Building the network of Inclusion Ambassadors
Inclusive Minds is seeking young people to join its network of Inclusion Ambassadors. Inclusive Minds (IM) is looking for young people aged 8-30 who have first-hand experience of a particular facet of diversity. Joining the network will give these young people a real voice. It’s a chance to share their ideas and experiences with authors, illustrators and publishers to ensure that characters representing people like them are portrayed authentically. IM has a specific aim of ensuring all young people are represented in books, particularly those who feel they may have been marginalised, under-represented or misrepresented.
As well as giving marginalised young people a voice, involvement in the network will provide insight to and experience of the publishing industry, giving Ambassadors a place where they can belong, and in which they can play a valuable part. This in turn should help to diversify the workforce of the future.
In addition to being a valuable chance to experience the book world (that may lead to references and further work experience), ambassadors may also receive acknowledgements/mentions in books, signed copies, invitations to book launches or other promotional events, blog or press interview opportunities and more. For projects that require more in-depth input, we encourage a fee to be paid to the Ambassador.
Author Robin Stevens has worked with Inclusive Minds on her A Murder Most Unladylike Series. She comments: “I realise more and more how much I learn every time I write a book – I am constantly encountering new experiences, new groups of people and new ways of seeing the world. Every time I speak to an Inclusive Minds inclusion ambassador, my understanding is broadened and my knowledge increases, and so I can pass that knowledge on to my readers. It is invaluable.”
Inclusion Ambassador Habeeba comments: “I love helping authors like Robin Stevens ensure authentically inclusive characters. It is exciting and rewarding and is giving me a useful insight into publishing. I would definitely encourage other young people to sign up, whether they are interested in getting experience volunteering within the book industry or keen to provide a helping hand, giving first-hand knowledge and expertise to enrich future books. Together we can work to ensure the book world is representative of us all.”
We really look forward to hearing from more young people who would like to consider joining this exciting project. The potential value of this network to the publishing sector is vast. If book creators want to ensure diverse characters are included appropriately and authentically in a forthcoming book, our inclusion ambassadors may be able to help. This is not a substitute for other forms of research, but an invaluable additional resource. Getting in touch at an early stage in the book’s evolution is the key. Initial ideas can be bounced, a manuscript read, feedback supplied, rough artwork checked, a possible book cover viewed… the list is endless.