Working to a theme
A few thoughts from our Editor-in-chief on a fundamental difference in the forthcoming print issue
Somewhat belatedly, we’re due to release our third print issue next month. It’s a process that has been held up by the financial strain that print publications operate under, yet has only strengthened our resolve and taught us more.
With pre-orders and the unveiling of our cover a few weeks away, I’ve decided to share a little bit about one of the chief differences, editorially speaking, in Issue Three. It is our first ever themed issue with “Education” the focus. This is not to say that every feature revolves around that subject, but a number running through the issue do, each in very different ways.
When I set out to create the first issue of Intern, the process of sourcing contributors was very different to the one we use today. Effectively, I was just a man with an idea, emailing people out of the blue and asking if they would like to be part of this “concept” I had. Indeed, until we put together Issue Zero with our Art Directors She Was Only, no-one I contacted really knew what the thing was going to look like. If you’re an emerging creative, exposure is often good, but you certainly want to control your image as best you can. A visual reference thus, has a huge part to play in your response to proposals. Luckily, enough people took a leap of faith that we were able to establish our style and once we took to Kickstarter, the submissions started rolling in.
For Issue Two, we were able to rely a little more on our open call policy and collaborated with the likes of Freunde von Freunden in order to widen its reach. It marked a change in the way we developed stories, a vital one that led to us discovering tales from all around the world that we may never have unearthed ourselves.
Naturally, each issue there are some features that we get ideas for outside of the open submission system, but Issue Three comfortably contains the least of these to date. It’s something that I’m incredibly excited about and a significant turning point for Intern as it means that our mission to be for and by the emerging creative community is truly succeeding.
There is of course a chaos element to the process, the risks being that submissions might not be up to scratch, or work together well in an issue. We’re certainly not at the stage yet where I consider us immune to such peril, but I’ve been incredibly enthused by the quality of proposals to date. It seems that as our popularity increases, people spend more time researching back issues before pitching to us and this has made for some brilliantly framed features this time round.
One of the real challenges when producing an independent magazine is ensuring that you don’t unintentionally end up presenting a singular perspective. A main reason for taking on our small editorial team, issue by issue, is to ensure that doesn’t occur. Many times so far, features, illustrators and photographers that I voted to go in the mag, didn’t get a majority and as such we’re left out. That democratic approach is incredibly important in ensuring that the magazine is genuinely representational of its readership.
It’s perhaps no real surprise that “Education” has emerged as our first theme. It’s a natural focal point for a generation of young people who (in the UK and US at least) leave university entrenched in debt then find many of the opportunities presented to them to be underpaid or unpaid. One of the ideas put forward in our opening essay is that in these high-fee scenarios, “higher education becomes a service industry and the paying student becomes the customer”. That struck me as an interesting notion throughout the creation of Issue Three. I’ve seen many examples recently of students striving to get every last bit of value out of their education and that can only be a positive thing.
One regret I have from my time studying is that I didn’t make full use of the rich resources made available to me. With hindsight, I would certainly have downloaded more journal articles for future reference and used the extensive art facilities to experiment and learn outside of my discipline. The features in Issue Three really made me think about education in ways I haven’t before and I really hope it can have a similar effect on you when you read it.
If we can introduce you to some new perspectives and make you reflect a little, as ever, I’ll be incredibly proud. If beyond that, we can inspire you, introduce you to new collaborators and help you work out your role in the creative industries then it really will be a job well done.
It’s been a privilege to work with another lavishly talented selection of contributors from all around the world. They’ve been waiting a long time to see their work come together in this physical form and I’m the usual mix of nervous and excited to share the result of our most ambitious issue yet with them and you.
We’ll be unveiling the cover of the magazine and taking pre-orders in a few weeks time. Sign up to our mailing list in the footer to be the first to catch that news. Issue One is still available to buy in our shop and our last ever copies of Issue Two will be in stock next week.