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AJ nominated for top magazine journalism awards

The British Society of Magazine Editors has nominated the AJ for its prestigious 2017 awards 

AJ editor-in-chief Christine Murray is shortlisted for Editor of the Year, Trade & Professional and is also nominated for Editor of the Year, Music, Arts & Literary for AJ sister title The Architectural Review.

Ella Mackinnon, the AJ’s art director, has been nominated for Cover of the Year for her Women in Architecture cover. Highlighting a huge gender pay gap revealed by our annual survey, the ’deliberately provocative’ 1960s-style cover ’conveys a serious message through pointed humour’ (see entry citation below).

Christine is also nominated for Columnist of the Year for The Architectural Review, and the AR’s art director Tom Carpenter is shortlisted for Art Director of the Year – an award he won in 2016.

This year’s winners will be announced on 21 November, and you can view the full shortlist here

Entry citation for Cover of the Year

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The gender pay gap is still, unfortunately, a massive issue. So how do you take such an ingrained cultural problem and turn it into a compelling cover?

As the AJ’s 2017 Women in Architecture survey finds, the pay gap between equally ranked male and female architects at all levels is getting bigger. At the top of the profession that gap is worth a shocking £55,000. 

The angle for our cover is simple. We’ve been talking about and trying to even out the gender pay gap for decades, inside and outside the architecture profession. So we went back decades into the archives of the AJ and pulled out a huge array of sexist imagery, from adverts and features published in the AJ in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

We juxtaposed the messages from our survey analysis over these outdated images. Taking the clichés of the ‘60s even further, we made the cover pink. A decision we didn’t take lightly, but one we agreed was necessary to the strength and message of this cover. It’s a dirty, cold, pink. Similar to the colour of the outfit the receptionist, the star of our cover, is wearing as she blends in with the artwork hung on the wall and the decorative flowers in this scene. We used a spot lamination treatment on the photograph, to lift it off the page for a ‘Polaroid’ feel.

The reaction to the cover was immediate, and substantial. We got a lot of great feedback, but most interesting were the discussions of our followers in the comments of our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts. Some didn’t believe in the gender pay gap; others had the first-hand experience of dealing with it; still more highlighted how embedded the problem is – and sadly, that it is not a surprise. Here’s a flavour of the responses:

Joely Cook via Twitter

“Bravo @ArchitectsJrnal on this powerful, bold and important front cover #WomenInArchitecture #EqualPay #architecture.”

Anna Hesketh Hayden via Instagram

“So true! I’ve left after twenty years of training and work. The profession isn’t family friendly. I’m using my skills elsewhere, where women can progress.”

Susanne Hamilton via Facebook

“This happens everywhere even from technician level.. I was getting paid £4,000 less than a male co worker…”

Yasmin Sharriff via TheAJ.co.uk

“…There is no glass ceiling - it is solid concrete. It’s hard for women to acknowledge that they are being discriminated against and by the time they realise how badly they have been shafted - it is all too late…”

The AJ Women in Architecture cover is striking, deliberately provocative and conveys a serious message through pointed humour. It is a piece of storytelling – and we hope it will play a part in changing the narrative.

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