2015 marked the end of Associate Professor in Spatial Design, Jilly Traganou’s tenure as Reviews Editor of The Journal of Design History. Traganou will be succeeded by her ADHT colleague Sarah A. Lichtman, Program Director of History of Design and Curatorial Studies.
The Journal of Design History, produced by the Design History Society, is the most established and reputable journal in the Design History field. The journal is published four times a year, with each edition featuring researched articles by scholars and multiple reviews of books published in the field. The Reviews Editor at the journal is responsible for researching new books and matching these books with reviewers, who are usually Design History academics, scholars, researchers, or PhD students. The position also entails attending twice yearly planning meetings and serving as a chair on sessions of the Design History Society, as well as reviewing proposal papers for the society’s annual conferences.
Traganou undertook the position in 2010, after she had applied for an editorial position on the journal and was offered the role of Reviews Editor. Traganou had, in the role, attempted to further the journal’s global reach by actively pursuing reviews of and by writers from around the world of books in numerous languages. She also sought to represent multiple perspectives, often bringing in two reviewers to write about longer, more comprehensive works.
Traganou says her five year tenure in the position has been very fulfilling and rewarding. She has enjoyed the working environment of the journal, because though the journal has an already-established framework that she had to act within, there is also space for innovation and refinement. Traganou says she has especially appreciated the opportunity to learn about research topics outside of her own and to keep informed about which books were being published in the field.
Lichtman echoes this sentiment and says she is looking forward to broadening her scholarly and pedagogical framework through this position, as well as meeting new Design History scholars and placing her work alongside that of other researchers in the field. This is a new experience and a new framework for her to work within. Though both Traganou and Lichtman say it is merely coincidental that they have both been appointed as Reviews Editor on the journal, Lichtman is happy that she will follow her ADHT colleague in undertaking the position because it will expedite communication and make the transition into the role smoother.
The position holds significance for the Design History program and Parsons as a whole, as it places the Parsons name on an international platform. It creates opportunities for other faculty members to participate in the journal; during her tenure, Traganou invited many of her colleagues to publish reviews in the journal. It is also a space to foster connections and educational exchanges, establish contacts to bring in guest speakers, and to further develop and advertise the programs at the school.
Written by Ana Miljak