Made by InQuire Winter 2019 FREE
LIFE AS A DISABLED STUDENT CONVERSATIONS WITH
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT
THE SURVIVORS STORIES Victims of domestic abuse bravely open up
Contents Winter 2019
> NEWS 6 7
Last month in brief Working conditions and pay gaps: Universty of Kent staff on strike Conversations with Extinction Rebellion
28 29 30
> CULTURE 32
> OPINION 10 11 12 13
Opinions of the year Breaking down barriers: Lucy O’Brien on applying to Oxford Josh West: Kent is still a top 20 university to me Going Green: Why Olivia Warr became a vegetarian
COVER STORY The survivors stories: Victims of domestic abuse bravely open up Isobel Simmons: Life as a disabled student
21 22 24 26
How affection is seen across different cultures Xmas dinner for students: Co-op edition We need to talk about female health Visiting Ireland: My nearby escape Skincare mistakes to avoid
The voices of sport Movember: The truth of being emasculated
36 > SATIRE 40
Joe Ackham: The other side of the coin
> AND THE REST...
> LIFESTYLE 20
Greg Deal: Being Native American Discovering the spaces of the Marlowe Theatre Creative Writing Competition Winner 2019: Identity Eloy Morales: Looking at the face of paint
> FEATURES 14
Film lecturers: My favourite film Review: A Year in gaming Best albums of 2019
4 5 27
Meet the team IQ A note from the Editor GULBENKIAN This One’s for the Poets: In conversation with Harry Baker Puzzles Editorial: Reflecting on the 2010s
INQUIRE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF GEORGE KNIGHT MAGAZINE EDITOR & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR BILL BOWKETT CREATIVE DIRECTORS ELLIE FIELDING, LUCY O’BRIEN & BLUE-BELLE KULPA NEWS EDITOR JEANNE BIGOT OPINION EDITOR LUCY O’BRIEN FEATURES EDITOR ELLIE FIELDING LIFESTYLE EDITOR BLUE-BELLE KULPA ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR RORY BATHGATE CULTURE EDITOR TIMEA KOPPANDI SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR EMMA LEACH SPORTS EDITOR MEGAN WARWICK INQUIREMEDIA.CO.UK WEBSITE EDITOR CAITLIN CASEY NEWS EDITOR ALEJANDRO JAVIERRE OPINION EDITOR JOSH WEST FEATURES EDITOR MORGANA CONNOR-BENNETT LIFESTYLE EDITOR SABRINA LATCHMAN ENTERTIANMENT EDITOR EMILY WEBB-MORTIMER CULTURE EDITOR HAL KITCHEN SPORTS EDITOR ANNA MARIE HUGHES SATIRE EDITOR JOE ACKLAM SUB-EDITORS IQRA ASHAN, OLIVIA WARR, YOAN DZHUGDANOV, CONNOR BLUEMEL, CHRISTOPHER ATKINSON, EMILY REGAN, DAKARAI BONYONGWE, MORGAN RODWAY-WING, ADQAS FATIMA, GRACE BISHOP, SARA BELL, KRISHNA MULLETH HEAD OF PHOTOGRAPHY ASLAN NTUMBA OZER SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER HARRIET VICKERS PHOTOGRAPHERS SAM WREN, QUEEN-YEJIDE OLANREWAJU, JESSIE MENEZES, AINY SHIYAM, ANGELINA CHRISTODOULOU, GINGER LOU, RAKSHANA GOPINATH, YASMIN ALI, KENIE NINIS HEAD OF DESIGN SYAN BATEMAN SENIOR DESIGNER RAKSHANA GOPINATH WEBSITE DEVELOPER JESSICA MENEZES CARTOONIST ARMAAN LATIF SOCIAL SECETARY MEGAN WARWICK PUZZLE MAKER MATTHEW SAPSED PRINT PRODUCTION CONTROLLER, REACH ARTHUR LOCKE HEAD OF STUDENT MEDIA JAMES VESTY HEAD OF MARKETING LEONIE VIDAL SOCIAL MEDIA CO-ORDINATOR CLAUDIA PARKER SENIOR MARKETERS ZOE GRASBEY, HELENA CONNELLY, MAUREEN AKPOKOMUA, MOLLY GUO We offer our readers a targeted and highly visible platform of media. We print 1,000 copies on a fortnightly basis, distributing 13,000 copies per year around campus. This student newspaper services the entire 23,000 student Canterbury campus. We also publish material online regularly on our website, reaching around 100,000 individuals per year. This content is then spread through all our social media channels. Our social media analytics and our reach can be viewed in greater detail in our Advertisement Packages. Our services also include leaflets and insertable materials. For more information, visit www.inquiremedia.co.uk/advertising
At InQuire, we work hard to ensure our publications are fact-checked and researched in-depth. Feel free to contact us to get in touch about any of our stories, to discuss our writing or enquire about joining our team. Come to our weekly Monday meetings at the Student Media Centre, above The Venue @ 18:15. Additional copies of our newspaper can be found online at issuu.com. Have a strong opinion about one of our editorial pieces? Want to have your say in a student or campus experience? Want to rant about life as a university student? Please write to Bill Bowkett at newspaper. email@example.com - we want to hear your voice. Please report suspicious activity at our distribution racks on campus by emailing Leonie Vidal at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will report any inaccurate information published as soon as the error is discovered. Editorial corrections with be published in the next issue or as soon as possible on the website. InQuire takes complaints about editorial content very seriously. If you would like to make a complaint, please contact the George Knight at email@example.com. Mail and Office: Student Media Centre, Above Venue, Kent Union, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NW. © MMXIX InQuire Media Group, in partnership with the Canterbury Media Group. All rights reserved.
Winter 2019 IQ
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Express yourself Magazine is a long-term project that InQuire has ventiveness of the cultures that are exhibited in Canterbury, IQ been planning to undertake for over six months. The and at the University of Kent. We have included the content magazine you are currently holding has been in the works that we believe best demonstrates the inspiring creativity
from late October to late November, with the initial idea and plans for the design going back into the 2018/2019 academic year. It is a project that embraces all aspects of InQuire’s operations; those being our writers, editors, marketers, designers, and photographers. It has tested our abilities to create high quality and long-form content. All the pieces you find in this magazine have been chosen, crafted, and created to the highest standards we can possibly achieve. This magazine is an embodiment of the extensive work, talent, and determination that takes place at InQuire Media. IQ magazine is made entirely out of student initiative, with student interests and issues at the heart of all its content. Every word, every page, and every design has been constructed out of the creativity, drive, and professionalism of University of Kent students, in an effort for their voices to be heard and for awareness to be raised for the issues they deem crucial. In this special edition, you will find true stories from real students. Students who have made the effort to reveal their intimate experiences in order to raise awareness of their circumstances, and to illustrate through their memories the importance of the topics they are sharing and the lessons they have learned. From articles on domestic abuse to applications to Oxbridge universities, these stories are told for the benefit of Kent students. To highlight the realities of student life and to give a voice to the students on our campus: from first-years to mature students. All these stories have been recorded from innumerable sources, representing the multifarious and wide range of experiences. IQ magazine promotes awareness of issues that currently affect both students and staff alike, in both an objective and subjective manner. It confronts stigmas such as gender, disability, and work-place injustices by drawing on instances that have directly infringed upon the well-being of students and the University itself. All of these issues were chosen to reflect the realities of being a Kent student and the challenges faced by all areas of the student community. Furthermore, we aim to highlight the originality and inIQ Winter 2019
that thrives within the Gulbenkian, the Marlowe Theatre and within the minds of students. To display this creative talent of students, we have extended our range of content to include an original piece of creative work, written by our Creative Writing Competition winner, which can be read in the Culture section of this magazine. This magazine contains the insights, contributions, and creations of nearly every member of InQuire’s 50-plus volunteer student team, including the various volunteer student writers, photographers, designers, and marketers. All these students, many without prior experience to InQuire and knowledge in industry-standard tools, have banded together to learn new skills and experiment with their creativity to put together a magazine that is a testament to the ability, ingenuity, and ambition that is exhibited in the University of Kent student body. It is only through the perseverance and drive of all those individual student volunteers that this magazine exists. This magazine has required the InQuire team to completely rethink our design and content, focusing more than ever before upon the quality and professionalism. We have always held ourselves to high standards, however, this magazine has been the ultimate test in our resilience and ability to adapt. This project has brought our team immense pleasure. It has drawn out the very best in our individual abilities, brought our team closer together, and enlightened us to new forms of thinking and creating. Our aim is to always give students the voice they deserve and to provide high-quality, intriguing content that will encourage students to speak out and share their stories even more in the future. We hope that you enjoy reading our magazine as much as our team enjoyed creating it.
“IQ magazine promotes awareness of issues that currently affect both students and staff alike.”
GEORGE KNIGHT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
LAST MONTH IN BRIEF CANTERBURY ICE RINK BRANDED “CLIMATE DISASTER” The Canterbury Christmas ice rink, set to open in Dane John Gardens on 29 November until 1 January, has raised controversies and been branded a ‘climate disaster’ by environmental activists. The indoor ice rink and special food outlets will be fueled by two diesel generators, consuming between 60,000 and 90,000 kWh of power, which is enough to power twenty homes for a full year. 46,000 litres of water will also be pumped into the ice rink to make it freeze. Despite declaring a climate emergency earlier this year, the city council have admitted that they have not taken environmental impact into consideration when launching the project. Rob Davies, spokesman for Canterbury City Council, spoke to Kent Online and declared: “The issue has been considered and we are going ahead because it will be a great festive attraction, provide jobs for local people and boost the economy.” Davies then added: “Will the ice rink ever be a zero-carbon event? Probably not, but that’s OK. It goes back to the point about getting the right balance. The climate emergency does not simply mean you stop doing stuff.”
KENT STUDENTS REPATRIATED FROM HONG KONG Amid recent protests in Hong Kong between pro-democracy protesters and Chinese authorities, University of Kent students have been told to fly back to the United Kingdom from their exchange year. The University of Kent has paid for the students’ flights, and the students’ grades will not be affected. Speaking to InQuire, Omolade Adedapo, Vice-President (Welfare and Community) of Kent Union, said they were: “working with the university to make sure students are safe”, although she did admit that no concrete plans were in place. A political talk and solidarity march for Hong Kong was organized on 21 November by the International Students Network and Kent Union. The revelation comes five months after protests broke out in Hong Kong against plans to allow extradition to mainland China. Outrage over alleged police brutality during the protests has also broken out over the death of a 22-year-old student, Alex Chow Tsz-Lok, fallen from the third floor of a building during a police dispersal operation on 4 November 2019. International support rose for the protesters in Hong Kong, especially after images of the police beating protesters surfaced on social media.
KENT STUDENT JAILED FOR DRUG DEALING A student at the University of Kent (Medway Campus) was sentenced on 22 October to 30 months in prison. The raid conducted by Medway Police at his student accommodation revealed large quantities of heroin, cocaine and cannabis, as well as scales and distribution bags pointing to a larger dealing web. County lines were mentioned in the investigation, pointing to the rising phenomenon of larger cities drug gangs outsourcing to smaller cities.
2019 GENERAL ELECTION: THREE LEFT STANDING General elections will be held on 12 December. In Canterbury, Labour candidate Rosie Duffield is up for re-election opposite Conservative candidate Anna Firth, and Lib Dem candidate Claire Malcolmson. The Canterbury seat is bound to be a hotly contested one. After Canterbury elected its first Labour MP in 2017 after years of Tory stronghold, with a very slim majority of 187 votes, chances for Rosie Duffield’s reelection are still unsure. Relying heavily on student vote, the Labour Party might see its chances of reelection decreased with the date chosen for the election. Indeed, 12 December means end-of-term assignments and students leaving Canterbury to go home for the holidays. This date might mean a lower student turnout in Canterbury and might make Labour in this particular election. The opinion polls are so uncertain that multiple smaller-party candidates have stepped down to lessen probabilities of a split-vote on either side of the political spectrum. The Lib Dems in Canterbury have had to deal with the dilemma of stepping down to favour the Labour party, with ex-candidate Tim Walker quitting the race on 12 November to favour Rosie Duffield, before being replaced by candidate Claire Malcolmson. Green Party ex-candidate for Canterbury, Henry Stanton, announced he stepped down on 14 November. The Canterbury Green Party justified their decision by mentioning “current political circumstances.” They have however stated that the Green Party “will not be entering into any kind of deal, pact or alliance with any other party, and does not endorse any other party.” On 14 November, it was also announced that the Brexit Party ex-candidate, Owen Prew, quit the race to favour the Conservative party and “make sure that Jeremy Corbyn never sets foot inside 10 Downing Street.”
‘STUDENT SAFE TAXI SCHEME’ IMPLEMENTED In the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year, the University of Kent launched, along with Longleys Private Hire taxi firm, the ‘Student Safe Taxi Scheme.’ This new policy, which is said to be a part of ‘Students Services’ ongoing commitment to the safety of its students,’ will enable students to order a taxi home, to the university campus, a hospital or a police station if they feel unsafe in any given situation, and pay later. Launched to increase the safety of students, especially on nights out, the Taxi Safe scheme will make it possible for students to go home or to another destination quickly in any situation that feels unsafe to them. Students who wish to benefit from this scheme need to sign up to the program in advance, and will be entitled to discounted taxi fares on all their journeys with Longleys, even those that were not made through the Taxi Safe scheme. Maximum fares are placed at £50.00, to avoid excessive use of the scheme.
Winter 2019 IQ
WORKING CONDITIONS, PAY GAPS: UNIVERSITY OF KENT STAFF ON STRIKE Photography by Jasper Gilardi
The announcement of a strike comes almost two years after strikes hit the University of Kent in 2018.
he first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month, unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and the declining pay and conditions.” - Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary. Words by Charlie Lowe-Collins, Writer.
he University and Colleges Union (UCU), the main union representing the majority of academic staff in the United Kingdom, announced on 5 November that they will be engaging in strike action across 60 UK universities. This strike is expected to last eight working-days, beginning on Monday 25 November and lasting until Wednesday 4 December. UCU members will be engaging in “action short of a strike” which includes such things as refusing to work outside of contracted hours and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action. At Kent, staff have said they only intend to strike over working conditions as they were unable to reach the fifty per cent majority required to strike over the changes to the pension scheme. Many staff cite issues surrounding the failure of universities to increase pay in line with inflation, with many pointing out that since 2009 this has led to a net pay loss of 20.8% for academic staff. Statistics published by UCU also claim 78% of staff work more hours than they are contracted; and that 73% of staff feel they do not have enough time to complete their marking within paid hours. Furthermore, some PhD students only receive one hour of paid time to plan for seminars. The gender pay gap is rife at UK universities, nine out of ten universities pay their male employees more on average according to a BBC investigation. The University of Kent has a pay gap of 13.7% in favour of men. Moreover, students might wonder where their money is actually going, if not into staff pay, despite the recent tripling in university fees. Vice-Chancellor, Karen Cox, is reported to be taking home £277,100 a year, while each of the six members of the executive group are said to earn £100,000 each. Despite these high rates of pay, the University has made cuts among admin services and introduced pay freezes and pay reductions. InQuire spoke to three professors on the condition of anonymity and found they all had differing views toward the strikes. IQ Winter 2019
Two were on the side of the strikes, one of which said that as they taught a foreign language module, they did not think it was appropriate for them to not provide students with lessons, given the nature of the course. This professor also said they viewed the university as a business and that students should receive the hours which they pay for. They went on to say they also viewed strike action as an outdated way to protest for reform. The other two staff members however were very sympathetic to the strike action. They mentioned planning to take part in the strike themselves. They were keen to point out that the strike action was not for the detriment of students but rather necessary to change the working conditions which staff face. One of the staff members, a PhD student, was keen to point out that striking will result in a pay loss for them but they feel the reasons for doing so outweigh the costs. They also argued that the strikes are not only for the benefit of academic staff. The salaries of the people who help keep universities going such as the cleaning staff and library support, are both equally stagnant and important to that of the academic staff. On 21 November, Kent Union released a statement in support of the strike action, after a vote by the Union Executive Committee. “We stand in solidarity with UCU and staff striking, including postgraduate students who teach. We recognise the seriousness of the current situation for staff and are committed to supporting the aims of the strike in fighting for fair pay and tackling race and gender pay gaps as well as the casualisation of staff,” Kent Union stated on their official statement. On the effects of strike action for students, Kent Union stated: “we commit to working towards mitigating the implications and effects on students’ education, access and welfare in this time, including actively lobbying for students to receive fair compensation”. 7
CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTINCTION REBELLION
e act in peace, with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts. We act on behalf of life.” Declaration of Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion.
Words by Jeanne Bigot, Newspaper News Editor
xtinction Rebellion (XR) started in May of 2018 and has been in open rebellion against the United Kingdom’s government since October 2018. InQuire met with members of XR at the University of Kent, to discuss the reasons they turned to XR and what the group is and does here at Kent. We sat down with Eske Eilts and Joel Helbling, both activists in XR Youth Canterbury. The first XR Youth group of which was formed in July 2019. The branch’s main goals - besides fighting for climate action - are climate justice, and focusing on the Global South and indigenous people. Research conducted in 2017 found the ‘environment profession’ the second least diverse sector in the United Kingdom.
A youth movement concerned with social justice Critics have often called XR out on being a white-centric, middle-class movement. Op-eds written on the environmental movement’s lack of diversity are countless. “The question right now is of how whitewashed XR is. We obviously want to talk about it, and acknowledge problems of racial justice within environmental justice groups,” Eske told us. “We really try to work towards more inclusivity and intersectionality. This is such a global problem that it can’t exclude major parts of the global population. We want this to be an inclusive, welcoming space for everyone because it is everyone’s problem.” The XR Youth group in Canterbury has around twenty to thirty members, about fifteen of which are actually active. It was created only a couple months ago and is meant to include people up to thirty years old, who are concerned about climate change and environmental justice. At the University of Kent, XR is a micro-group embedded within the Environmental, Conservation and Sustainability Society. Eske mentioned actions that took place on campus from 11 to 15 November, including events around diversity within the movement, and a strike on campus on the 14. She also mentioned the next global climate strike on 29 November, which XR Canterbury will take part in. With no identifiable leader(s), XR promotes direct democracy. By not selecting leaders for the group, XR wants the public and the media to solely focus on the demands they put forward, rather than on one potential leader’s charisma. Much like Occupy Wall Street in the United States, the Indignados in Spain or Gilets Jaunes in France, XR shifts from traditional hierarchical activism and speaks out as a group, rather than having an individual be their spokesperson. In that sense, Eske and Joel are not XR leaders, and so are entitled to their own opinion. The comments made during our interview only represent their opinion and do not officially speak for XR.
Tell the Truth, Act Now, Beyond Politics These are XR’s three demands. “‘Tell the Truth’ is about how the government has to tell us what is actually happening, the media has to take its role in reporting what’s happening,” Eske said. “‘Act Now’ is, in conjunction with ‘Tell the Truth’, calling for the recognition that change regarding global warming needs to happen now one way or 8
the other. XR is not providing solutions, we’re urging the people in power to focus their attention onto these areas,” Joel highlighted. On XR’s website, the ‘Act Now’ demand encourages the government to aim towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. On 1 November 2019, the British government bowed to XR’s ‘Beyond Politics’ demand regarding a citizens’ assembly. 30,000 invitations were sent out to citizens all over the country.
“WE CAN’T TRUST THE PEOPLE IN POWER, THE ONES WITH FINANCIAL CONNECTIONS, AND RESOURCES ANYMORE.” “I think it’s a step in the right direction. It is encouraging for people of the general public to go there and actively be a part of politics. Having inclusivity can bring a solution that fits all the needs, is realistic and will also reach the best solution for most people,” Joel stated. “Citizens’ assemblies aim to be as inclusive as possible, getting people from the general public, not just the Greens. This is about respecting democracy. This is a movement of ordinary people. We can’t trust the people in power, the ones with financial connections and resources anymore. They broke our democratic contract by not giving us climate security, so now people have to take it in their hands to create change,” Eske told us. The announcement came after the two-week-long protest held in London (called the International Rebellion), organised by XR to urge the British government to take urgent actions against climate change.
Controversial modes of action One of XR’s leading principles, as Joel told us, is ‘No blaming or shaming.’ XR insists that no single government or person is to blame. “We let the system develop to the toxicity that it is now. What XR Winter 2019 IQ
In October, XR occupied London to raise awareness on the urgency of the situation. Photography by Sam Wren
is urging for is for those systems to change, to try and prevent what is preventable,” Joel described. XR, like many groups before them, promotes non-violent direct action to fight climate change. This includes strategies such as protests, disruptions or boycotts. While controversial in its form - direct action is meant to disrupt everyday life - XR’s way of justifying it is the historical precedent set by many activist groups. The Civil Rights movement in the United States, Gandhi’s non-violent uprising in India - all used methods of non-violent direct action to implement change. Chances are, many people in the United Kingdom have come across XR in some form. Either they were in London during the protests in October and noticed it, or they saw headlines and videos across social media platforms advocating for or against the direct action group. During the weeks of protest in London earlier this year, a video circulated showing XR activists targetting a London tube during rush hour as a scene for protests. The incident caused an outcry against XR on a national level, shifting the discussion to what was acceptable and what was not. Like the limits of direct action, and the legitimacy to disrupt everyday life of commuters trying to get to work. A video published on Youtube by Sky News, titled “Is the public losing patience with Extinction Rebellion protests?”, garnered over 240,000 views and showed the uncertainness around XR’s mode of action. When the action on the London tube came up during our interview, Eske explained that the nature of XR - being a decentralized action-based movement - made it hard to stop people from taking part in that kind of action. “I generally disagree with it. Focusing on the tube in general, it’s the sort of infrastructure that we should really be encouraging. I’m against actions on the tube, but especially with everyday people trying to go to work and support their families, it was very unfortunate,” Joel mentioned. “With XR Youth in Canterbury, we were quite shocked about it,” Eske told us.
“The aftermath of the tube action and of the protest ban left a sort of sour after-taste,” Joel said. A Pew Research Center poll showed 66% of Brits named climate change as the biggest global threat. Despite that, an opinion poll conducted on 15 October 2019 found that 54% of respondents opposed the idea of ‘shutting down London’, and, by extension, opposed XR’s tactics.
Evolving societal concerns Boris Johnson famously called XR activists “uncooperative crusties”, and called for “importunate nose-ringed climate change protesters” to leave London’s roads. Joel mentioned that the upcoming general election could lose sight of the urgency of the climate situation and focus on seemingly more pressing issues. “The UK is focused on Brexit. Lots of people will vote out of anger and frustration towards Brexit. The issue of climate change might be lost within that. This is where our role is important, especially in the next few months. We need to bring attention back to climate and not just Brexit.”
“I AM SCARED, AND THIS IS WHY I WANT TO TAKE MY FEAR AND TRANSFORM IT INTO ACTION.”
IQ Winter 2019
When we asked Eske and Joel why they thought XR was getting so much media attention, they mentioned the group’s unconventionality in terms of forms of action, but they also talked of a shift in public opinion. To them, the attention carried to Greta Thunberg, to XR and to climate strikes speaks of a waking up of consciences within the population. “The urgency of the situation is getting louder. We are not a movement out of the blue, we come from thirty years, fifty years of denial and inaction,” Eske told us. “It’s about awareness, and we try to raise awareness with our action. Maybe people might see that as very radical, but it is also radically scary to see that we only have 10 and a half years left.” “I am scared, and this is why I want to take my fear and transform it into action. Hopefully it wakes people up.” 9
OPINIONS OF THE YEAR
Reviewing the 2019/20 academic year so far, IQ celebrates some of the stand-out opinion peices by snipping words from our top 5 picks. To read the articles in full, visit the Opinion section at inquiremedia.co.uk.
Why is living with HIV news in 2019?
ecently, a series of stars have opted to reveal their HIV status in an attempt to reduce the stigma and confusion that has held sway over the general public’s opinion on the disease for over twenty years. Specifically, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness and former England Rugby captain Gareth Thomas. The impact the two’s revelation cannot be understated, Van Ness has millions of fans and followers in mainstream media and Thomas’ voice will be heard by a community often left behind and ostracised by the LGBT+ community. The openmerica needs to reform its gun laws and although this is not ness of the two serves as a beacon of hope to those simple, it is urgent. On 3rd August 2019, 22 people were killed lacking any; due to education systems politicising in El Paso, Texas. This brought vast amounts of confusion entire existences and refusing to educate people and sorrow to America and the rest of the world, but it did on the ‘taboo’ HIV / Aids not bring surprise. Since January, Amercrisis. We must continica has suffered over 280 mass shootings ue to address the sigand this number is only set to rise as the nificance of the issue year continues. Instead of reforming the and praise those brave laws, America is simply preparing itself enough to speak out. for the next attack. Schools are being ret their conference in September, the designed to reduce casualties from school Josh West Labour Party announced they would shootings, and Trump has mentioned the abolish UK private schools and equally possibility of arming teachers with guns. redistribute their assets; and it’s about This is a focus on minimising the impacts, damn time. Of the 8 million students at 24,000 schools in Britain, rather than solving the problem. The only 6.5 % are privileged enough to attend 2,600 private schools. answer to reducing gun violence is not Not only do these charge £17,000 per-year an easy one, but it is necessary. America on average, their ‘charitable status’ means needs to put people before profits and they don’t pay any taxes, a possible £150 start fighting the problem at its roots. million a year; this means struggling and Olivia Warr cuts, leaving state schools with a 1:22 teacher-student ratio that pay taxes in full whilst select ivory towers with millions in private funding and a 1:9 teacher-student ratio pay nothing at all. What is this but Victorian elitism? Private schools maintain an archaic ometimes in life, everyday injustices rattle us tradition that the richest in society get the most. And for students across the country, few best teachers, the best resources and, coninjustices vex like those wrought by Circuit Launsequently, the best jobs; snuffing our future dry, a company more interested in rinsing us of intelligentsia and professionals. And peoes, we are democratour money than dirt from our clothes. Students living on ple wonder why this country is in a mess. ic. It is no surprise, campus are forced to pay £4 for one load of clothing to however, that recent be washed and dried, and it does not have to be this way. events regarding In September 2017, the University of Leeds became the Brexit and a call for a ‘People’s Vote’ have raised first in the country to remove laundry charges. If Leeds this question. The UK may be going through tucan remove this burden, there is no reason The Univermultuous political times, and political parties may sity of Kent cannot too. We have been hung out to dry be experiencing internal turmoil, however we still by the combined malevolent forces of money-grubbing live in a democracy. Our Parliament is called ‘the student accommodation, and by Circuit – a company so mother of all Parliaments’, and rightly so. Democevil it would move Al Capone to appreciatively doff his racy in the UK has endured for centuries and nevFedora from the fires of Hell. We must demand change, er succumbed to totalitarian dictators or fallen to because clean clothing is not a luxury, but a basic need. a power-hungry monarch. There are many aspects of our system to be proud of. Yet there are issues within our democratic system, of course. Irrespective of one’s personal political affiliation, it is difficult to argue that we do not live in a democratic system. Parliament is front and centre of national attention, and the purpose and use of direct democracy is very much being considered in the political discourse of the day. I hope it continues.
American gun violence is a dreadful epidemic, but is no surprise
Eton mess: Britain’s feudal education system
Leeds students do their laundry for free – why can’t we?
Are we democratic?
Photo by OpenClipart
Winter 2019 IQ
Breaking down barriers
WORDS BY Lucy O’Brien Recounting her experiences of applying to the University of Oxford as a state school pupil from a low performing school, Lucy O’Brien describes the deeply institutionalised glass ceiling of state school culture that is holding back its students from applying to top ranking universities.
pplying to the University of Oxford was one of the hardest and most stressful experiences of my adult life. I, alongside my close friend, was the first from my school (to my knowledge) to have ever applied to Oxbridge. The school I attended was one of the lowest ranking institutions in my local borough, constantly outperformed by the grammar schools that towered over it. However, being on track for my predicted 3 A’s at A-Level, my 17-year-old-self decided to take the plunge and go for it. I had no idea then of the barriers I would come to face, not only at my school but also within myself. Though the number of state-sector pupils applying to Oxbridge has increased over recent years, the statistics are omissive of the ways that state-school culture creates an environment of alienation and exclusion from top-tier institutions. This, as I found out, may come to affect my application. When I first revealed that I was pursuing my interest in Oxford, I was met with a sea of surprised and shocked responses. The most common being: “Wow, that is going to be hard.” This was swiftly followed by “Oxford? That’s for posh people”. For a school in south-east London that had no ties to any top Russell Group university, Oxbridge did seem more of a rich fantasy land than a reality. Nevertheless, my friend and I looked past the comments and had our eyes set on Oxford. With the support of my family, friends and the few teachers that I confided in throughout my application process, I felt surprisingly calm and normal in my decision. This was to change. Despite my best efforts and a minority of teacher support, my IQ Winter 2019
school was not equipped to fully aid my application process. My inquiry to sit the ELAT (the English Literature Admissions Test) at my school was denied, despite it being necessary to my advancement in the admissions process because just one student sitting it would cost too much for the school to validate. I then had to sit it at a neighbouring grammar school, surrounded by pupils that had been normalised into the Oxbridge application process for years and having had role models from their school to encourage them. It is hard to convey now the level of frustration I felt. Despite the feeling of alienation, I managed to pass the exam as well as the essay-submission stage and made it to an on-site interview. Of course, I was congratulated by my school, but what started as a sincere moment of pride quickly turned into a marketing tool. My friend and I were soon to become a selling point at open evenings and prospective student visits. This only added to the pressure. Coming from a school where no one had previously applied, my interview preparation was left completely in the dark. I was left feeling more out of my depth than ever. Going to the University of Oxford left me both in awe and in fear. On the one hand, I saw the prospect of my potential future standing before me, but on the other, the tall, centuries-old buildings graced with years of infamous academics only reminded me of how far from the Oxford lifestyle I truly was. It was intimidating to say the least. The experience, however daunting, was one I will never forget; to talk about my favourite literature with academics at the top of the field was once in a lifetime. Months later, I received the all-important letter that would either make me an offer or reject my advancement in the process. As a Kent student, I am sure it is evident what the letter read. However, looking back, I remember feeling disappointed not for myself and my personal failure, but for not being the girl who finally made it to Oxbridge from my school. I did
not care about disappointing myself, but for not being the success story that my school had hoped for. In hindsight, I am glad that I applied to Oxford. It helped me become the student and the person that I am today. I know now that the University would not have been a good fit for me as a person. My choice to come to Kent was the right one. The experience of applying to Oxford, though, highlighted to me so many issues that the statistics cannot convey. It is not the abilities or ambitions of stateschool pupils that holds them back from applying to top institutions, it is the way that state school underachievement and settling for less has been normalised. The marginalisation of non-grammar schools or non-independently educated students from places like Oxford is much more deep-rooted than what it appears. Students do not apply because they do not see it as a place that they could achieve; constantly out of reach and a place for the socially elite. We must work to break down social and economic barriers in order to encourage students in such environments to believe in their abilities and provide their respective schools with the means to aid them. This means more than just facilities and introducing programmes, it means changing the self-defeating attitude of many state school cultures. I did not get into the University of Oxford, but I am proud of what I was able to do and learn in the process. The ideas it had planted in my mind can truly affect how you view yourself, your aspirations and your future. It exposed me to a state school culture that holds itself back. If nothing else, educational institutions must find new ways to make students, no matter their socio-economic background or place of learning, feel as though no place is off-limits. No place is “too posh” to aspire to. Only then will the barriers preventing certain disadvantaged students from reaching, or even envisaging, their academic goals start to break down.
The marginalisation of non-grammar school or nonindependently educated students from places like Oxford University is much more deep-rooted than it appears.
OPINION “Wait, what?”
hat was my reaction and the reaction of countless other students on 11 May 2018 when I picked up a copy of InQuire to find that the University of Kent had dropped nineteen places from 25th to 44th in the Complete University Guide rankings. This already nonsensical position got worse, dropping again to 49th this year. The Guardian appears even more draconian in its rankings, dropping us a whole thirty places from 35th last year to 65th this year. I repeat, SIXTY FIFTH. I do not quite know if the examiners, investigators or whoever the hell these people employ to degrade seats of learning went to the same university as us. If they had they certainly would not rank us this harshly. When I arrived at Kent i n 2016, it was 16th in t h e country, above such institutions as Birmingham, UEA, and Edinburgh. I disregarded the small slip to 23rd during my first year, taking it as a natural occurrence of a constantly shifting league table. But the sudden drops in my second and third years caused me to look back and ask, over the past three years, what has changed? The answer: very little. For me, this University is still as good as it was when I first got here. We are still in the top ten in the UK for American Studies, Forensic Science, Italian, Linguistics and Marketing. Naturally, it must fall to me to reassert our Top 20 ranking within English higher education. “Consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes”. These were the words that the Teaching Excellence Framework (TES) used to describe teaching at Kent when they rated us Gold, one of only 29 universities to earn such an accolade. When they are not striking (for perfectly honourable reasons no doubt) Kent’s lecturers and staff are the perfect
mixes of Oxbridge professionalism and expertise, and secondary school supportiveness and understanding; masters of their fields but without the additional ego. Do not doubt it, our lecturers are some of the most notable minds in their subjects. In the School of History we have Prof. Kenneth Fincham, Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society; our School of Politics and IR houses Prof. Matthew Goodwin, author of the seminal National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, the definitive account of the rise of politicians like Trump; the list goes on. As for attentiveness, Kent’s own Dr. Juliet Anderson was the inaugural winner of the Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching. Of course, not all of our staff are perfect, every university has its bad eggs. Overall, Kent students should count themselves lucky to have such amazing and accessible tutors. With the environment in crisis, Kent (specifically Canterbury) should take pride in being one of the UK’s biggest garden campuses, set in 300 acres of parkland. Voted (by students, not some stuffy official) 19th in Student Crowd’s Top UK Campuses 2018 for its “very beautiful” campus. Kent virtually has its own ecosystem of ponds, woods, fields to relax in (do not knock it during exam season) and hills to ruin your legs walking up to c a m p u s . D a v i d Attenborough could have a honeymoon here. Despite the University’s best intentions to put a hotel on one of the fields, and do not even get me started on the deforestation currently happening across campus, Kent has managed to build a reputation as the Centre Parcs of universities; where else could you see a warren of rabbits or a seagull-detecting hawk on your way to lectures? Alongside its natural beauty, Kent features basically every amenity a student would need; a bank, a medical centre, two Co-ops and more cafes and bars than a Parisian high street. If you really wanted to, or are a massive introvert and la-
Kent is still a top 20 university to me zily get groceries delivered, you need never leave campus all year, or at least until you get evicted. You then need a place on campus to live; I admire the accommodation at Kent. Some of my happiest memories happened in my little 5-bedroom house in Homestall Court or predrinks at Tyler Court (I never had posh enough friends to visit in Turing). I shan’t lie and say I do not think Darwin is rotten, or that Rutherford and Eliot are not unnavigable mazes (but do not believe the hoax that they were designed by an architect of Colombian prisons); each accommodation serves its purpose. At the top tier is Turing and Keynes, modern, open-planned and perfect for the pampered or rich amongst us. For those wanting the ‘authentic’ halls experience with a little less cash, there is Eliot and Rutherford (just do not get lost). If you like living in a house (like myself) or away from the noise (and people) of campus, then secluded and n e i g h bourly Parkwood is perfect. From socialites to seclusion-seekers, poshos to paupers, there is a room for you on campus. It is not the Ritz or the gilded halls of Cambridge and Oxford, but what student wants that? Let’s not kid ourselves and pretend we are not all at University to get a good job; it’s the reason why 80% of us are here, the other 20% are here because they just fancied it. Kent’s Careers and Employability Service is a jewel in our crown, helping us with interviews, CVs, cover letters and networking whilst also running numerous employability events throughout the year. Whilst a pain to use and understand, the Employability Points scheme allows us to access some worthy internships and placements, but only if you live in the local area in the summer and not three hours away in Northampton. It is all well and good having a First from Oxbridge, but if you have not got the employability skills or experiences that we can access here at Kent, what good is it? Indeed, some schools at Kent have some of the best employability statistics in the country, with our School of English ranked 6th for graduate employment, even above Oxford. However, if Kent does deserve to be 65th, it is for our student union. Our sabbatical officers appear more interested in representing themselves on social media or the national stage than we students to the University. Indeed, it only
represents 12% of students, the percentage that could be arsed to go and vote last March; so much so that if you ask a Kent student about the union, I guarantee they’ll say “Kent Union, what’s that?” Think of any great moment or achievement of Kent, the Union would have had nothing to do with it. It’s humiliating to admit that the most ground-breaking thing Kent Union has done in the past three years was cocking-up Black History Month 2016 by using Sadiq Khan and Zayne Malik to promote it, causing a national scandal and consequently branded “a national embarrassment”. Why is our university 65th? Our crash in 2018 was for two reasons. Firstly, the increase in our teacher-student ratio to 1:18. Secondly, student and staff satisfaction were taken during the UCU strikes when neither striking tutors or teacher-less students were particularly satisfied. Our continued decline has two schools of thought; the official argues it is because Kent is in the middle of a huge reformation, whilst I argue it is simply because the leagues’ judges are so blinded by ‘Research Quality’ or ‘Facilities Spend’ to see the real wonder of the campuses they visit. A university is so much more than ratios and research. It is the status and helpfulness of its teachers, it is the state of its campus, it is where their students live and whether its students can get a job afterwards. In all these fields, Kent is exemplary. Its employment of great minds, its forests and rolling hills, the opportunities it offers its students all place it in the top tier of higher education. No, we are not Oxford or UCL, but we are still amazing. We stand for the modern, diverse and egalitarian university, and we are certainly not sixty-bloody-fifth! I love this university, so do not dare try to convince me it is not still in the top 20.
Josh West Photo by The University of Kent | Facebook Winter 2019 IQ
Photo by Pixaby
Words by Olivia Warr
IQ Winter 2019
trients, I am a lot more aware of what I need to be putting into my body. I eat a lot more vegetables and legumes than I used to, and they are often varied to ensure I am getting the right nutrients. This is not something I ever really looked at doing before becoming a vegetarian, so it is probable that I am getting a much more balanced diet now that I am mindful of what I eat. Health is really important, and the number of people relying on unhealthy food is growing rapidly. It is important to know what we need to eat in order to grow and remain healthy; something that many people, like myself before I became vegetarian, do not really put much thought into. It is important to note that vegetarianism does not automatically equate to being healthy. Certainly, at the start of my diet change, I relied on a lot of cheap meat substitutes and cheese that were often mane. Livestock is often transhigh in salt and fat. ported in crowded and uncomThis definitely made my diet unfortable conditions, sometimes healthier as it is not sustainable for hours on end. Once animals to constantly live off these types reach the slaughterhouse, they of food. However, over time, I have are stunned in an effort to elimlearnt how to get enough from usinate pain. This is regularly inefing fresh foods and the right subfective and brings further stress stitutes. Vegetarianism has made and harm to the animal. By beme take a better look at the foods coming a vegetarian, I am rethat I eat and the different nutriducing my involvement in these ents that I need. Although there practises. This does not mean that are some days where I probably everyone should cut out meat do not get every recommended completely, this is just someintake of the things I need, this is thing that has worked well for me. probably not any different from There is no illusion produce that when I was eating meat. Vegetaricomes from animals is ethical eianism works differently for everyther. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, and one, but from my experience, it other dairy products can also has increased my general awarederive from animal cruelty. I am ness and care over what I eat. not vegan, but I do try and limit Vegetarianism is not a walk in the amount of dairy that I conthe park, but it is certainly a lot sume, as I am aware that animals easier to do now than ever becan be abused for their produce. fore. There are substitutes for Trying milk submost types of meat, stitutes or using “I am a lot more aware of as well as healthy vegan alternatives what I need to be putting recipes and meal are good ways into my body.” plans available onof being mindline and in superful of these issues. markets. Fast food, sweets, and A vegetarian diet is also comfamily Sunday roasts have been monly associated with a healththe hardest things for me personier lifestyle and I think this has ally, but these only have a small been the case for me. In a general weight compared to the posisense, vegetarianism has been tive effects. Vegetarianism is not related to health benefits such as something that should be forced a reduced risk of heart disease. onto anyone. Nobody should be The World Health Organisation pressured to change their eating warns that processed meat is a habits. However, it is important form of carcinogenic. Although that our society works towards this is a scientific theory, they are reducing the impact we have on not really related to me or my the environment, improving the experience with vegetarianism. conditions for animals and beWithout really feeling the benecoming more aware of how food fits of these, I have instead found relates to our health. Becoming a much more general improvevegetarian, or simply cutting ment of my health over the last down on meat, can really make seven months. Because meat is a a difference to these issues and huge source of protein, iron, vitaeducating ourselves on how we min B12, and other important nucan further tackle them is crucial.13
is a choice that can actively benefit this. n April earlier this year, I cut There are, of course, out all meat from my diet other ways that we and joined the increasing can do our bit for the number of Britons who fit into environment. We can the category of vegetarian or travel sensibly, revegan. This lifestyle has rightfulduce our waste, and ly increased in popularity over become more diligent the last decade and the number in just looking at the of people cutting down on meat carbon footprint of consumption is growing rapidly. the things we do on Personally, becoming a vegea day to day basis. tarian has worked really well. I did If cutting out meat altogether not consume a huge amount of is not something that is mainmeat in the first place, especialtainable or healthy for every ly when I was away from home. individual, then simply cutting A vegetarian diet can be a good down on meat will still play a big way of reducing the harmful imrole in helping the environment. pact that meat production has Animal welfare is another cruon the environment, it actively cial motivation behind my dediscourages ancision to adopt “Fast food, sweets and family imal cruelty, a vegetarian Sunday roasts have been the and can be diet. Overall, the healthier. It is so hardest things for me personal- practice of eatessential to con- ly, but these only have a small ing meat is not sider and en- weight compared to the positive inherently bad. gage with these A lion that kills effects.” issues. However, and eats a gait is understandable and imporzelle in the wild, for example, is tant to acknowledge that a vegnot committing an act of crueletarian diet is not for everybody. ty. However, the process involved Awareness of the issues surin obtaining the, often cheaper, rounding our environment and meats we see on supermarket the climate have become more shelves is commonly a different accessible over the last few years story. This is not the case for all and especially in 2019. From Greta meat and many farmers are enThunberg to Extinction Rebellion, suring that their produce is ethiwe are seeing more protests and cal, but as the population of Britrecognition of how we can reduce ain grows so does the demand. our carbon footprint. According This has led to a huge expansion to The Guardian, cutting down on of factory farming. Animals from meat consumption is the biggest factory farms are often bred seway to reduce our individual envilectively and kept in very small ronmental impact. The planet has enclosures, with little room to reached a climate emergency and move or lie down. This treatment cutting down on meat is a good of animals is appalling but it is way for us to try and do our bit also very easy to overlook. As a to reduce the effects. The Universtudent, when purchasing meat, sity of Cambridge has removed I would often go for cheaper beef and lamb from their food options. Buying meat that has outlets, which are the two types been attained through poor anof meat that produce the most imal welfare does not mean that amounts of greenhouse gases. we are bad people; most of the This has reduced its food-related blame lies with the producers carbon-emissions by a third. This and the system. We can, howevgoes to show how significant a er, educate ourselves more about part the vegetarian diet can play these issues and take action in a on reducing the repercussions of bid to stop the terrible conditions climate change. It is vital that we of animals raised for our plates. are all doing our bit to help the The way in which animals are planet, and going vegetarian slaughtered can also be inhu-
Why I became a vegetarian
“We’ll all die together.” Words by Ellie Macieira-Fielding Newspaper Feature Editor Photography by Aslan Ntumba Ozer and Harriet Vickers
Abigail Smith, 21-year-old, Kent student, tells her heartbreaking story of her and her families’ experience with domestic abuse. Her story is traumatic, powerful and emotional. Sadly, it is just one of millions. A model was used for this photo to respect the subject’s anonimity and is in no way related to the real subject
lowly, he edged her towards the door. She felt the cold tip of the knife touching the small of her back. “Tell her everything’s okay. Make it convincing.” She let out a small cry as she tried to compose herself. With a trembling hand, she opened the door and faked a smile to her best friend. Domestic abuse has many faces. For Abigail Smith [fake name], that face was her father’s. For her mother, that face was her partner’s. For many others, it could be a husband, a wife, a mother, a sibling, or a stepparent. Over 70% of recently surveyed Kent students have been involved in or have witnessed domestic abuse. Nearly a third (63%) admitted they had been physically or mentally damaged by family. These figures are staggering. It means that the majority of Kent students could have gone through domestic trauma. Whilst the statistics may be shocking, they do not show the full picture. In an emotion-
al interview, Abigail Smith, a 21-yearold student, reveals the intimate details of her story for the first time in her life. For as long as she could remember, Abigail’s parents always fought: “A large percentage of my childhood consisted of me sitting on the staircase with my teddy, listening to my parents argue. Waiting for my older brother to take me to his room so I couldn’t hear the screaming anymore.” Abigail’s mother, Sofia [fake name], had been unknowingly stuck in an abusive relationship for years. After speaking to several survivors over the past few weeks, it seems that many are. Due to the common misconception that domestic abuse has to be physically aggressive, it makes it very difficult to know whether you are being mistreated. Yet, mental and emotional abuse is often just as bad, if not, worse than physical violence. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 61% of reported domestic abuse cases in 2018 were non-violent. Typical non-violent abusive behaviours include being controlling, coercive, threatening, and economically and emotionally abusive.
Even at the beginning of Abigail’s parents’ relationship, her dad showed signs of controlling behaviour. It began with him picking her mum up from work or events at unplanned times. “My mum just thought he was being really considerate but that wasn’t it. He wanted to know where she was and who she was with twenty-four seven.” His behaviour began to escalate. He would phone bars in the city until he found out which one she was in, even phoning work colleagues continuously to find out what she was doing. Abigail informed me that as the years went on her father got much worse. In an attempt to isolate Sofia, he began dictating how long she could see her friends and family. That would always cause a scene when she fought back. This led her to give in to his demands to save herself from his embarrassment and anger. Unfortunately for Sofia, she experienced both psychological and physical abuse. It was not until she tried to leave many years later that he got physically aggressive. It began in 2005. Abigail was 7-years-old and living abroad with her
mother and brother, whilst her dad, temporarily, continued to work in England. For four days every month he would come and spend time with his family. “My mum would dread those days.” Over the years, Abigail’s dad had developed a cocaine addiction. This made him paranoid, irrational, emotional, and overtly hypersexual. “Of course, I didn’t know that at the time, it wasn’t until recently that my mum told me that he would ask her to do sexual things she was uncomfortable with. She would never agree to them, but this just made him get angry and say things like: ‘What’s wrong with you? This is what normal couples do.’” Abigail emphasised that as much as he was affected by the drugs, he already had something ingrained in him. “He was already very controlling, with a highly addictive and jealous personality.” In the early months of 2005, Abigail’s dad attempted to commit suicide in front of his family after her mum threatened to leave him. “He was drinking. Allday. And taking a lot of pills.” She paused. “At some point, I heard a scream from my nan. I ran into the bedroom to see
FEATURES her lying across my dad who lay unconscious on the bed. She was screaming and crying, my brother was also crying, and I was just still. I was in shock, I think. Just watching the scene unfold like a movie. What’s a seven-year-old supposed to make of that?” This was the start of a very difficult year for the family. After the attempted suicide, Sofia couldn’t look at her partner in the same way. “He reached out to her when he woke up from his coma in hospital. But my mum didn’t reach back. She hated him for what he had done.” Abigail disclosed. Prior to this incident, they had been fighting even more than usual. With him being addicted to cocaine, struggling financially, and in a separate country most of the time, the fights only got worse. “He wasn’t really trying to kill himself. He was trying to trap my mum into staying with him, and it worked.” A common sign of being in an abusive relationship is entrapment. Whether it’s financial, paternal, or simply love. An abuser will hold it over you so that you cannot leave. For Sofia, love had been gone for a long time. Many would ask: “Why did she not leave if she was not in love?” This is a very complicated question for a lot of victims. Abigail’s response to this was simple and clear: “He didn’t make it easy. My mum might not have loved him at this point, but she did once upon a time. Imagine, the man you used to love telling you how sorry he is, how he will change, crying, begging, and pleading with you. Knowing that he would go to the extreme of ending his life if they didn’t stay together. Knowing he could do it in front of your sevenyear-old daughter. His daughter. How can people say it’s easy to leave that?” For other victims, it could be even more complicated. Other survivors have admitted to their abuser having financial control over them, leaving them homeless if they left or the fear of losing their children if they left. There are countless reasons that complicate the situation that many who have not experienced it would not understand. The thought of Sofia leaving only made her partner act worse. “That year was horrible, for my whole family. There are countless moments that I could talk about including my mum jumping out of a moving car to save herself from him, my brother breaking my dad’s arm to save my mum, seeing my dad and my brother circling the sofa holding a knife and a bat. All I could do was watch.” The events that Abigail told me were heart-breaking. Things that no child should experience. The list went on, but there was one weekend that was particularly frightening that she wanted to share with me. “We had just picked my dad up from the airport and I told him that we had a lot of fun with mum’s new friends who sing in a local show. After I told him this, he just switched. My mum explained that they were all gay, no one
was having any kind of affair, but he still switched.” As soon as her father heard that Sofia was spending time with other men, he got out of the car and slammed the door. To this day, Abbie admits that she still feels like she was the trigger to a distressing few days: “Maybe if I hadn’t have said that, the weekend that followed wouldn’t have been as harrowing.” Later, he returned to their house drunk and raging. “He came in screaming and threatening. He was backing my mum into corners, pushing and shoving her and then he grabbed her by the throat. He began to strangle her against the kitchen counter. I don’t remember why I was awake, probably because of the noise. But I saw everything. He knew I saw, but he didn’t care.” Paul [fake name], Abigail’s brother, had enough. As a child, Paul received a lot of abuse from Abbie’s father, as he was his stepson. He was 16 and at the sight of his mother being strangled by their abuser and the sight of his little sister screaming, he knew he had to stop it. “My brother is our hero. He has been many times in the past and he still is.” Abigail told me with a smile. Paul picked up his baseball bat and started to hit her father as he told his mother to take his little sister and run. “My mum didn’t want to leave her son with my dad, but she was frightened, and she didn’t really have a choice, so she took me, and we ran to her best friend’s house.” As they took refuge in the home of their family friend, they thought they were safe. “It had been a few hours, it was late. My brother had gotten away safely and left my dad to calm down.” At around 1 in the morning, there was bangi n g on the d o o r. “It was so loud, and he w a s threatening to kick it down if we didn’t open u p , so we did. He came in, took me, and left. I still don’t remember where we went. All I remember is sitting in his car as he passed me the phone and said, ‘say goodbye to mummy’.” Threatening behaviour is common among domestic abusers. Abbie’s dad did not hurt her or her mother late that night. He returned Abbie home a few hours later. But Sofia went through something worse than being hit. She went through the intense fear of losing her seven-yearold daughter, for hours. This kind of psychological torture is what makes many victims too scared to leave. The next day, Sofia realised she did not have any of her belongings. She decided to go back to the house, in the hope that he would have sobered up, to retrieve their things. She found him unconscious on the bed, the room littered with empty bottles. “To this day, my heart races when my mum tells me the story of what happened to her. It’s awful. No one should ever experience that.”
“I saw everything. He knew I saw, but he didn’t care.”
Abigail told me that her father was pretending to sleep. He grabbed Sofia, tied her to the bed and began stabbing the mattress with a carving knife, only just missing her body with each stab. “It went on for about ten minutes. Each time he would say things like ‘Abbie is going to be an orphan’.” In a desperate attempt to save her life she began pleading, telling him anything she thought he wanted to hear: “We can make this work. I’m sorry. I love you. I don’t have to spend time with anyone else.” A knock on the door s a v e d her life. He untied her. Slowly, he edged her towards the door. He put the knife to her back and said “Tell her everything’s okay. Make it convincing.” With a trembling hand, she opened the door and faked a smile to her best friend. But her friend knew better. She called Paul immediately, who came running to the house and kicked down the door. “Once again, my brother saved my mum. When he went in, he saw the ties on the bed, and he went crazy and punched him.” Again, Paul told his mum to run. Again, she did. Eventually, his stepdad calmed down. Paul stayed with him all day as he cried, pleaded, and apologised. Telling him how sorry he was, what an awful person he was and how much he loved Sofia. It got too much for Paul. He was only sixteen and his relationship with his stepdad was complicated. After a while, he phoned his mum and told her that they should meet to sort it out and that he was sober, and she would be safe. Reluctantly, Sofia agreed, and they arranged to meet in the car park of their building, bringing Abbie with her. “Unfortunately, the next part of the story is the worst. He kidnapped us. He asked us to get in the car so he could talk it out with my mum and before we knew it, the doors were locked and he was driving down the motorway like a lunatic, swerving from lane to lane. My mum was screaming and crying hysterically while I was is in the back of the car. He told us that he was driving us across the border and that we would ‘all die together’.” Fortunately for Abigail and her mother, he had to stop for petrol. As he opened his door Sofia ran. “It was all such a blur, as if it was happening in slow-motion. My mum ran in and shouted for help, the man working there took her in and my dad ran back to the car, which I was still in. As he began to drive off, I felt my mum grab my legs and drag me out of the moving car. He left, with all four doors wide open. It was the most traumatic day of my life.” The police found his car at the airport the following day. He had fled the country directly after his failed kidnapping attempt. “I know that in many instances the police aren’t particularly helpful with domestic cases
but in ours they were great. I think that’s partly due to the fact it was in a different country and partly because what happened that weekend was so extreme,” Abigail said. The police had been outraged at what had happened to the family. They phoned Sofia every day for months and issued an injunction so that Abbie’s dad could no longer come back into the country. That did not mean they did not hear from Abigail’s father again. He would phone Sofia often and threaten her, telling her he could find other ways to get to her. Telling her to “watch out” and that he was going to “throw acid in [her] face”. For a long time, the family lived in fear, scared to turn a corner on the street. That is the power an abuser has. Abigail’s story is just one out of millions. Attempts to improve the laws relating to domestic abuse have suffered numerous setbacks in recent years. Proposed changes in legislation to prevent perpetrators cross-examining victims in the family courts were initially included in the Prisons and Courts Bill 2017, which was abandoned when Theresa May called the 2017 general election. A number of measures were then included in the Domestic Abuse Bill, which was finally introduced to parliament in July this year, but charities and campaigners are seeking assurances that the legislation will not be dropped again in the current political turmoil. Many campaigners are asking the question: “Is this bill enough?” I spoke to Becky Wyatt, the University of Kent’s Wellbeing Adviser, who specialises in domestic abuse and sexual assault. She told me: “We need to be educating children a lot better and at a younger age.” Perhaps, if measures were taken to do this, children would grow up knowing how to have a respectful relationship and how to handle it when they find themselves going through abuse. Abigail is now in her final year at Kent. Her family is doing well, and they often sit back and laugh at the chaos that happened many years ago, but that does not mean the mental scar that it left them with will ever go away. Even after Sofia undertook 9 months of therapy. “My mum and brother really struggle with showing emotion now. I think they disassociate quite a lot. I was younger, so for me, it is not as bad, but sometimes I remember things and it unsettles me. I often get anxiety and growing up I was very shy and very quiet, social situations were very difficult for me. And all three of us try to avoid loud or argumentative environments. I’ve managed to overcome a lot of it. To be honest, what choice did I have? The best revenge you can take is to live a full and happy life. We are not weak. We will not use our status as victims as an excuse. We are survivors.”
“It was the most traumatic day of my life.”
SURVIVOR STORIES FEATURES
Abigail Smith’s story is heartbreaking, moving, and terrifying. The amount of reported domestic abuse cases has risen 23% in the last year. Every story is different, and every story is complicated. It’s not black and white. Over several weeks, I met up with a few of Kent’s very own survivors as they, bravely, share their story. Models and fake names have been used for the following profiles, expect Angela who did not want to be anonymous.
EMMA, 21: “I was born into an abusive home. My mother fled with my older brother and me; first when I was three-years-old and permanently when I was five years old. My father is an abusive and narcissistic man, who specialised in mental abuse and death threats. That’s not to say he didn’t physically abuse my mother or brother or wasn’t sexually inappropriate with me. It’s the latter
have at three or twenty-three years old for that matter. To add insult to injury, the patterns that I’ve developed at that young age still persist in my day to day life. When I was younger, I would sense tension and try to break it with a joke or a change of topic (for as far as a five-year-old can change a conversation). I still try to break tension today, even to the extent that I will insert myself into a potentially dangerous situation I have no business being in. It’s painful to see how often people casually use domestic abuse stories or even joke about them. These people don’t usually know what it’s actually like, which is not a bad thing, but the
50% things that actually stuck with me from that age. I do remember ‘him’ being cruel and punishing my brother for no reason at all. I remember the inappropriate stuff. I remember my mom’s pain, tears and heartache in the houses we stayed after we left. I remember getting to skip school to go see the child protection service. I remember saying over and over again that “no, I did NOT want to see my father again”. I remember him showing up at my school’s musical and me hiding behind the stage crying. I remember being 16 and him showing up in front of my house, resulting in me being too scared to go to school by myself. I don’t remember everything, but I know I have felt more than I should 16
real; others are graphic, and I hope they are not real. I’m given hints of what happened to me through the habits I have today; locking my bedroom door every night and flinching from people if I am in a bad mindset. I have anxiety towards certain things, which I only discovered when I became sexually active. I had a panic attack for the first time, to my recollection, with my boyfriend. I don’t know why I reacted like that, but my body just shut down on me. I still don’t know why; I can assume but I don’t want to. My mother finally divorced
of reported domestic incidents were not recorded as a crime in 2018
fact people are so uneducated can be a real struggle. It’s hard to casually confront people with their ignorance while not having to go down the rabbit hole of my own twisted past. Luckily that’s not a battle I have to fight alone.”
THEA, 21: “Most of my childhood is a black hole of experiences and memories. Trauma at a young age can cause this; the blocking of memories. Some are hazy and I’m not sure if they are
my father when I was 10 years old, the damage was done but at least we were free of him. He died 2 years ago, but there is still a part of my mind that expects him to come back. I think such thoughts will always be with me. The police did nothing all those 10 years, they spent a long time in our house, they didn’t resolve or help much, maybe it was because we lived in such a small town. We were moved into council housing many times because of the screaming of me and my mother. Our family was too far away to help, and friends were kept at a distance. People knew what happened in our house, they knew from the black eyes my mother had and the fact
that I was so shut down and odd as a child. My childhood will always be with me and be a part of me, but over the years I have been able to let it go bit by bit with the help of close friends and loved ones. The key thing I needed to do was talk about it and open up to people. It took a long time, but I finally did. And I think I can qualify for almost a normal person today because of it. Awareness needs to be raised about domestic abuse because it leaves a lifelong scar on those it is aimed at. The sooner you get away from the abusive situation, the better chance there is of living a life with only some trauma scars.”
Winter 2019 IQ
“For 11 years I had to go through emotional abuse by my stepdad. I am not his daughter, I am different. I’m not a typical teenager, which scared him because he didn’t know how to handle me, he would always pick on me, treat me differently to how he treated his own daughter, my sister. Never in the company of my mum, or his family. Having to act like everything was normal whenever we were outside the home was hard. I don’t like to say the names that he called me; I never say the swear words he used to shout at me. I didn’t know what it was or that it was wrong till I was in Year 10. I was one of the
I have developed a mental hatred for alcohol because I hate how it changes people’s personalities. I think it’s important to raise awareness because domestic abuse isn’t just about physical abuse, it’s also emotional and verbal abuse by a family relative. Emotional abuse is always the silent one as it’s all in the head, not many people could guess that I was going through this. I was lucky that I got the help I need, but I know that for some this isn’t the case and anything to raise awareness about this is important no matter what the situation.”
“Growing up in an abusive environment is horrible. It affects the rest of your life. I know that if things were different if I lived in a “happy” family
I want all the victims reading this, especially the men, to know that it can get better and it’s okay to feel. You just need to take that first step and talk to someone. My problems will never go away, but I can help myself deal with them better and you can too.”
“What people don’t realise is how much influence someone can have on you. I got told I was stupid, I was getting Alzheimer’s, my cooking is rubbish, what I was wearing looked horrible. Everything you do is negative, and you start to believe it. You just think ‘okay well I’m married now, and I just have to live with it.’ I got married at 18, we had our first child one year later
2 years before I could start talking about it without crying. I’m 7 years post fleeing and I’m happy. I have a life and a wonderful new husband. Now I’m an advocate for a domestic abuse charity in Tunbridge Wells called DAVSS. I’m a mature student studying law here at Kent. I couldn’t afford legal advice and I had to navigate the law system myself. I’d like to offer as much help and support as I possibly can. The system is ignorant, it needs to change. Teaching kids about domestic abuse in secondary school is too late. These behaviours need to be known about by the time you’re in year 6. If you think it might be abuse, seek help. I don’t know where my first husband is now, and I don’t care but if I saw him in the street I would still freeze. My daughters and I cannot cope with loud or ‘shouty’ atmospheres, it leaves you with terrible anxiety. There is a scar. It’s a real mental scar, I can’t say it will ever go away. For those who think they might be going through this: trust your instincts. Trust in yourself that you can do better.”
fortunate ones who got noticed at school for not performing well, I eventually told my teacher about everything that was going on at home, the worse seemed like it was over, but I knew better. As a result, my mum divorced him, he threatened us with a custody battle and once he disowned me from his family during the middle of my GCSE’s. I still had to see him because he saw himself as a good dad. I would get nervous about being there on my own and there were a few occasions where I had to leave his house because he was being horrible again. Everyone kept telling me it was my choice to decide if I wanted to see him, but only I knew that it’s not as simple as that and the repercussions would be worse. I now suffer from severe anxiety, and IQ Winter 2019
home, I wouldn’t have the problems I do today. I’m terrified of everything. I have severe anxiety, depression, I don’t trust people and I suffer from disassociation. As a man this makes me feel weak. There’s a reason why it seems like domestic abuse doesn’t happen to men, it’s because we don’t talk about it. Because of toxic masculinity, there is a complex which makes it shameful for us to talk about. But it happens. I grew up watching my dad hurt my mum all the time. Physically and psychologically. Seeing your mum crying on the floor, in the corner of a room as a kid is really traumatising. He never cared about me. I would sit alone in my room and my heart would be racing if I heard his footsteps approaching, not being able to take any more of his verbal aggression. I was never really a masculine kid. I like art and being creative and when he found out he slapped me, spat on me and told me that I wasn’t his son. My mum was with him for eight years, but it took her three to leave him, with the help of the police. Admittedly, they were useless at getting him convicted or even arrested but they did help my mum leave. I don’t know where he is now, and I really don’t care. People have to understand that domestic abuse is so common, I guarantee you that if you haven’t experienced it yourself you have a friend or neighbour who has or is. It’s not a simple situation, it’s complicated and distressing. I’m doing this because
when I was 19 and that was it, I was trapped. Because you’re reliant on your husband to provide for you. You just become the slave to the master. That’s how it works. The misconception of domestic abuse is that you get hit. I was never hit, I might’ve been pushed and shoved but I wasn’t hit. The way you look, the way you dress, the way you speak, the way you act, even down to what you’re going to eat is controlled. Nobody should be controlled like that. I was married for 23 years. I tried to leave, I left for 3 months. ‘I’ll change. I’ll be better.’ he said. The reality was extremely different, I was punished for leaving. We had CCTV on the house, and I was monitored day and night., All calls were redirected through to him and everything was in his name. I could have anything. I had to ask for petrol money to take the kids to school. When my daughters were born, I actually sent a prayer out saying, ‘dear God please let me die.’ When life gets so bad you just think I’m better off dead. That’s not a life. I had my light bulb moment Christmas 2012 after seeing a tweet that had an image of ‘The wheel of abuse’ and its eye-opening. If you can relate to more than half, you’re in an abusive relationship. And I ticked 11 out of the 12. I contacted a domestic abuse agency, but it took me 2 and a half years to leave. He hit me the day I left but the police just called it a domestic incident or ‘breach of peace’. I left and I was homeless for seven weeks, living on my mum and dad’s sofa. I have 5 children and 2 of them came with me because he had also been abusing them. For me, there should be no stigma. There should be no shame. It took
people experiencced domestic abuse in 2018
To read more, go to inquiremedia.co.uk
If you have been affected by any of the content in this feature or have been a victim of domestic abuse please contact any of the following: Student Wellbeing Services (H Block Keynes) Crisis drop-in sessions every weekday 14.00-16.00 Canterbury Nightline: 01227824848 Inform Kent (InK) at ink. kent.ac.uk to report a problem. Rising Sun Domestic Violence & Abuse Charity: 01227452852 #Respecttheno to talk, find out more about services or to find a safe community to be a part of. Becky Wyatt, Wellbeing Adviser (Sexual Assault and Harassment). R.F.Wyatt@ kent.ac.uk 17
as a disabled student
Isobel Simmons bravely shares her story about what it is like to go from Lacrosse to mobility loss in a matter of years. Words by Caitlin Casey Photography by Aslan Ntumba & Harriet Vikers
ne day, Isobel walks to her seminar. Four years later, she cannot get to it without having her blue badge, a disabled parking space, a stick to balance her, a lift nearby, and extra padding for seats. Her life has changed at university and she can no longer get to her seminar if she does not know what accessibility there is to support her. Isobel Simmons, a final year anthropology student, does not get out much. Not by choice, but because of a severe mobility disability that does not allow her to walk without pain, fatigue, and stress. This is not the same life for every disabled person, she is just one of the 14 million people with a disability in the UK. But her everyday life now includes the necessity of a walking stick for balance and needing a wheelchair on longer days out. By using various disability services at the University of Kent, she has been able to get out of the house slowly. Going back to her first year in 2016, Isobel was an able-bodied student, running around partaking in the life of a fresher, drinking, and even taking part in Woman’s Lacrosse. By the time she was in second year, Isobel had been elected Social Secretary of the sports club. She spent every Vensday putting on socials and drugging herself up with painkillers – from the advice of doctors – to disguise the damage that was going on, including sciatica and leg ache. After completing her year on painkillers and drugs, Isobel was only a few weeks into her year abroad in the Czech Republic when she realised the inevitable; she had to take a medical year out. Having been through multiple specialists and long waiting lists without any answers, she was in an inexplicable amount of pain. At the time, she did not care that she was disabled. She just wanted someone to help her. Using her year out to have private health appointments, as well as resting and recovering her body from the extent of the previous year of university, Isobel decided to come back to finish her degree. University is now a place of ability and motivation for Isobel, and the openminded communication with the people in her school and the Wellbeing Centre gave her the conviction to come back. “This has been the first bit of independence I’ve had in the past year. I still need support going anywhere new and I now work on a part-time course, but I feel comfortable speaking to these people at university and that means a lot to me. Now it feels like people understand.” Two years. That is how long it has taken for Isobel to get a possible diagnosis, an undefined link
FEATURES to what causes her disability and still, there has been no conclusion. There are links to multiple disorders – from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, connective tissue problem, and chronic illness, as well as persistent pelvic girdle and abdominal pain. Still no answer. Isobel does not underestimate her disability but staying at home laying down – not sitting – in her bed every day is what she calls a normal routine. Having the disability teams at university has enabled many students to get to their academic hours and being able to enjoy them too. Coming back, Isobel thought it was going to be increasingly difficult at university with the change in workload, the pressure to fit in, and attempts to get around to campus events. In actuality, Isobel does not see it like that. Now, she has been able to focus on her studies more than she did before. She has given herself something to think about because her life is not just doctors’ appointments and pain anymore. Through Inclusive Learning Plans (ILP) and disability services, Isobel has a range of resources to implement into her studies; these include the assistance of note-takers to attend sessions, as well as assistive technologies, mentoring, and support. These extra aids can be the difference between being able to study or not. Isobel uses the note-takers on a bad day when she cannot comprehend going out of the house and her mobility becomes too much, meaning she can continue her studies without worrying about attendance or participation. When being asked where she usually studies on campus, Isobel lets out a laugh. The only place she can study is her bed. Things are not always easy on campus. When Isobel found a rubbish skip in one of the disabled parking bays, all she could do was protested to the School of Anthropology. She assumed that her complaint would not make any difference. It was removed the next day with the help of anthropology’s disability team. Shelley Malekia, the Student Pastoral Support Co-ordinator, is passionate about accessibility on campus: “Everyone who works or studies here should be able to access all they need without a struggle. In this day and age, equality is so important but sadly it’s not a perfect world.” Having disabilities in her close family, Shelley has seen problems in accessibility first-hand. She tells me about the particular annoyance with Canterbury High Street where the architectural interest of buildings often restricts the change to more accessible buildings. Accessible toilets are placed around but not enough is being done to ensure new developments. She expressed to me her frustration with it, believing “because of listed buildings in Canterbury, accessibility isn’t a priority. It seems people care more about the history of buildings rather than human beings being able to
have access”. University has exposed to Isobel the blind eye that the public have towards accessibility. A day out to new places can often leave people with disabilities feeling secondary when there is no support. Isobel explains: “it’s not that as a disabled person I am not suitable for the world, it is that the world hasn’t provided sufficient accessibility. Now I know that I should have accessibility provided for me because the University has treated me like that.” Accessibility in the general public has many flaws. Outside of campus, care and funding are not the same. As an example, Isobel tells me about taking her first trip to the osteopath inside the Spitfire Ground, where Kent plays county
pub. At first, Isobel was apprehensive to use a walking stick, but after being encouraged by her friends a few years ago to aid her on a trip to Berlin, the stick helped her get further out into the world. “It was my friends who suggested it to me not a doctor, because my friends empathised with me and encouraged me to use it when I was in pain. Just because my disability is visible now doesn’t mean it’s any worse when it was invisible. I would never have known how important accessibility is a few years ago.” Disabled students can also get funding for financial support at university, but are inclined to disclose their disabilities to receive monetary aid where the amount of disclosed disabilities has doubled to 12% in 2016/17 from 2003/04
“When you’re disabled it’s hard to put any extra time into anything other than living.” cricket. They did not offer any nearby disabled parking spaces, had no automatic disabled access doors, had only narrow hallways and doorframes which are not suitable for wheelchairs, as well as having an outdated creaky lift inside the building. If Isobel had been alone, she would not have been able to go to her appointment. When discussing these issues to the receptionist, the only excuse given was that “this is an osteopath for sports injuries”. Isobel’s disability was a complication of an early sports injury. Getting out the house is one adversary for Isobel, but getting into the life of socialising is another challenge in itself. Going for a ‘night out’ now includes driving to the pub only five-minutes away with her friends, and even that can even become too much sometimes. Spending a few hours at Wetherspoons, Isobel is the first to leave and drives home whilst her friends go out to party through the night. Unlike her first year, she goes home and falls asleep because socialising has put enough strain on her body. With support from her walking stick and knowledge of a nearby disabled parking spot, Isobel is able to go out for a few hours at a
when it was 5.4%. Only 36.9% of applicants are offered the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) which is often used to cover the extra costs of having a disability. Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Authority showed that more than half (59%) of students with the DSA felt that the fund was so impactful that they would not feel confident passing their course without it. Isobel, however, has not had the easiest experience with the DSA upon returning to university. She has had multiple student finance applications rejected and had to redo up to forty pages of documents. Isobel still has not received a DSA this year. Opening up about disability is fine, but it can often put a strain on mental health. “Physical pain is showed to link to emotional pain and I also spend half of my time ploughing through disability forms to make sure I get the right support and accessibility. When you’re disabled or ill it’s hard to put any extra time in anything other than living. Little day-to-day things which you think would never take up energy become very high energy.” The University of Kent has been
offering these services to our students. In January this year, Chris Skidmore, University Minister, called for universities to do more for disabled students to help them succeed. After hearing about the increase in numbers of disabled students at university, Skidmore stated: “There is more work to be done, and I want to see the access and participation plans that universities are beginning to produce increase the ways they can support this group.” Disability History Month (DHM) is running from November to December. The theme of ‘Leadership, Resistance and Culture’ looks to focus on the necessity of future change for this group of people. This year, the University and Kent Union are running various events that everyone can attend, from accessible film screenings, talks, and lectures, to plays at the Gulbenkian and a session by Change 100 where attendees are able to discuss disabilities and long-term health conditions in employability. One figure at Kent which remains a massive influence in disability rights was former Kent academic, author and disability activist Mike Oliver. After passing away earlier this year, the wellbeing team at the University is hosting an exhibition in Keynes College on his work with the Social Model of Disability. The Kent Student Awards are changing this year, where Mike Oliver’s influence is now symbolised in the Mike Oliver Award for Improving Accessibility, in the hope that students will strive to achieve the same development that Oliver himself did for the disabled community. Natalia Crisanti, Communications Officer for the Student Support and Wellbeing Team, hopes the events of DHM will encourage students and staff from all backgrounds to come out and celebrate: “It’s fitting that we will be asking our Kent community to engage with the exhibition and reflect on what our current culture and barriers might be, and what we can do individually and collectively to address these.” Although change is happening around campus, Isobel is certain that there is always more to be done: “I think there should be a focus to say that actually, disabled people are people. If you go on a website and it has no accessibility layouts or information, I cannot go out. We can do simple things like hiring more disabled people, offering disabled training and making accessibility clear. I need to know that companies are aware of us.” “What’s the most important thing supporting her as a disabled student?” I ask Isobel. After a short moment, she replies: “The most important thing is talking to kind, supportive people. Just because I am disabled, it does not mean I am my disability, I’m still the same person I was before, it’s just I have physical limits. That shouldn’t have to mean anything.”
Affection across cultures
Words by Sara Bell
Photo by Queen Olanrewaju
n England, the sight of two people passionately making out in public is slightly cringe-worthy and uncomfortable. We tend to give a quick kiss hello or goodbye and leave anything else more passionate to the ‘room’ our friends tell us to ‘get in’. Our tolerance for PDA (public displays of affection) is thin. With a quick kiss in a romantic relationship, or a quick kiss on the cheek from a close friend being the limit to what is deemed acceptable in public. But our typical greeting with a close friend is a hug; we sometimes even initiate this with strangers or acquaintances. Of course, all of these social rules are thrown out of the window at Venue’s NXT where PDA is guaranteed; of which those regrettable memories of ‘affection’ haunt you the next day. The focus of this article, however, is not to discuss the goings-on in Venue, but to provide some interesting facts on affection and public tolerances across several different cultures. Focusing on the physical rather than verbal, I would like to offer some information on different cultures. Hopefully, it will make us more aware as travellers. European culture is often seen as the most liberal when it comes to affection. France, Italy and Spain are considered one
of the most openly physically affectionate countries. The normal greeting in France is to give an air kiss on each cheek – this is also the norm in Italy and Spain – although the number of kisses can vary for each region of these countries. In Paris the air kiss starts with the right cheek and in the South of France it starts on the left. What we may find surprising is that to the French, hugging is considered to be more intimate than kissing. It is typically only g i v e n among romantic partners, children, or family m e m bers. They can also be given among close friends in an appropriate context; however, this is less common than in Italy where bear hugs among close friends are perfectly normal. The French, the Spanish and the Italians are also not shy about romantic displays of affection in public. Typical romantic gestures such as giving flowers and having candlelit dinners at cosy restaurants are considered the norm. In many Asian countries, public displays of affection are frowned upon and seen as inappropriate, particularly around elders. Although in Japan, we often see the classic ‘confessions of love’ in anime, a popular form of media, the reality is quite different.
“Hugging is considered to be more intimate than kissing.”
“Are also not shy about romantic displays of affection in public.”
“Can actually be a criminal offence.”
Most people are reserved in public as the Japanese culture prizes emotional preservation. These public displays of affection will not go unnoticed and are better kept within the private sphere. The preferred manner of showing affection in Japan is through services such as cooking and preparing food, with the receiver showing a sign of appreciation for the food. A good example being the traditional act of the women in the family creating an elaborate packed lunch for thier loved ones to demonstrate their love. South Korea, much like Japan, has the equally rare sighting of public kissing. Holding hands is the extent to which South-Korean citizens show physical affection publicly. Holding hands is common among friends, making it hard to distinguish who is a couple and who is not. Other than possibly spotting coordinated outfits which some couples see as a sign of affection. Despite the conservation towards such public displays South Koreans hold couple-based celebrations on the 14th of every month, having a day for hugging, for kissing and a day set-aside for singles. They celebrate romance considerably more than just Valentine’s Day. In the Middle East, PDA is not only frowned upon, but can
actually be a criminal offence. Holding hands for a married couple is tolerated but kissing and petting is not considered acceptable. Between friends; holding hands is acceptable, and among men it is seen as a sign of solidarity. According to the New York Times, in the Middle East “holding hands is the warmest expression of affection between men”. This contrasts with Russia, where holding hands between men is seen as an extremely subversive political statement. The act may put individuals in a threatening situation as it is deemed to be an expression of homosexuality and therefore not complying with the ideals of orthodox Christianity. Open displays of affection between heterosexual couples are allowed, so long as they are not expressed near or on the grounds of a religious monument or church. If you wish to be a respectful tourist on your romantic holidays in foreign countries, refer to this article or further foreign advice sites online. Although much of the world is accommodating to us tourists today, choosing to be culturally aware is still a good idea. https://www.nytimes. com/2005/05/01/weekinreview/why-arab-men-holdhands.html
Winter 2019 IQ
Student budget MAINS Christmas BRITISH ROAST BEEF: • Co-op roast beef •Carrots •Beans •1 white onion •Mixed herbs •Olive oil
METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°c / 180°fan. Cut the beans and onion and place them on a roasting tin with the carrots. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, mixed herbs and drizzle with oil. Place the beef on top of the vegetables and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After this turn the oven down to 180°c / 160° fan and cook for a further 30 minutes. This will leave you with a medium-rare roast but for well-done leave it in for a further 20 minutes. Take it out and leave it to rest for a few minutes and then it is ready to serve.
Photo by Mike Tinnion
A traditional Christmas meal would feel incomplete without the sides that complement the main dish and aid in filling your stomach and emotional needs.
CLASSIC PIGS IN BLANKETS: •Co-op Bacon Rashers •Chipolatas
METHOD Preheat the oven to 190°c / 170°fan Wrap one slice of bacon around each of the chipolatas (you may have to slice some of the bacon pieces in half lengthwise). Place them on a baking tray and cook it in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes.
CHEESE STUFFED MUSHROOMS: •Chestnut mushrooms • 2 garlic cloves •Butter •Breadcrumbs •Salt & pepper •Soft cheese
IQ Winter 2019
Photo by Mike McCune
Words by Krishna Rohan
SWEET POTATO PASTRY: Vegan
• 3 Sweet potatoes •Olive oil •2 garlic cloves • 1 onion •Chilli flakes •Cranberry sauce •Sage •Sheet pastry •Salt & pepper Photo by hampion Pixabay METHOD Cut and peel the sweet potato in small chunks (around 2cm squares). Preheat the oven to 200°c / 180°fan and bake the salt and pepper seasoned potatoes for 25 minutes. While the potatoes are in the oven, slice the onion and fry it over medium heat for 7 minutes, then chop the garlic cloves and add it along with the chilli flakes and sage. Fry for a few more minutes. When the potatoes are done add them to the pan with the fried onion and mix well with 3tbsp of cranberry sauce. Here you can add other seasonings to suit your preference. Line a square baking tray with parchment paper. Then add 3 – 4 layers of sheet pastry coating each layer with a little bit of oil. Then scoop the sweet potato mixture onto the pastry forming a thick line from one end of the pastry to the other. Roll this end of the pastry over to form a tight filled roll. Lightly brush it with oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°c / 180°fan and during this time cut the stems off the mushrooms (or pull them off). Mince the stems along with the garlic cloves. Fry this mince over medium heat in butter. After a few minutes add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and leave it for one minute. Then in a separate bowl mix the mushroom mince with 1 cup of soft cheese, salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the baking tray and fill them with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and golden.
HERB INFUSED ROAST POTATOES:
Photo by Jonathan Farber
•White potatoes •Handful of mixed herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme •Salt & pepper •Olive oil METHOD Peel and cut the potatoes in half then boil them in salted water for 8 – 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 200°c / 180°fan. Coat the potatoes in pepper and the mixed herbs. Drizzle them in olive oil until all of them are coated. Leave them in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn them over and leave them for 10 minutes. For a crunchier taste, turn the heating up to 220°c, flip the potatoes, and leave them in for another 20 minutes. When golden and crunchy they are ready to serve. 21
HEALTH & WELLNESS
E NEED TO TALK ABOUT
Words by Sabrina Latchman
s women, we are already subject to a multitude of worries and concerns throughout our lives – equal pay, equal rights, and sexual harassment to name but a few. Our vaginas should not be a source of anxiety to add to this. With the increase of false and damaging information being spread across social media, more women are being shamed into believing their bodily functions are wrong. They are being led to try out advice given by non-health professionals that can actually disrupt the correct functioning of the vagina. This reproduction of false information is a primary source of anxiety for women. Discharge, period, and thrush may not be the sexiest of topics, but it is important, as young adults, that we ensure that the dialogue surrounding female health is constantly progressing. It is time for the taboos to be broken and to normalise the conversation surrounding all things women’s health. Many questions as to what is going on down there can be answered and treated at the pharmacy. It is often that women feel too ashamed to visit their local pharmacy and instead opt to visit the doctor unnecessarily. In order to break the stigma, an open discussion is necessary. In aid of this, I collaborated with Kent-based pharmacist, Miss S.H. to discuss the state of female health within community pharmacy.
Q&A: Where do you believe the responsibility lies in teaching young girls and women about their reproductive organs? “I believe a lot of this responsibility lies with schools. Within the week that vaccinations for HPV are administered, schools should have a plan to educate girls on basic women’s health, how to identify signs of health issues, and should provide information on where to go for help.” 22
1/3 of women in the UK develop
in their lifetime
What do you think about the current state of conversation surrounding women’s health in the UK? “It could be better. Some women still don’t feel like they can ask for help, or don’t know where to go for it. Many are also embarrassed. There is definitely a stigma surrounding even asking for help.” What’s the biggest concern that has developed within your years of working in community pharmacy regarding female health? “The lack of knowledge on where to go for help. Women are not well directed unless they visit a health care professional – which they often avoid because of the stigma attached to a lot of the presenting issues. Some women worry about where their information is going and downplay their symptoms. This then hinders how much information is given to the professional and so, this then affects the level of help they can get if needed.” What are your hopes for the state of female health in the next decade? “I would like to see women comfortable in discussing female health issues more openly. Viagra used to have a stigma attached to it, since it became easier to buy over the counter, things like advertising have encouraged men and given them the confidence to discuss erectile dysfunction; there is an easy questionnaire that they can fill to help with an awkward conversation. Going forward it would be good to see women’s health being managed with this idea in mind, where we can address conversations that might seem awkward in a less embarrassing way. Also, advertising the kind of issues that can be dealt with and where they can be dealt with, so women don’t feel confused about where to go.” To make things a little easier for young women at university, we created a basic guide to illuminate some of the most common conditions women face in their life time and debunk some of those ridiculous myths.” Winter 2019 IQ
HEALTH & WELLNESS
138,000,000 Feminine hygiene products and rituals: Myth: Discharge is an indication of uncleanliness. Truth: The vagina is self-cleaning.
A lot of people have the assumption that discharge indicates a dirty person. In reality, it is quite the opposite. Discharge is the vagina’s natural way of cleaning itself. Things like using feminine washes inside the vagina and douching, can be the opposite of helpful in cleaning the vagina, as they can often upset the natural pH balance and cause further issues.
Myth: It’s a sexually transmitted disease. Truth: Thrush is not an STD and can occur in women of all ages, without sexual
contact. Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs when there is an overgrowth of natural yeast present in the vagina. It does not occur because you are dirty. It can occur due to the taking of antibiotics, pregnancy, wearing tight clothes such as nylon, the use of irritating female hygiene products, and if you have health conditions that affect your immune system. The symptoms of thrush usually include itching, pain when having sex, and a thick white discharge. Thrush can also occur in men. Usually it is easily treated with an antifungal medicine available at the pharmacy.
Myth: Washing your vagina thoroughly will cure your BV. Truth: Over washing your vagina can be a cause of BV. The vaginal microbiome is the bacterial population that lives in harmony in your vagina. These bacteria have been suggested to help protect us from things like STI’s, cervical cancer, HIV, and pregnancy complications. BV occurs when the concentration of a specific bacterium is out of sync and can cause a greyish or watery discharge that has a strong fishy odour. It doesn’t usually cause itching like thrush. 50% of women do not experience any symptoms. It can be treated with antibiotics and there are suggestions that taking probiotics can help, so long as they contain the correct bacteria. These studies, however, show that there are still high reoccurrence rates.
Urinary Tract Infection:
WOMEN ARE AFFECTED BY A DISTRESSING, BUT TREATABLE FUNGAL INFECTION WORLD-
same as buying a generic version – which is usually a fraction of the cost.
Emergency hormone contraception (the morning after pill):
Myth: The morning after pill has to be taken the morning after. Truth: EHC can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after.
EHC is available at most pharmacies to over 16-year-olds. Pharmacists are there to help in these situations and will do their best to make you feel as comfortable as possible and answer any questions you have. If you are between the ages of 13-16, there is a common misconception that you must have a parent or guardian with you to acquire EHC. This is not true. Sexual health clinics or your GP surgery will go through this process with you. Research lead by the FPA sexual health company, showed that in a survey of over 2000 women aged 16 to 24: - Only 37% had learned about emergency contraception at school or college; - Just less than one-third (30%) thought you need a prescription to get any kind of emergency contraception; - More than half (52%) thought asking for emergency contraception could be embarrassing and said there is still a stigma around it; - 46% did not know where they could get emergency contraception if they need it; - Almost one-quarter (24%) of 16-24-year-old women thought that the repeated use of emergency contraception can make you infertile; - 47% wrongly thought using emergency contraception was like having an abortion or weren’t sure.
n a world where there are technological advancements every day, there is no plausible reason for the stigmas surrounding female health to still be prevalent in society. Many companies and campaigns are battling to change this. The Clue app has a site filled with blogs and podcasts surrounding menstruation and ellaOne, the leading EHC brand in the UK, have launched their #mymorningafter campaign to help destigmatise the use of EHC. No woman should suffer in silence in fear of embarrassment. Promoting a positive dialogue surrounding female health can provide knowledge and help to encourage women to have more autonomy over their bodies. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist about any health decisions.
Myth: Cranberry juice will cure it. Truth: Cranberry juice is not an effective cure. The
sugar in the juice can cause further irritation; it is the drinking of fluids that helps. When you are dehydrated your urine becomes more concentrated which can act as a breeding ground for bacteria, causing further irritation. UTI’s can occur in both women and men but are more frequent in women. Symptoms include a burning sensation and pain when you pee, smelly and dark urine, pain in your bladder and stomach area, and needing to go to the toilet more often. Most UTIs will pass in a few days, but some may be severe and require antibiotics. A UTI is not an STD but having sex whilst having a UTI can be painful. Cystitis relief sachets can be helpful in reducing symptoms but will not treat the UTI itself.
Myth: Feminax express is the only thing that helps pe-
riod pain. Truth: Feminax express is ibuprofen lysine. The majority of women will experience periods in their lifetime, often leading to anxiety and discomfort, especially in younger years as your body is still trying to adjust. One of the most common issues is trying to manage pain. Products like Feminax and Nurofen are marketed to women as being fast-acting pain relief. The active ingredient in these products is ibuprofen lysine, and whilst it is true that this formulation provides pain relief faster than normalibuprofen, the strength of pain relief, and the amount you can take daily, usually equates to the
Illustration by Charlotte May
Photos by Blue-Belle Kulpa
Ireland A nearby escape
Words by Blue-Belle Kulpa
hen I think of Ireland, what immediately comes to mind is mist, rain, and never-ending green fields. I then think of thick accents, St Patrick’s Day, faery myths, and the conflicts which took place. As an Englishwoman, I ask myself: “Will I feel out of place because I am English? Will people associate my accent with the troubles their home has faced?” And these were the thoughts I had before and dur-
“I am a sucker for an old castle or relic of architecture.”
ing my first time on the island of Ireland; which was Christmas 2018. I did not stray far from the city centre of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Instead, I visited numerous amounts of pubs from ‘Lavery’s’ to ‘The Errigle’, as well as a lovely place called the ‘Northern Lights’ which had plenty of beer and board games. I had definitely found the havens to which I could go and have a relaxing pint when needed. But of course, my main source of refuge was where I was staying, which was my boyfriend’s home. His two dogs and lovely parents instantly made me feel at ease. I soon felt that this was quite the place to be. It was a lively place compared to the small town where I came from, and it was also a more relaxed enviroment compared to my accommodation at university. I was in a house that was not my own, meeting many new people, and in a city, I knew little about. And yet, I felt at home. I experienced Boojum for the first time, and I have been hooked ever since. Boojum is a food chain specific to Ireland, that is similar to America’s Chipotle (but better). They are a great place to go if you too struggle to find tasty vegetarian food when eating out. They offer plenty of meat options as well.
“Reminded me fondly of a wishing well.”
And you can have a beer with your order. It is the healthy ‘fast-food’ alternative that they have. I am waiting for the day that the chain expands to at least London; Then I will not have to travel overseas just to buy their food. For Boxing Day, we visited family in Derry and what a contrast it was from the city of Belfast. Much like
cities in England, Derry had an array of shops that were run independently and a shopping mall full of the usual chains. All around the city, there were buildings that had a rich history, some through their age and others which were covered with political graffiti. Being a sucker for an old castle or relic of architecture meant going past many old buildings was a treat and there were plenty to be found here (there is actually an abundance of such buildings throughout Ireland). Derry’s rich history is something that I feel is not acknowledged or taught enough in our schools. There is so much to be learned about Derry that most of the locals and Irish people know well and hold close to their hearts; and yet we, or at least I, knew so little.
with sketchy reception. I found this all the more appealing since it drew more conversation out of those who loved disappearing into their phones. The beach was only a 10-minute drive away from our Airbnb in the town and it was not what I expected at all. Beaches in England are normally surrounded by shops and cafés like my beloved beach at home, Lyme Regis. This beach had none of that, only a derelict pub/hotel and some food vans parked up in the distant parking lot. Even with the lack of attractions, there were still plenty of people on the beach during those hot sunny days. Despite not having a public toilet, everyone seemed very content with their day at that beach. The horse flies were something to note as they inhabited the fields next to this seaside attraction. They were all black and as big as your thumb (I heard they have a mean bite too). The intriguing thing about these insects is that they have quite a big head; so for someone like me, without glasses on and with a wild imagination, they almost resembled faeries. Maybe they are where the myths originated, maybe not. Or maybe that is just my being influenced by Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the Irish mythology books I have read.
“They almost resembled fairies.”
Throughout this year I have gone back and forth from Canterbury to Northern Ireland. With each trip, I have slowly made my way around some of the places to see. Of which Derry, is definitely included. The Giant’s Causeway was quite a sight to behold. The strange formation of the rocks was fascinating, and the myths behind how they were formed was even more so. Being a National Trust site, you were greeted by a welcome building that had a gift shop and café which were extensive and well planned out. It was the perfect refuge from the drizzling rain and wind which had picked up outside upon our arrival. The refuge even had a projector at one end of the building which showed a cartoon of giants building the causeway, which was most likely aimed at children, but I could not stop myself from watching a snippet of it anyway. Getting to the main site was only a short walk downhill, or a scary bus ride down the same hill which involved bendy turns (the bus being fully packed with people made its path of travel all the more daunting). I found the number of people who were at The Causeway was surprising. Its reputation as a must-see tourist attraction had not hit me until I saw the crowds climbing the rocks and trying to get as high up as possible. There were even people on duty just in case someone fell or injured themselves; which must be a fairly common occurrence since the rocks were covered in mud and moss. The highlight of this trip to The Causeway was finding coins that had been worked into the cracks of the stone formations. Most were rusted, forced together and of all sorts of currency. It reminded me fondly of a wishing well and I regret not adding my own coin to the collection. In the summer we went on a short trip to Culdaff, a well-known beach area in the Republic of Ireland. The town consisted of little but houses, one corner shop, and a few pubs. It was very quaint and small
“The havens to which I could go and have a relaxing pint.” If you have not been to Northern Ireland yet, I think you should, at least once. The city of Belfast is lively and full of pubs that range from cool and classy, to cosy and historical. The architecture around the city is worth a look and the ongoing development of its expansion is something to admire. The places around the city and in Ireland are worth exploring. The variety of derelict buildings in the countryside piqued my interest immediately as an urban explorer but if they do not peak yours do not worry; there are plenty of other things to do. If you want to expand your exploration of such a place then Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, should be on your list. It is a place I would like to see more of, but from what I have seen I would recommend going to the Guinness brewery. Even if you don’t like stouts they have some entertaining and bizarre former mascots you can marvel at. And as previously mentioned, there is Culdaff. But if you only want to explore one area at a time, start with Belfast, have a Boojum and possibly a pint, and work your way from there.
SKINCARE MISTAKES A
s an avid skincare user and beauty enthusiast, I have made many mistakes with beauty, mainly the concealer lipstick trend of 2010. These are mistakes I have made in the past and mistakes backed up by industry experts. To celebrate beauty, here are some skincare mistakes I made so you do not have to. Listed after each mistake are premium product recommendations and a budget-friendly product option. Although you may see faster results with the premium option, skincare does not have to be expensive. Also make sure to get loyalty cards if you do decide to start investing in your routine.
sing makeup wipes or micellar water is not cleansing. It is wiping the product off whilst smearing bacteria across your face. As an alternative for thoroughly cleaning your skin, try double-cleansing. When cleansing the face with makeup wipes or micellar water, the skin is not thoroughly cleansed. A buildup of bacteria and dead skin cells will occur leading to more frequent breakouts.
BUDGET Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser £4.49
PREMIUM Pixi Glow Tonic £16.20
xfoliating with either a physical or a chemical exfoliant can be great for the skin, but over-exfoliating is a thing. Over-exfoliation can occur either as a result of using too abrasive of a material such as a scrub or an exfoliating brush; or as a result of exfoliating too frequently. Light exfoliation such as the use of a flannel in the cleansing process can be used daily as a light physical exfoliant.
Pixie Double Cleanse £21.60
BUDGET The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution £6.80
PREMIUM Kiehl’s Ultra-Light Daily UV Defence Sunscreen £36
heet masks are trending and can be found everywhere. Saying that, sheet masks are not necessarily as amazing for your skin as they are marketed to be. Sheet masks are a beauty product you do not need. I would invest the money into a consistent skincare routine – you will achieve much greater results. If you do want to purchase a mask, avoid sheet masks altogether. Go for a mask that does not trap bacteria between the mask layer and your skin.
Words by Alice Tomlinson
SUN CREAM BUDGET T-Zone Australian Pink Clay Mask £8.06
his skincare mistake is the most easily forgotten but also most crucial mistake – not applying sun cream daily. In your late teens or early twenties, skincare may not seem that important but in twenty years you will be very grateful for the regular application of SPF. Though the sun is not the enemy of the skin and is a useful source of Vitamin D; too much exposure to UV rays will accelerate the ageing of the skin. Although it may be best to avoid purchasing skincare products containing SPF altogether and instead opting for purely sun cream as a layer of skincare routine. This is to prevent the interference of SPF with skincare active ingredients.
PREMIUM Ole Henriksen Transform Plus PHAT Glow Facial £37.80
BUDGET Solait Mattifying Face Fluid SPF50+ £3.59
What’s on... A Little Space 29 November 2019 The Jazz Session: Randolph Matthews 29 November 2019 Top Hat 30 November 2019 Canterbury Orchestra Winter Concert: Russian Masterpieces 30 November 2019 Harry and Chris: This One’s for the Aliens 30 November 2019 The Peanut Butter Falcon 1-5 December 2019 Martin Joseph 1 December 2019 Canterbury City Primary Schools Christmas Concert 2 December 2019 Branagh Theatre Live: The Winter’s Tale 4 December 2019 Parakeet 5 December 2019 Speakeasy: Mark Grist and Bridget Minamore 5 December 2019
Full - £8.70 GulbCard Member - £6.70 Senior - £7.70 Registered Disabled - £7.70 Student - £6.00 Student GulbCard Member - £5.00 Unemployed - £7.70
IQ Winter 2019
This One’s for the Poets:
In conversation with Harry Baker Interview by Aqdas Fatima
arry Baker is a world-renowned mathematician-turned-slam-poet, and more importantly, the poetry slam champion in Kent. His work ranges from heartfelt poetry, to music, to an obscure comedy-jazz performance duo. He was kind enough to take some time out to discuss his views on the ever-evolving phenomenon of spoken-word, comedy, aliens, and more. AF: How do you exactly define spoken word and what do you think is the reason behind it becoming an increasingly popular form of poetic expression? HB: When I first attended a spoken word session, I loved how varied it could be as a genre; it can be funny, it can be serious, and it can be heart breaking. It’s just people on a stage sharing their words and there’s a feeling that these days we’re less connected to each other, whether that’s technology or politics or whatever it is-but I think there’s something about performance that people feel connected to. For me, spoken word has always been about connecting with people, whether that’s by making them laugh or giving them goose bumps. Spoken word is about sharing your experience whether serious or funny. I think there’s a certain expectation from slam poetry or spoken word that it’s always very angsty, angry and political. But one of the things I love about Speakeasy is that we have an open mic session which can be about politics, but it can also be people sharing very personal things. I think there’s a range there, there is a chance to be political but also to be whimsical if you want, or to be poignant, or surreal and absurd. For me, that’s where the beauty lies, when you can have someone who by their very nature is sharing something personal. AF: Considering you studied maths at university, do you think outlets such as this allow for creative freedom that goes beyond what is traditional, making it more accessible to people with all sorts of interests, or is that coincidental? HB: For me, writing and performing started as a fun thing on the side. I loved being able to go out to open mic nights and not to have had studied it for five years to be able to get on a stage. For me, poetry slams especially, have been a way of opening up to anyone, and if you’re happy to get up and perform then people will be happy to listen to you. We also have a huge range of voices, in terms of age, background and experience, and I think, at least for me, when I started to get to perform alongside some of my heroes so quickly, it was a very inspiring thing. Similarly, if you’ve never thought about performing before and you go along and see people doing it for the first time, it’s a very encouraging thing to be a part of - I used to love that. So, even though I was studying maths, I had this secret poetry life on the side. Having the background in maths feels like it’s something different; I didn’t want to just become a poet writing poems about being a poet. AF: From personal experience or otherwise, is there any specific advice you think aspiring slam poets should receive? HB: I think for me, the crucial thing was that when I started, I just loved it and any chance to share my words felt like such a privilege. It didn’t matter whether there were many people that listened or that I won a slam competition, it wasn’t like it needed to go well for it to be worth it. If you can enjoy the journey of it, then anything
else that comes about is a bonus, and I have always tried to hold on to that. That’s why I love doing Speakeasy, because I get to see people at different points in their journey. The headliners we get are professionals who have been doing it for years, and then we have people who are performing for the first time on stage, and they are on the same stage being welcomed by the same audience. AF: Moving to the comedy-jazz-rap duo, how would you best explain this act and what was the inspiration behind it? HB: So, Chris and I started off performing in the spoken word section, and the overwhelming response we got was that people were surprised at how funny it was and that’s just because we have been best friends for twenty years. Even when we were doing serious pieces, we would be mucking about on stage in between, so it was a very jovial atmosphere. Off the back of that, a comedy agency came to our show and asked if we would think about putting it in the comedy section of the programme. For me, I have always enjoyed taking my words and my work through a process where people wouldn’t always expect to hear what I say. Whilst I love spoken word and poetry, there are still a lot of people who don’t know what to expect from it. I love doing the same thing in a comedy show, because people come in expecting to laugh, and then suddenly it feels like a powerful twist when you can also have the really poignant moments in amongst it. It also works the other way around; a lot of people come to poetry nights expecting to be moved, and then are surprised when they laugh. The show at the Gulbenkian still comes from the same place of us being really good friends and writing songs together, but having had a few years of experience in the comedy scene as well as in the poetry scene, it feels like it’s the funniest show we’ve done in terms of the narrative and the structure. AF: What do you think people will be able to take away from something like this, or rather, what would you want them to? HB: So, the title for this year’s show is “This One’s for the Aliens”. We’ve always tried to write uplifting songs, and it felt like at the moment, a lot of shows we were seeing were quite cynical and angry. We wanted to try and find things in the world that are worth celebrating. Not to dismiss all the hardship that goes on, but amongst that we were trying to find something joyful. So, the way we framed it is that if we were trying to attract alien life to earth-because who knows how soon that would be possible-what would they see when they looked down on us. If they just see people fighting, they might not want to come down at all. And so, if we could give an alternative, like through an intergalactic PI, how would we do that. The show starts off very playfully with us doing a Eurovision song to try and bring people together, and then it becomes a bit more serious, talking about things like what it means to be treated as an alien. Mostly it’s just trying to have that joyfulness and celebratory tone. We want people to leave the show feeling hopeful and feeling happy, as well as having a good laugh! Catch Harry Baker hosting his monthly spoken word night at the Gulbenkian. The next one is happening on 5 of December 2019. His show with his best friend Chris also comes to the stage on 30 of November 2019. Hurry to grab your tickets! Read the full article at inquiremedia.co.uk
Looking for film recommendations? Emily Webb-Mortimer and Yoan Dzhugdanov spoke to some of Kent Film’s finest to get their top picks.
Photos by Aslan Ntumber Ozer and Jessie Menezes
Film by FIlm Mattias Frey
What film would you recommend as essential viewing? This is one of those things where I can’t choose just one they’re like children, you can’t have a favourite one. But if I have to choose, the one I’m putting forward is called The Marriage of Maria Braun by Reiner Werner Fassbinder. Essentially it's about a woman who gets married in the closing days of the Second World War, and then shows her life for the next few decades – but it’s a film that’s an allegory for the national past of Germany and it’s one of those films that really did inspire me. I realised for the first time that cinema could do more than offer up a few stars. It could offer a whole new experience.
I would recommend viewing Jurassic Park (1993)!
I do find this an almost impossible question, so this one – well it’s not random, but it could easily have been one of a hundred others. But the one I’m going to go for today is a Japanese film from the 1950s called Ohayo, or ‘Good Morning’ in English by the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.
Why is this film important to you?
It's important to me on two levels: one professionally because I thought it was a film that was very innovative, I’d never seen anything like it before and it inspired me to look at more of the works of Fassbinder. But also on a personal level, it was a film that I watched for the first time with my father. At the time we’d talk either about films or about football, and I remember seeing it in the cinema with him and in the last shots of the film, in the climactic scene there’s portraits of the Western chancellors and one of Hitler and we both looked at each other and there was an unspoken dialogue that was essentially “wow, that was crazy, that was powerful”.
Because it contains two aspects which have proved influential and inspirational in my own research: the history of visual effects technologies and the representation of gender.
I thought your readers probably hadn’t seen the film. I could recommend you Joker or something but I think everybody has seen that already, and I think that it’s good to try and diversify what everyone is reading about and thinking about. I know some of my students don’t really watch films before 2000, let alone 1980 or something.
Jurassic Park is a significant film in the development of effects, both in respect to physical effects and the increased use of digital imaging technologies. And in Dr Ellie Sattler we find a character all too rare within mainstream, popular cinema: an intelligent, resourceful and independent woman.
Primarily because watching it has given me an enormous amount of pleasure over the years, as has showing it to other people and having them enjoy it too. Ozu the director, is well-known for his unique approach to storytelling and style – which people have written whole books about, so I won’t try to summarise it now. But the pleasure I get from his films is to do with engaging with the story world and the characters.
What made you recommend this film above all else? First of all because it’s a wonderfully enjoyable film, a very funny film, but also poignant and touching. So I guess what I’m talking about is the emotions it evokes, which is an essential part of why we watch movies: to have an emotional experience. [The film] is about a group of people that live in the same neighbourhood in Japan and it’s about the various interactions between them.
Was this film instrumental in your choice of career? Yeah, absolutely. It was something that I saw and thought: this is something new, this isn’t just Hollywood, this is in fact a different type of art form in many ways. It made me see film in a different way, it wasn’t through the lens of just stars, but was this kind of higher level of artistry.
The film’s effects and depiction of gender had a huge impact on me when I first saw the film and they continue to do so – and that’s not to mention the fact it’s a film about dinosaurs too! Jurassic Park is a film I continue to love personally and professionally.
It’s not a film I saw very early on, I think I did see it before I did a masters in film studies, so I suppose I saw it at a time when I was approaching looking at film in an academic context and exploring films like this and many others and reading about it in scholarly articles was steering me towards [a career in film studies], so I suppose yes.
Can you tell us your favourite scene or line from the film? There are a few memorable lines, like [the character of Maria Braun] describes herself as the “Mata Hari of the Economic Miracle”. I realise it’s not much of a snappy line like in Pulp Fiction or Clerks but there are still some comic lines and comic timing.
Sattler’s appropriately droll comeback to Hammond’s suggestion he shouldn’t let Sattler endanger herself as a woman: “We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.” The line says it all…
I wouldn’t say I had a favourite scene because one of the things about the film is the way it’s structured around various different motifs, so the relationships between scenes are what make them great. But in terms of a line of dialogue – which won’t mean much until you watch the film – is a little boy who says repeatedly throughout the film to various characters, in English: “I love you”. Winter 2019 IQ
A bad year for gaming?
Well folks, we’ve come to the end of another year, and what a year it’s been! With political tension and climate concerns at a high, video games have been a welcome distraction. Some would say 2019 was lacking in good gaming titles; Chris Atkinson is taking the opportunity to rectify this by briefly reviewing every game that he played that was released this year and giving them an appropriate rating out of ten. Let’s get started!
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Okay, I will admit it: I am cheating a little with this one. This is a port of a collection of games released between 2001 and 2004, but a really good one, and a fantastic game. As the titular attorney, it is your job to ensure that you can defend your clients from the vicious murders they have been accused of. The games have tons of great characters and fun stories. There is an issue with how contrived some of the logic is behind the trial sections, but that can be easy to ignore. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to give the series a try! – OBJECTION! /10 Photo by Capcom
Or more than twice, if you are as bad at games as I am. Software’s latest release showed that they could successfully take a formula they have perfected and put it in a new setting. Going from western, medieval fantasy to a fictional version of Japan in the Sengoku period, Sekiro focuses on stealth, swordplay, and using special tools to get around challenges, as opposed to the slow, shield centric rhythms of the Dark Souls. While the Photo by FromSoftware developers kept the difficulty that their games are infamous for, I found that it soon became frustrating instead of challenging, far more fiddly and unfriendly than the Souls games. It is still a fun experience, it is less accessible than titles like Bloodborne, which kept that Souls flavour in a different setting – You Died/10
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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
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Kingdom Hearts III Go on a magical adventure with Donald Duck! The latest instalment of the series that combines Final Fantasy and Disney was released this year, after a brief wait of fourteen years since the last main title in the series. While the gameplay is fun, the characters enjoyable, and the music and world design top-notch, the story was very difficult to understand, even as someone who has played most of the prior games. Be aware, new players might have a hard time enjoying this game without resorting to YouTube story recap videos – Goofy/10
Photo by Capcom
Photo by EA
Devil May Cry V Big, loud, campy, fun. These are all words that can be used to describe Devil May Cry V. Demons fall in droves as you switch between different characters; slicing, shooting and commanding magical beasts against the devilish hordes. Unfortunately, while the gameplay in the Neo and V sections is interesting, making the player switch between different prosthetic arms and magical powers respectively, these characters felt difficult to play properly. In addition, a lot of the levels feel repetitive in design and tone. With series main character Dante inaccessible until several hours in, it feels like the game is missing part of its charm...until he shows up and turns a demon into a motorbike that is also a sword. This game is still a blast to play regardless. If you are a fan of the series or want to be, do not be afraid to check it out – Smokin’ Sexy Style/10 IQ Winter 2019
I will be honest, I did not play this one much. While it was a surprise release and was interesting from a design perspective, I am not a huge fan of either battle royale games or twitch shooters; unfortunately, this is both. While the squad-based gameplay is, again, interesting, you need friends to play with to get the most enjoyable experience. If you have two friends who are interested, or like battle royale games, I would recommend it. It does give me high hopes for Titanfall 3 though – Adorable Robots/10 At the time of writing, we still have the new Pokémon games and Jedi: Fallen Order on the horizon. There are loads of exciting releases coming in 2020, from updated releases of Persona 5 to The Last of Us 2. With a new console generation almost upon us, the releases that are coming our way are going to be bigger and better than ever. So, here’s to 2019. By all accounts, it has not been a great year. But it has had some amazing releases.
BEST ALBUMS OF
From pop idols to indie rock surprises, Sacha Robinson and Connor Bluemel give their rundown of the very best music this year had to offer.
BILLIE EILISH — ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ SR: Amidst the sea of indistinguishable fodder that constituted the 2019 contemporary pop landscape, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas produced the rarest of things: a pop album of singularity and substance, merging uniquely Gen-Z presentation with a genuine grasp of musical classicism. On ‘Xanny’, gothic voice manipulation is underpinned by a beautifully traditional chord progression filled with devastating blue notes, as if Burt Bacharach is providing the accompaniment. Although Finneas’ production serves as a welcome respite to the loudness war, it is Eilish herself that steals the show with her brooding yet subtly expansive vocal timbre and investable personality. The ‘voice of a generation’ phrase is usually a transparent marketing ploy, but considering Eilish is singing at, for and because of a certain age group, the enormity of her resonance is hardly difficult to comprehend. It would be remiss of me not to mention ‘Bad Guy’, the most audaciously brilliant alt-pop manifesto since Lorde’s ‘Royals’ and easily the most unforgettable pop moment of the year. On track four Eilish recommends we see her in a crown, and after this record, such an image is entirely fathomable.
LANA DEL REY — ‘NORMAN FUCKING ROCKWELL’ SR: Lana Del Rey has quietly been the decade’s most influential pop star, re-contextualising a moodier, more introspective pop music and ushering in a range of disciples—including Billie Eilish, Lorde, Sky Ferreira and Halsey—that would go on to dominate the mainstream. Essentially, alt-pop is now just plain pop, with even the most hedonistic of pre-Lana pop artists drastically altering their sound to suit the prevailing shift in tone. With this in mind, Norman F***ing Rockwell! sits authoritatively at the summit of Lana’s catalogue. The defining fruit of her labour, NFR! is a sophisticated, nuanced synthesis of personal and political themes, set to fourteen acoustically-oriented accompaniments and drenched in gorgeously bittersweet Americana. Vocally, her improvement is stark: she’s confident, mature and highly expressive. What was once irritatingly thin, now womanly and seductive. Much has been made of where NFR! stands in the current climate of ‘woke culture’, but whether it is an elegy to nebulous American mythology or an endorsement of all things new and progressive, the album proves it possible to be both and more.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND — ‘FATHER OF THE BRIDE’ SR: Upon first listen, it is easy to dismiss Father of the Bride as twee, but that is exactly what makes the album charming—it is knowingly lightweight in a world of such deafening vitriol. In typical Vampire Weekend fashion, the arrangements are delightful: ‘This Life’ reimagines ‘This Charming Man’ as sun-drenched yacht-rock, ‘Harmony Hall’ is a faithfully polyrhythmic ‘Speaking In Tongues’ update, and ‘Sympathy’ renders continental guitar-strumming and pitch-manipulated voice choirs perversely funky. The collaborators (Steve Lacy and Danielle Haim, respectively) are judiciously chosen to elaborate upon the album’s mood, the former bringing a virtuosic pizzazz to the jam-oriented cuts, the latter a harmonically immaculate companionship to Koenig on his more thoughtful compositions. Thus, the record’s main success is established: FOTB is whatever you want it to be, working both as a dabble in personal and societal comment. A thoroughly enjoyable antidote to such serious affairs. 30
JULIA JACKLIN — ‘CRUSHING’
CB: Following her 2016 debut ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’, Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin returned in 2019 with her second album ‘Crushing’. Although her debut album provided an enjoyable slice of indie-pop, Crushing sees Jacklin contribute a unique, original and classic record, fully demonstrating her talent as a singer, songwriter, and lyricist. This has not gone unnoticed, bringing her critical acclaim and even a recent appearance on stage with Lana Del Ray. Crushing’s songs are immaculately constructed. Like a great novelist, Jacklin employs canny observations and detailed imagery to build engrossing stories into her music. Opening track ‘Body’ exemplifies this, articulating the relief of escaping from a toxic relationship, only to deal with the poisonous remnants it has left behind. In some of the most immediately captivating album-opening lyrics in recent memory, she sings: “The police met the plane/They let you finish your meal/I know you’d like to believe it, baby/But you’re more kid than criminal.” Other songs find Jacklin grappling for space and perspective, creating legitimate pop bangers in the process. ‘Pressure to Party’ is a highlight in this regard, partnering insightful and poignant lyrics with an infectious melody. The album’s climax does not come in the form of pop hooks, pervading the album is genuine heartbreak, the apogee of which comes in the stunning ‘Turn Me Down’, showcasing Jacklin’s wonderfully idiosyncratic lyrics and the full range of her vocal capabilities.
PUP — ‘MORBID STUFF’ CB: Since their 2013 debut, PUP has shown a knack for translating feelings of frustration, dislocation, and genuine anger into catchy yet hard-hitting punk rock songs. As a result, the band has earned legions of fans around the world, who in turn provide some of the most passionate and energetic crowds in the business. In 2019’s Morbid Stuff, the Toronto quartet tackles depression and existential crises with humorous self-deprecation and relentless energy. Lead single ‘Kids’ finds frontman and lyricist Stefan Babcock explaining: “I’ve been navigating my way through the mind-numbing reality of a godless existence.” But as he goes on to confide, he is “embraced the calamity with a detachment and a passive disinterest”. With lyrics such as these, Babcock sums up the world view of countless teens and twenty-somethings, who have struggled to find their place in a seemingly remorseless world. In a similar fashion, ‘Scorpion Hill’ sees the song’s protagonist down on his luck, having dark thoughts and fearing for the future of his family under modern economic pressures, ultimately providing an insightful social commentary in the process. Morbid Stuff might have some heavy themes, but through these dark tales PUP and their fans are able to achieve catharsis. As Babcock himself put it in an interview with Fader: “When you stumble across the only other person on the face of this godless, desolate planet that thinks everything is as twisted and as f***ed up as you do…the world starts to seem just a little less bleak. But only slightly – it’s still pretty fucked up to be honest.”
EZRA FURMAN — ‘TWELVE NUDES’ CB: On his latest trip to Seattle’s KEXP studio, Furman played two songs none of his fans had heard before. The tunes were direct and punchy, shirking the ‘high-concept’ of previous material. Under questioning from host Cheryl Waters, Furman revealed: “I always knew that a time would come that I would have to make my own all-out punk record and the time has arrived, 2019.” The result was Twelve Nudes, a collection of eleven straight-from-the-heart punk songs, clocking in at a furiously paced 27 minutes. As one might expect from such an album, much of Twelve Nude’s lyrics are political in nature. On ‘Evening Prayer aka Justice’, Furman laments the political inactivity of his youth – “I wasted my twenties in submission/I thought I was outside the system/But I was rolling over for wealth and power/As if they really cared about me” – and implores the listener to take action: “If you’ve got the taste for transcendence/That translates your love into action/And participate in the fight now/For a creed you can truly believe.” Elsewhere, Furman – who uses both male and female pronouns – explores his queer identity. The song ‘I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend’, which he has described as “a romantic song of transgender longing”. It provides personal and moving subject matter, as well as a brief change of pace from the punk sound of other tracks. As Furman acknowledges on the album’s final track, in the face of political upheaval and bigoted ignorance: “What can you do but rock ‘n’ roll?” Photos by Lars Crommenlinck and Vanessa Heins 31
CULTURE & ART
YOU ARE WHAT THEY MAKE YOU Words by Tímea Koppándi & Transcribed by Hal Kitchen
cross history, there has been a perpetual conflict in regard to Native American identity, culture and space. Seeing as November has been declared Native American Indian Heritage Month (in August 1990 by President George H. W. Bush), I have set myself the task of bringing forward the stories of one Native American’s life. Gregg Deal is an artist and advocate for Native American rights from Denver. His work consists of murals, paintings, performances and various other things which tackle this subject.
“It’s hard to put this into context for people who are not familiar with it, because there is no context to indigenous people in general. Just in the United States for example, there are 573 federally recognised tribes and hundreds more that aren’t recognised by the federal government, but are oftentimes recognised by the states that they reside in, as they struggle for self-determination and recognition. Even though they speak English, and wear western clothes, they are by all intents and purposes Americans in the way they live and represent themselves. There is a duality to our existence, and that is incredibly complex. There are over 300 different languages and, of course, different dialects within each of those languages. The Indian space is as diverse as the world we live in. It is not one race of people who are all kind of the same.” When discussing the estrangement that the indigenous people had with the culture, Gregg brought up the boarding schools. “They were this incredibly disruptive thing, that happened from 1879 all the way up until the 2000s, which was the separation of children from their families for educational purposes. It initially started with the intent of helping the ‘savages’ and educating them, but it was never perceived as something that would result in indigenous people living in the world they created. It was about eliminating culture, language, tradition, and separating families. It’s a tool that has created generations of people who never had an example of how to be a mom, a dad, a guardian, a protector, a parent; how to be a person who rears and raises another person, and it lacks love and understanding. Those things aren’t just a separation of that, but it created generations of young people that had a lot of abuse and had no frame of reference to what 32
it is to be a parent. You can see the residue of that in alcohol, spousal and sexual abuse. Because they don’t know how to handle those things and the only thing that a lot of those people knew was the way the nuns or priests would react – which would be to beat the hell out of them.” Considering past tensions between Native Americans and Americans, I wondered what their relationship is like today. “The best and most public example I can give you, is the mascot debate. referring to the Washington Redskins” Gregg added: “A lot of people just dismiss it and find it to be something trivial. Most people say that they want to support and represent Indians, but when it comes to indigenous people saying ‘your mascots are a problem because you’re using a racial slur’, the same people will dismiss it. They claim that they love Indians because of their strength, and there’s a sense of resilience that goes with that, and when we do stand up for ourselves, we are told to shut up. Mascots might not be important to some people, but the perception of indigenous people is fed by mascots and understood by American people through mascots; and by legislators, senators or representatives. They never come into contact with an Indian person but they might get invited to a Washington Redskin’s game, and that will be their entire idea of what an Indian person
is; a white man dressed up in a fake headdress, wearing Redskins gear, using a racial slur, to identify native people. That goes into our lawmakers who make the laws that affect us. Right now, Trump’s administration, and Republicans in the senate, are trying to eliminate indigenous status by saying that our existence is based on race and therefore discriminatory, according on the concepts of discrimination. Based on the fact that you can’t give something or take something away from someone based on race. But we’re not a race, we’re individual communities, we’re individual nations of people and that relationship is not based on race,
“People believe they know what an Indian looks like, and if you don’t look like an Indian then you have no right to act like an Indian.” Winter 2019 IQ
but instead on a nation to nation relationship. Therefore, if our lawmakers only understand mascots, that affects the laws that are being created; it dehumanises us. Ultimately, the frame of reference that an audience might have to process these things with, is in a way which makes sense to western ears or eyes.” Gregg reflects: “The problem with Americans, and I think with western culture at large, is that there just simply is no frame of reference. There is no understanding of the history, nor the language that’s been used throughout history. We know who Christopher Columbus, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln is; these are all figures of incredible people. They are used to amplify how great our country is. Yet, there is no frame of reference or understanding of Indigenous people. Western understanding of Indigenous people is entirely through film, books, art and photography. These are the things that have established the identity of America, and it’s not an identity that native people own. It is an identity that has been thrust upon us and it has become this thing that is quintessentially native: it’s about the headdress, it’s about wearing leather it’s about living in a tepee. Because people believe that this is what the identity is without realising that it’s far more complex than that. Meanwhile, out of that 573 different recognised indigenous people, maybe a dozen of them use those things that are the quintessential identifying factors of native people.” Stereotypes are a common issue that people have to overcome in various countries. This raised the question of how much it affects the lives of Native American people. “There’s sort of an expectation that you have to meet as an Indigenous person: you have to be a certain shade of brown, your hair has to be a certain colour, there are certain bone structures, and so on.” Gregg states. “There are going to be a lot of questions if my kids decide to assert their identity, they’re going to get a lot of crap for it. It doesn’t matter if our tribal community has taken a stand, as a leadership, and have read my children’s names out in recognition of them being part of our tribal community. That’s going to be the big struggle for them because they are white-passing; my father’s white, my wife is white, so my kids are mostly white but they’re 100% members of our tribe. I think they will have to understand the concept of privilege based on their appearance and they will also have to discover how to navigate in relation to other indigenous people. Because they can get away with more than I can.” The physical space contributes immensely to an individual’s interaction with the people around them. Gregg comments: “The places that I live in is predominantly conservative and very right-wing. Therefore, it’s common for me to be confused as a Mexican and told to go back where I came from. My kids will never have to deal with that. They’re never going to have that mistaken identity; however, they’re going to have to struggle with the other side of that; being indigenous and not looking like everyone else expects them to. That’s what’s weird about native people. Our existence is not beholden by our own communities and our own identity, it’s actually beholden by the perception that people who are not native have of us. Which is incredibly strange and is difficult too because as an artist I have to navigate spaces that have an expectation of my identity. If what I’m doing is not IQ Winter 2019
where that expectation says it should be, then my work has less value as a result. If I’m not creating art that’s familiar, then it has less value. So, there’s so much of the Western perception that plays into the legitimacy of my work, of my words, my appearance, and everything that goes along with that.” Despite what people might think, the struggles that Indigenous people face is still prominent and real. There are many different tribes, with varying struggles and needs. It is very difficult to narrow it down to a singular common struggle. However, Gregg said that “one of the big things that you’ll hear native Americans talking about, is sovereignty”. He elaborates: “The right to govern ourselves. People say that we’re a sovereign nation. But if we’re a federally recognised tribe, we are reliant on the federal government in one way or another, from your enrolment process, all the way down to supplements that you might get for healthcare, for schooling, for infrastructure, or for any of those things. Most Americans believe that tribes are getting free money from the federal government that we don’t deserve. And then people take the casino and gambling stereotype very seriously, thinking that we have an excess of money. Indigenous people are lower – socially, economically and politically – than anybody else in the United States. Yet there’s the belief that the poorest people in this country are getting something that the richest people in the country are not. In addition to a social security number I also have a federal ID card, that recognises me as an indigenous person. We’re the only race in the world that has to prove our existence through a series of fractions that are ultimately held by the federal government.” Native American Indian Heritage Month is something relatively new. When asking how popular it is in America, Gregg said: ‘Most Native Americans don’t know that. Academic institutions are aware of it and they will make an effort to have Native speakers at some colleges. There is an effort to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, however that would be in October. In comparison to Black History Month, which is quite a wide movement and celebrated in schools, and Asian History Month as well; the Native American Heritage Month has never been celebrated and most people are unaware of it.’ When asked whether he thinks something
will change in the attitudes of the people and the government, he stated: “That’s not going to happen, that would be an admission of guilt that undermines the American dream and all the other stuff that makes up America being this great nation that is infallible, but it’s not. I think the information will come out, it’s accessible, you have a right to information with the freedom of information act, but I don’t think accountability is part of the deal.’ His art plays around with various concepts about identity, but that’s not the entirety of it: “I think I’ve seized some moments and I’ve been able to articulate those moments, both in art and in [spoken] word. In such a way that has allowed me to stand out. I think it is about seizing moments and sort of being bold and unapologetic about things. I’m an artist who just happens to be native. My work isn’t formed by my identity but rather, by how I grew up and the community that I belong to. Yet my work is also my work, so I think I have the same struggles as other people, you know? I want to create good work. It’s my life’s work and I want it to be relevant; to be true and honest. I want it to have the same integrity that I feel in my own life, to occupy the spaces it does not get to occupy. One of the things I love about murals is that I get to create something that exists in a space that people might not be familiar with.”
“But it’s not about police brutality, it’s not about racism, not about mascots, about being poor, about being the highest rated for diabetes or heart disease and cholesterol; it’s not about poor diet or poor education, about whether or not we are sovereign, or whether we have equal rights under the constitution; it’s not about any singular one of those things, it’s about all of those things. Because each one begets the next.”
CULTURE & ART
er Photo by Pete Tiz
Discovering the spaces of The MarloweTheatre The Marlowe Theatre plays a crucial role in Canterbury’s culture. With different shows playing every week, InQuire wanted to know more about the way the venue functions. Cat Buffey, Pioneering Canterbury Project producer, and Paula Gillespie, Chief Operating Officer, discuss their experience working at the Marlowe, as well as the history and team at the theatre.
Words by Tímea Koppándi Transcribed by Aqdas Fatima
TK: Could you tell me about the history of the Marlowe? PG: The Marlowe theatre exists in the Friars and is the third Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. Initially, there was a repertory theatre, which was an arts council funded venue on a different site. It closed at the end of the 1960s. The Marlowe that we are in now is on the site of the second Marlowe theatre, which was a converted cinema that was largely knocked down in 2008. The current theatre opened in 2011. It went from the repertory theatre to the second theatre, which was very much a presenting theatre. It presented shows that were touring around the country. It didn’t have a studio theatre, it didn’t have an LLP, or any participation activity. The current theatre does an awful lot more than presenting theatre in all its forms. We have a presenting programme at the Marlowe theatre and the studio theatre. We have activity at the Kit, including performances. The Marlowe Theatre that opened in the ‘80s, it was a local authority theatre, they built it and opened it, but then by the early 2000s we realized it just wasn’t the right scale for us, it didn’t have enough seats to be able to attract the best shows. It was a converted cinema so on practical terms the building wasn’t brilliant; it didn’t have proper disability access laws. It was on the verge of falling. It needed a huge amount of investment if it was going to survive so we deemed it was better to knock it down and start again.
TK: This is a very old town, but the Marlowe Theatre’s architecture is modern. How come it didn’t follow its architectural trend? PG: It was a very deliberate act on their part to have something that was going to be very bold and iconic; something that was going to make a difference in the city architecturally. However, I don’t think anybody wanted to look like they were running scared around a pseudo-neoclassical theatre, and Canterbury is a city where everything is original. The architect has been 34
really careful. If you look at the skyline of the city from a distance, the Cathedral dominates it. If you look at the theatre, there’s a colonnade around the front. The height of the colonnade mirrors the height of some of the buildings around us. In actuality, the building architecturally sits well in the city environment. Unless you’re up high on the hills that are going out of the city, you can’t see the theatre unless you turn into one of the streets that it sits on. Walking up the high street you can’t see it, so you don’t have that sense of incongruity.
TK: The Marlowe Theatre has the Marlowe Studio as well. How come there are two distinct types of performance spaces in one theatre? PG: It’s just a different scale of performance. The Marlowe studio has 160 seats and the main house has 1,200 seats, so they do two very different things. When the studio was conceived, the thought was it would be somewhere where we could do small scale work, but it would also be somewhere where our youth theatre could be at home. We could use it as a production workshop space. The reality is that if you want to use the theatre as a performance space, you can’t do anything else in there because you can’t fit things around. If we have a week of performances, then our youth theatre would have to find somewhere else to go for the week. We realised very quickly that we’d have to find another home for all the other activities. Some of our best drama is in the studio, and it’s very hard to find drama on the scale of the main stage, and there is some great drama around on a smaller scale.
TK: What is the history of the Kit? PG: We knew that we needed somewhere to house our creative companies – our youth theatre, our two writer groups, the access company, the dance company, adult acting companies. Around 250 people come to the Kit each week to classes and rehearsals, and we needed a place that they could call home. This was the Canterbury Heritage Museum. While the attendances at the other museums were going up, the Heritage was going down, and it was pay-to-enter. We started talking to them about whether this was a building that we might be interested in working in. This is the most inspiring place to be. There’s so much history here and it’s such a beautiful building. The location’s fantastic for us. Some of the spaces are beautiful. We were interested in this space, mostly because of its location. We’re an organisation that works with contemporary art and artists and we were focused on the city. Winter 2019 IQ
InQuire’s Creative Writing Comptetion 2019 WINNER
Because the council built the theatre, it is absolutely in our DNA to be interested in the impact of the city. CB: One of the big themes of the exhibition in the Kit, was writers. This was before I joined the project, but the focus fell on three world-famous writers who had come from or lived in Canterbury or Kent. We chose Christopher Marlowe, our big poster boy, and Aphra Behn. A lot of people know about her nowadays, but she was unknown for a while and now she is resurfacing. Then we have Joseph Conrad as well. We took pillars of literary history –from different periods of history – and made them the focus of our exhibition. While I came on board, the job was to try and filter through all the stuff we had and all the ideas that had been bubbling around and create a focused exhibition that visitors could comfortably make their way around and understand. We selected some objects from the collection and placed them in central positions throughout the exhibition as focal points. But then, we’ve also created immersive, interactive theatre. When you visit the Kit, you feel like you’re transported into the world of these literary figures.The other activities we have are an escape room. It is centred around the historic building, Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury, but differently from what has been done before. It’s a theatrical take on storytelling, but Marlowe had never done an escape room before. That’s been running for just over a year now. We’ve had over 400 games being played by a few thousand people. That’s been lovely. We also developed schools’ programs alongside the work that the Marlowe already does with its associated schools. We’ve put together a series of workshops that both domestic schools and language schools can book. They can choose from a palette of workshops and can create their own experience to a certain extent.
TK: Could you see a collaboration with the students who study arts, or do drama or literature, who’d be interested in getting involved in such things? PG: Yes. We’re open to that. We have done so in the past. We worked with the University of Kent, we’ve worked with Canterbury Christ Church University and Canterbury College – we’ve worked with lots of different organisations, different students and academics. We have what’s called the discovery tickets at the theatre, which are £10 tickets for under 26-year-olds. That’s an incredible offer which I think a lot of students should take on. If you’re studying drama, there’s some great contemporary theatre, some fantastic contemporary drama that’s happening there which should be of interest to students In the past, we have hosted student productions in the studio. It’s something we might do, if what students are looking for is somewhere to showcase their work. But there are many other ways for students to get involved with us, as artists rather than the sort of musical theatre society.
by Shaghayegh Ghezelayagh
I think of my footsteps. My mother's back breaking. My father's heart breaking. It's all breaking. I think of this language. My Farsi is poetry. Soft silk nestled against my tongue. Beauty, beauty, and more beauty, all spilling out.
TK: What is your favourite part of the Marlowe? CB: It’s such an energetic and dynamic environment to be in a theatre. Just being in these spaces and being here in the Kit is lovely. I love spending time there. Equally, just hanging out in the office space and being surrounded by a buzzy office environment with people doing things, and hearing about all of the activities that are going on in the Kit, that’s the most exciting bit for me. PG: I think what’s important is to remind yourself why you do this. There are so many times when we remember why we work in the theatre. Being in the auditorium in this pantomime for our schools when the performances are on, it’s just incredible!
I think of this language. Cutting my tongue. How sharp. Don't let it bleed. I think of my homeland. Nestled in my heart. Refusing to leave. I think of the name changes. The passports. The goodbyes.
Photos by the Marlowe Theatre
I think of Siavash. Walking through the fire. Oh my love, may I come out burnt, but may I come out alive. Photo by Kenny R./Fickr
IQ Winter 2019
Oh my love, may you stay traced on the palms of my tired hands. What comes from the sea goes back to the sea. What goes to the sea comes back from the sea.
CULTURE & ART
Looking at the face of paint A Spanish artist who is most known for his innovative self-portraits, Eloy Morales joined Tímea Koppándi to discuss his inspirations and methodology. TK: Could you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into painting? EM: I have been painting ever since I can remember. My father used to paint every day after he came home from work. He used to paint and draw whenever he arrived home. This fact became a strong influence on me since childhood. I was about four or five years old when I chose to pursue painting. Ever since then, I have worked towards materialising my goal. TK: You are one of the only people in the world to paint a portrait of yourself covered in paint. Where did the idea come from? EM: I have encountered this subject as a conclusion of the portraits that I started doing in 2000. I used to work in series, because I felt that only one painting wasn’t enough to fulfil what I was looking for. Once I started these series there was a new idea that emerged in my quest of trying to convey exactly what I wanted. Usually when I feel like I have exhausted the possibilities of a series, I stop working on them. The idea of painting portraits of myself – with paint covering my face – came from a portrait of my brother David with shaving cream on his face. This image had a deeply conceptual meaning to me. TK:Do you feel overexposed with these auto-portraits, or is it more like a feeling of acknowledgment towards your work? EM: I don’t pay too much attention to that. To me the important thing is the painting by itself. In this case the model is me but that’s all. TK: Could you compare with make-up, or do you find that it is inherently different? EM: Yes, it acts as a mask, but it also symbolises war paint. That is how I feel and have felt it my entire life. The paint has always been in front of me whilst I am behind it. It’s impossible for me to split the painter from the person and the person from the paint. The paint is growing with me. I have painted ever since childhood and I am continuously painting. My paintings developed alongside me, as well as my style and ideas. I have never stopped painting. It guided the most important choices in my life and it still affects my everyday mood, even my happiness. This is what the ‘Paint in my head’ series talks about. TK:You deal a lot with portraiture. How do you choose who you paint? EM: I find in portraits my ideal way of expression, something that doesn’t always work on other subjects. To me, the sight is a very important aspect of my portraits. Through a person’s eyes you can see everything. I love this concept and that is what I try to capture in my portraits. Not just the resemblance of a person, not just the composition of a person’s image, but I want to reach the soul and even the emotions of that person at that specific time. It’s something very deep and interesting that attracts my attention. TK:Your style of painting is very sharp, realistic and almost photograph like. What is it that captures your attention when starting a painting? 36
EM:I disagree with that perception. I think many people have a wrong sense of what my paintings are, due to the way the internet portrays them. My paintings, when watched in real life, are not sharp. All the limits and edges are very subtle, even blurry, and there are no details that are evident. The brushstrokes are visible, and there is a present sense of the hand painting it, rather than a photography where this sentiment is less noticeable. The illusion of reality is caused by the fact that I pay a lot of attention to colour and the value adjustments. I don’t think my paintings are photograph like, they are realistic but only due to the paint codes. To me, copying a picture without putting your own personal imprint on it doesn’t make any sense. The subjects that I choose when I start painting are mainly ideas that emerge from certain things that have inspired me. However, I admit that I am not always capable of translating my thoughts into paintings. TK: Could you walk us through
the mental and physical process of starting a painting? How difficult is the execution? Do you have a particular work ethic? EM:I used to start sketching
out random things in hopes of arriving to the best version of my vision. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes it doesn’t. To me it’s not the matter of what I paint, but rather how I paint it. I think that great painters have no need to be original in finding subjects. They are great because of the they transcend the subjects. They go beyond the surface and that is key to me. TK: Do you think that your nationality shaped your artistic style or has it influence any concepts that you deal with in your work? EM: The first painters that had a strong influence on my work were Spanish, since I grew up in Madrid. I used to visit El Museo del Prado very often when I was a child. Those were my first lessons of painting. I suppose if I would have been born in Holland, my inspiration would have been Rembrandt instead of Velazquez, who knows?
Winter 2019 IQ
Words by Casey Magloire
Photo by Casey Magloire
The Culture of ‘Puffas’ Words By Helena Bilney
ball stars were often held to star-like status on campus. Whilst there are some incredible athletes across America playing at the university level, they became more like figures of the university as opposed to fellow students. Amongst my favourites has to be the salt and pepper shakers, the Mount Rushmore paper weight with the Top 4 scorers, with what felt like hundreds of university t-shirts. This is unimaginable at an event like Varsity, but it has not hindered success at UKC one bit. The best part of watchi n g
UK v USA s.
some sports is watching someone you know. The win feels more personal. You are more aware of the sacrifices these players had to make to ensure they always attended training and never missed a Wednesday
ince university apparel time began, puffers have emerged on the University of Kent campus. It is autumn term, so we parade around in ‘puffas’, as they are informally called. Do we like the idea we are part of a brand, or that we are a part of a team? Is it another skin or another part of our identity? Those moments when your eyes meet the sea of university sports ‘puffas’ in the library café, it is like a scene out of High School Musical as the ‘puffas’ join together at the front of the library. Are we just being too ‘clothed’ minded with our expression? Felix Morgan, a member of the University of Kent Men’s Hockey, says “puffer jackets are good because they can give you a sense of pride whether representing your team or university. The same mentality can be seen with all the rugby squads during the Six Nations and the World Cup.” Therefore, ‘puffa’ coats are not a jacket of arrogance, but a social tool to meet like-minded people from a variety of sports across campus. A University of Kent athlete expressed: “I wear a sports puffer jacket as there is an added bonus that is advertising the society as most puffers have the society name on the back.” Although university should be a time to experiment with clothes as a form of expression, it is clear the sea of ‘puffas’ is a marketing tool for both current and external students. She continues: “I think they have most definitely become a bit of a fashion trend in the present day. But, ‘puffas’ aren’t just about fashion, they also represent an achievement for the owner as some sports jackets allow the player to put their team on the back.” Owners of university sports ‘puffas’ should not be looked at as a cult, but purely as sporting individuals who have worked hard to earn a position on a team. They can be seen as a uniform and “there is also something about puffas that make you feel more part of a family”. ‘Puffas’ stands not only for the hard work and accomplishment it has taken to be a member of a team, but they also represent a sense of belonging.
match. You know they pulled an all-nighter or that squeezed an extra training session before Varsity to perfect a skill. This is what makes Varsity so much fun. It would be remiss not to mention the most important aspect of the entire event – the rivalry betweenUKC and Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). There is shared pride in winning Varsity that wasn’t quite the same when the scale was upped in America. The games are tight and intense, without a doubt the highlight of the sporting year. In comparison, if your university did not make it to the national playoffs, the season was pretty much over in a couple of months. There are benefits to both. Playing your sport to t h o u - sands, hearing them chant your name and being known across the country is an opportunity many players in the UK dream of. In comparison, there are fewer pressures. Players are forced to balance getting a degree, playing a sport and becoming a quasi-celebrity from the age of 18. It comes down to preference. I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was i Fl better, I think that both y B to should be experienced. Pho ck r
fter spending a year studying in America, I realised how different the two systems are. There were some things that lived ckr Fli up to the clichés, howy B ever , one thing I did o not expect to be so different was sports. They differed dramatically, from ways of playing, to ways of becoming a player, to ways of running a club. Everything was the opposite of how we approach sports in England. I recently became aware that the university I attended – George Mason University – made $18,529,975 in revenue from sports alone. Initially, these figures may seem shocking, but realistically they are minor in comparison to other universities in America. My university was not particularly high up in the ranks, but this did not stop them from playing sport as if it were a premier league team. By far the biggest difference was scale. However, 10,000 people in a stadium does not quite compare to the rush of Varsity at UKC. At George Mason, the basket-
Words By Pat Stillman
ver since I began Fencing in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), my Dad has been UKC Fencing’s biggest fan. He follows the results, the league tables, and is often aware of who our next fixture is against before I am. For the students in his science class, I am sorry for all the mock exams on a Wednesday afternoon. It is so he can watch our match live-streamed on Facebook during this time. This year, however, our matches have been much less accessible. Right back at the start of the season, I got a text from him saying: “I can’t seem to find your men’s team on the new BUCS app?” Guess what Dad? Me neither. Before our match last week, I got the following text: “No BUCS for you tomorrow? Their app really is s**t!” In any other circumstance, it would probably be fair to assume that my Dad, 56, probably was not the most technologically literate. Unfortunately, his frustrations appeared to be echoing with students all over campus. The app has had a few teething problems, or, as Netball’s Natasha Reeves brilliantly put it, “honestly, this app has aged me”. She is right. Anyone who has had the pleasure of using the app will tell you that the single most frustrating thing about it is the loading times. You could almost, but only almost, forgive the poor layout, there is a lack of shortcuts and the messaging feature is poor because you have to wait half a lifetime to get onto a page that you accidentally misclicked. Then you wait for years to get back to where you were when trying to select a team. Provided, that is, that the app does not crash mid-way through loading the team sheet you had to spend the whole car ride to Colchester trying to bring up. Despite my previous exasperations, I am inclined to believe that this app is a step in the right direction. Once the bugs have been squashed – the loading times reduced, shortcuts added so captains can get straight to viewing their teams, the ability to view other leagues and results without joining the community sorted… Basically, once the entire app has been re-designed and properly tested by the people who actually know how to work a successful app. The response from sports clubs, administrators and facilitators will be far more positive. But when the execution is this poor, it is far easier just to put pen to paper. 37
“I never expected to lose a friend due to suicide.” Words by Megan Warwick Over the past several weeks, I have spoken with four sports players who have undergone and seen the struggles of feeling emasculated. The world is filled with men who feel they cannot speak out about sexual assault, mental health or, simply, sadness. I also spoke to women who feel unsure of how to reach out. According to the Movember Foundation, “globally, on average, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day”.
he night Luke Edwards*, 21-year-old was sexually harassed, he was in a night club smoking area. Working behind the outside bar, a male stranger kept approaching him. The surroundings were filled with the usual array of students, drinking alcohol, and talking amongst each other drunkenly. Luke was working the late shift, serving drinks, and chatting to customers to pass the time. The stranger approached during the first hour of the night before his visits became more frequent. He asked: “Has a
L U K E
guy ever hit on you before?”. Luke brushed it off, thinking of it as innocent, feeling as though he was overacting. The hourly visits turned to half an hour visits, as the stranger continued to make sexual and inappropriate comments, which progressively grew more grotesque. It reached the end of the night and the stranger comments about having sex with him. The stranger told Luke “I’d f**k you if you want to”. That made Luke feel dehumanised and livid was not the sexual comments or the stranger’s intentions. It was that if he were to say what had happened, it would be made fun of more than be taken seriously as sexual harassment. After work, when the stranger and students had disappeared, he went home and was trying not to think about what had been said, or the fact that he was walking home alone shortly after the occurrence. Luke feared he would not be taken seriously by anyone he opened up to about the harassment, whether that be his teammates or friends, due to his gender. He told me: “It was as though men being raped or sexualy harrassed was seen as a joke or myth, something almost impossible to talk about.” Luke felt society wanted him to be tough. “It’s normal for a girl to be sensitive, but I must remain reserved. A sensitive boy is seen as being weak and generally as a bad trait”. He found it hard
to talk about male worries, such as body positivity “which is aimed at women way too strongly in comparison to men”. Luke found that comments made about the male body tend to be accepted way more than about women’s bodies. He said: “Situations would occur where I’d see individuals with new marks on their arms every once in a while, but I felt it wasn’t my place to ask if they are alright, but just hope they talk to someone to get better”. Luke realised he was not the only male who experienced mental health issues or fear of being
judged for having undergone sexual harassment. Although still feeling that it is really hard for men to talk to each other about serious mental health issues, he found promoting awareness can only be healthier for people. He stated: “The university needs someone to be there to tell you who to contact that who can be there for them”.
n the summer of 2016, Alex Hastie felt his depression peak. He had just finished his GCSEs and was looking to take the next steps. “I have experienced many battles with my mental health, but I have, luckily, never resorted to self-harm.” However, during this time, Alex was at a low point. He had planned to meet up with his friends and celebrate finishing his exams. But he could not put himself together. He could not pretend to be okay to his friends, or risk his friends seeing him overwhelmed. His summer had fallen through as Alex just
“I’d f**k you if you want to.”
A L E X
could not enjoy activities he used to love doing. He felt as though he was a liability, unable to hold responsibility, never knowing when he was going to have a breakdown. Locking himself to the confines of his room. Alex would replace those days in the sun with his friends with excessive amounts of sleep, as his only escape. Having joined a sports team at the University of Kent, Alex found that others are affected the way he has been, including those from back home. He told me: “I would be able to describe a breakdown and have a few of them share an identical story, they knew what it was like. They felt I was describing their breakdown. But, although I felt I wanted to help, I thought about how I can help when my foundation isn’t secure?” The phrase ‘man up’ echoes around many men’s heads. Alex felt this phrase harshly. As a man, “my emotions never had a place out loud, but only in my own head”, for fear of being ridiculed for expressing emotion. “Mental health doesn’t come to mind for a normal bloke. An emotional talk wouldn’t fit in with pub conversations, so I believed it surely wasn’t acceptable to discuss emotions, ‘man to man’.” Struggling to bottle it up, Alex broke down. One night, the “I’m okay” he’d robotically tell his mum was unable to escape his lips as he opened up to her one night. He told the truth of his mental health struggles, totally broken down. Only then did he have a total lack of any confidence or ego left in his mind to tell her everything. “When I had been in the trenches, I realised men’s mental health isn’t in the movies, it’s not in books, it’s not on TV, so how are young men meant to be educated on how they express who they really are and how they feel without being alienated”. Alex searched for a text box on how to “be a bloke in our society”, but he quickly realised it is not a case of trial and error. University was an important time in Alex’s life, in terms of his realisation of the flawed “idea that blokes don’t have emotion, they just carry on their usual life’s without showing their true self”. He realised he could not live this way. Alex felt that bringing attention to these pressing issues was the main incentive for him when it comes to raising awareness for mental health and men’s emotions. His university can only offer five free counselling sessions to the poorest demographic in society, being a student. “It’s abysmal,” Alex told me. Joining Movember and promoting speaking out about any mental health struggle was something that made him feel better about himself.
Winter 2019 IQ
essica Brown* was walking through one of the University’s college corridors with her boyfriend Matt after a late night out. Matt had a breakdown in the smoking area of the night club, tears streaming down his face. He ran out of the club, and she knew she had to get him away from anyone else as quick as possible. She knew if his football friends saw him in this state, they would never let it go. Pushing past the clumps of bodies, across the dancefloor, up the stairs and out into the open air, Jessica chased after him. When they were out of the club and stood behind trees, Matt collapsed onto the floor in a heap. Passers-by were looking over, and Jessica told me she feared “they would judge”. She dragged Matt into one of the colleges, expecting it to be safe from the judging stares of those passing by, en route to the 24-hour medical centre. He was sobbing, heaves coming from his chest. Jessica told him “breathe slowly”. He stammered, “I can’t”. The college was full of groups of post-clubbers. Matt’s face was covered with tears. “I remember his eyes, broken, and fragile containing such sadness.” All Jessica wanted was to go home with her boyfriend. They kept their heads down, Jessica trying to shield passers-by from seeing Matt’s tear-stained face. But it was useless. A group of boys stopped walking to stare at him. Sniggering at the sight of a male crying and nudging each other. Anger rose in Jessica’s throat as she shouted, “there’s no need to stare”. As Jessica and Matt rounded the corner, they heard shouts of abuse behind them. Matt snapped. He spun around and shouted “f**k off!” at the top of his lungs. The words “wet wipe” and “p***y” were tossed around behind them, but all Jessica could respond with was “leave him alone!” Everything felt useless. Jessica feared for what would happen next as they were backed into a corner by these strangers. But campus security rounded the corner at that moment, breaking up the tension. Matt pushed through the double doors of the exit as campus security diffused the anger of the other men as he told them “he’s had a rough night”. One of the men scoffed, responding “so have I, my uncle died”. Jessica felt so angry. She wondered: “Is life just trying to one-up each other on who has the most tragic experience?” Campus security calmed Matt down by telling him to clean himself up and that it was not his
J E S S I C A
IQ Winter 2019
fault that he felt low. Although the security guard could fix the damage of his hand by telling him to go to the medical centre drop-in clinic, his emotional state was not something that security could force him to go and fix. Jessica told me: “Due to the negative response from these strangers, Matt felt he couldn’t talk to any of his friends”. Jessica wondered, “would it have been a different response if it had been me?” Jessica mostly wants to promote that men can cry too and that women should get involved in promoting how it is okay for men to display emotions and being there for any brothers, husbands, boyfriends, family or friends in their lives.
enced any extreme moments of battling mental health, he felt affected by the occurrence. He watched the death of the individual he knew tear the family apart, none of them suspecting the suicide. “It deeply affected my sister, who struggled with the news. I couldn’t bear to see how broken a family was after a suicide,” he told me. Feeling you cannot share emotion can make the emotion worst. Arthur found that not fitting in with the ideals of masculinity was a struggle many men face. Like the breakup of a relationship, you are most likely to hear ‘don’t be a p****y’ in your ear as opposed to a comforting speech is something men felt pushed down by. After suicide tragedy, Arthur really wanted to do something
“The group of boys sniggered at the sight of a man crying.”
rthur never expected to lose a friend due to suicide. His routine consisted of university, playing rugby, and hanging out with his friends. But he never expected a suicide to happen. Although he had never experi-
to keep men from dying young. Arthur wanted to promote the importance of suicide awareness and to tackle the negative effects of toxic masculinity. He admires those who keep fighting against being emasculated or overcoming difficult times
for mental health. He said: “Fighting is one of the hardest as we don’t know our brains as well as our bodies. It is important to encourage men to talk about their problems”. Feeling oppressed and overwhelmed with emotion, Joe, Luke, Jessica, and Arthur felt they wanted to do more to help men’s mental health, especially those in sports teams. They each took to fundraising, getting involved with the Movember cause and raising awareness. They also spread the awareness to their sports teams, a place where many individuals feel they cannot share their distresses, forming a close-knit circle around them and promoting awareness in their clubs.
A R T H U R
*The names of the individuals in this feature have been changed to respect their anonymity.
Photos By Sasha Freemind and Oladimeji Odunsi 39
The other side of the coin
An interview with Joe Acklam on the difficulties of dealing with fame. An interview by Joe Acklam. Photography by Tahmid Morshed.
ecently, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the University of Kent’s biggest stars, Joe Acklam. The second-year undergraduate student has had a meteoric rise over the last twelve months following the release of his immensely popular and divisive series, ‘Why X sport is pointless’,which came to real prominence after he bravely decided to take on the untouchables, rugby. Many have referred to him as “a prodigy”, “incredibly talented”, and “essentially the second coming of Jesus Christ”. But I had no real interest in finding out about that itself, I wanted to know about the man behind the persona. Joe extended me the privilege of meeting him at his four-bedroom Canterbury residence and I was taken aback at how normal his surroundings were. You always assume that the stars have a very different lifestyle to us, but this was certainly not the case. He likes to keep people around who will challenge him. Whilst I was there, he was asked if he would like a drink and after responding that he wanted a Macallan 40year, he was asked if he would prefer a glass of Louis Roederer. I asked him about his humble surroundings, to which he replied quickly: “I don’t like constantly reminding people of how much better I am than them. I like to think of myself as being no different ‘‘I mean, obviously, I am far from anyone else. I mean, better than everyone around me, obviously, I am far better everyone around me, but there is no sense in flaunting than but there is no sense in it constantly. It is important to flaunting it constantly. It is important to me that I me that I remain humble’’ remain humble.” Humility is clearly something that Joe values extremely highly. I asked Joe about his muses for his visionary style of writing and he responded that he really relates to Conner Friel, who himself allowed a window into his life behind the public persona in the film, ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’. “Before I begin my writing process or when I make public appearances, I like to remember the words to Conner’s song ‘Humble’. Something about that really resonated with me. I can completely relate to the feelings that he speaks about and having to act like everything you do is not as ground-breaking and impressive as it is. My apple crumble is most certainly the crumble-est. Because people do not like their role models being cocky, even if they can completely back it up. Just look at Lewis Hamilton.” Acklam was also nominated for three KIC awards last year and has now taken up the role of InQuire’s Satire Editor alongside hosting his own weekly radio show, but he was quick to pooh-pooh any suggestion 40
that he deserves greater recognition. “No, being Satire Editor is not the most prestigious job, but I am very happy to do it. I find that there is more satisfaction in making something from nothing and creating your own legacy rather than just showing up previous editors that would have done that job before me. Do I deserve George Knight’s job? Absolutely, and I could easily do it. However, I feel that some people need these opportunities more than myself. People know what I can do anyway, others need the titles.” It was at this point where I shifted the interview towards the negative aspects of doing things like this. It is obvious from his shift in tone and body language that these are things that have greatly impacted upon Joe and have weighed heavily upon him in the last year or so. “These things can be tough to adjust to. Even for a generational talent like myself. It always annoys me that these problems get dismissed as first world problems. I can barely move without these vultures wanting a selfie or an autograph. I’m like anybody else. I just want to have my white veal with gold leaf bread in peace.” That was all the time that I could get with Joe, as he was off to a meet and greet. It was a great experience and I spent most of the first ten minutes just staring at him and enjoying being in his aura. I could sense that he spends a long time thinking about the world around him and I think this is often lost on people.
*Disclaimer: Views expressed in InQuire’s satire articles are those only of the writer and InQuire does not endorse any of these opinions, this section is dedicated to entertainment purposes only. We use fictitious characters in our stories, except in regards to public figures being satirised directly. Winter 2019 IQ
PUZZLES QUICK CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Stone (4) 3 Quartet (4) 8 Uncaring (13) 9 Possess (3) 10 Controlling device (9) 12 Speaking (6) 13 Distress signal (6) 16 Very (9) 18 Weaken (3) 20 Exchange of information (13) 22 Previously (4) 23 Rind (of an orange, say) (4)
DOWN 1 Horned animal, in short (5) 2 (East End) Londoner (7) 3 Border (6) 4 Employ (3) 5 Way in (8) 6 Section (4) 7 Almost (6) 11 366 days (4,4) 12 Rough drawing (6) 14 Hate (7) 15 Cooking instructions (6) 17 Domesticated (4) 19 Jury (5) 21 Water vessel (3)
Answers Across: 1 Rock, 3 Four (Roquefort), 8 Inconsiderate, 9 Own, 10 Regulator, 12 Saying, 13 Mayday, 16 Extremely, 18 Sap, 20 Communication, 22 Once, 23 Peel. Down: 1 Rhino, 2 Cockney, 3 Fringe, 4 Use, 5 Entrance, 6 Part, 7 Nearly, 11 Leap year, 12 Sketch, 14 Despise, 15 Recipe, 17 Tame, 19 Panel, 21 Urn. Crossword
IQ Winter 2019
Puzzles compiled by Matthew Sapsed
Will organising and prioritising raw data suppress information that today is considered fundamental?
As the last edition of InQuire this decade, our executive team give their thoughts on the 2010s and its implications for the future.
Reflecting the 2010s? George Knight
that historians of the future will note the 2010s as significant. As revolutionary as smartphones, Mars space travel and social media may seem to us, innovations span time far beyond their impetus. We can only hope that those in the future find relevancy in our decade, then may the reality of the 2010s be thoroughly examined.
unstable with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Arab Spring. We may also be on the cusp of another recession and how this will react with the post-populist agenda of our future leaders. One thing is for sure – and the 2010s prove this indefinitely – is that politics is changing, whether the gatekeepers like it or not
s significant as the 2010s may seem to many contemporaries, how the future will perceive our time is debatable. Ultimately, it will be the judgment of historians, researchers, and writers that will colour the reality of our world. Historians of the future will be faced with a substantial surplus of evidence. Although initially, this may seem beneficial, the methodologies required to organise and interpret this wealth of information will be challenging. The abundance of mass media, social media, audio, videography and more will necessitate organisation. As search engines today are designed with strict algorithms to correlate and present information, the same may be required for historical evidence. These restrictions will pose a challenge to censorship. Will organising and prioritising this raw data suppress information that today is considered fundamental? With evidence ranging from government documents to tweets, interpretation will also require an understanding of the individual experience in the 2010s. It will be easier to contextualise in the future as individual experiences will be recorded in abundance. The challenge, however, will increase as contextual understanding will be required for everything. The means of production of information, that is social media posts, etc. are within public hands; rather than educated groups. This will necessitate an understanding of numerous variables, rather than an understanding of limited groups which have coloured human history before. The 2010s, like any other historical period, will be defined by the views and methods of future historians. As political theorist E. H. Carr wrote in 1961: [We] achieve our understanding of the past, only through the eyes of the present.” The 2010s could be subject to periodisation. Already today some argue the ‘post-Brexit’ era is separate from pre-2016. Who is to say that future historians may not look at the 2010s in the same way? It may be that Britain stands upon the precipice of economic disaster in 2020, and the 2010s could be the final years of prosperity. Or, it could be that future historians will place the decade within the periodic framework of technological growth. It would be a mistake to assume
Politics of identity
very decade has its defining qualities. The 80s and the ‘Cold War’, the 90s and the ‘Third-Way’, and the 2000s and the ‘War on terror’. In a decade littered with scandals, antitrust cases, and electoral upsets, the 2010s will be remembered as a decade of tremendous change, as ‘identity’ took centre stage. From Donald J. Trump and the Brexit, to Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, populism saw a widespread surge, reasserting cherished national identities and challenging the establishment. In convergence with intersectionality – different identities, from LGBT+ to BAME people addressing issues of marginalisation – taking a formative role in public life, polarisation increased and divisions among society exasperated. Whilst imperfect and masked by a shadowy global operation involving big data (questioning the fairness of future elections), our democracy has proven itself to be resilient. Protests have given a voice to those with no platform or privilege, emphasising issues which politicians have failed to grasp. Extinction Rebellion, For our Future’s Sake, #MeToo, Merzhir Serzhin and other movements have exercised their civil liberties. Only since the protest movement of the 1960s have groups engaged in this level of direct action. Despite the changes we have seen, the sensitivity of public opinion to military casualties, together with the unconvincing outcomes of previous actions, has remained. The bloody conflicts in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, and Yemen has legitimised threshold for future interventions. One has to ask what impact the toll of deaths and destruction will have in the Middle East for decades to come. Among the affairs, there were of high-profile deaths of prominent, and often divisive, political figures – including Margrett Thatcher, Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela (to name a few). As we look forward to the ‘20s, one has to ask whether politics will be able to integrate with technological advancement that had already looks
The digital decade
ith the birth of Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat at the start of the decade, there is no doubt that social media found its way into everyone’s hands and mobile phones. Alongside this new life, we mourned the death of old friends Bebo and Myspace, not to mention that short spell of a video service Vine, which only lasted four years (and was then easily replaced by a younger, hotter model Tik Tok). I am proud and disappointed to say that I may have not laughed as much without social media this decade. What am I supposed to do without Twitter memes? Talk to people? According to ‘We Are Social’, the total population of social media users reached almost 3.5 billion in 2019, reaching 45% of the world’s population. Nearly half the world is consistently swiping, liking, and refreshing online every day. It seems that everyone’s trying to go ‘viral’ nowadays. When you can get money and stay loaded from being a highly rated ‘influencer’, the daily 9-to-5 starts to seem a bit unattractive. We have seen it in make-up stars like Jeffree Star, streamers like Ninja, or vloggers like PewDiePie who turn into entrepreneurs chasing the money of their fans. These so-called ‘internet personalities’ as they may call themselves, are probably the biggest con of the decade. We only have to look towards Zoella’s £50 advent calendar scandal to see the worst of the worst. With a reach so wide, there are many conflicts in the online community. The 2010s have seen a surge in the responsibility of these social media companies to put a stop to toxic trends. This year, Instagram removed almost 10,000 self-harm images every day in the months after the Molly Russell scandal and Facebook came to blows in 2018 when Cambridge Analytica broke into the data of millions of users. Social media is not always perfect. Let me just log on and see what everyone else is saying about it. Winter 2019 IQ