for participants to fully engage with the material. This change will come into effect in 2022 and I've already got one publishing team booked in for the programme in the new year.
You need to trust me, even though I don't have all the answers
Getting inclusion right doesn't happen from attending one event, training session, or speaking to one person. There are many parts to the puzzle.
First of all, you need to put down the foundation. This is ensuring you or your team understands the basic principles of inclusion (and the part that my programmes play).
Once that's in place, you can work with specialists and people with lived experience to go into more depth, or support on different projects, but if that foundation isn't in place, things will fall through the cracks.
You also need that foundation in place as we work to diversify the publishing workforce and authors and illustrators, because unless the industry is a safe and welcoming place to be, they won't stick around.
Your intentions are part of the puzzle as well.
Trust the impact of your investments
I've currently got spots for 2 more teams on the Inclusion Incubator between January and March/April (and am happy to work it around any book fairs that might be able to run).
The Inclusion Incubator is a time investment for your team and a cost investment for you business. That's not an easy commitment to make, and you need to trust the impact it will have. so get in touch to book a call to chat about how it might work for your team.
"Beth's breadth of knowledge is impressive and she brings so many rich, invaluable resources to the table. The programme will really make you think about your current and future publishing, and give you the confidence to challenge and take those risks to ensure true inclusion in your products. The live sessions were supportive and open and Beth really took the time to interrogate any examples we brought. A truly beneficial and worthwhile experience."
Rebecca DeLozier, Commissioning Editor, OUP