In high school I always had an interest in journalism and writing. I used to read magazines like Dolly and Girlfriend and cut out the editor’s page and put my photo in there for school projects. I knew I wanted to be involved in magazines. There was all these shows back then about working in magazines. It was all so glamorous (even though it’s not!).
I studied journalism in Brisbane. Straight out of university I landed a Editorial Coordinator role for a trade magazine publisher called TMPC. That was a massive learning curve. My partner and I moved to Melbourne in 2010 and I got the job with Architecture Media, first as assistant editor for Artichoke magazine, helping then editor Penny Craswell and editorial director Cameron Bruhn. I became editor five years ago.
My introduction to the built environment, architecture and design, came through this job. I wasn’t just working for Artichoke I was also sub-editing for Architecture Australia and Houses magazine. I had to learn all the jargon. Now I can’t see myself working for a magazine in any other industry.
The people that you meet in this job, the architects and designers, they’re a good bunch. Especially in Melbourne. They are cliquey, but it’s one big clique. There’s a lot of collaboration in Melbourne, rather than Sydney. You see that on Instagram too. Melbourne people all encourage each other’s projects. It seems more competitive in Sydney.
Architecture Media does six print magazines, we do an architecture news website and we do events. Of those six magazines, Artichoke is the interiors title. Not residential interiors, but commercial interiors; hospitality design, retail design, education design and hotel design. I’m always on the lookout for projects in Australia, or projects overseas completed by Aussie designers. We are a quarterly magazine, so it’s always about filling the pages with the very best. I only get to publish 30-40 projects a year so I am pretty ruthless!
It’s difficult out there now for print. A lot of people get their architecture and design news from digital media and Instagram. So it’s hard to exist in that context. We haven’t seen much of a drop off of subscriptions and readers, but we have to be a bit more ‘on-the-ball’ with projects, because our lead times are so long. It can be five months before something makes in into the magazine. We need to try and stay relevant.
I think architecture, when I first started, seemed to have a real boys club mentality. However, I think organisations like Parlour are really calling out all-male panels and practices. The men who work for our organisation won’t accept a position on a panel unless there is gender equity and when when we create our own panels for events, we work on the balance, so that is something we are active about. There are also still the architecture firms which are run by all men. You go onto their About page and it’s all male faces at a senior level.
Start work experience and interning as young as you can. I was at a newspaper at fifteen. They didn’t give me anything important to do, but just to be in that environment. It’s just about what you put in is what you get out. Work hard, but don’t get taken for a ride either. You don’t need to work for free, forever. In publishing, there’s a lot of interns that work for free for a long time. Someone is taking advantage of you.
This past year I started pottery and I am so hooked. I need to buy my own wheel so I can do it at home, even though there’s nowhere to put it. I was at a bad stage in my life when I started, but it’s been better than a therapist. It’s the time. The committed, meditative act of sitting at a wheel, and trying something over and over again until you get it right. You look at the clock and an hour has passed and you didn’t even realise it.
My mother always told me to finish my food. My mum is a very lovely women, who cooks and cooks and cooks. She’s retired, but she used to work at the Arnott’s biscuit factory. Dad has passed away now, but he was a bus driver for 55 years. And absolutely loved it.
Editing a magazine as formative as Artichoke must be no easy task, and many of us have probably spent many hours pouring over it’s pages. When you do know what you want to be when you grow up, and you have a drive to achieve your goals, that can be a powerful thing. Especially if those around you can support you on your mission. It’s an important lesson though, not to be taken advantage when you have a one-minded goal. Cassie is warm, relaxed and down to earth. Her focus and determination and her enthusiasm for her work is amazing to behold. We wish her all the best for the last bit of 2018 and look forward to what she brings in 2019.