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March 21, 2007

Meeting Minutes 03/21/2007

Attendance: Aaron Westre, Juan Jin, David McWilliams, Angie Boersma

Old Business:

  • Faculty Flier
  • Obelisk

New Business:

  • Discussed the journal's mission and history with Angie.
  • Looked through submissions so far, discussed topics.

March 19, 2007

Notes on University Press Meeting

From David:

I thought the meeting with Susan went really well on Wednesday. I just thought I would send out a summary of the things we discussed so we can have a record. Feel free to add things I missed.

Strategic Plan:

We need to develop a strategic plan for the journal. This should include a vision for what the journal is trying to accomplish.


Related to the strategic plan is identifying who our target audience is.

Dedicated publisher:

Getting a publisher would eliminate much of the upfront cost and work associated with producing the journal ourselves. However, we will loose some control over graphic appearance and printing options. A publisher would also take care of much of our advertising and leave us free to work on content. A publisher would mean a commitment to producing a high quality journal and would probably require a faculty member to stay on top of things. With a publisher we also have a much longer lead time on completing content (need content in October to publish in spring of following semester).

Faculty Advisor:

We need a more present faculty advisor. The journal is lacking consistency of management and will require someone more permanently in place than a students can provide. Discussion revolved around someone who might be new to the department and might want to pick up an additional responsibility. Journal should remain student run.
Along with this might be a more organized class option. Questions would be how to fit this in with the current curriculum. There also could be participation at a couple different levels. Perhaps two classes offered simultaneously or one after the other.

Advisory committee:

The suggestion was also made to get an advisory committee. This might best be done with members of the community involved in design field rather than within the school itself. This might provide more time and resources than faculty can provide (these people might be good contacts into the design community). Before a committee is formed specific duties and purpose need to be identified.

Book or journal:

Currently our ISBN number makes our publication a book rather than a journal.


It might be good to begin tracking potential expenses.

That’s what I remember. I’m sure there’s more or different impressions of what came out of the meeting. Feel free to add.


March 9, 2007

Aaron's answers to Susan's questions

We're meeting with Susan Doerr of the University of Minnesota Press on wednesday. She had some questions for us, which I answered in an email. I'm including them here for reference. Susan's questions are in italics

Some questions that I have: --Is this a book series or a periodical/journal? It's currently set up as a book series, from a publishing perspective. Was that deliberate? --what's the frequency? 1 per year, or 1 per term? --do you have an ISSN? (this is what would make it a journal/periodical)

Content and mission-wise the publication is a journal. We've got ISBNs, but we don't have ISSNs. That decision was made at the outset, before I was involved, so I'm not sure of the rationale. The publication is once a year, but the date of publication varies from year to year depending on a million factors... most notably the schedules of the students in charge.

--why full color?

I think the answer is that designers love shiny things. As the journal is primarily text, in its last couple incarnations anyway, this is not completely necessary. The issue forthcoming (3: design+identity) has a mix of glossy/color and matte/monotone signatures.

--do you have a subscriber database? Or, perhaps I should ask: do you have subscribers? --how are you planning to find subsribers?

We have no reliable way of managing subscriptions, or even single orders for that matter. This is one of our important tasks to tackle this issue (4) and the reason why we're talking with knowledgeable folks like you. Each issue gets printed for thousands of dollars, then the copies sit in the basement of the architecture building, since we have no resources (time+money) to market the publication. To compound the problem, the architecture office is not set up to handle another responsibility like shipping journals, so inventory/fulfillment is also something we need to work out.

University libraries seem like natural subscribers, also alumni of the college, practicing designers...

--why did you lower your price from $25 to $18?

I think this was a marketing move to try and make the journal easier to sell. Of course, if nobody knows it exists, it's still pretty tough to move copies.

--do you have institutional pricing, separate from individual pricing?

Not so far.

changing direction, to editorial content questions: --what is your editorial vision/focus? --how do you compare/differentiate this with others architecturally focused publications: JSAH, Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Future Anterior, and the landscape architecture magazines/journals (like those from the American Society of Lanscape Architects) --is its aim to cover mostly Minnesota spaces, or do you plan to widen your focus? --any sense of how much/if any internationally focused content that would potentially be included?

A really strong editorial vision has yet to materialize, or perhaps more accurately, a new vision is created with each year's editorial team. Originally, the focus was to be local issues in architecture and landscape, in conjunction with global issues that relate... hence the name: here + there = t/here. This scheme hasn't been strictly adhered to... issue 2 somewhat, issue 3 not much at all.

With the college of design merger, we've broadened our scope to an entire cross-section of design disciplines. Starting with the issue after ours (5), there may be a yearly "theme" across all departments in the college which the journal could incorporate. In that case, the vision for the journal would be a very local source - this yearly college theme - but with a fairly broad range of content within that theme - geographically and disciplinarily.

The tone of the content varies a lot, but could generally be characterized, I think, as "pragmatically academic", if that makes any sense...

--what's the plan for mixing grad students, professionals, and professors, or is it meant to just include CDes grad students?

CDes graduate students manage and edit the journal. Minimal oversight is provided by the college. Our advisor is the dean of the college, Tom Fisher. Content is written by three groups: the editors and others already working on the journal, others within the college (mainly faculty, but some students), and submitted and solicited content from practicing designers and faculty/students from other institutions. This mix is primarily determined by what we get, not really set before hand.

--ditto for tranlsations, or will you stick to English-original essays?

I think translations would be great. Some of our prior content has been readapted from lectures, books and articles, but English sources. i.e. we're not looking for exclusivity.

March 7, 2007

Meeting Minutes 03/07/2007

Attendance: Aaron Westre, David McWilliams

Old Business:

  • A flier for faculty...
  • The college newletter "Emerging" says we can do a news item. We need about 300 words describing what the journal is, the upcoming issue, and our call for submissions for issue 4.
  • U of M Press meeting on Wednesday the 14th at 10:30 at the U Press office on 3rd Ave S. in Minneapolis.
  • Finish the obelisk!

New Business:

  • Issue 3 has a cover! It's going to press!
  • Aaron received a few for more content ideas by email, he'll bring some print outs next time to look at.