How can Independent Black Publishing make a positive impact within the creative industry?
The historical starting point is 1960 when the first issue of RACE was published by the Institute of Race Relations, an independent educational charity established in 1958 to carry out research, publish and collect resources on race relations throughout the world.
Small and Independent Black book publishers such as New Beacon appeared shortly afterwards with a remit to educate and be a voice for the community, producing pamphlets and publishing previously unheard Black voices in fiction, poetry and essays. ‘Lifestyle’ magazines began to appear in the late 1970s starting with Staunch, a community arts / lifestyle magazine. Black lifestyle publications flourished in the 80s and 90s. However, the survival rate of both book and magazine publishers has been poor. With publishing being one of the largest growth areas within the creative industry, niche publishing sectors for ethnically diverse markets are well placed to have a strong place within this growth industry.
This research project will improve our knowledge of the history of Black British publishers from the 1960s and will conclude by analysing the situation of an Independent Black Publishing sector today. It will also constitute a usable archive of material relating to Black publishing from the 1960s, identify opportunities for growth, identify a niche for publications for people of colour and produce a digitalised archive of magazines.
It will look at how relevant existing policies and programmes are for trainees and employers in the mainstream industry but also how such policies apply to the Independent Black Publishing sector. Recent research has focused on diversity and equality within mainstream publishing houses, neglecting to consider how best to create an equal space for Black publishing houses to enable them to be a strong organ within the creative industry.
Kadija George is founder/publisher of SABLE LitMag for writers of colour and editor of several anthologies. Her debut poetry collection Irki (Peepal Tree) will be followed by The Modern PanAfricanist’s Journey, awarded a Research and Development G4A (Arts Council England). She has contributed to: A Companion to Black British Culture (Routledge), The Oxford Companion to Black British History (OUP), Black British Writing (Palgrave Macmillan), Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale) and Contradictions and Heritages: Contemporary Black British Writing (MUP - forthcoming). Kadija is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Kennedy Arts Centre for Performance Arts Management Fellow and George Bell Fellow.