An Experiment in Project Management
In 2011, while preparing for my doctoral exams, I began blogging to learn how write to nonacademic audiences and to test my tools of critical analysis on popular culture subjects. But, I soon tired of the single author blog form. After many conversations with fellow scholars and artists, I was inspired to create a more robust online space where writers could share their work, collaborate in the process of editing and publishing, and learn new tools for marketing and distribution. We wanted to create an online publication, based in scholarly peer review, but with a tone and visual design more accessible and entertaining to wider audiences. With this mission in mind, I brought together fellow graduate students, writers, and artists to create The Orris (theorris.com), an online journal featuring original art and literature.
In the summer of 2011, along with many of the collaborators listed below, we launched The Orris. We developed the website through WordPress, created a publishing schedule and editorial process. We solicited submissions, developed marketing campaigns, and learned much about the world of online publishing. We hosted book swaps in the Boston community and supported our local art communities.
We published over fifty essays, short stories, poems, photographs and interviews. Organized by theme, we released four issues with themes on American Dreams, the Environment, the Digital World, and Mind Games. Consisting entirely of a volunteer staff, after two years, life inevitably took over. Dissertations, careers, and families had to take precedence, and in the fall of 2013, we gradually shuttered The Orris. TheOrris.com will remain as an archive of this experiment in writing and publishing.
The Orris was a rewarding labor of love. As the founder and editor-in-chief, The Orris was a learning occasion for me to develop as an editor, project manager, and leader. With unpaid volunteers and little funding, I managed and motivated a staff of fifteen to create a media brand, craft mission statements and editorial policies, organize and prioritize work flows, curate and edit artistic content, strategize marketing plans, secure artist releases and copyrights, and host community events. I learned what one can do with the resources available; I discovered where my strengths were and where I needed to seek new mentors to help develop my leadership. I am thankful for the many hours that my fellow editors, writers, artists and designers gave to this project. We dreamt big and I hope that the lessons learnt in this project continue to inspire and challenge us.
The Orris is a digital space for the critical and creative engagement of culture. From the arts to the sciences, humanities to technology, our studies are linked by the common pursuit of knowledge. This journal features critical work, which upholds the research standards of academia, yet seeks to extend intellectual conversation beyond the university. As an interdisciplinary enterprise, we seek to find new avenues of critical thought and creative expression. We believe that the pursuit of knowledge should be accessible to all, and hope this journal, in content and form, serves that principle.
Spring 2011- Winter 2013
Editor-in-Chief: Lana Cook
Managing Editor: Katherine Lang
Design Editor: Megan McCormick
Tabitha Clark, Rebecca Thorndike-Breeze, Genie Giaimo,
Langxuan Yin, Ashley Jean Hight, Zoey Farber, Tim Strange, Jefferson Riordan