18 December 2017
As Sales Development Manager at Cambridge University Press and a Philosophy alumnus, Alastair Lynn was eager to connect CUP's bookshop with the talented artists at Anglia Ruskin and create something magical for the festive season.
I had a great time at ARU and graduated in 1997. A good while ago now, but I never really left Cambridge. I got a job at Cambridge University Press (CUP) which helped me when studying my Masters, and gave me a really useful context to learn from.
Cambridge University Press was established in 1534 by Henry VIII and is the oldest publishing house in the world. Our bookshop also resides on the site of the oldest bookshop in the UK, dating back to 1581, so we’ve got quite a pedigree. Saying that, it's only been the CUP Bookshop for the last 25 years. The Press was set up to print and publish all manner of scholarly books so, as purely an academic publisher, we’re quite unusual… there’s no Harry Potter, no Katy Price here (…to some people’s disappointment).
It’s quite funny though because initially, I intended to pursue a life in academia, but I ended up changing my mind. I realised it wasn’t the right direction for me. But working at an academic publisher, like CUP, makes me feel like I was obviously on to something.
Now I see it as a great opportunity to enable a connection with part of the university I work for now, and Anglia Ruskin University – drawing ties with the local community and getting students in to experience a context that I’ve learned a lot from.
We’re really lucky as the bookshop is set amidst Cambridge’s most beautiful and historical streets in the heart of the city, which makes it a focal point for tourists and shoppers. Because of this, at Christmas, we wanted to create a Christmas window that encompassed three main elements: a Christmas theme, a recognisable Cambridge landmark, and a link with literature.
Having worked with four different Interior Design student groups, the design that I chose for our window fit the brief to a tea. King's College was used as a backdrop, which is particularly associated with Christmas because of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which is broadcast by the BBC every year. They also used various paper sculptures, based on book pages, to create stars and a Christmas tree to link in with the book theme. So it ties all the elements together really nicely and it’s really well designed. I’m so impressed with the standard of work the students have come up with and excited to share the display with our customers!