Paige FarrellUniversity degree(s)/institution:
Bachelor of Arts, University of Melbourne; Master of Publishing and Communications, University of Melbourne.

Current/Notable Positions: 
Editorial Assistant, Macmillan Education Australia (June 2013-July 2014); Production Editor, Macmillan Education Australia (July 2014-June 2015); Publishing Assistant, Appetite by Random House, Penguin Random House Canada (current).

Career Highlight:
I was extremely excited to gain an entry-level position at Macmillan Education Australia after graduating from my master degree. Starting in the editorial department was my dream, and I ended up moving into the production department, which I am grateful for, as I now understand the fuller picture of publishing books. I am really proud of the time I spent at Macmillan. A highlight was working closely with the production manager and Secondary English publisher to initiate a print-on-demand model for a series of workbooks, which hadn’t been done before. I left Macmillan to travel and live overseas in Vancouver, Canada, and wasn’t sure whether I would find a job in publishing, as most of the Canadian publishing companies are in Toronto. However, it was fortunate that when I arrived, Appetite by Random House (a fairly new lifestyle and cookbook imprint of Penguin Random House Canada) were looking for a publishing assistant. Now I’m working closely with the publisher in their small Vancouver office. I’ve only been here for three months but I already consider it a career highlight. It is thrilling to work on the kinds of books that I would browse through and buy as a consumer.

What was your first job?
I had numerous part-time jobs throughout schooling and university. My very first role was at my local Brumby’s! I worked at a busy Melbourne hotel while studying arts, then sold books at Dymocks during my masters, which was a fitting background for the publishing course. My first position in the publishing field was as Editorial Assistant at Macmillan.

How have the humanities helped you in your career?
The skills I acquired from my arts degree have provided me with the foundation to pursue a career in publishing. There is no doubt that the analytical, writing and research skills I acquired while majoring in history have become invaluable to me in my career. They help me in researching potential authors, analyzing market trends, writing sales copy for upcoming titles, managing a project’s budget and production schedule and many other tasks. It is also especially important in my career to have a solid grounding in English language and literature, which a degree in the humanities provides.

Why do you think the humanities matter today?
It is important for society to continually reflect on and discuss all the topics that fall under the humantities umbrella. It is how we can progress and engage with our surroundings in a meaningful way. I often think back to my year seven SOSE teacher, who explained that ‘studying history is essential, so we can learn from our mistakes and develop as a community.’ That’s exactly how I feel, and why I believe it is so important for organisations like Humanities 21 to keep promoting the importance of the Arts Degree!

What are you reading now?
I’ve just got my hands on A Fortunate Age by Joanna Rakoff. I thoroughly enjoyed My Salinger Year, which was an account of her time working at the literary agency in New York that represents J.D. Salinger, so I can’t wait to start her novel.

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