The Seventh Wave's brand new home was seven years in the making.
We are thrilled to launch our new website, which is very much a homecoming for The Seventh Wave. As a digital community of now 250+ artists, writers, and activists from around the world, this website was a long time coming, and was built to function as a digital hub and platform for our community of writers, readers, and deep-thinkers; a place of exchange, art, and rest. Regardless of how long you’ve been with us, we want to walk you through our new site, and talk about some of the exciting things we’ve built for our past, current, and future community.
- “Start here” bookmark. When you first land on our website, you’ll notice a little orange “Start here” ribbon in the top left corner that resembles a bookmark. This “Start here” sidebar will offer a variety of actions for you to take: you can dive into our latest issue, see our upcoming opportunities and deadlines, or dive randomly into our archive of pieces, issues, and interviews. You’ll also see a few links to resources that will help you learn more about us, what we do, and how you can join our community.
- A true landing page for our publication, issues, and voices. Everything we do revolves around our digital magazine, even our residencies (you have to be published in our magazine to be eligible to apply for our in-person residencies). It was essential to us that we build a home that showcases the depth of voice, variety of form and perspectives, and personality of the people and pieces we publish. Whereas on our old site, our issues were essentially category landing pages (for those who know CMS) with limited ability to enhance the user experience, with our new site, we’ve built out a true landing page for our publication, offering up words about our editorial process, allowing you to search by contributor name, displaying all of our issues on one page, and giving you insight into the heart of each call.
- A reading experience that is as calm as it is connective. Each of our magazine issues is tied to a single social issue, like “Dangerous Bodies” or “You Are Politics,” but we also like to think of our issues as social in and of themselves. We want them to engage with writers, artists, and readers of today, while adding to the conversations of yesterday. While each issue revolves around a different topic — “Perception Gaps,” “Labels,” “Who Gets to Belong,” etc. — they’re all deeply interconnected. We wanted you to be able to experience multiple issues in the same way that you can experience multiple pieces within an issue. So whenever you click into an issue, like “Proximities,” you’ll be able to read the call for submissions and see all the pieces in that issue. And when you click on any single piece, you’ll also see an “In This Issue” button appear on the left-hand side, allowing you to easily navigate between pieces.
- A structure when you need it. While we want you to get lost in our work, we don’t want you to get lost on our site, so we have little guideposts, signs, and status bars to help you know where you are, how to get home, and where you could go next. For example, when you’re reading a longer prose piece, there is an orange progress bar at the top that lets you know how much of the piece you’ve read; as you scroll on a page or post, a little circle will appear on the bottom right side of the page. If you click that, it’ll take you back to the top; there are also buttons within posts that take you back out to the main landing pages.
- Giving poems the space they deserve. Publishing poems is tricky. It’s like trying to capture breath: how do we showcase the space between words, images, and ideas? So much of the poetry we publish is experimental in nature or form, and so we wanted to find a way to honor the experience of every poem. Our art director and web designer, Meg Sykes, found a solution we’re really thrilled with — when you land on a piece with multiple poems, each poem has its own “page” that you can flip to, allowing you to fully digest each poem before going to the next. We also utilize this function for prose pieces that are especially long, allowing a reader to experience that content as if it were in a book or on a tablet.
- Two new platforms for voice. Our old website did what we needed it to do — elevate the voices in our magazine — and it did it well. But with limited space in our magazine and limited bandwidth as a primarily volunteer-run organization, we always wondered: is there a way to publish more voices outside of our magazine? As we built this new website, we did so with this question in mind, and so we are thrilled to launch, alongside the website, our Community Anthologies program and our Well-Crafted column. Our Community Anthologies program brings together four editors-in-chief who work in a cohort together while curating their own mini-issue, showcasing seven individuals on a single themed topic. This allows us to publish 28 more people per year, nearly doubling the number of folks we get to elevate. And you’ll find our Well-Crafted column on our new community bulletin, which is meant to take you behind-the-scenes at TSW, showcasing people, process, and culture. We’re distilling our seven years of publishing into tips and tricks, as well as prompts and inspirations, to help you keep beginning.
- Innovating our interviews and one-time talks. We’ve taken the interviews we’ve done over the past seven years and turned them into more digestible experiences for readers. These interviews are riddled with words of wisdom and continue to inspire us today. This year, we’ll be opening our interview column up to past contributors, staff, and digital residents, allowing you to conduct interviews with writers, artists, and thinkers of your choosing — and we’ll pay you to do so. And, starting this fall, we’re making our One-Time Talks, which launched in winter 2021, more accessible to the community, with each seat available for $50 to the public.
- The future is #TSWIRL. Our hashtag is #TSWIRL, which means The Seventh Wave (TSW) in real life (IRL), as we are all about offline and online conversations. In 2024, we will be building out a #TSWIRL Club digital hub for those who want to either a) be a part of our community or b) support our community. It will be a subscription-based membership — $7 a month or $70 per year, if you pay in advance — and this will give you full access to seven years’ worth of resources, prompts, and opportunities. Whenever we open up our One-Time Talks, you’ll be the first to know, and receive discounts to attend. You’ll also get access to exclusive interviews — if you can’t afford to join a one-time talk, we’ll be making them available to our #TSWIRL members to read for free. Our goal here is accessibility, transparency, and community. All at the price of two coffees per month (or one, depending on where you live). It’s our hope that this hub will keep you connected to our community and provide resources for your own creative process.
- A shy tiger named Meg Sykes. All of this is possible because of our art director, Meg Sykes, who goes by @shytigers on Instagram. As a web designer, she naturally exists behind the screens, but her impact is felt and seen by anyone who comes through our magazine. We want to extend the deepest gratitude to her for building us such a possible home, and we cannot wait to see what we all continue to become together. We’ll be sharing more from, and about, Meg in our Well-Crafted column in the coming weeks and months.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Well-Crafted column as we continue to shine a light on all of our programs and opportunities. Onward we go, then!