Helen Heath is a course graduate and the 2017 course tutor. We asked her about how the course has changed since she was a student here, as well as what she was most excited for this year. We discussed what drew her to the course, both as a student and teacher, and inquired about the publications from the course which have stood out to her the most. She also discusses what she is currently reading:
When I first took the course back in 1995 it was quite different in some ways. We only had a couple of computers in the class and they ran PageMaker, which was one of the first desktop publishing programs. The editing module was fairly similar to the course today and the basics of marketing were the same, but I don’t think I had even heard about the internet then, and of course social media hadn’t been invented.
When I got my first job in publishing the following year, we had one PC in the office to share and it had a dial up connection to the internet, which was very slow! However, we did have tutors with a wealth of experience and interesting guest speakers from the industry, just like today’s classes.
There is nothing like a book launch after all the hard work [put into the publishing projects], so I’m really looking forward to seeing you all experience the satisfaction of sending your projects off into the real world. I’m a great believer in learning through doing. Whitireia’s foundational kaupapa (policy) is just that. The Whitireia Publishing programme has a special working relationship with the New Zealand publishing industry, we respond to their needs and they love to hire our graduates. It is wonderful to be involved in such a well-respected course. I love being involved in a programme that truly equips graduates with the skills they need.
I feel very nostalgic towards How Things Are, an anthology of poetry by Adrienne Jansen, Harry Ricketts, JC Sturm and Meg Campbell. It was the key publication I worked on when I studied in 1995. Of recent books, A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt stands out. I’m really impressed by Trish Harris’s The Walking Stick Tree, and I’m looking forward to her forthcoming book of poetry. I have just finished reading Ashleigh Young’s book of essays Can You Tolerate This? She recently won the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize, I highly recommend it.