Delving further into his editorial approach, there is much of relevance that can be extracted and learnt from. According to Melvin, for Townsend the artist’s aims, where sculpture was situated and how the public encountered those sculptures were of equal importance. Here we get a glimpse of a man with a more than theoretical commitment to the radical potential of art — it is a refreshingly broad definition of the word ‘public’, as opposed to one that refers to the gallery-going ‘public’. Townsend was also self-effacing to a large extent: his only written editorials were for his first and last ever issues of Studio International, divided by a decade, and he often refused to acknowledge his own part in the interviews he conducted. He saw his task as quietly facilitating others and putting front and centre the content artists wanted, rather than positioning himself as the genius arch-curator of content, personalities and art, that so many figures in the art world attempt to do today. Townsend wanted the artists to do the talking, with as little mediation between them and the public as possible.
The designer of Studio International during Townsend’s reign, Malcolm Lauder, shared an office with the assistant editor and they arranged layout sheets together with Townsend, some of which can be seen on display at Raven Row, before sending them off to the printers where they would then check proofs as they came off the press. The thought of this level of involvement of an editor in the design process might send a shiver down the spine of some designers but one senses that with Townsend’s astuteness, and apparent desire for his magazine to take the form of some sort of Gesamtkunstwerk – or total, synthesised work – the design has only benefited from his input.