Friday, 14 December 2012

Studio Magazine's New Strategy

Back in October I received this letter from Leopold Kowolik, the new editor in chief at Studio magazine which is published by the Ontario Crafts Council with contributions from sister Craft Councils across Canada.
It is an invitation to be part of a committee that is mapping out the strategy for the magazine's next five years.  I think it is important to set goals whether it is personally or professionally - otherwise, how do you define your success?  To me, having a national crafts magazine is important, especially if you don't live in Central Canada.  As well, I think a combination of big issues expressed in accessible language plus craft news from across Canada is important.  And that, in a nutshell, is what I told them.
Yes, that's Nicola Hawkins on the cover.

Dear Gloria, Janna, Michael and Gord,

Emma Quin, in her capacity as Executive Director, is in the process of developing a 5-year plan for the OCC. She will present this plan to the board of the OCC and along with that a set of mission statements and mandates for each part of the OCC's organisation.

Studio is a part of this organisation and Emma has asked that a committee be convened to lay out such a document for Studio Magazine.

I would like you to join me on this Committee.
Our goal is clear and simple: to compile a single page document which articulates the three elements of Studio's identity: Vision, Mission and Mandate.

I have requested your presence on this committee as you each have a familiarity with Studio and our general, nebulously defined, current mandate. You also have a sense of craft's identity in contemporary Canadian culture. Most importantly, I feel that you each share belief in the potential for critical discourse in craft, albeit from differing viewpoints.

The demands on your time will be minimal:
a)1-2 hours preparatory reading
b)one 2-hour meeting
c)<1 hour concluding reading.

I will pull together a draft document based on the parallel document already drawn-up for the OCC gallery and exhibition dept. I will also compile extracts from similar documents for comparable publications. You will then be asked to consider these documents and assemble your thoughts for a meeting we will hold in Toronto during mid-to-late November 2012.(The meeting was held last week and there will be further discussion at the end of January.)

At that meeting we will discuss our various opinions and reach consensus on Studio's Vision, Mission and Mandate. I will then draw up a final draft of the document and then recirculate it by email. Any further discussion can be concluded by email and a final document will be submitted to Emma by mid-December.

I realise that you are all very busy and that further demands on your time must be justified. Let me therefore state that this is essential work.

(I tease Leopold about his idealism but he is genuine.  I've added the italics for emphasis.)
I believe that Studio can be the central resource for high-level critical discourse in a material culture weekly addressed by art and art discourse and under threat from mass-production (and the appropriation of 'Craft' as a marketing tool.) How Studio positions itself and what identity it chooses to adopt can be of fundamental importance in this hour of civilisation. Crafting and finding authenticity in material lies at the heart of twenty-first century issues; Studio requires the best possible identity if it is to have the fortitude to weather and respond to the demands that can and will be made of it in this pursuit. The clearest, best and most diverse opinions about Studio are therefore required and that is why this committee requires you.
view of the OCC's gallery and its recent glass art show

Please let me know if you will be unable to join, otherwise please let me know if there are days/weeks in mid-late November when you will be unable to meet so that we can set-up that meeting asap. I will then circulate the documents I mention within the next month.

Many thanks


Leopold Kowolik Editor in Chief

Studio Magazine
Ontario Crafts Council 
990 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M6J 1H1
t: 647-519-5260 | f:

Studio unites Canada's diverse craft communities and shares our values with society-at-large. Studio is the source for thought-provoking and lively conversation about the culture, politics and issues shaping craft today. Studio is essential reading for everyone passionate about contemporary fine craft and design in Canada.

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