To mark our first birthday, the LSE Review of Books is holding an awards ceremony on 16 May 2013 to recognise the hard work of our contributors and to thank all parties involved in helping to support the initiative. Valerie Rose, Publisher for the Ashgate geography, architecture, planning and landscape lists, continues our series of blog posts from academic publishers, covering more details about the award Ashgate is sponsoring and how integral the study of architecture is to their publishing ethos.
Which books first inspired your own interest in books and the world of publishing?
As with many involved in publishing, I have been an avid reader from early childhood, with a particular love for Chekhov, Tolstoy, Garcia Marquez, Calvino, Saramago, Eco and, more recently, Hilary Mantel. Books which have influenced my views on space and place include Marshall Berman’s All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Thomas Markus’s Buildings and Power, Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and Jospeh Rykwert’s The Seduction of Place.
Ashgate is sponsoring the Architecture and Urban Studies award at the forthcoming LSE Review of Books Awards. How important is Architecture and Urban Studies to Ashgate’s identity?
Our urban studies list is one of the strongest within Ashgate’ social science programme, and straddles across a number of disciplines, in particular, geography, planning, and sociology. It is includes such highlights as Habitus edited by Jean Hillier, The New Wealth of Cities by John Montgomery, Memories of Cities by Jonathan Charley, and the forthcoming Explorations in Urban Design edited by Matthew Carmona.
Together with our Gower and Lund Humphries imprints, Ashgate also offers an exciting and wide range of architecture titles, including scholarly works on architectural history, theory and design, handbooks on professional practice, and beautifully illustrated monographs. I am particularly excited by the contemporary architecture and theory list which I have been developing over the past four years as a key part of our spatial studies programme. I have been particularly keen for this to take an interdisciplinary approach and explore how architecture relates to and impacts on society, politics, economics, the wider built environment and other art forms. While it’s still early days, I’m delighted with the range of fascinating titles which we’ve already published, including Geoffrey Baker’s insightful and highly readable volume on James Stirling and his partners, Camera Constructs which looks at architecture and photography, Losing Site which looks at issues of architecture and memory, and Albena Yaneva’s volume Mapping Controversies, to name but a few. Soon to follow is a wonderful new text on The Greening of Architecture, a beautiful volume on The Architectural Capriccio and a major new series on Design Research in Architecture. The volumes in this series promise to be not only innovative and of the highest academic quality, but also visually stunning. At present, I am keen to continue publishing volumes which take a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the study of the built environment, and am also seeking to develop our lists of landscape and conservation titles.
What initiatives has Ashgate undertaken to cater for our changing reading habits?
While with such visual books, I believe there will continue to be a strong market for the materiality and aesthetic quality of the hard copy, most of Ashgate titles are simultaneously publishing as e-books, and we are keen to explore how electronic format might be augmented by the inclusion of video, music etc.
Valerie Rose is Publisher for the Ashgate geography, architecture, planning and landscape lists. Having graduated from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, she worked in this field in Chicago and London before moving into academic publishing. Since then, she has worked at Gordon and Breach/Harwood Academic Publishing and Routledge/Taylor& Francis. She has been commissioning books for Ashgate since 1997, developing the existing regional studies, environment and planning lists into an interdisciplinary spatial studies programme.