Lindsay: A Magazine for the World
An important part of Advance Copy is to inspire independent brands to ask different questions, to feel free to experiment and create healthier businesses that better engage with their surroundings. That’s where Lindsay magazine comes in. Found in specialty bookshops, museum stores and concept spaces worldwide, the magazine stands apart in its subject matter: an exploration of place. A brave topic to examine, one that is personal and difficult to crystallise, yet Lindsay manages to find a voice that’s both contemporary and respectful while covering all manner of deeply ingrained cultural nuances.
We discuss the roots and aspirations of this independent publication with its Founder, Beth Wilkinson, learning how to capture the beauty of our world on paper.
AC: Hi Beth, thank you so much for your time today. Would you mind telling us about your career journey?
Beth Wilkinson: I studied design but I’ve equally always been interested in the written word. While studying, I interned with Dumbo Feather, an Australian magazine that was based in Sydney at the time. I think that’s when I really fell in love with magazines. And then my first job was at Frankie Magazine in a role where I was writing, taking photos and designing. I think this is where I realised how much I was interested in this more multidisciplinary way of creating.
AC: When did you decide to create Lindsay magazine?
Beth: I’ve always dreamt of making a magazine. Then a few things lined up and I felt like I needed to do this right now or otherwise I’d never do it. I was in between jobs and I had this energy to create, so I just went with it. Of course there were a lot of nerves and I had no idea where it would all go but somehow, I just kept going.
“If you are going to do something you’ve dreamt about for a long time you want to do it properly.”
AC: How did you cultivate this idea to make the magazine a reality?
Beth: I began by spending a lot of time working out who I want Lindsay to be. Not just what it would look like or what kind of stories we’d publish, but really try to understand on a deeper level, who Lindsay is as a person. That identity has continued to evolve, but I definitely went in with a clear picture of what I was going to create. If you are going to do something you’ve dreamt about for a long time you want to do it properly. But also, I just really wanted to make Lindsay and that has always been what’s driven me. There’s just something inside of me that needs to create, it feels very innate.
AC: Could you tell us what inspired the variety of Lindsay’s content?
Beth: Growing up I spent a lot of time travelling around the world, I was interested in social justice and learning about different cultures but then I was also interested in design and fashion. These two worlds don’t seem to fit together but I learnt that it doesn’t have to be like this. These things have managed to come together with Lindsay in a really beautiful and honest way. The fashion shoots celebrate the art and history of textiles around the world and every story is designed with meticulous care, but never in a way that takes away the essence of the piece. We’re not over designing anything to the point where the story or the culture is lost in that.
AC: Would you say that the magazine is based on your curiosity?
Beth: Yes, I am a curious person. But more so I think that the magazine is based on my passion. I really care about what the magazine does, which is celebrate diverse stories and celebrate different cultures and places. I think these stories are worth sharing, I want other people to find them, to be immersed and be able to learn new things.
“I don’t want to be someone who’s adding to the homogenisation of the world.”
AC: You mentioned travelling when you were younger, could you tell us about some of the places you have visited and how these trips shaped your personality?
Beth: Both of my parents were interested in travel and we went to many parts of South East-Asia and around Australia. In my late teens, I worked for a non-profit youth aid organisation where I visited South Africa and Ghana. I’ve had these opportunities to experience different parts of the world, so my world was opened up… You realise that everything is so much bigger than what’s directly around you. I feel privileged that I saw worlds that were so different from my own and to always have had an appreciation for that difference. We can’t expect people to have an understanding of other cultures if they’ve never experienced them. That’s partly why I wanted to create Lindsay, it’s a way for people to learn about and appreciate the difference in the world and the need to protect certain parts of it.
AC: How do you ensure that the magazine continues to represent a variety of opinions?
Beth: I don’t want to be someone who’s adding to the homogenisation of the world. Lindsay’s vision is rooted in this idea of diversity. So I work with a broad range of contributors from different places and different backgrounds and we don’t just cover stories on art and design, but also ones on language or politics or sport. It has to be eclectic and diverse from piece to piece. Sometimes I feel like it’s a bit wild, the look and the feel of each story is so different but that’s how I want it to be, it should be reflective of the world.
“I value tradition, history and also progress.”
AC: We live in a globalised world and often share the same references, but it’s also important to celebrate our backgrounds, histories and the multiple layers that make up the tapestry of any given region.
Beth: With globalisation, the world is at risk of becoming more homogenised and gentrified. I speak a little about this in one of my Editor’s Letters – “I’m not someone who wants to live in the past, I value tradition, history and also progress. There are some traditions that we do need to work hard on to preserve and then there are others that perhaps need progressing.” I have an open mind about this, it’s interesting to explore and to look at; what parts of the world are at risk because of globalisation and what parts, perhaps, have new opportunities with new technologies. For example, in issue two we interviewed the astronaut Stephanie Wilson. Exploration of space is such a phenomenal idea and it’s consistently evolving due to new technologies, but at the same time, there are so many environmental issues that are taking place. It’s really about looking at the whole landscape of the world and asking where do we need to put our energy to preserve what needs preserving and let other things evolve naturally.
“It’s important for the publishing landscape to say that Lindsay is from Melbourne.”
AC: What if we were to apply this way of thinking to commercial industries? In fashion, for example, certain activities may need preserving while other business habits are of little positive purpose to the future. Most companies need to reflect on the products they are making and their impact on the planet. We shouldn’t be afraid to question and openly disagree with the status quo to move towards a healthier future.
Beth: Sometimes it’s hard to work out where that line lies. Sometimes I feel like I always want to hold onto the old but then I can be challenged on that. For example, I did an interview and a photoshoot in Paris at the ateliers that do embroidery for couture fashion houses. I had this very traditional picture in my head of how they would look, so when I visited, I was surprised to see this modern workplace all of these young women embroidering by hand. When I interviewed the creative director of Maison Lesage about expecting to keep to tradition, he said that he respects the tradition of labels like Chanel and doing things by hand, but he’s also interested in new technologies and what those can offer. It’s interesting to think about the balance between the old and new, progress and preservation.
AC: On the topic of preservation, do you think it’s important for brands to engage and celebrate the cities or countries where they are based? What is your approach with Lindsay?
Beth: Lindsay is printed offshore in the Netherlands and distributed worldwide. It was important for me if I was going to print a magazine about the world, that it was available around the world. I want to expand that network further to become fully international, for Lindsay to be stocked even in remote cities. I think that would align with our values of making this information accessible to as many people as possible. In saying that, our readership in Melbourne is very strong, I do events here to connect with our local community as well as abroad. At first glance, it’s not obvious where Lindsay is made, but I don’t hide it either. I think it’s important for the publishing landscape to say that Lindsay is from Melbourne. I think people are often surprised to find out it’s published out of Melbourne, but I kind of like that.
“A magazine made by people all over the world for the world.”
AC: It’s interesting to reflect on how an independent company can be both local and international, exploring or celebrating the unique elements of a place yet avoid being labelled as a ‘small-town’ business. I think many independent companies can struggle with finding this balance.
Beth: I always saw Lindsay as an international magazine. And it became that almost immediately. We have just as many readers in New York as in Sydney and Japan is our 4th biggest country. Our website was read in over 120 different countries within 3 months, to me that was incredible in terms of Lindsay’s vision to share different cultures with other cultures, introduce different places to other places. But I have grown up in Melbourne and I don’t want to ignore what’s happening here. We are based on Wurundjeri Country on unceded lands and where we can, we will publish stories about Australia’s Indigenous history.
AC: In a way, Lindsay magazine is reflective of its place of origin but it is equally curious about the uniqueness of other places.
Beth: Absolutely. There’s no doubting that there are parts of Lindsay that are reflective of Melbourne. But at the same time, while I am based here right now, I am forever working with contributors and partners around the globe. It really is a magazine without borders—a magazine made by people all over the world for the world.