Catalyst: 'Changes', Issue 4, Volume 73

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changes

issue 4

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Contents

Editor’s Letter

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News Recap

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2017 Student Elections Guide

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On Course to Change Course

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Changing the World, One Bowl at a Time

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Uni doesn’t just give you debt; it gives you politics

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Every time I come back, the place looks different

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The Rain

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It’s only Rite

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PhD Drag Queen

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Photo essay

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What’s Next for Journalism?

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Ballot Box

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The Pill

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Modern Attitudes to Smoking

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Intercut

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The Trendsetters

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The Mirror

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Dutch Apple Tart Recipe

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Contributors

Editors: Maggie Coggan-Gartlan Anthony Furci Kasia Kosidlo

Back Cover: George Coltman Editorial Committee: Elizabeth Maidment Maddy Ruskin Natasha Lobo Shannon Schubert Micaela Togher Rachael Merritt Ben Madden Lisa Divissi Luke Michael Alayna Hansen Shannon Steuer Meg McKenna Tim Miller Abby Alexander Sophie Spence Kelsey Rettino Sarah Dunwoodie Nicole Pereira Jack Hopkins Weijun Lam

Creative Director: George Coltman Design Team: George Coltman Paige Linden Tommy Kuo Social Media: Meg McKenna Shannon Steuer Sophie Spence News: Gus McCubbing Reviews: Ben Madden Marketing: Cait Speldewinde

Printer: Printgraphics Pty Ltd 14 Hardner Road, Mount Waverley, Victoria 3149 Australia PE: 9562 9600

Visuals: Meg McKenna Cataclysm Producers: Jasmine Mee Lee Rainer Curcio

Special Thanks To: Sydney Road Brunswick Association - Primary Sponsor

Front Cover: Isa Frezza - Spring Series

Catalyst acknowledges that this magazine was produced on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their elders, both past and present. We also acknowledge the traditional owners of all the lands from where the stories and artworks were sourced.

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Editor’s Letter Maggie Coggan, @MaggieCoggan Anthony Furci, @AnthonyRFurci Kasia Kosidlo, @kasiakosidlo

Hey there,

of passage, smoking, and politics - you’re bound to find something you can relate to. In this world of constant change, what’s better than feeling right at home?

What you hold in your overworked-uni-student hands is the fourth (and second-last!) issue of Catalyst for 2017. Welcome!

Come and find some solace from all those assessments in these 56 pages of RMIT studentmade content. Now, in the interest of change - here’s a photo of us, on a boat, in our pyjamas. We’re so loose.

This issue is all about the shit-loads of changes that are happening daily. Not just in the political climate, or in the actual climate, but in our personal lives - especially with 2017 rapidly coming to an end. (It’s fucking September already?!)

Happy reading! Maggie, Anthony, and Kasia

You don’t have to be a uni student to enjoy this stuff, though. With articles on fashion trends, rites

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News Recap Maggie Coggan, @MaggieCoggan Anthony Furci, @AnthonyRFurci Kasia Kosidlo, @kasiakosidlo

SWANSTON ST HUNGRY JACK’S & 7-ELEVEN CLOSE THEIR DOORS The beloved Hungry Jack’s on the corner of Swanston and La Trobe is shutting up shop, making way for the Metro Tunnel Project. Worse still - the 7-Eleven a few doors up has closed too. They’re the second and third major Swanston casualties we’ve seen due to the rail works this year, with the Oxford Scholar closing back in June. The project is due for completion in 2026, bringing with it a new train line and five new stations (which you can name, if you’d like. Look it up!)

produced by RMIT students. The night is also a part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, which runs from September 14 to October 1. Snatches will run from 7-10pm on Thursday September 28 at the Kaleide Theatre. Head along to see some of RMIT’s best! WANT SOME FREE SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE? Look no further! The inaugural School of Science Spring Lectures will be taking place in Storey Hall throughout September, from the 4th to the 25th. They’ll be covering topics around the overall theme of “the big challenges of 21st century science.” Better yet, they’re totally free - no sign-ups required.

Who knows, maybe this’ll force us to find some healthier food? KFC is still open, though. Plus, the nearest Hungry’s is in Melbourne Central, literally across the road - and the nearest 7-Eleven is on the corner of Elizabeth and La Trobe. Still, may they rest in peace.

Google ‘School of Science Spring Lectures’ for more info!

#CELEBRATERMIT; NEW ACADEMIC STREET PARTY We reported on this last issue, but now it’s starting to get real - Bowen Street is finally re-opening! You would’ve already noticed the construction walls coming down. It’s so nice to have room to move down that street again (and to have a new building to navigate).

WHAT’S A RAD POD?! If you’ve walked along Bowen St recently, you would’ve seen signage for some RAD PODs. Basically, in the NAS (New Academic Street), there’s a RAD (Retail Activation District). Here, RMIT is opening up some pop-up PODs, ‘Providing Opportunities for Development’. Enough acronyms for you? Yeah, me too.

The New Academic Street project is set to complete on September 20. With this, RMIT will be hosting it’s own 130th birthday celebrations! There’ll be a street party from 12-2pm in the NAS precinct, but I think the real party will be knowing RMIT will be almost entirely free from construction. (Except for the Metro Tunnel, of course.) Visit nas.rmit.edu.au/events/celebratermit/ for more info and to RSVP.

These pop-up areas, located in Bowen Terrace (off Bowen St, across from Building 9) will be home to two food/drink spaces and two retail stores. Vendors will change on a regular basis. Plus, there’s no hire fee for RMIT staff, students, and alumni keen to get their business venture off the ground. Sound interesting? Still confused? Google ‘nas rad pods’.

COME SEE SOME FREE LIVE ART! 2017 is the 16th year of Snatches - a night of free film, poetry, theatre, music, and dance hosted by RMIT Link Arts & Culture. Much like yours truly, everything in Snatches is completely made and 6


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2017 Student Election Guide Claudia Long, @claudialongsays Maggie Coggan, @MaggieCoggan Image by Charlie Buchner

They’re the pinnacle of the democratic process. The cherry topping the egalitarian milkshake. The chance for you to make your voice heard.

candidates who are willing to fight tooth and nail to get ‘em. RUSU has been run by representatives of the Connect ticket by and large for the better part of a decade, but nonetheless their main competition - comprised of members of the socialist alternative and left-leaning university clubs - are still keen to continue their fight against both Connect and their other arch-nemesis: capitalism.

Unless, that is, you’ve found yourself caught up in a student election. In this case, your chance of making an informed vote, free from coercion and harassment is about the same as that of a voter in a corrupt micronation.

Traditionally, students who align with the values of the Labor right run with Connect, those who align with Labor left, the Greens and the Socialist Alliance/Alternative run with whatever they decided to call the opposition ticket that year and those who align with the Liberals tend to run under a small, conservative ticket that never manages to win. This year, only Connect and the socialist team, Left Action are running, This doesn’t mean every candidate is a member of these groups, although many are, nor are they campaigning in any way on their behalf. But, it does provide you with a bit of a guide as to where their values may lie.

Now, you may think the campaigners you run into probably need to get another hobby, leave their t-shirts and flyers at home and learn to take no for an answer sometimes. You may very well think that, but we at Catalyst couldn’t possibly comment. To escape campaigners you’d have need to have started a daily intensive intervals training program months ago, so here’s how to get through the week with your sanity intact and make your vote count. What the fuck is with all these friendly but also low-key aggressive people in t-shirts? Welcome to student elections! The whole purpose of this big shindig is to elect members to positions on the Student Union Council (SUC) of the Rmit University Student Union a.k.a RUSU. There’s a whole bunch of positions up for grabs and many

So you’ve been cornered, now what? If you want some time to make a considered decision, it’s ok not to vote right away. But many campaigners aren’t too keen on that for some reason so they may try to ruthlessly pressure 8


reasonably talk you into voting right then and there. If you already know how you’d like to vote then that’s a top idea! But if you’d like more time to think, there’s a few ways to get out of this sticky situation… ––

Say you’ve already voted

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Campaigners tend to emphasise how much longer lines will be later/earlier/literally any other time of the day, but by and large they tend to be the same so just say you’d like time to think

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Remember, you can vote however you like. There’s no rules saying you need to follow any cards given to you by any campaigners to get their candidates elected. Perhaps you like the sound of having more than one group represented on the SUC? In that case, just number the boxes the same way you would at a normal election until they are all filled in whatever order you like. Maybe you like the way things have been running at RUSU thus far and or want a complete change of pace by having the majority of one ticket take up most of the seats on the SUC. In that case, the best thing to do is number the boxes as you see on your preferred how to vote card.

Some campaigners like to make their presence known by getting right up in your face, usually while their competitor does the same. Not only is this annoying (halitosis anyone?), it’s also just plain weird but the best thing you can do is keep walking, take all the sheets of paper, and come back and make an informed decision/make them all into a garland or some other nifty papercraft should you so choose

Wait, what’s all this NUS business? Ah, that’s the National Union of Students. This is the peak union body for students across Australia and each university gets to elect a number of candidates to represent them each year. The NUS is a much more political space than RUSU, so keep an eye out for some future politicians on your ballot paper!

But if the campaigners have managed to catch you at a good time here’s what you’ll need: ––

Your student card

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About 5 minutes

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OPTIONAL: a how-to-vote card should you choose to use one

Voting for NUS representatives is pretty much the same as voting for RUSU SUC members, you can preference them whatever way you like. If you want a varied group of representatives from more than just one ticket, number the boxes however you wish. If you’ve been won over by a particular campaigner and want their group to take up all the NUS spots, then just vote in line with what you see on the how-to-vote card.

Ok you’ve made it to the booth, what next? Let’s set the scene: You’ve braved the campaigners. You’ve handed over your student card. You’re at the ballot box. You can hear someone shouting ‘8 years free’ in the distance for some reason you don’t quite understand...

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On Course to Change Course William Ton, @WilliamHTon

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Back when I was in high school, I always thought university would be straightforward; a one-stopshop to get a degree before moving into the ‘real world’. Since starting uni, I’ve realised it’s a period for experimentation, a learning period where we can search for our careers, passions, or both. Sometimes we know exactly what we want to pursue. Sometimes, we choose the wrong path, or we find something better suited to us.

was then offered a place in the Pharmacy course. The pressures of a more demanding course also added to the social pressures of being in a whole new environment. “I had to adapt to being with a new cohort. This meant that I had to quickly get to know others studying the pharmacy degree.” As many students know, money is precious when studying. This was also evident in the report, which revealed that university students were likely to drop out of a course for financial reasons. Niall was one of those students. He had a plan that if he “realised [he] didn’t like the course, [he] was going to leave it, before being forced to stay due to fees.”

James Quach and Niall Murphy are quite different. James’s interests lie in science, and Niall enjoys the arts. However, both have one thing in common. They both changed their university courses. Not once, but twice. James is a second-year RMIT student, studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy. Niall is a first-year Australian Catholic University student, settled into a Bachelor of Media Production.

Those who changed courses also cited that schools and universities should provide information as to what to expect in terms of course structures and workloads, prior to enrollment. James felt that schools should allow students to identify and complete subjects that are of interest to them, allowing them to base their university course decisions around this interest, but Niall sees things differently. He says he “had a good amount of opportunities to test subjects.”

In 2011, the Department of Education and Training released a report detailing the completion of study rates for university students. The report uncovered that one in five students who enrolled at a university course had not completed it. Of those numbers, 13,000 undergraduate students changed courses or institutions in their first year.

With a university course attrition rate remaining steady at 15.8 per cent in 2014, it all comes down to the students’ decisions. These days, James and Niall are moving forward on their career prospects in their new courses. They have one piece of advice for students who are contemplating course decisions; just “be aware of the options.”

Both James and Niall cited a lack of interest as a reason for changing course. It’s one of the most common reasons why students either transfer into a different course, or drop out of uni altogether. Niall first enrolled in ACU’s Bachelor of Nursing. Three weeks later he had transferred into a Bachelor of Game Development and, and after another three weeks, he decided the course wasn’t for him. “The idea of doing that as a lifestyle seemed fun and interesting, but as I sat in class, I realised I’d end up being bored,” he explains.

Know that there are many options out there. After all, university is a place to make mistakes. Whether you’re happy in your course, or you’re thinking of changing, you may as well experiment while you’re here.

For those wishing to change courses, there are inevitably some downsides. Both James and Niall experienced the same difficulties many students face when changing from one course to another. Niall says the courses he moved into “were all very different,” claiming he felt like he was “repeatedly being forced into square one.” “I had to dedicate even more study hours to do well academically across five subjects in semesters one and two of 2017,” James says. Previously, he studied a Bachelor of Biomedical Science for a year, after finishing high school in 2015. He decided to change majors to a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Laboratory Medicine), but 11


Changing the World, One Bowl at a Time Elena Webster Photography by Three Bears

Porridge has forever been linked to Goldilocks, but two business-savvy youths have reinvented it for a modern audience. The popular breakfast food is often depicted as a beige mush; however, the porridge offered by Three Bears is a bowl full of vibrant colours and deliciousness. Better yet, it has a purpose.

open in Brunswick this September. They’ll be selling coffee alongside porridge in the AM and bagels in the PM. 100% of the profits from porridge sales will be going to Eat Up Australia. The profits from the bagels and coffee will be directed towards another vital cause: youth homelessness. All of Dan’s social enterprises donate their profits to Launch Housing, a group that gets young people off the streets while also helping them achieve TAFE qualifications and find work.

Ben and KP established the social enterprise in early 2017. The pair from Perth saw Three Bears as a marketing opportunity to raise awareness of food insecurities; specifically, the impact it has on kids in schools. In fact, they set up shop at RMIT’s city campus in August; you might’ve seen them around!

Ben and KP have created their future and in the process have helped change the future for kids in Australia. The product of a generous marketing graduate and a nutrition graduate with a penchant for porridge has been a whirlwind. Ben says after they were accepted into a social enterprise accelerator, everything just happened from there…

Three Bears have been in close contact with Lyndon Galea, the man behind Eat Up Australia, an organisation which delivers food to children at school. Three Bears is still in its early stages, but with a realistic goal to turn a profit within the next six months, 100% of that profit will be going straight into feeding hungry kids. Eat Up Australia has delivered 80,000 lunches since 2013, and is currently helping out 101 schools in Australia.

“We studied for four months, got a logo designed and then started trading at farmers’ markets. Now we’re at this point where in another year’s time, Three Bears will be a fully fledged business with multiple staff.”

“I’m very motivated by the ability of business to power social change. I’m particularly passionate about not only feeding these kids but also helping them become agents of change that’ll take the skills we give them home with them.” -Ben

The RMIT pop-up shop broke even, and although home.one didn’t see a huge amount in the way of profits, they admit that the opportunity taught them a lot. Regardless, RMIT students can still be involved in effecting change and helping Three Bears help combat youth hunger. How? By heading over to Brunswick and grabbing a little bowl of heaven or a halo of delicious proportions I’m talking porridge and bagels.

The pair have recently finished up a two-week stint at RMIT, providing students and staff with nutritious brain food - combining porridge with bagels. The pop-up shop was the start of a business venture between Three Bears and home.one, an initiative started by entrepreneur Dan Poole.

So, grab a spoon, and be a part of the change.

Three Bears and home.one are fronting the social enterprise merge, with a permanent store set to 12


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Uni doesn’t just give you debt; it gives you politics Ivana Domic, @IvanaDomic_ Illustration by Charlotte Franks

You truly haven’t been a RMIT student, if you haven’t: a) Been stopped by a cluster from the Socialist Alternative group in the middle of sprinting to a tutorial b) Had a lecture interrupted by someone calling for the government’s downfall c) Seen a protest outside the State Library d) All of the above

Universities tend to have a reputation for being overtly left wing, and the proposition does have merit. For instance, the Socialist Alternative group tends to be much more visible than the other groups at RMIT, and the university itself has a progressive stance on issues such as genderneutral bathrooms and marriage equality. It might be true that people become more conservative because of different priorities. Some academics, such as Professor James Tilley of the University of Oxford, propose that a swing to conservatism later in life is a generational phenomenon. For instance, younger generations – especially ours – are more likely to have gone to university, unlike our grandparents. As a result, we are more likely to hold left-leaning views.

With the Labor, Liberal, Greens, and Socialist Alternative groups, RMIT is home to a wide range of political views. To some people, these groups may seem irrelevant and irritating, even necessitating answering a fake phone call to avoid being trapped in conversation. Regardless, it doesn’t really matter what your views are; being at university influences your political opinions and attitudes more than you might think.

The world has changed enormously in the last century, and the political landscape has also undergone a major facelift. It’s not just President Trump, Brexit, and the supposed return of populism, but our own politics at home. Rising dependence on opinion polls, a never-ending news cycle, and a little thing called the internet have all affected our governments and election campaigns. It’s very easy to be disappointed in our politicians, as our generation’s understanding of politics is undoubtedly shaped by seeing five Prime Ministers come and go over the last ten years. Regardless, politicians are aware that young people are paying more attention to politics than ever before – the Coalition’s PaTH internship program is just one example.

Most people attend university at eighteen, straight out of high school. Finally, you’re legally able to vote, and drink. (Probably best not to do both at the same time.) The constant news of funding cuts to education and rising uni fees becomes more than just a headline; it becomes your responsibility. You have the opportunity to meet many diverse groups of people from other states, other countries and with other experiences. You’re exposed to different views of the world, often challenging your own. According to the Australian Electoral Commission, 18 year olds had a participation rate of over 70% at the 2016 Australian Federal Election. Compared to in 2013 where only around 50% of 18 year olds voted, the data suggests a significant increase in political awareness in young people. There is a well known saying that goes like this: Any man who is under 30 and is not a liberal has no heart, and any man who is over 30 and not a conservative has no head. It has been attributed to numerous people from George Clemenceau to Winston Churchill, but the core of the maxim remains the same.

The reality is, you don’t have to be in Building 80 for university to be influencing your opinions. This period of job hunting, moving out, travelling, and studying plays a huge part in shaping your identity. By extension, it’s shaping your political views. So, do you have to take one of the Socialist Alternative flyers? No, not at all. You already have an opinion on whatever they’re talking about, whether you like it or not. 15


Every time I come back, the place looks different Elizabeth Pillidge, @e_pillidge Photography by Sarah Loo

Take a walk down Swanston Street. You may not realise it, but you’re actually walking through layers of history. A road that once carried horse-drawn carts and foot traffic is now ventured by rush hour traffic, packed trams, and busy cyclists. Here’s the deal – with each new era comes change, and a ghost of what once was begins to take over the façade.

to the site, many can’t understand why. History tells us that in 1964, The City of Melbourne attempted to implement a plan for the Vic Market involving a 1200 space car park. It was set to turn the famous site into a trade centre and hotel complex. But the proposal was knocked back, as it was met with scorching public outcry. The idea of preserving a livelihood at the market is still felt by people who work there today. Fiona, a delicatessen-holder, has been trading at the Vic Market for fifteen years. She completely understands the connection people have with the site. “Once you’re here, you love it. It comes under your skin. It becomes part of who you are.”

If you’ve ever been a tourist in Melbourne, it’s likely you’ve visited the Queen Victoria Market (or the ‘Vic Market’, as it’s affectionately known). It’s been there since the nineteenth century – a central hub of sights, smells, and stall holders. Perhaps you’ve heard news about an announcement for major change to take place at this significant site. If you haven’t, here’s the gist: Mayor Robert Doyle recently gave the green light for an underground car park and an apartment block to be built smack bang next to the market. The $50 million plan will involve temporarily dismantling the site’s heritage sheds to allow for construction, as well as replacing the sheds’ fresh produce stalls with food venues and takeaways.

She says that although “things need to change to revive the market,” there remains the unanswered question of whether the temporary site will be big enough for all the current traders to set up shop. “I don’t think it’s going to be big enough to house everyone… so what does it mean for their families?” This isn’t just a matter of redeveloping a site; there are so many other things at stake. As Fiona puts it, whenever any kind of change is coming, you don’t really know whether it’s going to be an improvement or a downgrade until it happens. Psychologically speaking, when a familiar space

As you can imagine, some Melburnians are for the change, and others are against. While the Council’s point of view is that they can’t afford to do nothing 16


undergoes transformation, it often affects our being as it becomes harder for us to draw an emotional connection to the area.

to the task. “If it’s good people doing the job, character does not have to be lost,” she says, as we sit in the food court surrounded by hyperkinetic shoppers.

Former architect of the Antarctica Group, Benjamin Clements, states that since humans are “spatial, sentimental and habitual beings,” redevelopment of spaces can be “quite a traumatic experience.”

A real concern for customers at the Vic Market is increase in prices as a result of the change. Sandra, who’s been visiting the markets for three years, says “if the traders are gonna have to pay a lot more money for their space, they’re going to charge a lot more money for their food.” She has a point. After the Prahran Market underwent refurbishment, traders were charged more, meaning the price of produce went up.

“We feel a sense that part of our being exists within the built environment around us… even the smallest change to a layout or decorations in your home can drastically alter your sense of ease.” Perhaps the reason certain buildings are marked as ‘heritage-listed’ is not only to preserve a valuable piece of history, but also a sense of sentimentality and comfort. From a trader’s perspective, it’s this unique character about a place that keeps people coming back. Concerned about the market losing its character, an anonymous vendor mentioned that “if it’s less unique, there’s less reason to come here.” He said it’s the people that come weekly who keep the trade going. If the regulars are lost, you have to question what the future of the market looks like.

Markets aside, layers of history can be seen everywhere in Melbourne. Architectural remnants of the past are practically a signature of this city; a heritage-listed shot tower sits among a bustle of citizens now using the centre as a transport hub and commercial metropolis, skaters perform tricks using fragments of the old State Library mounded into the footpath, a student walking through RMIT’s campus passes an old gaol that once housed Ned Kelly - at least until they tread around a construction site for a new metro tunnel.

Although there’s a ubiquitous ambiguity around this redevelopment, not everyone is sceptical of the change. Sandra del Greco, a regular shopper at the Vic Market, is certain that the market’s atmosphere can still be preserved if the right people are put

Although change can usually be for the better, there’s often something that gets lost along the way. To this point, Melbourne has done a great job of ensuring that doesn’t happen; here’s hoping that continues.

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The Rain Petula Bowa Image by Gemma Saunders Things got so heavy so quickly, and that’s what I regret the most. We went from frolicking in the rain to being assaulted by the storm. It was all too much, and we can’t even look at each other now with the same pair of eyes from when we first met. Instead, we look at each other with hesitation and sourness. All we see is all the many ways we’ve hurt, and been hurt. Between us, we have a lifetime of pain and a river of sorrow. We’ve been weathered by this storm, weathered by this love.

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It’s only Rite Megan Whitfield, @M_eganWhitfield

Rites of passage. We all go through them, those defining moments in our journey to (kind of) get our lives together. But what are they, really? According to RMIT Global, Urban and Social Lecturer Dr Juliet Watson, they are the sociallyconstructed steps that demonstrate our transition into adulthood. “They’re the stages we think are normal, within our social groups,” says Dr Watson. “There’s an expectation to reach adulthood smoothly, and at the appropriate time.” Rites of passage mark these important steps in our lives, but it’s not just about making sure we’re keeping up. “There are fun parts too. The freedom that comes, and the social aspect. You get to go through many of these with your peers.” They’re largely influenced by your environment, both socio-culturally and physically, which got me thinking; How might these rites of passage compare across generations? I asked a few people - young and old - to try and find some answers.

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Margaret Age: 80

Nicki Age: 50

First celebrity crush: I can’t remember exactly; probably James Dean.

First celebrity crush: Luke from The Young and the Restless.

Biggest fashion regret: An afro perm (“It wasn’t that bad.”)

Biggest fashion regret: Paperbag waist jeans. I wore men’s jeans one size too big, cinched in with a big belt. It was the eighties!

First date: I was 16, with Scotty McRiff. We caught the bus to the movies singing Johnnie Ray songs all the way. When we made it into the cinema, we ended up sitting on crates in the middle of the aisle, because there weren’t enough seats for us.

First date: It was a double date on Lygon Street… the best bit was probably that there were two other people there. Dream job: I don’t think I had one. My mum didn’t work, so I didn’t consider it much myself.

Dream job: I wanted to be in the Chorus Line. Although, I went straight into full-time work at age 14. I was a typist at ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages,’ and earned three pound ten. We worked below other offices, and on our way through, we’d say we were “giggling downstairs into the dungeon.”

When you moved out: I was 23 years old. Drivers licence: It took me three attempts. It probably should have been four, but my instructor made me turn off the ignition. I hadn’t fully parked, but he advised me to “just stop driving.”

When you moved out: When I got married, at 23. It was a little late for the time. My sister told me I was ‘on the shelf.’

Moment you realised you’d grown up: When I needed to start looking after my own parents.

Drivers Licence: When I turned 18, on my first attempt. I got to drive a convertible. Moment you realised you’d grown up: When I went to Paris by myself at age 62. I’d always had responsibility, but after (my husband) Jim passed away, I had to stand on my own two feet. I thought, if I can do that, I can do anything.

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Sasha Age 21

Holly: Age: 20

First celebrity crush: Aaron Carter from LIzzie McGuire. I don’t know why I was so into blonde dream boats, but that’s what he was. He could also sing and there was a Christmas special episode where he really just caught my attention. I think he started my love for generic white guys.

First celebrity crush: The first one I distinctly remember is Alex Pettyfer, but also pretty much everyone in Twilight. (Note: being the same age, I’m disappointed Jesse McCartney didn’t get a mention. Beautiful Soul was a TUNE.)

Biggest fashion regret: So me and my friends were really into Bratz, and as you might know, they dress fairly promiscuously. When I was about eight years old, I dressed up as ‘Sasha’ (obviously) but to do that, I wore a Bonds crop top bra thing, jeans and a denim jacket out to the movies. Let me just reiterate, I was eight years old and wore underwear out in public. There’s also photographic evidence which is pretty annoying.

Biggest fashion regret: I have a diary entry from when I was 6 where I’d written that my favourite clothes to wear were ‘three-quarter-length pants.’ I also had a side fringe in high school that was the same length as the rest of my hair, just pulled over. First date: We went to the movies, and he did an army roll in the cinema. That’s when I realised we weren’t compatible.

First kiss: On a bus, with a boy who later went on to date my best friend… who also kissed her at a bus stop. Weird. It was like being punched in the mouth, with another mouth.

Dream job: A teacher. I used to read to my teddies, and I’d assign them homework. Either that, or I wanted to interview famous people.

Dream job: An artist. I was always quite good at art, and I wanted to join the art club, but that disbanded before I was old enough to join…. which is maybe why I never pursued my art career.

When you moved out: I’m still at home. I’d like to move out in my mid-twenties, definitely not before I’ve finished uni though.

When you moved out: I’d say in 2014, when I went to live in Japan on exchange for a year. I lived with five different families in that year, and I don’t remember missing home too much. I really learned how to be independent in that time, because you become your own best friend when you can’t really speak the language.

Moment you realised you’d grown up: When I could catch the bus independently, and didn’t need to keep someone posted on where I was.

Drivers licence: Two weeks after my 19th birthday.

Drivers license: I got my license in November, 2016, four years after I got my L’s. I had to redo my written test for my L’s because it had expired. Actually I had to do it re do it twice because I failed the first time. Moment you’d realised you’d grown up: The first time I got excited over bed linen. I get so blissed out over changing my pillow case and having clean sheets. It’s fucked, but I love it. *Note: When asked her biggest fashion faux-pas, Dr Watson provided an excellent response. Simply, “all of them, and none of them.”

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From Penicillin to Penny Cillin Catherine Smith, @cathy_smith1 Illustration by Sarah Loo

MELBOURNE, Australia - Liam* sits alone in front of a row of mirrors with “Broadway Bitches” sprawled in red lipstick across the top. Surrounded by colourful wigs and dresses that glisten in the afternoon sun, Liam is an enigma in black ripped jeans, leather boots and a torn Metallica singlet. He is 5’9” and weighs just 50kg. His dirty blonde hair has been pinned under a beige wig cap, but rebellious tufts poke out. He peers sheepishly at me in the mirror, as a bartender drops off his second vodka and coke. “I honestly don’t know if this is a pre show ritual anymore, or alcoholism,” he remarks. It’s 5pm, two and a half hours before show time.

point where that changes.” Fittingly, it was in a microbiology lab where the 24 year old stumbled across his stage name. “I walked into the lab, opened the fridge door, and there was Penicillin – which is where ‘Penny Cillin’ comes from. I also considered Sarah Tonin, but it just didn’t feel right.” While we are talking, Liam picks up a glue stick and starts rolling it over his eyebrows. This method is called “blocking”. The glue covers the drag queen’s natural eyebrows, so that more feminine brows can be drawn on. The process to hide Liam’s masculinity is nothing compared to the process to hide his femininity. Liam’s family still don’t know about his ‘secret life’ outside of the laboratory. For the first two years of his drag career, Liam would lock himself in his bedroom for hours to practice “putting on a face.” If he was going out, he would patiently wait until his mother went into another room before leaving quietly.

At just 24 years of age, Liam has been a professional drag queen for two and a half years. He co-hosts the Greyhound Hotel’s Homosexual Bingo, and is regularly booked for performances all over Australia. When he is not covered in layers of foundation, glitter and lashes, Liam is working towards a PHD in science and developing a Vaccine for HIV and Hepatitis B. This is his seventh year of study.

“The perception in my family is that I’m the smart kid that went to uni and is doing a PHD. If I told them ‘I dress like a woman for money’, they would look down on me for being a dropout or ‘gender confused’.” With a damp beauty blender, Liam begins to apply his base layer of foundation.

For most people, science and the arts are about as compatible as North and South Korea. For Liam, they go hand in hand. “I don’t find my lives that separate. This is still me, there’s not a definite 27


“I obviously don’t understand gender though. I mean, look at me,” he says with little hesitation.

Jessica’s entrance will. “Welcome to Homosexual Bingo, boys and girls!” Penny’s voice booms across the room. The men raise their glasses with a ‘here-here’, and the sheepish 18 year olds embrace the welcomed distraction.

The 24 year old also faced difficulty when attending early university tutorials on the mornings after performances. While most students would rock up first thing Monday morning with sunglasses and double-shot coffees, Liam would rock up with sparkly wig glue attached to his forehead and perfectly manicured pink nails. It wasn’t long before he started getting strange looks. “Considering I was one of the few people in that class with a blood alcohol level below 1.5 who had showered in the past 24 hours, I wasn’t too embarrassed,” he reflects.

On stage is a bingo wheel, and the infamous ‘theme wheel’. Each week, an audience member is invited to spin the wheel to select the following week’s theme. Crowd favourites include Silence of the Lambs and Shrek. For this evening’s Titanic session, Penny has prepared a medley of 13 songs that “vaguely have to do with drowning.” Underneath all the self-deprecating jokes and sexual innuendos, the Greyhound “is the place where you can be whoever you want to be,” he says. “I owe my entire drag career to the opportunities given to me by that place, and the people within.”

The Greyhound’s dressing room is a hub for performers, constantly coming and going. Two men enter mid-way through the interview, and they sit in the corner of the room. A cheeseburger is brought up from the kitchen downstairs, and they begin to bicker over who it belongs to. Liam’s eyes roll back. “This is why we can’t have rights,” he mutters. Another drag queen comes in with a full face of makeup, and everyone turns to look at him. “Did you run out of product or time, honey?” asks one of the men, burger in hand.

It’s the place where two and a half years ago, a scared young man was welcomed with open arms and given the opportunity to flourish. People who say scientists are boring clearly haven’t met Liam, or Penny.

Two hours have passed, and I am now face-toface with Penny Cillin. Liam’s masculine features have been masked by layers of foundation and powder. Bronzer contours the edges of his forehead and nose, and his chin and cheekbones illuminate with highlighter. This evening’s show is Titanic themed, so Penny has selected a deep blue eyeshadow with white “icebergs” in the corners. She’s gone for a purple lip, a “lighter look.” Penny is applying glue to a set of thick lashes covered in Swarovski crystals, when her co-host Jessica James walks in. It is now 7:10 pm, 20 minutes til show time.

*In order to protect Liam’s identity, Catalyst has not published his real name.

With one swift movement, Jessica tips out the entire contents of her Wicked the Musical bag in front of the adjoining mirror. She takes a seat. “Can I get my whole face done in the time it takes her to do her lashes?” she asks. I head downstairs. A group of men sit by the door. Suit jackets are draped over seats, and ties are loosened. Pints of beer and chicken parmigianas cover their table. By the bar sits a boy and a girl, barely 18 and glancing around nervously. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Greyhound is just like any other pub. That is, until you notice the chandelier by the bathroom, and the red velvet curtain by the front door. If that doesn’t give it away, Penny and 28


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What’s next for Journalism? Georgia Thomas

Recent years have been a bumpy ride, but the future’s still bright for us journalists.

last semester, while doing an assignment on the working conditions in my aspired industry.

Sitting in an Uber on my way home from a night out, I was having a chat to my driver. During our lively back-and-forth, she asked me, “what do you do with yourself?” I told her I was studying journalism at RMIT.

It would be remiss of me to exclude Fairfax from any discussion of the upheaval of print journalism, specifically in Melbourne. Ultimately, the ongoing struggles of Fairfax have been attributed to multiple factors - most notably, mismanagement by its three chairmen. Perhaps it was the management that saw the company so unsuccessfully adapt to the constantly evolving requirements of digital media. In an effort to consolidate their disadvantage, the media outlet dramatically cut their print infrastructure and gradually culled their workforce, resulting in protests like the journalists’ strike we saw in May this year.

“Well,” she paused, and shot a conspiratorial glance my way, “you made a mistake, didn’t you?” I was surprised by her honesty, but I knew exactly what she meant. What could possibly drive someone to pursue a career in an industry that is, in the eyes of many, on its last legs? As a final-year student, concerns about the future of journalism constantly ring in my ears.

It is hard to watch what is happening to Fairfax, alongside the declining health of print media in general. As a child, I had dreamt of being a print journalist. But by the time I had become an adult, the internet had changed the game. I felt worried. Then, I stumbled across these compelling words from American media theorist Clay Shirky: “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.”

In recent years, the media landscape has become beset by chaos and turbulence.Technology has toppled the proverbial wall between producers and consumers, and audiences have become closer to journalists than ever before. Perhaps the largest casualty of the digitalisation of journalism has been the realm of print media. In fact, in the space of the last 20 years, the newspaper workforce has shrunk by 39%. Rather ironically, I uncovered this worrying statistic (and many more)

At university, we are taught to seek objectivity, 36


accuracy and truth. If we hold steadfast to these principles, does it matter how they are expressed? The form may be different, and ever-changing, but the function remains the same.

journalists to be actively involved in working with people, to shape the types of stories and storytelling we need to tell in our current world and the technologies we use to tell them,” he explains.

I deeply admire newspapers, but I’ve come to realise that the zeitgeist has spoken. Crucially, the nascence of digital media has reminded me of something important: you must adapt to survive. Shirky nailed it again when he said “what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.” And not to worry, there are outlets that have embraced the conditions of the new world order. For example, The Atlantic consistently delivers insightful and rich feature pieces online. The Monthly also has some great longform offerings. Even the good old ABC, in my opinion, has mastered the formula for news reporting online. Journalism is a chameleon; it can adapt to exist in any format.

“There are examples of people doing new things like The Correspondent, Dysturb, Curious City, not to mention ABC with their Messenger Newsbot or NY Times with 360 Videos, that prove that the opportunities and tools and stories are out there.” I will always have a great respect for the journalism of the past, but I choose not to mourn it. Instead, I look to a future that is daunting, but one that can be made into anything I want it to be using ever-developing digital resources. I spoke with fellow third year journalism student, Ainslee, who shared my optimism. “Journalism today is undergoing a form of reformation or transition. Even in the three years of my degree, I have noticed these changes.” Ainslee believes that despite the drastic developments in the industry that have caused unease, the world still needs journalists. “In the face of populist extremism and growing political discontent, journalism is more important now than at any other stage of history,” she says.

“Now that I’m in my final semester, I’ve been forced to face the burgeoning question that I’m sure plagues the minds of most graduatesto-be: what’s next?” Technology has similarly opened up opportunities to journalists to interact with their audiences using previously unprecedented means, like “publicpowered journalism”. Hearken is a consulting service specialising in public powered journalism. It works to engage audiences from pitch right up until publication. Adopting this operating system means departing from conventional notions of audience, and Hearken is aware of this. “We help newsroom staff transition from viewing the public as consumers to partners”, they explain on their site.

In my final year, RMIT has started referring to me as an “emerging professional.” While the moniker initially made me shiver with discomfort, I’m learning to appreciate its propitiousness. Now that I’m in my final semester, I’ve been forced to face the burgeoning question that I’m sure plagues the minds of most graduates-to-be: what’s next? I don’t have a clear-cut answer just yet. There was a time in my life when I feared the unknown and resisted change. Then, I realised that responding to the working conditions for journalists with hesitation didn’t, and wouldn’t, get me anywhere. Avoidance is most decidedly unproductive. I say to all journalists, and I say to all graduates: dive in.

To keep tabs on audience engagement, Hearken created their cloud-based Engagement Management System (EMS), which is specially designed to collect data and shape stories as they develop. A decade ago, this process would have been unfeasible. The reality is that technology has outmoded some tenets of journalism. Meanwhile, the work of Hearken proves to me that the digital world is ripe with opportunities for collaboration and experimentation. While I acknowledge and respect the legacy of old-school journalism, I am thrilled by the creative potential presented by its modern incarnation. Arsisto Ambyo is an Associate Lecturer of Journalism at RMIT. He’s also been my tutor in past semesters. Tito advised me that a career in journalism is as fulfilling as one chooses to make it. “The kinds of opportunities that are more interesting and important are those that require 37


Ballot Box “If you could improve anything about student politics at RMIT, what would it be and why?” Patrick Hooton Liam Straughan, @LiamStraughan5 Illustration by John Barrett

Welcome back to the Ballot Box, where students from opposite sides of the political spectrum provide their stance on a topical issue. This month, we’ve posed the question: if you could improve anything about student politics at RMIT, what would it be and why?

but we cannot let it descend into pettiness and name calling or we risk chasing away students. This is something I would like to see change in RMIT student politics, before it gets any worse. At this semester’s mid-year Open Day event, the RMIT Greens set up a stall to welcome new students who wanted to involve themselves with politics at RMIT. In what should have been a welcoming and friendly day for new and returning students, the mood was somewhat dampened by heckling from another party’s club. I watched students who might have otherwise walked up to a political stall and spoken to us take a wide berth, avoiding the stalls entirely. This highlighted how the sometimes toxic nature of politics can alienate students, and young people generally, from engaging.

Patrick Hooton / Left Wing The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, and One Nation has shown how volatile the international political landscape has become. Too often, our differences descend into rhetoric and name-calling, which can be alienating for those becoming involved in student politics. Such alienation and disenfranchisement can lead to students involving themselves with political groups who promote intolerance. We have seen it at other universities— the spreading of hateful pamphlets and racist flyers, with more extreme ‘alt-right’ groups crawling out into the university landscape.

Noticing how the trading of barbs was disaffecting new students, I went over to the opposite stall and exchanged a few harsh words with them. Shortly after this, the two of us found ourselves discussing the creation of the new super ministry, an issue we had different opinions on. However, when we actually spoke to one another instead of yelling across the divide, we managed to have a friendly political argument—each exposing the other to counter arguments and polarising viewpoints. While we may have disagreed, it is these political discussions which are so important in allowing people to shape an opinion and challenge their personal views.

So far, RMIT seems to have escaped this worrying trend. But that does not mean our reputation as a progressive university will stop it from happening. This is made clearer still with the spawning of student political groups such as ‘The Monash Right’. Their sentiments seems to match stride with President Trump, posting about a desire to “Make Monash Great Again” in apparent inane antiimmigration meme posting on their Facebook. It’s the kind of stuff that would leave the great human Cheeto of a president smitten. I believe that if our student political groups spend too long heckling one another at university open days, we’d be playing into the hands of such groups. How? By creating students who are fed up with our trading of barbs across politics, and as such, finding themselves more aligned with these ranks. Being the opinionated person I am, I relish a thorough and passionate political argument,

Liam Straughan / Right Wing In short, a tremendous amount needs to change. I would simply argue that the current system is about as useful as electing a local council. It should serve a simple purpose, and not overstep its bounds or be too ambitious. Otherwise, it shouldn’t exist. I’m talking to you, Yarra City Council. 38


I do not have a very high opinion at all of student politics; if I’m going to be honest, I think it is a training ground for individuals with enough of an interest to go about gaining experience to try and have a go at politics in the real world, only with more of the open hostility against opponents, less discussion on issues which affect people eligible to vote, and of course, posturing and attempts to pander to voters. All of this, as opposed to discussing issues more and getting to the substance of why anyone should vote one way or the other.

want from our elected student ‘government’. Lastly, I would put it out there to every person or organisation wanting to run for student government to simply calm down and not get in over your heads about it. I’m not sure a Student Union can take on the might of Israel’s military and political power regarding the issue of Palestine. Likewise, simply passing a motion in support of same sex marriage across the country, while symbolic, ultimately isn’t going to get it done any faster in the grand scheme of things. That’s what we are spending $122 million for on this plebiscite. Your ambition is something to be admired, but it is ultimately misplaced. Please stick to serving the student body first and foremost.

From my observations, I have two simple changes I would make to try and address actual issues that affect students come the time of elections and perhaps make this less of an unattractive issue.

That being said, I urge every citizen of a democratic society, no matter what size or scope, to never stop asking questions and demanding accountability from those we seek to elect into office. This is not only our right, but our duty.

Firstly, I would have it that all candidates run as independents, as opposed to members of a hastily put together ‘party’. This would allow their own original ideas to become the focus of the choices, we, as students make. I believe there would also be a greater emphasis on what unique individual qualities each person would bring to their chosen position, and us students who choose to vote will have to ask critical questions as to what we truly

The opinions expressed here belong to the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or Catalyst as a whole.

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The Pill Elizabeth Maidment, @elizabethandher Illustration by Hanh Nguyen Minh

For many women, taking the contraceptive pill is something that is empowering. But there’s a fine line between taking charge of your sexual health, and risking the mental occasional physical implications that hormones the contraceptives can cause. In Australia, just over 2.5 million women between the ages of 18 and 49 use some form of contraception. The most popular choice is the pill, but recent studies have shown a link to depression. Although there are many side effects of using the pill, women continue to use this form of contraception. This may be because they think are no other options that are as effective or convenient.

affect their thoughts about empowering their sexual health, or regulating their period every month? Personally, I have changed contraceptive pills three times, and it now costs me just under $100 to be on the pill for three months – it’s no small investment. The first pill I was put on gave me every possible side effect, starting with depression, weight gain, acne, mood swings, nausea: the lot, so it really wasn’t an option to keep going with that one. I stayed with the pill because it’s easy – setting an alarm sounds far less painful than getting an IUD or an implant. So far, I feel it isn’t as bad as it used to be – I get the occasional mood swings and cramps (and chocolate cravings, of course). It’s better than my previous pills, but it’s nowhere near perfect. These side effects of the pill are quite common: it can increase a risk of mood swings, depression, nausea, PMS, acne, impaired partner selection and a decrease in libido – something that most women just ‘deal with’ on the pill.

The pill comes in two forms: the combination pill, and the progesterone only ‘mini’ pill, which is often taken by women who have high risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and those who suffer migraines. However, with recent studies showing the negative effects, many are looking for alternatives to setting an alarm for the same time everyday. IUD’s, implants, the condom (both male and female), the contraceptive injection, the IUS, the patch, the vaginal ring and the diaphragm (as well as alternative family planning) are all there – but what do women think in regards to changing their method of contraception? How does this

When I asked Melbourne based obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Guy Skinner about why women might take a break from the pill, he said the most common reason was to “give their bodies a break”. 41


“It’s either that, or they’re getting side effects whilst being on it...but for the most part they feel safer being on the pill as the side effects and risks that can be imposed on them if they are pregnant are much greater,” he says.

ease-of-mind across time zones. “I didn’t want to be dealing with scripts for the pill or managing different time zones in a different country.” She says despite the initial pain when it’s first inserted, she is pretty used to it now. “I forget it’s there half the time now, because it’s so subtle.”

Dr Skinner also says the risks of other contraceptives can scare some women. “Other forms of contraceptives (such as the implant) can have side effects like breakthrough bleeding, which occurs in 50% to 60% of women. Women need to be on something that is right for them and their body.”

Pharmaceutical companies are now looking towards developing the male contraceptive. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 66% of men were willing to take an oral contraceptive, 44% would get a birth control shot and 38% would try an implant. These methods may become a reality, with a male contraceptive injection found to be 98% effective. However, the trial was halted due to side effects.

Eloise, an eighteen-year-old university student, spoke to me about her experience of changing from the pill to the rod. “I was firstly put on the mini pill by my doctor as I got painful and infrequent periods. Because I got bad migraines, I couldn’t take the standard combined pill, I experienced weight gain, and the periods just weren’t getting any better, despite being on the pill.”

Whether you’re on the pill, the implant, or nothing at all – making your own personal choice, for whatever you feel most comfortable with, is the most important thing. *In order to protect Mary’s identity, Catalyst has not published her real name.

She also struggled with remembering to take the pill at the same time each day. “The infrequency of timing with taking the hormones every night was just an inconvenience, so I decided to be put on the rod, which has been a better experience so far. It’s so much cheaper ($40 for three years) and there haven’t been horrible cramps every month.” Claudia had a similar experience to Eloise, changing to the implanon after being on the pill for about nine months. “I currently have the implantation and have had it for a bit over six months,” she explains, “I decided to change because after researching about it, I realised that the bar is more effective, lasts for three years and is more cost effective.” The rod, or Implanon, is a small plastic rod inserted just under the inner arm, which eliminates the chances of user error. It can have a higher upfront cost, if not covered by health insurance. The implant is 99% effective and doesn’t contain oestrogen. A common side effect of the pill is a loss of periods as well as reducing the effectiveness of selective medications. The rod proves to be more ‘userfriendly’, as you do not need to remember to take it every night or take anything extra into consideration when travelling. The rod can also be easier to use when travelling. Mary* said that she decided to go on the rod for 42


Keen to get involved? Of course you are! There's plenty of ways to contribute to Catalyst in 2017 whether it be in our magazine, podcast or online. Get in touch at rmitcatalyst@gmail.com to get started!

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Modern Attitudes to Smoking Gracyn Willoughby, @gracynwm

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Health warnings on cigarette packages don’t have much of an effect. At least, not if you’re anything like Frankie Reid, university student and part-time smoker since she was 14.

association between smoking and social settings. Counsellor and addiction specialist Domenic Vigilanti says the social aspect of cigarettes is a major deterrent to breaking the habit. “It looks fun, it looks sociable, and you’re looking for a stimulant. That’s why it’s so hard for young people, it’s that social kind of connectedness,” he says.

Spending her formative years as a young teen hanging with 12 and 13-year-old chain smokers, Reid didn’t have much of a choice on whether or not she’d take up the habit as well. With a knowledge of the stores that wouldn’t think twice about selling to underage kids, and with “darts” being easily accessible at parties and at school, Reid thought “(they’re) doing it, so I might as well do it too.”

In friendship groups like Reid’s, smoking is sometimes the sole reason to spend time with each other. “My friend once specifically drove 25 minutes to pick me up so we could punch darts,” she reminisces. In order to continue shifting young people’s attitudes towards smoking, Vigilanti believes we need to ask questions about why young people are picking up the habit.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that 28.2% of younger adults (18-44 year olds) were smoking in 2001. This dropped to 16.3% in 201415. The smoking culture among youths has changed drastically, however it seems there is still a compulsion for teenagers to try smoking. Even with the bombardment of anti-smoking campaigns and grotesque images plastered over cigarette packaging, there’s still no inkling of a major change in attitudes.

“Is it peer pressure, is it because it’s a stimulant, or (is it) your parents’ influence?”, he says. For Tsiliris and Vigilanti’s generation of smokers, the iconic Marlboro Man ad campaign triggered many to try and emulate that ‘macho’ image. For Reid, however, it was her family’s influence which first began to normalise smoking. “My extended family have chain smoked since they were about 14, and they still do into their 40s and 50s. I’ve always had it around, that kind of influence,” says Reid. “It was always super social when I was growing up.”

Reid admits the potential health damage “wasn’t even a consideration” when she first contemplated smoking. “I just was doing it for the laughs. You think you’re fairly invincible when you’re 15 and 16… or 14.” Alcohol and drug counsellor Alex Tsiliris believes it’s a “youthful exuberance” which allows younger generations to ignore the health risks. “They think, ‘you know I’m young, I’m healthy, therefore I’ll sit in denial’.”

Tsiliris believes many young adults haven’t shifted their mindset as “there are rites of passage associated with certain substances, including cigarettes… maybe an element of rebelliousness.”

Friends of Reid’s who have been smoking for over seven years now cough up blood and can no longer “feel their fingertips.” However, they continue to “punch the darts.”

“There’s always that element (of) ‘I’m going to do something that’s different from the majority’,” he expresses. This possibly rings true for Reid, who was deterred by her mum who had never smoked and her dad who warned her off of them after chain smoking for around 15 years.

If the obvious health side effects aren’t enough to change their ways, then what is? “Raised prices - I think that’s actually the most effective, to hit the pocket nerve,” says Reid.

“I was like, nah, up yours. I’m gonna punch darts.”

Though many teenagers and young adults wouldn’t classify themselves as ‘smokers’, they’re more than happy to be a ‘social smoker’. In the everyday daylight hours, it may appear as though smoking isn’t ‘in’ anymore. However, a night out with friends demonstrates the casual attitudes towards cigarettes. For many young smokers, their first attempt at smoking is among friends. This creates an 45


Intercut Shannon Steuer, @maltshakes Images by Shannon Steuer

Piece 1: The Modern Man As humans, we exist within the Information Age. We’re adapting to change from the Industrial Revolution; defining new ways of capitalising on societal and consumeristic tasks. The definition of the term ‘digital’ today continues to grow, as new technologies are introduced. This further progresses the replacement methods of manual labour, morphing the pattern of thought processes within our brains.

What we are required to do is vastly growing from the past tools of the human, to the now replacement tools of technology. In response, our brains are modifying to the new age process, assisting us in ways that we choose to accept these differences. We, as beings, strive to ‘be something’. We’re constantly trying to be part of something we can forever be a part of. Through the digital ‘utopia’, we have access to what we acknowledge as infinite. A never ending realm, forever storing information within which we can remain. This placebo of an infinite realm on the plane of the internet provides us with false substance of existence. Instead of choosing the peace of the unplugged self, we choose the path that attends to the ease of the desirable creation.​

To adapt to these drastic changes within our world, the evolution of neuroplasticity takes hold; our brains choose to change. Specific thinking patterns for old tasks are no longer valid. Instead, they’re replaced by patterns for dealing with the exposition of new media. The ideal perception of what we are to be, and what we are today, is one of significant difference.

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Piece 2: 2017 We now rely on machines to make our lives easier.

When we rely on one intellectual technology to do so much for us, our brains adapt.

We have reached the peak of human labour within the first world.

Broad information, from broad sources, from broad ideas, with broad advertising, and broad visuals.

We aim to eliminate all weak traits within society.

How much can we truly process without crashing?

To wake up, we use the internet.

Do we seek the power that a machine is capable of? Do we glitch the same way?

To eat, we use the internet. To communicate, we use the internet.

Or, do we aim to eliminate all human traits, without concern, without response?

To plan, we use the internet.

To be without error, to be more than machine?

To travel, we use the internet.

This is 2017.​

To express, we use the internet. To study, we use the internet. To record, we use the internet. To fuck, we use the internet.

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The Trendsetters Maeve Kerr-Crowley, @tweetsbymaevekc Illustration by Stephanie Crisp

A quick Google of 2016 fashion will show you a curated list of 26 popular trends. Spread out across the year, that’s one trend every 14 days. Included in this A-list are chokers, slip dresses, embroidered baseball caps and bomber jackets. Three quarters of the way through 2017, we’ve already seen the rise of fishnet tights, corset belts, embroidered roses and inexplicably transparent jeans.

at the same time a magazine would release their latest issue, stores could drop affordable, retail friendly versions of runway looks. Think the Oscar-de-la-Renta-to-bargain-bin journey of Andy’s cerulean sweater in The Devil Wears Prada. Things aren’t all that different in the internet age, except for a slight shift in the hierarchy of influence and a higher turnover rate for new trends. The runways still have sway, but so do regular-joe social media users and small independent brands. Bigger retail brands often rely on trend forecasting agencies like WGSN, who pull their data from all sorts of influential parties into (very expensive) reports for their clients to build collections around.

Trends are one of the most important tools at every level of the fashion industry. The trendsetters – fashion houses, brands and designers – use every runway show and new collection to try and introduce something new and exciting into the fashion discussion. The devotees – that’s us – are always on our toes, waiting to be shown the next thing we never knew we wanted.

Everyone involved in the industry works with, around and against each other to shape the world’s fashion. This is how folks like Pantone, who work closely with New York Fashion Week to choose a Colour of the Year that’s so commonly reflected in a season’s palette, can often come across as psychic. Really, they’re just influential. (This year’s colour is called Greenery, if you were wondering.) Retailers aren’t the only ones seeking inspiration elsewhere, though. Consumers are also straying

The creation of trends is a tightly organised science, repeated season after season. In the pre-internet days, trend forecasters would attend the runways of influential designers to make calculated calls on what their target markets would get excited about. The resulting reports would be distributed to two interested parties: retailers (mostly chain and department stores), and the media (fashion magazines). This way, 49


from the decisive authority of big fashion names in search of a more diverse pool of gurus. Countless bloggers, Instagram users and other ‘social media personalities’ have gained loyal followings of fashion lovers looking for a muse.

popularity and brand loyalty. Bedroom, Trash World, Kitsu, Caitlin She and Eat Me Do are all Melbourne-based fashion and accessory brands with a strong social media presence. While they all produce wildly different products, they share a strong, personal vision of what fashion means. This is what they’re then able to share with potential customers, through social media platforms like Instagram. Consumers can cherry pick brands that they relate to or are inspired by, and follow their lead on what to try wearing next.

Fashion bloggers like Miranda of The Girl Who Lived For Clothes dedicate their time to talking openly about the clothes they wear. While Miranda wouldn’t say she influences exactly what her 19,000 Instagram followers go out and buy, she agrees that she “inspires people to be a bit more confident wearing things that are different or new to them.”

But how religiously should we be following these trends? It’s hard to draw a line between being inspired and just being told what to do. Trends are unavoidable, and even going against mainstream trends has a tendency to become a trend in itself. But Miranda says that blindly following what’s trendy can lead to people losing their personal style. “Sometimes even I have to take a step back and think, ‘do I actually like this? Or have I just seen it over and over again until I think it’s cool?’”

People like Miranda, with a love of fashion and a skill for inspiring others, have sparked a new wave of trendsetters. Bloggers and social media aficionados strike up relationships with brands. Through this, they can receive products to wear, review and advertise on their profiles. By putting their newest and shiniest products on ‘real people’ instead of models and celebrities, brands are able to rely on those users’ reputations and followings to disperse the trends they want to see.

On the flip side, the emergence of a new trend can still be really exciting. Whether it’s the renaissance-inspired florals of Gucci’s fall and winter collection, or Instagram’s obsession with fishnet tights, trends have the potential to inspire creativity and experimentation in fashion lovers.

Platforms like Instagram and Blogger are inspiring, provoking and educating fashion lovers, in much of the same way that fashion magazines always have. Some magazines, like Vogue, have been around for more than 100 years. They’ve always had immeasurable influence on public perception of fashion.

And, as Miranda says, “It’s no fun if everyone is dressed the same.”

“When I was younger, I used to read a lot of magazines,” Miranda says. “Me and my cousin would cut out pictures of the runway shows, and I’d stick them on my wall in the order of what I liked the best. That was my inspiration.” People still love the glossies, of course. Plus, the wide range of digital magazines spawned in recent years shows an intersecting of print fashion publications with the rise of social media. According to figures released by Roy Morgan Research, 48 per cent of ELLE Australia’s readership last year was digital. And even the highest, most holy fashion houses are now embracing the power of a strong online presence. Gucci has 16.7 million followers on Instagram, and Chanel has 23.4 million. By posting a combination of editorial and behindthe-scenes photographs, as well as exclusive online-only content, brands like these are making social media work for them. For brands that aren’t Gucci, social media can be the perfect place to gain exposure, 50


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The Mirror Rhianna Malas Illustrations by Lingrui Luo

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You look in the mirror, the oval window to yourself. Poking at your skin, gazing deep into your own eyes. You don’t like the colour. Make them blue, no, green! Blue-ish green? You remember they liked them when they were green. Make them green. What would your friends think? You have so many friends, so many different friends. The students liked your curly hair, messy like their own minds through revision and countless exams, but the musicians liked it wavy, as a strummed guitar string, vibrating to the tune. Doing both would be a mess, and you know it. The cats liked it when you walked on all fours, when you had a tail and eyes that would glow when the spotlights hit them.

No, that’s not right. Is it possible you’re not even of this world? It’s not normal, the ability to shapeshift, you knew this from the beginning. Whenever that was. You always wondered what would happen if you suddenly changed back to what you originally were, a dropped character in this constant oneman show. Yet, you always dread actually doing it. You’re afraid that one day, you’ll accidentally slip. A slight hiccup in your own constantly changing system. What a horrible mistake that would be. But you always knew that shapeshifting was never easy, the gift of endless opportunities coming with the curse of instability.

None of these are you, though, are they? The real you, who you were before you changed, for something or someone. Who were you back then? You never asked yourself that before. You usually switched on a whim. Well, not on your whim. You would look at the birds beckoning you to the trees, and suddenly you had wings. They liked you with wings. You don’t like flying, too much strain on the arms, but you like the birds, and they like you. Your true self is nothing but a distant memory, one that you’re trying to unlock as you press your face close to the reflective glass.

At best, they’ll be shocked and possibly a bit afraid. At worst, who knows? You tremble at the thought. But you tremble more at what you could be without this façade. Without the constant shifts to please whichever crowd you’re performing to. Ugly, insignificant, and alone. When the curtain falls, do you know who you’ll be? You think back to what they’d say about being a ‘jack of all trades’. Was being a master of none better than having one unchangeable, unlikeable identity? ‘Be yourself’. You wonder if that was ever good advice.

You might’ve been human. How boring would that be? You slipped into the role so easily, but maybe you’ve been human for so long it’s like second nature. What was the first? Maybe something close to human, but not quite. Probably a chimpanzee.

You turn your back on the mirror in confirmation, and walk away with the knowledge that you’ll never be what you were again. 53


Dutch Apple Tart Recipe Megan Whitfield, @M_eganWhitfield

As I write this, I’m going through a lot of changes. Not those ‘as you start to enter puberty you might start notice some differences’ type changes. Those days, I’m glad to say, are firmly in my past.

Ingredients: Pastry: 250g plain flour 125g butter 80g sugar 1 egg

Rather, in a matter of days I’m packing my bags and heading to the Netherlands for six months. As much as I can’t wait for it to begin, the nerves have kicked in and my intake of comfort food has considerably risen.

Filling: 12 apples (750g) 100g sugar 100g currants 1 lemon (rind) 1 egg extra (for glazing)

Nothing says comfort like a family recipe, and what better dish to choose than, fittingly, Dutch Apple Tart? Grandma’s family recipe has travelled the world, making its way from the Netherlands across to South Africa and then down here to Australia. It changes slightly with each set of hands it passes through, but the deliciously buttery pastry and perfectly tart apple remain constant.

Method: Preheat oven to 180°C. Place all pastry ingredients in bowl and knead together. If too sloppy, refrigerate until firm. Reserve ¼ of dough. Roll remaining dough into a circle large to cover bottom and sides of a greased 20cm spring-form tin. Slice apples. Put in bowl with lemon and sugar, then add currants. Arrange fruit mixture over dough. With reserved dough, make lattice pattern over tart. Brush with eggwash made from extra egg and a few drops of water. Cook for 1 hour, or until golden brown.

Soon I’ll be eating it directly by the canals of Amsterdam, soaking in the sights and culture my relatives grew up with. How fitting that the the food to make me feel just a little bit more like a local will also be the food to remind me of home. …Now, to figure out how to cook pastry without an oven.

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Ying Wang

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