Good tidings we bring (nearly)

REACT producer Jo Lansdowne shares some exciting news about our forthcoming Books & Print Sandbox.

I’m writing my lists, I’m counting down the days and although I don’t know exactly what will be delivered, I know it will make me skip with joy. There’s also bound to be arguments and anxieties and some people will probably drink too much but it will be worth it. And the best thing? It’s not even Christmas I’m talking about – it’s something far more exciting.

In January we will announce eight successful Books & Print Sandbox teams as they begin their R&D projects. I am bursting to tell you who they are and what they will be doing, but I am afraid you will have to wait. Don’t worry though; the glow of these projects will see you through the dark days of the New Year. I can tell you that we will be exploring empires and editors, writing new stories and animating old, enlivening your daily commute and quite literally making your heart race.

We received twenty-four applications to Books & Print Sandbox; lower in number but even more exciting in content than for Heritage Sandbox. We then shortlisted twelve teams who were interviewed over a gruelling two days in late November. This was an epic process against a backdrop of apocalyptic weather and a drive-by from the Queen. As Clare Reddington (Executive Producer of REACT) put it, “‘we laughed, we were moved, we had shivers down our spine’”. It was really satisfying for me to already have got to know all of the people coming into the interview room and it was especially thrilling to see sparks fly between partners that we had introduced just weeks before.

We are currently busy having conversations with those who weren’t successful to support them towards other opportunities. We are also getting contracts in place, getting finances set up and generally preparing for a running start in January. We learnt a lot from Heritage Sandbox that will feed in to Books & Print. With a lot of support from our University colleagues we are already seeing a dramatic shift in the speed of these administrative processes – the boring bits that are so vital to keeping the joy of the partnerships alive.

As always with Sandbox, it will be the people that make it. Our Books & Print teams are made up of some of the most brilliant that I have ever met: we have totally fascinating academics, companies of award winning quality and a sprinkling of best selling authors. More importantly we have people who are palpably excited to be working together.

So keep your eyes peeled for our announcement early in 2013 and best of luck finding something to keep you occupied until then.

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