Spotlight on Pat Gordon-Smith
15 May 2019
Pat is the commissioning editor at UCL Press for books on education and all areas of research at the UCL Institute of Education.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the commissioning editor at UCL Press for books on education and all areas of research at the UCL Institute of Education. This is a new role and I’m so pleased to be developing a list that will reflect the depth and breadth of work at the IOE, and highlight key research in education from across UCL and beyond. I am also the managing editor for five open-access journals based at the Institute of Education.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I started in 2014 as the peer-review manager for one of those journals, the London Review of Education, and my job quickly extended to make better use of my 30 years’ experience as an editor for academic and professional publications. But my relationship with the UCL Institute of Education began much earlier. I gained a Masters in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights in 2007, and later spent a year collecting ethnographic data in nursery schools for a PhD that was eventually derailed by family commitments. The data remains however…
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
The open-access journal Research for All is a forum for sharing research, knowledge and experience of engaged research, launched in 2017. It is a public engagement project in itself, relying for its birth and continuing development on a resolute partnership between the editors and their institutions: Professor Sandy Oliver (UCL IOE Social Sciences Research Unit), Sophie Duncan (National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement), and me (the Press). Readership and respect for the journal are growing fast which is great reward for five years of exceptionally hard work.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
It’s very simple … I’m focused on developing that list of books on education research. If you have a book project in mind – whether a monograph or an edited volume – do contact me to talk through ideas or send a formal proposal. A form is available on the UCL Press website.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Impossible question. So, a (still unsatisfying) selection.
Albums: Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now; Van Morrison, Astral Weeks; Jacqueline du Pré, Brahms cello concerto; Miles Davis, Kind of Blue; Frank Sinatra’s Capitol recordings; Everything But The Girl, Eden; Basement Jaxx, The Singles.
Films: The Breakfast Club; Up; Singin’ in the Rain; Some Like It Hot; Gravity.
Novels: Bel Canto, Ann Patchett; The Crow Road, Iain Banks; The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Attwood; The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker; Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake; Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Do I have to? Never remember them.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
The handful of missed friends who disappeared over the years and remain untraceable via social media.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Worrying about your children is not an extreme sport. And is a fantastic waste of time because they turn out so well and are happy people.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I’ve performed three times at Ronnie Scott’s as the singer in a jazz quartet. We have regular London gigs, especially at the Crazy Coqs in Brasserie Zedel (Piccadilly). Find our dates by searching for my name and Zedel, and come down sometime.
What is your favourite place?
My kitchen. Not because of the cooking – the passion for that lies with others in my family. No, I love this room because, for 20 years, it was a dingy old spot with a nasty adjoining outhouse. A recent makeover has brought in all the light from our garden and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.