Making it to the end of another super challenging year, we’re proud to say that, despite a few hard knockbacks, Pop Up just appears to be getting stronger. The year began on a financial knife-edge and yet by its end we’d produced three new Pathways programmes – courses for illustrators, writers and aspiring publishers – all of which kick-off in the next four months.
Pathways Into Children’s Publishing secured three grants and 26 sponsoring publishers and universities, attracting a dazzling cohort of 42 supremely talented aspiring illustrators (of colour, disabled, neurodivergent) who’ll begin their two-year illustration journey in January. Pathways Northern Ireland, supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, aims to radically challenge the near-invisibility of queer identity in children’s publishing by equipping LGBTQ+ under-26 year-olds with everything they’ll need to set-up and launch Ireland’s first ever LGBTQ+ children’s publishing enterprise in 2024. And Pathways Plus offers a whole new year-long framework for aspiring and emerging illustrators to learn from 45 professionals in publishing and literature how to make successful children’s books – with one-third of places sold in just one month, we expect a full house by the time Plus kicks off in April.
With new Pathways courses on the horizon – including a pilot for aspiring children’s writers and children’s book editors, a ‘foundation’ for 16-21 year-olds looking to explore their potential in writing and illustration, and a new model for one-off courses in international settings – we’re expecting to empower, platform and promote 100s of diverse new voices in children’s literature over the next couple years. And with a host of brand new publishing plans on the horizon, it looks like we’ll be literally launching many of those new writers and illustrators by taking them into print for the first time (we’ll be telling you more about that in January 2023).
With all this talent development in the works, we were deeply saddened to learn that this November we were among the 30% of London organisations who lost their Arts Council England NPO status, as of April 2023 . This was especially hard on us given almost none of our work takes place in London (they just count your office postcode)! But having survived austerity, covid and all manner of bad news over the last twelve years, we’re feeling strong about our prospects going into 2023. Especially with some big new stories on the horizon!
Here’s wishing you a wonderful winter holiday, and a new year full of promise and opportunity!