OC Vernon open house offers a behind-the-scenes look at fine press printing

By Public Affairs | January 22, 2020

Inside The Bunker at the Vernon campus
Inside The Bunker at the Vernon campus

Have you ever wondered how books were printed 100 years ago? This month Okanagan College is kicking off a series of Open Houses at the Vernon Campus for creative individuals interested in writing and publishing careers.

The College will open its doors on Jan. 31, Feb 28 and March 20 from 2 – 4 p.m. in Room E102 at 7000 College Way. Parking will be free.

Participants can meet experienced faculty members, learn about how the program blends traditional and cutting-edge publishing techniques and tour the Okanagan College Print Shop, affectionately called “The Bunker” by students and staff.

Located in the basement floor, The Bunker features more than 20,000 pounds of vintage printing presses and metal type. Some assignments see students applying their typography and design knowledge by setting type by hand and printing that type on 100-year-old presses.

Although many people only think in terms of digital publishing, instructor Jason Dewinetz says The Bunker experience offers students a unique learning experience.

“I can’t stress enough what working in The Bunker does for students. It’s transformational. When they go back to the computer, they are thinking of things completely differently,” says Dewinetz.

“This is a great opportunity for future students to come and hang out, chat with instructors, meet some of our current students who will be finishing up their projects and ask questions about the program.”

The program infuses the range of English, creative writing, editing and communications material with applied technical skills in graphic design, typography, coding and book publishing, producing students who can publish quality content in a range of media.

“Our students love this program and the hands on experience they get from it,” adds Dewinetz. “They’re getting dirty, they have ink on their hands, and then the real benefit comes when working in the three-dimensional world and applying it to the two-dimensional screen.”

This intricate manual work is done in conjunction with training on industry-standard publishing software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign – preparing students to work in multiple fields.

“We have a large number of business students who take our courses because they are interested in learning the software, and it gives them valuable skills for a variety of industries,” explains Dewinetz, adding the technical skills are enhanced with broad understanding in editing, writing and graphic design, as well as what it’s like to work with real-world clients.

“This program gives students a taste of different disciplines before they specialize, and some have gone on to other programs as well,” he says.

Students who complete the Diploma of Writing and Publishing can transfer to many university programs in B.C. to attain a bachelor’s degree in their desired field.

For program information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/writingpublishing.

Tags: Vernon, Arts University Studies, English



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