Boat issue 5
Delivered to Stack subscribers in  May 2013

by Lucy Corkish in September 2014
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Twice a year, Boat magazine packs up and travels to a city with a story to tell. Once there the team establishes a makeshift creative studio, connecting with interesting locals, collaborating with artists and distilling the whole experience down into a totally unique type of travel magazine.

Erin Spens

Job title

What is Boat magazine?

Boat started as a small creative studio based in London. Twice a year we physically move our studio to a new city for a month. We bring a handful of talented people with us and we work with local artists, writers, photographers and musicians to create a magazine about that city. We go to places that have big stories to tell, places that aren’t well known, or are misunderstood, with the goal to help the world create or update their views of that place. The first issue was based in Sarajevo and our second was based in Detroit. Over the years (we’ve been going for four now) the magazine has eclipsed our other work and is now my sole focus. I’ve also moved to Los Angeles!

What makes it different to the rest?
It’s not a travel magazine because it focuses so much on the people and stories of the city rather than the latest five-star hotel to pop up or the chicest restaurant to be seen in. We wanted to create a magazine that makes you want to go visit, but also gives you a good idea of what it’s like before you go – the below the surface stuff for people who like to dig a bit more.

Who makes Boat?
I run the magazine full-time from Los Angeles and our design team She Was Only is based in London. Once I’ve chosen the focus city, I start pulling in contributors to help us dig up the material for the issue. Together as a team we travel to the city to set up our temporary studio and we find the key local people in each culture to interview and contribute. After spending a few weeks there, we divide the content up so that we have both inside and outside perspectives.

Who reads it?
Anyone who is interested in little-known or misunderstood places around the world, great writing, photography, and off-the-beaten-track stories.

Why do you work in magazines?

I really strongly believe in the printed word. For me, a girl who grew up in a tiny town in Iowa, most of what I’ve learned about the world I’ve learned through reading and travelling. The two go hand in hand so well together and as much as I consume and love the digital world, I have personally absorbed more from books and magazines. There’s a higher investment required, the stories and characters stick a bit harder (for me), and there’s nothing like the feeling of holding in your hands an incredible book or magazine that’s so unassuming as an object but so totally powerful in its content.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?

I personally do writing and editing for other magazines and brands. As a magazine, we’ve started to partner with brands and venues to do events and special projects.

What would you change about Boat if you could?
I’d love to do it more often (we’re published twice a year) but logistically it would be a challenge to keep the other work going and be able to really, properly invest in each city we cover.

Where do you see Boat in five years?

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