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Q & A with Diana Chamma

Diana Chamma is in her last semester of the Master of Publishing degree at the University of Sydney. As part of the degree, Diana interned at SUP from March to June 2021.

A young woman wearing dark blue jumper and grey trousers standing in front of a wall created out of open books. She is holding a white cup in her right hand, and taking her suglasses off with her left hand.

What have you been working on at SUP?

I spent my time at SUP learning new skills and applying ones I gained from my previous work experience. I created three book covers, a press-release template, bookmarks, a catalogue, a Mailchimp newsletter and a social media guide. The new tasks I got involved in or was introduced to were mainly editorial, ­such as proofreading a manuscript in parallel with an editor to compare edits, indexing and basic HTML and XML.

What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?

Getting introduced to the operation and process of academic publishing was my favourite aspect of the internship. I became acquainted with several platforms like Consonance, which holds the books’ metadata; Asana, used to manage tasks and coordinate deadlines; and Instagantt, where the production process of the books is tracked. It was great to get a glimpse into IGP and how typesetting works outside Adobe InDesign, which has been the main software I have used for layout.

The most challenging aspect of the experience were the days I had to work from home because of the lockdown. Given that my motivation is highly driven by teamwork and interaction with colleagues, working from home would work for my favour if I had been an employee for years in a certain organisation. During an internship, it took away from the experience.

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?

I am fascinated by the level of professionalism and how smoothly the five employees handle the operations of the press. I found the collaboration and involvement of the team to be quite inspiring, especially with the workload. Also, the couple of manuscripts I worked on were entertaining and less ‘academic’ in tone than I expected. This has completely changed my idea of academic books having inaccessible language and being written for a particular reader only.

What skills have you used most during your internship?

Given my design background, it was easy to slip into doing tasks that involved having that experience. I would say I spent most of my internship being a designer, but I was introduced to new aspects of publishing regularly.

What was your dream job when you were 12? What is your dream job now?

I wanted to be an architect until I enrolled in an Architecture and Design degree and discovered that I was more interested in being a graphic designer. My dream job now is to be an agent for illustrators and travel around the world to find talent. My dream project is to improve a publisher’s visual brand and help them win Bologna Book Fair awards.

You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional or historical character. Who do you choose and why?

Frankenstein’s monster would be an option. He is the only being who was born as an adult with the capabilities of an infant. I find the process he went through to acquire language and become familiar with the ways of mankind curious. His perception of the world would be interesting to have insight into. I am just hoping he’ll have some sense of humour, otherwise the trip might be a little too intense and filled with daddy issues.

What are you planning to do next?

I am looking to get involved with the Australian book industry as much as possible – finding a job with a publisher, an association, interning and freelancing are ways for me to gain knowledge and experience in this new market.

 

Diana Chamma has been working in design and publishing for 10 years across various positions: junior graphic designer in production, senior graphic designer and art director. At the end of 2018, her interest in copyright got her involved in foreign rights. Diana decided to do a Masters in Publishing at the University of Sydney in 2020 and currently lives in Sydney and works as a creative director at Sweatshop.