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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.

October 12, 2006

Mission Statement

Here is the mission statement, as it currently exists:

T/here, a creation of graduate students at the University of Minnesota, is intended as a means of exploring the built environment. The publication is a platform for students to engage the realities of professional practice and academic thought on issues of design, theory and practice. T/here explores regional design issues of significance to the broader world. the University of Minnesota student publication fosters dialog between professionals, academics and students from architecture, landscape architecture, and other relevant fields aiming to present an innovative and unique perspectives on how we shape our world.

September 16, 2006

Issue 4 - Topics

Please leave your topic ideas here in the form of comments. Anything goes, especially at this early stage in the development of this next issue of the journal.