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Penguin Collectors Society


Penguin Collectors Society (PCS) Postgraduate Bursary Scheme

As an educational charity the PCS wishes to get closer to universities with departments and postgraduate students studying disciplines cognate to the interests of PCS. The trustees have identified the subject areas and the universities best representing them and has shared proposals for a bursary with the course directors.

The relevant subjects include History of the Book, Publishing, Book Art, Illustration and Design. The following universities have relevant post-graduate provision and are willing to participate in the bursary scheme.

Affiliated Universities and Courses

University of the Arts London

  • MA Book Arts and MA Printmaking – Camberwell College of Arts
  • MA Publishing – London College of Communication
  • MA Book Art and Print Making – Central Saint Martins

The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies
Oxford Brookes University

  • MA Book History and Publishing Culture
  • MA Publishing
  • MA Publishing Media

Department of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies
University of Edinburgh

  • MSc Material Cultures and the History of the Book

Institute of English Studies
University of London

  • MA/MRes History of the Book

Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
University of Reading

  • MA Book Design

Cambridge School of Art
Anglia Ruskin University

  • MA Children’s Book Illustration
  • MA Publishing

Scottish Centre for the Book, Edinburgh
Napier University

  • MSc Publishing

Stirling Centre for International Publishing
University of Stirling

  • MLitt/MRes Publishing Studies
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education
Plymouth University

  • MA Publishing
Department of Journalism and Publishing
Kingston University

  • MA Publishing
School of Arts and Social Sciences, Centre for English
City University

  • MA Publishing
  • MA International Publishing
University College London

      • MA Publishing

Terms of the PCS Bursary (2016-2017)

The bursary is available through open competition to a postgraduate student studying at one of the named affiliated universities above. The university ‘member’ will internally advertise the bursary to Master’s Degree students studying one of their awards approved either as a single subject or in a combined study. The bursary is to support the Dissertation Module or its equivalent where independent study is to be demonstrated. This is normally taken in Semester 2 of a one-year, full-time programme or in year two of a part-time programme. Depending on its credit value it will have a word limit of between 15–20,000 words in an MA/MSc and up to 30,000 in a MRes.

The bursary is designed to support travel and access to archival material, library collections, named people employed by Penguin Books or authors/illustrators involved in Penguin publications. The bursary will be dispensed by the university member.

Each affiliated university will require students to submit an independent study proposal to the course director in January/February. Members can then submit up to two suitable proposals to the PCS Trustees by 31 March for a Trustee Panel to decide on the award in April and inform the university and thereafter the successful student before the end of the month.

PCS will provide some examples of areas of study which the trustees would be pleased to support but will not be overly prescriptive in this regard (see below).

The bursary holder will be required to complete the study for the university award successfully and to submit a précis report to PCS within three months of graduating. The report will be of no more than 3,000 words and will be considered for publication in The Penguin Collector. The trustees expect the award ceremony proceedings to acknowledge the graduating student as having been awarded a PCS bursary.

Member universities and their supported students will be invited to contribute to PCS Study Days and AGM proceedings as appropriate. Students are encouraged to become PCS Members in their own right.

In the event of the bursary award being made but the conditions of the award not being met, then PCS retains the right to withdraw the affiliate status from the university until such time as the trustees are reassured.

The open competition started in the academic year 2014-2015 and PCS made its inaugural award to Kelly Neubeiser who was studying for an MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University. Her study is entitled ‘defining the Classics how Penguin impacted upon the evolution of a timeless genre’. A precis report was published in Collector 86.

The 2015-2016 award went to Caitlin Holton who was an MSc student at the University of Edinburgh studying Book History and Material Culture. Her study explored the author-illustrator-publisher relationship through the work of Roald Dahl who had a long-standing relationship with Penguin Books going back to the early 1970s. A precis report, ‘Roald Dahl's Lost Friends’, was published in Collector 88.

The 2016-2017 award went to Sian Heap, an MA Publishing student at Oxford Brookes University. Her dissertation explored ‘the impact of Penguin Books on creating a wartime reading culture in the second world war’. We look forward to reading about her study in Collector 90.

The 2017-18 award has gone to Sally Addison who is an MA student at Oxford Brookes University studying Publishing Media. Her study is titled ‘The influences and impacts of the marketing behind Penguin books, from 1935 to the present day’.

The 2018-10 Bursary will be launched on 1 October 2018 and will close on 31 March 2019.

Bursary Winners will become Honorary Members of PCS for five years and will receive copies of all in-year publications and invitations to our Study Days and AGM Meetings. We also hope more students will become members.

Examples of potential areas of study

  • Penguin Books as a major publisher of the twentieth century
  • Penguin Books as a revolutionary paperback publisher
  • The social impact of Penguin Books
  • The impact of Penguin Books in the Second World War
  • A study of the Penguin publications of a single author
  • A study of a single series published by Penguin Books
  • Any aspect of design associated with Penguin Books

2018 is an important anniversary year for Penguin Books, it is the 75th anniversary of four series; POW Book Service and British Forces EVT (Education and Vocational Training), both related to Penguin's efforts to ease the lives of Service Men and Women during and after the Second World War; Transatlantic Magazine and Baby Puffins. It is also the 65th Anniversary of the Pelican History of the Arts (Z series) and West African, both of which appeared in 1953.

I hope some of these landmark dates may whet the appetite of students choosing their dissertation topics.

Prof Jeff Lucas
PCS Trustee (Post-Graduate Bursary Scheme)