University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Irvine
Interview with Deirdre Oakley, Editor-in-Chief, City & Community
CUSS Newsletter, 2019 Spring, Vol. 32, No 2
-City & Community recently debuted a new cover for the March 2019 volume. What motivated the redesign?
When I became editor in 2018, the original cover design was 16 years old and I thought it was time for a new look. I also found out that Wiley, our publisher, would work with me and my on-site editorial staff on a new design free-of-charge. At the time, the Section’s Chair (Miriam Greenberg) and Publication Committee’s co-chairs (Heather MacIndoe and Japonica Brown-Saracino were supportive of the idea), as was ASA.
-Can you tell me about your editorial vision for the new cover?
There is a form of cityscape art called original line/pencil illustration or rendering. I was familiar with British Illustrator Abi Daker’s work (http://www.abigaildaker.com) and found it inspiring. This is because, symbolically, the contributions to City & Community ‘draw’ cities and the communities within them (both past and present) to reveal unique visions of previously uncovered productions.
One of the urban themes I learned when I was pursuing my master’s degree in geography in the early 1990s was that of the city as a palimpsest. This historic word originally referred to the reuse of parchment for the written word during the 1500s. Basically, with parchment, the previous text — while erased – bled through the new text. We could liken this practice today to what happens with graffiti. But back to history, the term palimpsest began to be used more broadly in the realm of urbanism to illustrate the multiple layers of the city, whether it’s about changes over time, the way different groups perceive their city, placemaking and de-placemaking, infrastructure, inequality (ethnic, racial or socioeconomic), as well as how such aspects of the urban environs are imagined. While it’s virtually impossible to convey the city palimpsest surface in a static cover design, that’s the foundational idea behind our new cover: a rendering of some generic city in line/pencil illustration form, which fades into the distance representing the present, past and future. Fortunately, we had the option for two colors to distinguish the journal title from the artwork.
The Wiley design team is confined to working with stock art (no this is not Daker’s work!), so it took some back and forth to get the image in line with what I wanted it to convey. They did a great job, for which we are all very appreciative. I am also grateful for the quick turn-around time for cover redesign approval by our Section leadership as well as the ASA.
On behalf of the entire on-site GSU Editorial Team, I’ll just say we hope you all like our new cover!