The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.
We caught up with Georgina Argus at HTAV Publishing to talk about the HTAV Twentieth Century Series, a shortlisted entry for the Student Resource – Senior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education award.
For the benefits of those who don’t know about HTAV Publishing, could you tell us a little bit about HTAV and the shortlisted entry?
HTAV Publishing is actually a department of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria (HTAV), a member organisation dedicated to improving the quality of History teaching and learning in Victorian schools. The Publishing department is a small team consisting of two part-time staff members and a consultant. Up until recently, our projects were completed entirely in-house. With new VCE History courses implemented last year, there was (and still is) high demand for new textbooks, and so we had to start outsourcing stages such as editing in order to produce more books.
The Twentieth Century series consists of two titles,Twentieth Century 1: Between the Wars and Twentieth Century 2: Post-War Challenges. These titles werewritten specifically for the VCE year 11 Twentieth Century course. It’s a very exciting course with many, many topic options for schools, and it was very difficult to choose which ones to focus on in this book! We did not see the point in giving a brief overview of everything – we wanted to go into some depth – which resulted in quite large books.
The wonderful thing about working for a teacher organisation is that creating resources to properly support teachers and students is part of our mission. Therefore the budget and potential profits come second to quality. If we have to add pages to a book or purchase more images because we think they are needed, we will do it. The Twentieth Century series is an example of this – the books are 300+ pages and include many fantastic photographs, artworks, maps and diagrams, yet remain affordable for students and teachers.
What was your motivation for developing this resource?
The motivation for all our HTAV Senior History series titles is twofold:
1. We want to support our members – history teachers in Victoria. With a new VCE History Study Design, teachers were desperate for their students to be supported with new textbooks written specifically for them.
2. We want to increase student numbers in each VCE History subject. We believe that producing quality resources, designed specifically for VCE, will help do that.
Why did you decide to submit the series for the EPAAs?
We decided to enter this series in the EPAAs because we were so proud of how it turned out!
In a small team, it is necessary for all staff members to jump in and do a bit of everything on all titles. For example, on these titles, the Publisher also conducted all the image research and permissions, and completed the typesetting. This leads to a huge personal investment in the title/s, and makes any reward all the more meaningful.
Why does your product deserve towin at this year’s EPAAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?
I believe all the elements of these books – the design, narrative, images and diagrams, and activities – all contribute to making the series extremely engaging for students. This history is still so recent and students often don’t realise that so many significant events were happening around the world at the same time, until they see the timelines!
I particularly love the covers for these two books. The focus on ‘contrasts’ really reflects what was going on in the twentieth century – periods of war vs periods of peace, prosperous times vs depression, leaders intent on hate-filled persecution and murder vs leaders campaigning for the civil rights of minority groups using non-violent tactics.
The covers and overall design can be attributed to Kim Ferguson, an amazing graphic designer. We would also like to acknowledge the authors, our wonderful editor (Philip Bryan), and HTAV staff.
Good luck and all the best to the HTAV Publishing team!
The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.
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