The Publishers Association and Publishing Training Centre hosted an Unconscious Bias workshop in April to address the issue of the lack of diversity in the publishing workforce and to brainstorm ways in which we can make our workplaces welcoming to a wider range of new recruits.

The workshop began by an interactive presentation from Suky Bains of Challenge Consultancy on ways in which we can control our snap judgements and impulse reactions. The participants were asked to take a demo test to gauge their unconscious biases prior to the workshop and this helped guide the discussion.

It was interesting to note that despite our resolve to diversify, our brains continue to subtly push us to maintain our preconceived notions. If you take the test and are disappointed by your results, don’t be! We have all been conditioned to think a certain way since a very young age. But the good news is that we CAN control our biases through conscious effort.

This was followed by a panel of industry professionals discussing their personal experiences in publishing. The panel tackled the subject through various viewpoints such as race, class, and gender in order to contextualise their experiences.

They covered a range of topics including ways in which to encourage applicants from ‘non-traditional publishing’, biases towards people from non-middle/upper-class background, our industry’s London-centric nature, the insistence on graduate level education and social media as a leveller.

The workshop concluded with a presentation from City Gateway followed by a networking drinks reception.