Editing Philament

I’ve been working as editor of the postgraduate journal Philament for around two years now. It has not always been an easy endeavour. For one thing, I am not paid to undertake the huge task of editing and producing the journal, a fact that certainly makes the work difficult to justify. But, despite the many tradeoffs, one of the most exciting aspects of taking over the journal was the process of redesigning it. I have redesigned the journal three times in as many issues, rethinking the typefaces to such a degree that perhaps its physical appearance, spontaneous and heterogenous, is now a peculiarity to its readers. In my defence, I can say this: first, Philament’s aesthetic parameters—and certainly its textual styling, have remained consistent throughout the redesigns; second, journals that change their designs issue to issue are not entirely unheard of and, in fact, one of my favourite journals, the MIT architecture journal Thresholds, is but one instantiation; and third, the journal’s design, if anything, has improved with each of the three reworkings.

As I begin now to work with a fresh batch of postgraduates on the journal—a team who have managed to get some funding for their forthcoming issue on feminism and women’s studies—and specifically as I begin to train a new postgraduate editor, I will likely take a step back from most aspects of the journal other than the design work, which I’d like to keep doing. Even then, though, I may settle into reproducing the current design for the next few issues, at least to save time and curtail my exertions.

But, all in all, learning to use InDesign, to typeset, format, and process text, has been an illuminating experience, the fruits of which I continue to enjoy today. It is owing to these efforts, for one thing, that I am now the designer and proofer of the Australasian Journal of American Studies, a periodical that has been published biannually since 1980.1 I will have more to say about my experiencing editing and producing Philament in the future; however, for the time being, please take a look at issue 22, Precarity.