Q&A with Nikki Simpson, Founder & Director of the International Magazine Centre

Q&A with Nikki Simpson

Nikki Simpson is the Founder and Director of the International Magazine Centre. Passionate about magazines and publishing, Nikki has worked in the industry since 2006. She was Business Manager at PPA Scotland for five years – the membership organisation supporting magazine publishers – before she launched the initiative to open an International Magazine Centre in Scotland. 

Previously Nikki worked at political magazine publishers Holyrood Communications as their Marketing Manager; at the magazine publisher and content marketing company White Light Media as their Business Manager; and as the Regional Director of IoIC Scotland, the trade body representing the internal communications industry. She has also held roles with the Scottish Print Employers Federation, Scottish Newspaper Publishers Association and the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society.

Hi Nikki, can you tell us a bit about the International Magazine Centre?

The International Magazine Centre is a hub for the international magazine community and its affiliated industries of marketing, advertising, design, photography, journalism, data, events, illustration and more. 

The Centre was an idea I had during the Scottish referendum – with all eyes on Scotland, I wanted to make use of the incredible global marketing opportunity that it offered. Since then, we’ve conducted a feasibility study, built partnerships and grown the idea to a solid long-term initiative – to open a centre focusing on all-things-magazine. 

What we hope that will look like in future is office space, incubator space for new publishers and graduates, hot desking, and space reserved for international publishers thinking of branching into the UK; research and training conducted in partnership with publishers and international universities; an events space and programme for and from publishers and affiliated industries; a diverse and international magazine shop alongside a café; and an exhibition space to celebrate and promote all these industries to consumers. 

While we raise funds and look for a venue, we plan to deliver as much of this as we can in the digital space, and the recent launch of our website is the first step in doing so.

How will the Centre benefit the Scottish marketing community?

There are many ways in which the Scottish marketing community can get involved, including using us to connect with international organisations – check out our Support page for more information. 

In addition, we’re working with The Marketing Society, other trade associations and Edinburgh Napier University to deliver international events to publishers and marketers. We’re working on a tour of Scotland’s publishing and marketing businesses for international companies, and plan to do the same in Europe for Scottish companies looking to trade internationally. Longer-term, we’ll be working on exhibitions across the creative industries, which will have a run at the International Magazine Centre, and will go on to tour internationally. 

More generally, the International Magazine Centre will raise the profile of magazine publishing and its affiliate industries, not only in Scotland, but on a global level.

What’s your favourite feature of the Centre?

Our plans for the events are coming along nicely, and we’re planning to use relevant content to create a training course. This feels great as it’ll give the events, the speakers and the content long-term value, and offer insight from some of the world’s most knowledgeable speakers. We love organising events – not only for their impact with the content but the networking opportunities they present are infinite.

What’s next for the Centre? What are your plans for the future?

We’re a not-for-profit organisation so funding is a priority for the Centre – if you’re able to pledge you’ll be a part of building an incredible support system for the industry. We’re focusing on ways to connect internationally through our licensing hub, events and professional development. We’re planning pop-up International Magazine Centres at international centres of cultural interest and, of course, we’re on the look-out for suitable venues in Scotland for the Centre itself.

You’ve had a great career so far, what would you say that the other highlights have been for you, aside from opening the International Magazine Centre?

I worked for PPA for five years and loved organising the international magazine festival, Magfest, held each year in September. The event was like inviting my magazine heroes to come and speak to my magazine friends, and has had so many knock-on effects for so many people through the connections made there – what more could you want?

Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us?

We’d love to speak to people who would like to be involved with the International Magazine Centre in any capacity – you can find out how to get involved, support us or spread the word through our Support page, but if you have another idea then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch at [email protected]