Roar l May 2018
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NEWS FIT FOR KING’S
Hacks get hacked.
Roar investigates the Cambridge Analytica scandal and what it means for students.
THE BESTLAID PLANS EXCLUSIVE Things that go bump in the night... VP Elect Robert Liow leads the rat race by encouraging students to take action on the College pest problem. Full Story — Page 2
BONUS ONLINE EDITION!
Zika-Infected Alum Pleads for Visa for Fiance
lHer condition leaves her unable to travel out of Canada lFiance barred from entering country for birth of their child
Former Australian PM & King’s to Create Global Institue for Women’s Leadership
-rated ALL THINGS CULTURE AT KING’S Page 12-13 UCU Strikes Painted by Numbers : E S U O M Y N O AN INVESTIGATION by
Professor Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Visiting Professor at King’s College London will establish a Global Institute for Women’s Leadership in partnership with the College, it has been reported. Ms. Gillard, who served as the Australian PM from 2010 to 2013 was appointed at the College in 2016. Following on from her close relationship with the Policy Institute, Ms. Gillard has established the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership to promote gender equality. ‘Progress on gender equality is not just slow – in some places it’s reversing. This lack of movement, combined with the current public debate about how women are treated in workplaces and wider society, means there has never been a better time to tackle these issues head-on.” she stated, “The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership will be well-equipped to do so. It will work to help create a world in which being a woman is not a barrier to becoming a leader in any field, nor a factor contributing to negative perceptions of an individual’s leadership.”
Reporting Rodent Sightings Encouraged 33
King’s Residence Pest Incidents per Year
Mice. Light brown, small, long tailed rodents. Those are the kind of portrayals we see on TV in film or in pictures. However, those students living in halls may well be getting a little more up close and personal with the furry creatures.
Of course, we live in the capital, and one of the many joys of inhabiting a populous city is dealing with the unwelcome creatures who also want to pitch up a tent, and not just on your front doorstep. These rodents are looking for warm, dry places, and will probably like to have a Midnight Feast on some of your leftofood too. For the average rat or Mouse, student Photo Cre dit: Rober
CLARIFICATIONS & CORRECTIONS
Robert Liow, student hygiene crusader and enemy of rodents digs appear to be a comfy bed and breakfast, but the very thought of rodents as roommates is one which sends a shiver up the spines of many.
Roar aims to have the highest editorial standards (seriously, not kidding) in the paper and on digital. You can help us by letting us know if we’ve made mistakes. You can email us at email@example.com or write to us at Roar News, The Macadam Building, Surrey St, London WC2R 2NS. We aim to correct significant (and insignificant) factual errors as soon as we can.
One person who is determined to address the rodent problem at university is Robert Liow, vice president elect for Welfare and community at KCLSU.
Although unable to start a campaign himself as it, “wasn’t in my manifesto.” Liow states that, “Student concern over the number of mice on campus is well-justified.”
“Mice are a student welfare issue,” he stated, “They’re unhygienic, particularly when they live in areas where students eat or spend long periods studying in, and they’re also disruptive to students who dislike seeing them.”
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Rebekah Evans Deputy Editor: Irina Anghel NEWS: Editors: William Nestor-Sherman and Shrai Popat Reporters: Jack Revell, Inho Park, Asad Zulifiqar COMMENT: Editors: Philippa Knipe and Mathilde Betant-Rasmussen. Reporters: Emilia Sandoghdar, Molly Mintz and Mary Ntalianis CULTURE: Editors: Brigitte Zheng and Nikhil Kanukuntla. Reporters: Lily Sawyer, Sam Wooton, Hannah Dennis, Sophie Perry, Augustina Economou STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Editor: Cathy Wang. Photographers: Afifa Suhail, Jared Phanco, Gina Meile, Abdi Alasow, Coco Wang SPORT: Editor: Polly Mears. Reporters: Madeline Anderson and Ambar Iqbal DESIGNERS: Siri Hedreen
Liow also stated a student had expressed her concerns to him after her reticence at working “in one particular area of the Franklin-Wilkins Building because mice repeatedly made an ap-
© ROAR NEWS 2018. Roar News, Tutu’s, KCLSU, Surrey St, London WC2R 2NS.
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The rodent infestation issue seems to have become a running joke on campus. In 2016, a picture of a mouse on a carpeted floor was posted onto a public Facebook page, with the caption, “SPOTTED: Waterloo Library. Bring your pet to work day.”
Type ‘mouse London student halls’ into Google and you’ll see the depth of the problem. Pages such as ‘How to get rid of mice in your sh*t student house’, ‘What’s worse than finding a mouse in your flat?’ and of course, a plethora of adverts for mouse traps and pest control companies. It does appear there is awareness of the issue of rodents in student spaces, and with awareness, one can only hope that improvement occurs.
... or email us
d ROAR GET INVOLVED
King’s faculties with most members on strike
A Freedom of Information request submitted by Roar shows that 2016 was the worst year for reports of nuisance creatures such as bed bugs, rats and mice, with a total of 189 reports when compared to the previous two years of 82 and 33 reports respectively. Reports in recent years, however, have decreased, with 169 reports in 2017 and 21 in 2018 thus far. Year on year, it is Great Dover Street Apartments with the highest number of reports – 106 of the 169 reports in 2017 alone.
pearance there, causing her to feel uneasy.”
For Robert Liow, personal action was the key. Posters around the building encouraging people to report mice sightings to Estates and Facilities were the first point of action. Liow also encourages anyone who sees a mouse on campus to photograph or record video to pass on to the relevant bodies in order for the problem to be addressed. “I am by no means blaming staff in charge of individual locations for not preventing mice, but I would like the university to have more transparency and opportunities for students to have input on expenditure on student welfare, including on pest control – I believe that while KCL initiatives such as a dedicated mouse reporting form are great, student dissatisfaction about mice would be significantly allayed if the management were to come out and address these concerns about transparency and expenditure.” The pest problem appears to be part and parcel of life as a student. But with measures that appear to currently be in action, the student can only hope they won’t bump into too many rodents in their time spent at the College.
Reports by Residence
Great Dover Street Apts.
Stamford Street Apts.
7% 4% Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
IRINA ANGHEL DEPUTY EDITOR
Arts & Humanities and Social Science & Public Policy were the faculties with most members participating in the UCU strike at King’s. During the University and College Union (UCU) strikes some students saw emails from lectures filling their inboxes and emptying their timetables; for others, nothing changed. A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiry about faculty ratios of striking members confirms a wide-spread hunch amongst students: an English student was more likely to have classes cancelled than a Maths student. UCU members protested a new pension scheme proposal to make pensions more dependent on the stock market, meaning some lectures could lose yearly £10,000. Planned industrial action is now suspended as UCU members and Universities UK (UUK) reached an agreement in April on the latest proposals. The numbers provided by King’s in response to Roar’s FOI request are taken from a live sys-
Wolfson House Champion Hill
Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
tem and are subject to change, as some departments are yet to report on striking employees. Data includes employees defined as ‘members of staff issued with a contract of employment issued by King’s College London, and for whom the university is liable to pay Class 1 National Insurance’. Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Public Policy are clear leaders amongst King’s faculties for employees taking industrial action. Arts & Humanities had 210 and Social Science & Public Policy had 190 members on protesting the proposed pension cuts. Next in the picket line are the Life Sciences & Medicine and Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience faculties with 60 and, respectively, 55 striking staff members. Numbers of striking employees differ greatly across Medical Sciences faculties. In contrast to Life Sciences & Medicine numbers, only 5 staff members from Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care went on strike, with numbers less than five for the Dental Institute. Just like Dentists, Lawyers were absent from the strikes. According to the current report, less than five School of Law members opposed the pension scheme.
3% Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine
It also appears that Business people and Mathematicians are quite like-minded: 25 Natural & Mathematical Sciences faculty staff were joined by 20 employees of King’s Business School in taking industrial action. If we look at percentages, the story doesn’t change that much. Social Science & Public Policy and Arts & Humanities are still the highest ranked, although now the first surpasses the latter with 22% members protesting the pension scheme compared to the latter’s 20%. Mathematicians now come third, with a significantly lower ratio. Out of the Natural & Mathematical Sciences’ employees, 7% took industrial action. Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience keeps its fourth place for striking staff even when looking at percentages with 4% of faculty members protesting the cuts. Life Sciences & Medicine drops two positions in this percentage ranking compared to the previous raw numbers-based one, as it has 3 % staff members on industrial action. No percentage data were provided for Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King’s Business School, the Dental Institute, and the School of Law.
(cont. from Anonymouse) - When Roar contacted the College for statement, a spokesperson put forward: “Rodents are a major issue in London. In 2016, Greater London councils spent £3,868,562 - the largest of any of the English regions - and accounted for 24 per cent of England’s total budget towards public health pest control. King’s has a specialist pest control company delivering a continuous programme of rodent prevention and management throughout the year, at a cost of about £114,000 per annum. This work includes detailed walk-arounds and investigations of buildings and rooms, including residences, looking for evidence of mice and any potential entry points in the fabric of the buildings, baiting and the pest proofing of buildings and responding to any reports of sightings. King’s Residences ask students to contact the King’s helpdesk immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7848 3456 if they see any rodents and we will follow up.”
MAY 2018 Roar
DISABLED ACCESS A petition entitled ‘Not every disability is visible’ has passed the KCLSU threshold to become an official campaign. The campaign, launched in September 2017 to raise awareness on hidden disabilities and chronic conditions seeks to improve signage on accessible toilets and bring knowledge of these conditions to the fore at university. The leader of the campaign, Zain Hameed stated, “The implementation of these signs will help to acknowledge that [mental health difficulty], by reinforcing the message that not all disabilities or illnesses are outwardly apparent, whilst also encouraging any facility users to seek help if needed by providing links to support services at the university.” ‘Not every disability is visible’ has a tripartite of aims. The first is to ‘encourage user accessibility’ and privacy so those with invisible conditions are able to quickly and regularly gain access to a bathroom when necessary. The second is to ‘facilitate acceptance without judgment’ eliminating ‘potential guilt felt by individuals in using disabled toilets and possible judgment from others’. Finally, the campaign seeks to provide support and awareness from the university for any affected and marginalised groups by including signage which directs users towards welfare support from the College. Once again speaking to KCLSU, Zain outlined the plans for the campaign now it has received support, ‘Our forthcoming steps will involve conversing with the individuals overseeing King’s Estates who are responsible for the accessible facilities and hoping these conversations progress as smoothly and quickly as possible. Furthermore we hope to gather the support of various societies and departments at the university to emphasise the demand, need and immeasurable positive impact these signs will have across the institution, whilst potentially inspiring other universities to participate and implement similar signage.’
POLITICAL MARRIAGE An IPSOS poll from the College has found twothirds of those surveyed would not object to a same-sex royal wedding. The results of the poll, which considered the opinions of 1,681 people, has been described by the Chief Executive of IPSOS, Ben Page, as the “largest shift in public opinion towards same-sex marriage in the past 40 years”. However, some numbers remain similar and show a more traditional approach. 15% of those surveyed stated they would be “very concerned” over a same-sex royal relationship. Additionally, 8% believed same-sex marriage should be banned.
JANUARY 2018 Roar
CANADIAN IMMIGRATION OFFERS LITTLE EXPLANATION FOR VISA DENIAL REPORT by
REBEKAH EVANS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF A recent KCL alumnus, pregnant and infected with the Zika virus, is pleading with Canadian immigration to allow her fiancé into the country for the birth of the couple’s first child. Eloise Patmore, 22, graduated from the College in 2016, with an undergraduate degree in International Politics. She also participated in Breakin’ KCL, the break-dancing society at King’s, and took an active role as a committee member. In February 2017, Ms. Patmore submitted a Visitor Visa for her fiancé, Jamaican student and citizen, Charles Frost, 26, to visit her home country of Canada, where she wished to give birth.
KCL Alum Infected with Zika Pleads for Visa for Fiance
Previously, for ease of travel, Ms. Patmore had been visiting Jamaica for longer periods to spend time with her fiancé. The couple first met through the organisation Debate Mate. Mr. Frost, a leading debater at the University of Technology in Jamaica and a member of the Dean’s List for academic excellence, has represented his university and his country at an international debating level, picking up a variety of public speaking awards. The couple’s paths crossed when Ms. Patmore was hired by the UK branch of DebateMate, after being recruited by KCL Debate Society.
Photo Credit: Eloise Patmore
●Eloise Patmore, 22, became infected after visit to Jamaica ●Now stuck in Canada, where her fiance is unable to obtain a visitor visa
As her pregnancy advanced, Ms. Patmore returned to Canada to immerse herself in a “familiar home environment”. However, when she began to submit documentation for her fiancé Mr. Frost to join her on a visit, the application was refused. “We went to Mr. Murray Rankin, our MP, who kindly helped us find out more details about why his application was refused,” Patmore put forward in a statement, “Then our lawyer reached out to the visa office requesting a review of Charles’ application once more, which they agreed to do. Weeks went by with no news.” Circumstances for the couple then became increasingly complicated, when doctors gave Ms. Patmore a diagnosis of the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus was first discovered in 1947, in a remote forest in Uganda. Occurring firstly in Africa and Asia, the virus recently came to global attention when it spread across the Pacific Ocean to North and South America, resulting in an epidemic which lasted from 2015-16. Many countries are still on high alert for the Zika virus, and it is advised certain precautions are taken for those travelling to areas where the virus may still be active. Countries including Jamaica, where Ms. Patmore had been visiting, released advice in January 2016 for women to avoid pregnancy until more was known about the virus.
Eloise Patmore, 22, and Charles Frost, 26
“We have yet to find out if our child also has the virus..”
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects” and they advise, “special precautions be taken.” “We have yet to find out if our child also has the virus.” Ms. Patmore said, “She will be tested at birth, and they have requested for my placenta to be used for medical research.” Due to her condition and advancing pregnancy, Ms. Patmore’s health advisors have stipulated Ms. Patmore remain in British Columbia, Canada, until after she gives birth. However, with Patmore now unable to travel to Jamaica, and her fiancé, Mr. Frost, barred from entering Canada, the couple are forced to communicate through Skype. Ms. Patmore, who is eight months pregnant, is now petitioning the federal Immigration minister, Mr. Ahmed Hussain to reconsider the circumstances surrounding the case and accept Mr. Frost’s visitor visa for the birth of the couple’s child. The couple also asserts that Mr. Frost’s demographic is the primary reason for his visa denial. “Through a conversation with the office, it became clear that the immigration officers were using his demographic as a measure of his moral character,” Ms. Patmore told Roar, “Charles being a Jamaican student was used as justification in and of itself to refuse him a visa, and the fact he was expecting a child was used against him.” Ms. Patmore told Roar about her fiancé’s suitability for a visitor visa, “Charles has travelled to the US, Greece, Germany, Thailand and Malaysia, amongst many other countries. He has an extensive travel history and no criminal record.” Ms. Patmore also provided a list of reasons as to why the couple was told the visa application was rejected. Amongst them were the fact it is not in ‘Jamaican culture’ for the father to be present at the birth, and the fact that Mr. Frost does not own property in Jamaica, something Ms. Patmore states is a “highly unfair assessment criteria – since when do students regularly own property?”
“Through a conversation with the office, it became clear that the immigration officers were using his demographic as a measure of his moral character”
The KCL grad has since created a YouTube video, directly addressed to Immigration minister Mr. Hussain, which explains the couple’s situation in detail. “This is not an ethical choice to have someone make,” she stated, “I don’t think that it is fair to make someone have to make that choice…There is still time to reverse this decision, and I can’t even express how important this is to us.” Ms. Patmore and Mr. Frost’s case continues…
Editor’s Letter I began thinkTHOUGHTS by ing about my first REBEKAH EVANS edition of Roar EDITOR-IN-CHIEF whilst looking out at the Atlantic Ocean from a beach. It was early August, and whilst this time was meant for relaxation, I couldn’t help but be filled with anticipation for what the next year – my tenure as Editor-in-Chief – would bring. Looking back on it now, I can scarcely believe where the time has gone. From our first edition of the year hot off the press in brand-spanking new tabloid style at the Barbican Centre, to our final edition of the year, released exclusively online, this year has been an adventure of trying new things, pushing boundaries and ensuring we produce content to be proud of. Something I am proud of, is being a woman, and a woman of colour, who has gained the opportunity to consistently work on, and this year, be at the helm of, a publication – particularly when a compilation of statistics were recently released by JournoResources on Twitter stating half of journalists were male and 94% were white (City University). Whilst journalism is a profession to be proud of, statistics like these show there is a lot left to do in the sector. Creating a diverse workforce, reflecting all backgrounds and opinions, starts early – arguably in the student publication itself. What better place to start examining how we can make sure opportunities are open to all, than the university campus? Running a newspaper is hard work, and whilst my byline says ‘Editor-in-Chief’ this year, credit goes to the amazing editorial team of 2017/8. Testament to successes of our team, Roar picked up a total of five Highly Commended Awards from this year’s Student Publication Association Awards – a UK wide competition. Whilst producing a newspaper is a challenging experience, it is also one which is highly rewarding, and I could not be prouder to have my name pinned to a paper with so much drive and dedication. The next year of Roar is sure to be a rollercoaster, where we’ll continue to bring you news fit for King’s, exciting content, cutting-edge design and new ideas by the tabloid full. The upcoming editorial team is fantastic (if I do say so myself), so there is a lot to look forward to. For this year, I would like to personally thank anyone who has picked up a print edition, flicked through an article or engaged with our social media - we love producing for Roar! And fancy applying to write or edit for us next year? Get ahead of the game and submit your interest by heading to bit.ly/ApplyToRoar. It sure has been one hell of a ride, but I have enjoyed pretty much every second. And with those words, my time as Editor-in-Chief comes to an end. It has been an honour and a pleasure, so thank you. Wishing you a fantastic Summer, and all the best.
Rebekah Evans Editor-in-Chief - email@example.com
A UNIVERSITY in the USA has created a ‘cry closet’ in their library for stressed students to use during exam periods. Designed by student artist, Nemo Miller, the cry closet is described as a ‘safe space’ for ‘students studying for finals to take a short 10-minute break’. But whilst many state the Cry Closet is a necessity during the exam period, it has some house rules that must be followed. Amongst them are: knocking before entering, only one person in the closet at a time and turning off the lights after leaving the closet.
KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, alongside twelve members of the University of London, could gain university status within their own right in a bill which is currently being submitted to the House. The University of London Bill, promoted by the institution, aims to incentivise members to stay by providing them with the ability to apply for university title in their own right. At present, universities are permitted to leave the University of London in order to achieve uni-
versity status, such as Imperial College London in 2006, however, the bill expresses that this “weakens the federal university and disadvantages the member institution forced into that position.” In total, the University of London has eighteen members, however, the bill shows that twelve of these, including the College, plan to apply for independent university title immediately. Roar contacted a university spokesperson for
comment, who stated: ‘King’s College London, in collaboration with the other colleges within the University of London federation, is supporting a Bill moving through parliament that will enable member institutions to apply for university title while remaining within the federation. If the bill, which is advocated by the University of London, is passed it will represent a legal adjustment to King’s status and won’t affect students and staff. There is no intent to change the King’s College London name.’
JANUARY 2017 Roar
LONDON has been ranked as the es and disadvantages of cities, and best city in the world for universi- what this means for students. ty students. The BBC has reported that the In the QS Higher Education popularity of London is a result of Ranking Data, London topped the “easy access to the cultural life of list, beating out previous popular museums, theatres, cinemas and favourites Montreal and Paris. restaurants.”
The survey takes into account However, London ranked poorly the views of 50,000 students in the in terms of cost of living, described hopes of quantifying the advantag- as “expensive” and “difficult”.
KCL ACADEMIC GENDER PAY GAP 2ND ONLY TO ABERDEEN
KING’S AND QUEENS:
IRINA ANGHEL DEPUTY EDITOR
King’s College London has second highest gender pay gap for full-time academics of any UK university. The College’s institutional pay gap, which includes information on all its employees, is at 19.5%, above the national average.
The Gender Pay Gap
The Hard Facts Second highest academic gender pay gap King’s academic gender pay gap stands at 16.82%. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, this result is only surpassed by University of Aberdeen’s 17.01% academic gender pay gap. Show me the money! In 2017, the average salary was £47,034 for full-time female academics and £56,542 for full-time male academics at King’s. This means women earned 83p for every £1 their male counterparts made on average.
The bigger picture: King’s institutional gender pay gap King’s released a report on its institutional gender pay gap at the end of March, as required under government legislation. Besides academic staff, results also cover wages for professional services, research and clinical employees.
Gender breakdown in the bottom quartile
King’s institutional gender pay gap is 19.5%, above the 2017 UK average indicator of 17.4%, according to reports from the College and the Office of National Statistics. The median value of 14.3% is below the national median of 18.4%.
King’s report also shows the representation of women in different positions in the College, grouped in pay quartiles according to each roles’ associated wage. Men occupy most leadership positions, as women make up 39% of the top earners quartile. In contrast, 66% of the lowest paid employees are women. Moreover, bonus pay differs significantly for men and women. According to the report, women’s mean and median bonus pay is 61.8% and, respectively, 60.6% lower than men’s. In 2017, 5.5% of male and 4.9% of female staff received a bonus.
gender pay gap is not to be confused with the equal pay indicator, which compares differences in earnings between men and women doing work of the same value.
Please mind The Gap
Why are you so Mean?
The gender pay gap measures the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women. The result is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. In other words, this measure shows the representation of women in different roles within the organisation compared to men. The
Add up all the employees’ wages and then divide the result by the number of employees – that’s the mean or average value. The mean gender pay gap is the difference between the mean hourly wage of men and the mean hourly wage of women.
By SIRI HEDREEN
Your likelihood of deportation is slim. In what should come as good news for international students who have slept through a few too many 9AMs, a recent FOI request has revealed that less than 10 Tier 4 Visa holders are reported to UK Visas & Immigration each year. STUDENTS REPORTED TO UKVI
2013-14 ≤5 reported
10 reported; of which 2014-15 ≤5 reported were subsequently retracted 2015-16 ≤5 reported
10 reported; of which 2016-17 ≤5 reported were subsequently retracted 2015-16 ≤5 reported (to date)
38.2 Mean Gender Bonus Gap
INT’L STUDENTS ON TIER 4 VISAS, TAKE A SIGH OF RELIEF
Gender breakdown in the top quartile
Stuck in the Middle with you
Mean Gender Pay Gap
The median gap tells the difference between the middle wage in the male pay range and the middle wage in the female pay range. This measure is often preferred over the mean, as the latter can be deceived by a few individuals with very high or very low salaries, whose wages are not representative of the organisations’ pay practices.
King’s Speech A King’s spokesperson said: ‘We are disappointed not to have made more progress over the last year in narrowing the gender pay gap at King’s and recognise that there is much more work to be done to address this.
‘We believe it is essential that there is equality of representation at all levels of university life. Women in senior positions, professional and academic, can provide strong and positive role models and be an inspiration to students and staff alike. ‘We recognise that it may take some time to achieve the gender balance we aspire to across the entire university but we have committed to make diversity and inclusion a consistent theme throughout our Vision 2029. ‘Steps we are taking include actively encouraging institution-wide participation in the Athena SWAN programme and increasing development and promotion opportunities for female staff, as well as aiming to reduce unconscious bias and improve our family friendly policies.’
For students without an EU passport, a Tier 4 Visa is required to live and study in the UK. Sponsoring institutions are required to monitor attendance and report any extended absences or withdrawals to the Home Office. Attendance requirements are otherwise up to the discretion of the institution. However, KCL’s website provides only a vague description of attendance requirements, stipulating that they will report “any issues of consistent non-attendance” and that “You need to ensure that your attendnace [sic] and engagement is not falling below certain standards,” leaving students ponder whether their next skipped lecture will be the last straw leading to deportation. If the last few years provide any indication, however, the numbers show that it takes a lot for King’s to notice your absence. The proportion of Tier 4 Visa holders at King’s reported to UKVI for not meeting attendance requirements ends up less than .25%. The percentage of visas actually revoked is even narrower. Of all the things students have to stress about, being kicked out of the country can safely move down the list.
ALL THE PERKS An organisation entitled The Luxury Student has been set up by a Graduate Diploma in Law drop-out to provide “students, bloggers and major influencers” with “all the perks”. Founded by Aileen Gilani, who studied hospitality at Oxford Brookes University, The Luxury Student has a standard membership package of £50 a month and boasts of offering students private consultations from luxury brands, access to private members clubs, and a Nespresso coffee machine. Speaking to The Independent, Gilani stated, “Our membership isn’t about getting ‘free stuff’ - we want to introduce our members to luxury brands and create a loyal relationship between them.” She also stated that of the 500+ members of The Luxury Student, most are “international students – they like to spend more on luxury.”
DAZED & CONFUSED A recent survey from the National Union of Students has shown that 2 out of 5 students are drug users. The survey, taking into account the opinions of 2,800 students, showed the most popular drugs were cannabis, ecstasy, nitrous oxide and cocaine. The NUS report stated drug use was “a common, although infrequent, behaviour” - with 39% of students using drugs.
) S W O N K O H W E N O E M O S (FROM
The Sorry State of Post-University Employment COMMENT by
PHILIPPA KNIPE COMMENT EDITOR You might be facing the conundrum of ‘getting a job’ this year, you might be facing it in three. But no matter how close or distant the prospect of leaving university and getting a job might seem, it’s probably going to come around a lot quicker than you might expect. And of course, it’s been said before- but it really does need saying- post-university job-finding is nothing less than a minefield. Students get a lot of criticism. We’re often picked on and demonised for our supposed laissez-faire lifestyle. Apparently, we do courses with no substance, and we coast through on the backs of our generous student loans. When we cry stress, we’re told we’re in fact ‘doing no work’. However, I think we need more creditbecause the graduate job market that we willingly (or perhaps unwillingly) will be thrown into at the end of our tenures is unexpectedly and unequivocally ruthless. It is probably more ruthless at this time, the time of scrambling for our first roles, than at any other in our post-university lives. More people now have degrees than they ever did before, so naturally, most of us will be fighting in our hundreds (or
The Not so Special Relationship:
SHOULD DONALD TRUMP VISIT THE UNITED KINGDOM?
even thousands) for a tiny number of graduate roles. We’re also now earning, on average, less than our parents did at our age. We’re completing time-consuming applications that often take away from our actual studying, jumping through countless hoops with very very little pay off. Sound depressing? It is. How hard is it really to break this ceiling? Well, it’s all about setting up your aspirations and your reality. Due to this cut-throat environment, we’ve now got to be prepared to take on roles that we don’t see ourselves doing for the long-term. You might want the graduate scheme with the juicy salary, benefits and unlimited holidays, but getting fast-tracked there is for the few, not the many. It’s not simply a case of pulling pints in the local whilst living with the ‘rents until you land your endgoal dream career. If these means pushing paper in administration for a year to learn industries, build bridges and open doors- we need to do it. Pick up those part-time shifts in retail or hospitality whilst you’re searching for other opportunities- no one can take these experiences away from you. Whilst aspirations do, egos have no place in this environment. Think you’re too good for entry-level roles? Think again. In combination, we have to be prepared to be significantly demoralised. Rejection becomes all part and parcel of this process. And this rejection is not always ex-
By MICHIEL HOFMAN
Donald Trump is a man who we could charitably call controversial. Whatever you think of him, since becoming 45th President of the United States, a potential ‘Trump visit’ to the UK has been offered, postponed, planned, cancelled - and finally confirmed for the fateful Friday 13th July. For any conventional President, a state visit to the UK would be almost monotonously expected. And whilst Donald Trump is many things, conventional is not one of them. A visit from Trump might be more closely analogous to burning bridges instead of building them. There is the potential for a ridiculous spectacle to be made of what should be routine. Naturally Trump, being the definitely-not-egotistical man that he is, wants to peruse around the grand boulevards of London in the Queens Golden carriage (security risks be damned!). On the part of the people, it has been suggested that no less than the ‘most incredible protest in our history’ is on the cards. Stu-
The Exams Vox-Pop ion “My exam/revis n a bee experience has downs nd series of ups a nd terror, of motivation a ith all combined w te ena the beauty of S onth 5m House and my d.” summer ahea
plained or justified; a friend of mine was once rejected for a job because, as they put it, he was ‘too nice’. That one definitely packs a curious punch. Then there’s the cliché of ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’. I’m afraid to say, this one rings absolutely true. Bias, nepotism and just downright unfairness is also part and parcel of negotiating the process. You have not felt true frustration until you’ve experienced first-hand the people that slide into roles with the help of powerful parents or relatives. But, it’s important to remember that there will always be someone that wants to help, whether they know you or not. In fact, achieving something without those ‘contacts’ is now seen as even more admirable, and no one can take that away from you. Then there’s the cliché of ‘falling into’ careers. There’s slight truth to this one as well. Often, people will appear to ‘accidently’ find roles by remaining flexible and not crossing anything off their lists. I know those that have made the jump from regional shop to London head office by simply putting in the hours in retail. Another friend orchestrated a management role after meeting someone in-the-know at the office photocopier. From my own undergraduate degree in History, I now have friends that work in defence, air travel, data analysis, IT recruitment, finance, law, marketing, journalism and politics. Is it now a bad thing to know exactly what you want to be doing straight after university? Absolutely not. But it’s also necessary to remain aware of the journey it might take to arrive there. Our generation, millennials, are now predicted to do around five different careers in our lifetimes. So, whilst we are criticised as students for our nonchalant dispositions, our fluidity is now the number one secret-weapon for when we go it alone.
dents, with our oh-so-typical revolutionary spirit (or plenty of free time and a Facebook account) would no doubt be an important cog in this protest machine. Universities like UCL, SOAS, LSE and the College ourselves are well placed and well connected in the capital to enable such a protest, one that would almost certainly dwarf and trivialise the recent UCU strike on campuses. But Brexit is looking bleak, and a trade deal with the US would do an awful lot to alleviate this. Completely coincidentally, the government are quite keen to have him over. Since his inauguration, Mrs May has wasted no time making it clear that she wants him here. To this end, an initial invitation for a state visit was formally extended to Trump just days after his debut as President. The real issue here is that he wants, and the government are offering, the more prestigious and pompous state visit, which would include a parlay with the Queen and an address to parliament. However, as John Bercow quite succinctly put it this is not ‘an automatic right, it is an earned honour’. And in earning this honour, Trump does not seem to have really done much to this end. Even the far more popular and decidedly less divi-
sive Barack Obama did not make a state visit to the UK until he was well into his term. So, should he, or more importantly will he, come to the UK? Eventually, the answer is almost certainly a yes. Currently he is pegged for a state visit ‘sometime’ in the second half of this year. Not at all famed for his reliability, Trump had planned to visit in February to open the new US embassy, but cancelled last minute after deciding it was a ‘bad deal’. It remains to be seen whether his next date will stick. Now as to if he should? For his sake more than our own, no. The backlash against his presence would be large, and the security threat would consume the time of our security and emergency services. Simply put, Trump does not warrant a state visit to the UK. As the world looks on at his wall-building, trade-war mongering and general obscenity at every turn, Trump is the wrong man at the wrong time. A state visit would thus represent our nation pandering to the US on the part of our struggle for economic and political stability outside of the European Union. As it stands, the president who has lived by the words ‘America first’ should also die by them, and leave the UK out of it.
y “I don’t have an d a r, n exams this yea een everyone has b y. ck lu telling me I’m the But I don’t see g benefit in havin n o li to write a bil words.”
MAY 2018 Roar
“Revising maths is equivalent to being in a dark room with some flint and tinder, but that’s a bit gloomy.”
“Exams are the bane of my existence. I’m sick and tired of having to trek all the way to the godforsaken Olympia to wait in some crowded prison holding room before I sit in a non-descript hall for three hours.#banolympia “The worst part was that #hatekensington.”
three-day summer. I had to watch out the window of the Maughan as people walked up and down with ice-cream or ice-lollies and just looked like they didn’t have a care in the world. In the end, I just moved to one of those study carrels. It was too much to take.”
“The only thing that has got me through the revision period is Kiss College London.”
“I’m just tired.” ime “Studying your all-t an favourite novel for e English exam is lik hood suffocating a child all life pet: squishing out left with and meaning until less a deflated, meaning pile of fluff. #regrets #avoidatallcosts”
UNPAID INTERNSHIPS: A CALCULATED RISK?
heeded governmental warnings and are now acting in a more cautious manner, shelling out the London Living Wage, or a ‘competitive’ salary on their application pages.
By REBEKAH EVANS
running rife, and the sinister truth is that they border on exploitative.
As the season of summer rolls around, thousands of second year students across the country have begun the mad dash for the most coveted undergraduate positions of the year.
For students who are looking ahead to the big wide world after graduation, an internship is a golden ticket to showing off your skills, developing your marketability and, of course, making attempts to store contacts for the future. However, far too often, the student pocket is simply unable to stretch to afford the internship, meaning we are often pulling ourselves this way and that to make sure we can meet the mark. After all, an opportunity like this one would be far too good to miss, right? And with the line of hungry, dedicated students outside the company door, if you don’t meet the mark, then someone else most definitely will.
For someone such as myself who is looking for work in the editorial sector, finding an internship or summer work placement at all, let alone one that pays, is like searching for a needle in a haystack. With the competition so fierce, and everyone searching for experience at the same time, far too often we can lower the standards we would usually set for ourselves. It’s okay if we don’t get paid, because the experience is too good. And so what if our travel expenses aren’t covered? It’s a small piece of the pie. When you struggle to find an internship that suits you, you may well find yourself in a position like mine – accepting an amazing summer placement, but footing the bill for everything but your travel. Whilst we shouldn’t rule out the unpaid internship entirely, the personal circumstances must be considered.
The government have recently stated they will now be taking measures to “crack down” on the unpaid internship, particularly positions that last for several months without pay. “Exploitative unpaid internships should not exist and we will work to eradicate these.” it was stated. Indeed, it also appears some companies have
We need to talk about the consequences of an unpaid internship. Paying for a placement out of your own pocket will probably mean struggling even further to make ends meet with the bills for expensive student accommodation, bills and the weekly shop. It’s a simple equation. Time + dedication should = money, right?
In obtaining this position, the stakes are high. More often than not, it is a lengthy application process – CV, covering letter, interview, assignment, previous examples of work, video submissions – blood, sweat and tears, all in the hopes of snagging the spot of your dreams. Welcome to the summer internship. The vacation internship, whatever your chosen discipline, is marketed as an invaluable opportunity, a chance to get your foot on the ladder in an increasingly competitive job market, even the ability to be retained by the company once you graduate. However, whilst the facets of the internship are valid, we need to begin to question whether this can come without expense - unpaid internships, whether during university holidays or post-graduation, are
“Social Media” continued from back cover So, apart from being cringeworthy as hell, I discovered Facebook has remembered a lot about me, even the things I barely remember myself. This was fast turning into a Black Mirror rabbit hole I certainly didn’t want to explore any further. Instead, I turned my attention to Twitter, where I was late to the game, activating my account in June 2015. Here, there wasn’t too much to tell. Twitter logged all the occasions I had logged into the app since joining, however, they also provided me with a list of my interests, again similar to Facebook: Soul Music, Politics and Current Affairs, The Premier League. Nothing out of the ordinary. Thanks for doing me a solid, Twitter. Finally, it was time to move on to the third strand of my social media holy trinity, if you will: Instagram. Once again, I was slightly late to the game on this one, and this can be attributed to the beaten-down pink Blackberry I had, long after it was cool to own one. I joined Christmas Day 2015, when
I was gifted my first ever iPhone (the blue 5C, because I just had it like that). Anyway, once again, Instagram didn’t give me anything strange. Instagram showed me my previous usernames, my previous bios (of which most contained book quotes or phrases) and spam accounts I have blocked. The most out of the ordinary thing was that the app had tracked the photos I had sent and received in Direct Messages since December 2015, and placed them in a neat folder. Whilst these mostly contained memes, it was interesting to go through the file to track my humour interests, if anything. Whilst delving into my data was a surface level experience, it did bring about some surprising discoveries, particularly on the original Social Network. You’d be shocked at what kind of information these social media sites can hold and store about you, long after you’ve lost interest in that kind of thing yourself. So, a word of warning. Big Brother is watching. And it doesn’t seem like we’ll escape him any time soon.
“Facebook” continued from back cover With the data taken from Facebook users’ accounts and activity, the firm was able to perfectly pinpoint the type of messaging that would resonate with potential Trump and Brexit Leave voters. In response, angry users across the political spectrum and globe are currently deleting their accounts and their data. They know, I know, and now you know of this disturbing sequence of events, allowed to span eight years, that disrupted our democracies. If a person erasing their Facebook presence is a political statement—a punkish middle finger to the machine that bent the rules to steal from us after we had given it so much—what does keeping your account mean? Perhaps helplessness is the emotive reaction that prevails above my fury, fear, and frustration directed at Facebook in the primary aftermath of a tragedy that continues to develop. Like overindulging in a few too many drinks, I know that keeping my Facebook account is going to sabotage me eventually, but I haven’t made
It doesn’t necessarily follow. “It’s a poor investment of time,” said one Computer Science undergrad, “I can imagine the frequency of the unpaid internship, but it really isn’t acceptable.” “I’m not really sure,” a second-year Classics student stated, “I mean, the experience is obviously a major bonus. I don’t think anyone would be up for turning down a chance to make a head start in your career. That’s what all these employers are looking for anyway. And if you have a half empty CV, you’re not going to stand out amongst the crowd.” Of course, the need to make something out of nothing by taking an unpaid internship can’t be knocked. It seems to be entirely normal within a job market that has the freshly graduated elbowing each other out of the way to get to the top. The unpaid internship shouldn’t be the only chance for the student to make their first break into their chosen industry. All sectors should consider ways of making the internship work for everyone involved, if we want a future of successful employees.
healthy choices or restrictions yet. A simple article provided by Facebook aims to assist users in figuring out whether their data was taken by Cambridge Analytica. Mine, it appears, was not—this time. Technology evolves at too rapid a rate for proper regulation to keep up, and this innocuous form of cyber warfare is a benign example of much more disturbing realities to come. I use Facebook to keep in contact with my friends around the world, to post photos, to remember birthdays, and so on. These actions seem small and meaningless when compared to the aiding of an unqualified reality television star into the prestigious office of the presidency, and the removal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Can a middle ground exist between the boy that I met in the bar, who absolved from engaging in social media in every way, and myself, someone reluctant to disconnect with Facebook’s most communicative features? As London’s weather warms and Facebook and Cambridge Analytica’s respective futures remain cloudy, pushing myself out of the privacy paradox may be the sexiest way I can prepare for summer.
A Degree in Arts & Humanities: -
BRIGITTE ZHENG CULTURE EDITOR
I have spent equal time over the past three years of my degree either explaining what exactly ‘Classics’ is and justifying what I’m going to do with it after graduation, that at moments I have often doubted the sincerity of my answers. My definition of ‘Classics’ has evolved from my first year as ‘a study of ancient culture, history and philosophy and the ancient Greek and Latin languages’, to a variation of, ‘50% ancient languages and 50% ancient culture stuff’. The beauty of a subject is so easily lost in bland descriptions, yet repeatedly answering, ‘didn’t you have an idea of what you wanted to do before you chose Classics?’ has a slightly undermining effect on definitions. It’s often easier to make it more statistical. However, as news emerged earlier this year of the Department for Education’s plan to rank university courses from ‘gold, silver or bronze’ to enable prospective students to choose courses of value, it seemed nothing but a reinforcement of that jarring ‘employment question’. The ratings, to be measured against factors such as students’ job prospects after graduation and likely earnings, would enable students to make “consumer-style” comparisons between degree courses said a Department for Education spokesperson. It’s supposed to “ensure that more students get the value for money they deserve from higher education”, Sam Gyimah, the universities minister said. Yet whilst the system is all about ‘value’, it seems to differentiate little between quality of teaching and measuring success in terms of monetary reward. Getting a job is more than about choosing the right degree, as perhaps Pok Wong, an Anglia Ruskin International Business Strategy graduate who sought more the £60,000 of damages from her university for a ‘mickey mouse degree’. As told to The Telegraphin an interview she said that “since graduating, it has been proven that the degree does not play a role to help secure a rewarding job with prospects”. Would a statistically ranked grading system have helped her avoid the despairing pit of unemployment? I’m not entirely certain it would. More than ever, a degree does not equate to a job upon graduation and I think that a system designed to systematically rate courses on employment prospects is misleading. Especially when considering degrees within the humanities don’t necessarily provide a straightforward pathway into the job market. This is not however, to say that at face value a humanities degree is less useful than say a course in International Business Strategy. Could it simply be that securing a job after graduation is less about the degree and more about how that degree has helped shape the person that emerges, just as going to university is more than just about the result at the end? As selection of humanities finalists tell me about their journey through university and their next steps, I’m more convinced this is the case. University is a learning experience and an unprecedented chance to specialise in favourite subjects. It might lead towards further education, or straight into a job, but as all have acknowledged, each stage is a work in progress. There is something finite about university in younger ages, as the goal of academic success and the proposed medal-like system seems to endorse that idea. But going after a ‘gold’ rated degree isn’t crossing the finish line first by any means, it is how you use that time at university. However, as this academic year draws to a close, these finalists are evidence that humanities degrees can certainly be worth their weight it gold, whatever their future rank might be. Hannah Wigfield is an Ancient History BA finalist. As a winner of this year’s King’s Cultural Challenge, she will embark on her prize of a paid internship whilst looking to establish a career in radio. “I’ve always known I wanted to work in radio so I intend to get as much experience as possible after graduation (almost always unpaid so I’ll be doing this alongside a job that actually pays the bills). I won this year’s King’s Cultural Challenge with my project, “Take 2 Cinema”: a community cinema for the homeless complete with a social space after the screenings where they could make friends, talk to representatives from various charities and organisations to get advice on housing, employment, legal aid and mental health. The prize is a paid internship (though I don’t know where yet) and I plan to start it at the end of the year. That gives me some security, both financially and plan-wise, and I can look for more permanent positions whilst I’m there.
worth its weight in gold more, I’ll be more sure of my future. My degree in Anthropology helped me decide as I learned from that, I loved studying people, and really challenging assumptions about the way we think. I also got really frustrated with Anthropology and its ambivalence with a lot of things so I wanted to go on to study something that could more easily translate in to direct action. My undergrad also helped as it was such an essay based subject, that I found I was able to write personal statements for applications that were pretty interesting and maybe a little unusual which I think helped me stand out from the crowd of applicants.
But first, I’m going to enjoy my summer because I feel like I’ve earned a break! I always knew I’d take the summer off because it’s probably the last time in a long while I’ll have this much free time so I want to make the most of it. But equally, I’m also keen to start working ASAP because I know how crucial these next few months are for establishing my career. I guess I haven’t fully decided my path yet – I’m happy just taking it as it comes. My humanities degree has developed my critical thinking and encouraged me to look beyond the bounds of what I thought I already knew. Through writing and researching often under self-inflicted time constraints, I’ve learnt the invaluable skill of self-motivation that is so essential for jobs within the creative media industries, although admittedly it’s still work in progress! I’ve also realised that it’s both possible and perfectly desirable to be interested in more than one thing and feel free to explore within your degree.” Phillipa Knipe read History BA at University of Newcastle and spent the past academic year studying for a masters in Contemporary British History at KCL. She has just landed a place on a coveted graduate scheme in retail management. “Whilst applying for my undergraduate degree, I had always thought that I’d like to do a Masters at a London university. I’d actually been offered an undergraduate place at UCL, but after attending their open day, I felt that I really wasn’t ready for living in the capital city as my first home-away-fromhome. After choosing to do my BA in History at Newcastle, to be frank, it really wasn’t until my final year that I got back on the Masters aspiration. A lot of my friends were planning travels or ski seasons, a handful secured jobs, and an even smaller handful were going into further education. After conducting thorough research, I was desperate to be accepted at King’s as their MA in Contemporary British History was the perfect blend of history, politics and economics which was what I really wanted to learn more about. I think it was this passion, and now wanting to go to prestiguous London university with all the perks of the metropole, that got me a place. When you’re getting to the second-half of third year, it all gets a bit intense. At the
same time as trying to sit your final exams and do your deadlines and dissertation, you’re all trying to sort out your next-steps after graduation. No-one wants to be officially unemployed with no plan. Luckily, I had enjoyed my degree so much that doing an Masters was the only option for me. As I only undertook one application the pressure was relatively little as opposed to applying for loads of job roles. I was also by this time set on moving to London, as were a few of my Newcastle uni friends, so it worked out that we could live together, which was great. So it all worked out pretty smoothly! I honestly think a humanities degree is a golden ticket to being a capable, well-rounded and conscientous individual. You learn so much in so many different ways, and because its subjectively marked unlike maths and sciences, it really teaches you how to argue competently. It also really teaches you to question everything as you’re getting so much information from lots of different sources. Versatility is another thing, as I’ve undertook such a broad range of work which includes document commentaries, source analysis, reports essays, group presentations, controlled assessments, exams, a dissertation and so on - you learn to stay fluid.” Blyth Crawford studies Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh and will embark on a MSc in Security Studies in London this September. “I decided what I wanted to pursue a masters in Security Studies very late so I didn’t have much specific experience before this. For me, it was all about finding ways to make what I had done relevant to what I wanted to do. My undergrad is in Anthropology so I took some time to brainstorm what skills I learned from that, and then made it really clear in my applications that having a great understanding of people would really help me in studying security and politics, particularly from a psychological perspective. I had also completed a year abroad during my degree so that also helped me present myself as someone who’d worked really hard and had some international experience. I think it sort of shows that if you haven’t done the whole internship thing you’re not totally hopeless! I decided (vaguely) around January this year what I might want to do after graduation, but it’s still a process and as I learn
I’ve definitely learned that you can merge creativity with academia and dense theory, and that often that’s the best way to approach something new. Spending every week reading about a new culture has also given me an interest for travel and foreign affairs I didn’t have before, and has made me want to do something for humanitarian good. I think Anthropology has given me a real idea of how to do that well.” Anne May Dallendörfer, Classics BA will take a moment to reflect upon graduation before enrolling in a master’s programme, the subject of which is still to be decided. “I’m still surprised that I ended up studying Classics at King’s. Growing up in Egypt, I actually wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn any of the ancient languages if it hadn’t been for a family friend who was a retired Latin teacher and lived in the same city. It was this teacher who first stirred my interest in the subject, and of course all the ancient temples and monuments in Egypt made me curious about ancient civilisations too. So I chose to continue studying what I enjoyed doing most in school and the opportunity to study at King’s just came up at the right moment at the right time, but I never had a clear vision of what I was going to do after my studies. I haven’t completely decided yet what I want to do next. I would like to do a Masters programme at some point, but I still don’t know what subject. I don’t just want to rush into taking the next step, investing time and money in something that might not be the right thing, so I’m thinking about doing a gap year abroad to pick up another language or to do an internship with a charity to do leadership training and to grow in basic life skills. Going into teaching might also be a viable option. There are still a lot of things to be learnt and improved on, but I’ve definitely found out a lot about myself in these three years. For example, what it means to be an introvert and how to make active time to rest. I’ve learnt and am still learning to organise my schedule and that it’s okay and actually vital to say ‘no’ to things. Persistence and discipline unfortunately are still things I definitely have to work on, but I’ve definitely learnt from the mistakes I’ve made and it’s good that university is such a place where one is free to make mistakes and learn from them.”
We need to change the way we are choosing our degrees- for the good of society lTechnological and societal
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ture. Put simply, we can no longer afford to choose our courses so recklessly.
By JULIA THOMMESSEN
I have lost count of the amount of times that I am queried on what I plan to do with my degree. Whilst a BA in International Relations sounds important enough (and leaves me with a choice of career paths to pursue upon graduation) it does not, however, equip me for an actual profession. I will not have a title to this end – I cannot call myself a psychologist, teacher, Doctor or nurse. The same goes for most of the pursuits in the arts and humanities such as philosophy, history, politics and the like. As the younger generation of millennials, we are encouraged to spend as much time as possible at university. It’s now a common occurrence that we don’t want to leave our ‘student lives’ behind, even clinging on to undertake further education such as a Masters or a PhD. But the question that remains is this: is this really what our society needs? In Norway, where education is free and engineers are needed, the government incentivises students to take courses within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by giving high school students taking the right subjects extra
In November 2017, American management consultancy firm McKinsey estimated that between 400 and 800 million people could lose their job due to automation. Personally, I would be naïve not to realise that my degree in International Relations is nearly worthless compared to a peer’s in Computer Science. It is I, not them, that is left on the wrong side of the coming technological advance.
changes mean that personal aspirations must be set aside for the greater good
points, making it easier for them to get accepted into the courses these courses. This allows the Government to invest into the next generation and pinpoint the industries that need an influx of professionals, in this case, engineering and information technology. Conservative MP Anne Main seems to want to adopt this strategy in the UK. Her April comment article in the Times highlights the need to prepare the new generation for jobs in STEM, even for jobs that are not even created yet. In January of this year, former skills minister Robert Halfon told the Times in January that he believes that there should be discounts on degrees that will help undergraduates work in areas of demand. In Britain as in Norway, it is people working in STEM that are needed– not those that are to become anthropologists, sociologists, and many of the other ‘oligst’ occupations. As such, our generation have become spoiled with options. Having been told from a young age that we can become ‘anything we want to be’ as long as we ‘put our hearts to it’, we choose our courses online as if we are internet shopping, and the rest we leave to the future.
In our increasingly ego-centric and individualistic mindset, there is little room for thinking about what our society needs, and we decide what we want to do based on our own projections for our personal satisfaction. But (unfortunately) our society does not need more MAs in English Literature. There isn’t any demand for abstract titles – instead, there is demand for those in healthcare, IT, teaching and engineering. And now more than ever, as we approach a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ encompassing the advent of machines, we need people who aren’t easily replaced by technology. The threat of this paradigm shift, after which some believe half of the existing work force can be replaced by technology in less than twenty years, is that low-skilled jobs will be the first to be eclipsed. Competition will undoubtedly heighten as we move into the digital fu-
KING’S PROVISION OF FIRST YEAR ACCOMMODATION LEAVES TOO MUCH TO BE DESIRED
sion with its shared washroom facilities would be considerably less pricy, but even here the College might put you out £239 a week. What is more, if students had a choice, there would be less of a reason to claim strife. As it stands, the only choice that freshers get is to name their preferred option, which they are not guarunteed. By this stage, around August, there is little time to search for alternatives and Intercollegiate Halls are no guarantee. The reality is that students who did get lucky pricewise most probably have to compromise in location. Of course, paying £159 per week is a much more merciful number. But Champion Hill, where this price is offered, is a good 40 minute bus ride away. This does not only mean students have less time, but that they also must factor in the cost of their commute. Emilie Vandame, a first year student residing in Champion Hill knows this struggle all too well. She maintains that ‘the hardest thing to do in terms of student accommodation is finding the middle ground…there are tons of accommodation offers in London…You can find private Christian homes for young ladies for cheap, you can find big brand names like Student Unite or Chapter, which offer great accommodation for high prices, in all sorts of places. But when you just want a good conditioned en-suite for a normal (I’m not even asking for cheap) price, in a fair location, it all becomes very difficult’
“Claims such as ‘we understand that London is an expensive city’ are left undeveloped.”
By EMILIA SANDOGHDAR -
Acquiring university accomodation for your first year can be a nightmare. And it is certainly the College’s worstkept secret that newly-arrived Kings and Queens struggle with finding their promised castles. A body that is fined-tuned in the art of self-promotion, the College provides a lengthy list of options for their ‘halls’. The online descriptions offer tantalising pictures, aiming
to bate applicants and offer-holders with a taste of the first-year resident’s experience. But what the College unsurprisingly fails to mention is the toil that students go through in their access of the so-called ‘#kingsreslife’. There are three major catches to the ‘reslife’. Firstly, despite its morally superior façade as an educational institution, the College is essentially on the hunt for profit. Bluntly stated, KCL sucks out as much as £259 per week (Julian Markham House) for an en-suite room. One might expect that the non-ensuite ver-
By now you get the message – compromises linger at every corner.
The College website invites its prospective students to ‘take a look at our comfortable, safe residences to suit your budget, located close to King’s teaching campuses’. It not only hides the fact that there is, in fact, very little choice, but also does not explain that the residences provide no correlation to student’s individual campus timetables. You might be allocated to a residence that is sold as ‘near’ to campus, but this might not be the campus where your teaching is based. In Emilie’s case, the daily commute to the Strand entails
This might seem a thoroughly dehumanising and demoralising outlook upon further education. Of course, it is arguable that our education is not simply about the skills that we accrue and the end to which we can use them. It is also about acquiring good working habits, obtaining the capability of thinking for ourselves, learning problem-solving, organisation, perseverance, discipline and motivation. To this end, a Russel Group spokesman added to Halfon’s proclamation that their number one priority is supporting their undergraduates in becoming ‘highly-skilled, self-motivated young adults.’ Indeed, during my own university experience, I have never met so many brilliant, ambitious and hard-working individuals like those I know doing ‘unimportant and abstract’ courses. Nevertheless, it is still more important than ever for us to realise, as soon-to-be professionals, that our future is uncertain. As we are inheriting a damaged, divided and increasingly unsustainable planet – it might just be that we must do away with our individual aspirations for the greater good.
a 45 minute bus ride. The College’s marketing of its residences is full of empty promises and vague statements such as these. Claims such as ‘we understand that London is an expensive city’ are left undeveloped. Their aim to ‘meet the demand of our students’ is left decidedly unmet. Amir, a first year Geographer in Stamford Street, comments that ‘my accommodation is very overpriced. There is a lack of basic amenities like hot water. We have very limited social space, not even a common room, so interacting with students is hard.’ Tino similarly recalls a mouse infestation in his Stamford Street apartment kitchen. Some credit might be granted to the College however, as it introduced the Kings Accommodation Affordability Scheme (KAAS) in 2015, a policy which caps rents at £169. This news might give the impression that my own criticism of the lack of flexibility and support if unwarranted, but reading further leads me to the next catch. Firstly, KAAS is available to 934 students, out of 16,124 undergraduates – roughly every 17th undergraduate. Secondly, KAAS is based on family incomes below £42,875 per annum. Freshers from households with 60,000 per annum therefore already do not have access to this. Despite the College conceding to raise the number of beds on KAAs to 1345 in 2018/19, our expectations for first-year halls to be the great equaliser of the student experience falls disastrously short. The College does follow The Code, a collection of broad conditions that multiple universities all over the UK claim to adhere to. One of The Code’s conditions reads ‘A living environment free from anti-social behaviour.’ But Ollie, a Fresher living at Angel Lane in Stratford, has not felt the conditions to be met, as he was bullied by his flatmates and felt there was little being done about it. It also ‘endeavours’ ‘to provide all residents with quality accommodation to suit all lifestyles and budgets.’ Sadly, the gaffe between endeavour and reality means that King’s still has much to answer for.
A Year with Picasso, Love Fame Tragedy by BRIGITTE ZHENG
It is 1932. The Winter Olympics are being held in New York. Adolf Hitler unsuccessfully runs for ‘presidency’. Johnny Cash is born. And Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), barely turned 50, is at the height of his artistic career. 1932 is a pivotal year for the artist: critics are openly discussing whether he is an artist of the past rather than future. But they are wrong to doubt him as this year marks a period of his life that will become to be known as ‘the wonder years’. And 1932 is a year of, Love, Fame, Tragedy.
the centrepiece of 1932, shows in part, the artist’s attempt to resist chronological distinction; a fashion so conventionally popularised. When asked how he would curate his exhibition, Picasso famously responded: ‘badly.’ Indeed, his retrospective entirely removed chronology as a means of presentation and mixed works from different periods which hung with no dates. Our own categorisation of his work into the Blue, Rose, Cubism, Surrealism periods is us trying to ‘historicise Picasso’ says Ireson. The eradication of these boundaries and the ability to step, month by month, with Picasso through his paintings, de-formalises the experience between viewer and artist. As we are guided from painting to painting, this natural fluidity humanises the paintings and the artist who has delivered them. After the pressure of preparing for his retrospective is over, Picasso retreats to his country house. The work Picasso produces there, returns to the nude, in a series of Pipe players and reclining women that make up one of my favourite pieces of the exhibition. The difference between public and private work is dramatic, but so relatable in its sense of relief and freedom.
Reflections on traditional art history educations and exhibitions are that artists are often presented in a highly systemised and categorical manner. Picasso’s own retrospective which can be seen as
-rated Brigitte Zheng and Nikhil Kanukuntla’s
by SOPHIE PERRY
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @R_Rated
However, in simulating the experience of a real-time, evolving relationship between artist and viewer that moves beyond casual acquaintance, I find that I don’t like the man I’ve got to know during 1932. His paintings, iconic and internationally sensational, are worth seeing beyond doubt, I concur. But the previously romantic and trivial conception I had between mistress and artist, is stifled by the haunting the presence of the women he drove to insanity. His art is a project of tragedy. And after a year in his company, I can say he wasn’t the man I thought he was. The EY Exhibition, Picasso, 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy is on at the Tate Modern until 9th September 2018.
May I Introduce...
‘The Wellcome Collection’ by IRINA ANGHEL
A Predictable Period Drama?
Already set up to beguile and intrigue viewers in all its melodramatic Victorian glory, this adaptation does credit to the BBC’s seemingly eternal ability to provide us with updated and ‘refurbished’ versions of the ‘Old Classics’ time and time again. The Radio Times describes scriptwriter Fiona Seres’ interpretation as a “dense, layered tale of loss and identity, packed with characters who might not be what they seem”. In this particular case, the Victorian classic is set within a controversially modern framework: one that attempts to deconstruct ‘rape culture’ and challenges male agency. Thus, concepts of “identity,” along with characters who are “not what they seem” along with a resulting atmosphere of unhinged discomfort can be seen not only as an apt portrayal of the original work’s Gothic representations, but as a relevant depiction of wider themes of gender politics and feminism. Furthering this modern concept as a development on The Woman in White’s more predictable and traditional themes, the Radio Times adds how “even today [the book] stands out with it’s surprisingly progressive approach to gender and the rights of women” and how “now,
in the park, bookstore cafes, museum cafes, cold cafes, boiling cafes, even restaurants, unwillingly listening to movie spoilers, strangers’ affairs to remember and spaghetti carbonara being ordered for breakfast watching cats turn coffee tables into catwalks and myself turn tired of it all; usually, their days ended on my desk, competing for space and attention with countless tea mugs, ennui and eager to be finally put to use.
Both enchanting and strict, let me introduce you to the library equivalent of Mary Poppins: the Then along came Wellcome. Wellcome Collection. The Maughan Library is King’s crown jewel. Of course Bush House is a promising newcomer, a bit of an Eve Harrington - but that’s another story called ‘All About Eve’ which you can watch on DVD in the Maughan’s multimedia section, call number PN1995.A453 MAN, so there’s no use in spoiling it here. Anyway, streetlight back on Maughan. There it is: very happy and glorious, very noble, very Instagramesque, and also very crowded, leaving visitors very breathless - sometimes because of its beauty, other times because of literal lack of air. As far as studying here goes, for me such other times are most times. This is why I like my encounters with Maughan brief, limited to borrowing and returning books, the perfect pit stop on my road to knowledge (or Press Coffee). Until recently, those books have sat in cafes
OR A SEARINGLY MODERN CHALLENGE TO VICTORIAN PATRIARCHY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE #METOO GENERATION?
by LILY SAWYER
Adapted from Wilkie Collins’ 1859 gothic mystery thriller, BBC One’s new Sunday night drama The Woman in White follows dashingly handsome and unassuming young artist Walter Hartright (EastEnder’s Ben Hardy), as he fumbles through various trials and tribulations. From the outset of the first Episode, Hartright encounters said ‘woman in white’ on London’s Hampstead Heath: seemingly escaped from a lunatic asylum, her ghostly presence haunts his conscience. He later takes up a position as a drawing master in Cumbria, and as he falls in love with one of his two female pupils, Hartright seemingly discovers a connection between her family and the strange woman’s troubled past…
Intermezzo: what is it with libraries and names? Let’s start with Maughan. Endlessly baptised by every generation of keen freshers, Maughan’s most popular nicknames include Maw-Ghan, Mou-gan and Moan (I’m guessing this experienced a boost after ‘Moana’ was released); international students will understand the name-struggle all too well. Even as I am writing, I am duelling Autocorrect who is confident I wished to write Vaughn (with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, one can’t help but suspect a surprise Vince Vaughn movie)! Don’t even get me started with Wellcome… The Wellcome Collection is ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’. If that sounds vague, that’s because it is. But how could it not be vague as it is so nouvelle and so complete? Wellcome is a Museum and Reading Room, cafe and restaurant, library and bookstore. Its one-liner
in 2018, the TV adaptation will feed into today’s conversations about feminism and sexual violence.” “The themes of The Woman in White very much resonate in our society,” says Seres of the new adaptation. “It’s a classic thriller about manipulation, with power as the ultimate prize, and we’re still seeing the same structures of male/female and power/ money relationships today.” The adaptation casts relatively new up-and-coming young actresses Olivia Vinall (also appearing in BBC’s Apple Tree Yard) and Jessie Buckley (War and Peace) as its stars, Laura Fairlie Marian Halcombe. This poignant casting choice arguably supports the very ideals of ‘the rise of the female’ in the theatrical world, and more generally in the wider world of employment in the context of the aforementioned power structures. Having said this, Seres does not allow her portrayal to veer too far from the original: The Woman in White remains true to its titular proclamations in the sense that the colour ‘White’ remains poignant throughout. Not only is White representational of female purity and
biography is nevertheless specific about one thing: Wellcome is indeed a destination, not a pit stop. Bags, food, water and coats are not allowed in the library and must be stored in a locker; all books, pens, notes and laptops are to be carried around in a transparent bag - this is your uniform and it all initially feels part high school and part prison. However, Wellcome soon reveals it is neither. The second time you scan your reader pass with your other hand holding a surprisingly resistant plastic bag, you are not a student, you are not a prisoner: you are a newborn astronaut, a scholar on a mission who’s just had a double shot of espresso. (Also, these strict rules protect you from spending 8 hours doing no work with your £3 meal deal in the library, becoming that infamous student meme). Confession: I once smuggled in a Nakd bar: it was the cashew one and I felt more guilt than pleasure. So what awaits the newborn scholar/astronaut on the other side? Two literal levels on knowledge, to be explored and claimed.
virginity (or the corruption of it) but also of a more general sense of innocence and fragility surrounding the gentile nature of the Victorian upper classes. Therefore, far from ‘insulting an old classic’ as some critics may suggest, Seres subtly updates the classic thriller with contemporary and progressive feminist overtones. In a story about the dangers of societal power dynamics, abuse, cover-ups and the vulnerability of women, Seres’ contemporary additions to the story take nothing away from Collins’ original idea, only adding to it in the context of the modern woman. Upon its first broadcast on Sunday 22nd April, the new adaptation was hailed across social media as a relatable and relevant depiction of female gender rights, particularly resonating with the #MeToo generation. The opening words of Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley) are undoubtedly resonant in this post-Weinstein era: “Of course they’re guilty!” Miss Halcombe
interrupts, forcefully. “How is it men crush women time and time again and go unpunished?”
without giving too much away, adding intrigue and momentum alongside an overwhelming sense of anxiety throughout.
The actress believes that statement will speak strongly to a contemporary audience. “I hope revisiting stories like The Woman in White will spark more conversations between men and women [about the nature of power],” she says. “And, in doing so, encourage us to take a step back and look at what needs to change now.”
Overall, Seres aptly portrays Wilkie Collins’ 1860 masterpiece as a dark and angry tale of women’s manipulation by a patriarchal society. Essentially, Sere’s adaptation successfully combines Victorian undertones of patriarchy and female subordination within a modern framework of proto-feminism to create the ultimate representation of gender power dynamics across the eras. Somehow, Seres has remained true to some of the the Victorian traditionalism established in the novel whilst refreshing the outmoded sense of patriarchy embedded in the original.
Buckley’s co-star and protagonist Ben Hardy further explains: “This idea of these two women living freely within the strict structure of Victorian society – and then a heinous patriarch coming in and spoiling everything. It felt very relevant.” Hardy’s observations cements Sears’ adaptation within the realm of modernity and female agency. However, it is not only its modern themes and supposed ‘#MeToo-ness’ that allows this adaptation to continue reverberating in the present day. In having a 21st-century flash-forward structure, the production teases and hints
‘The Wellcome Collection is ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’. If that sounds vague, that’s because it is. But how could it not be vague as it is so nouvelle and so complete?’
a Senate House Library exhibition review
BBC’S THE WOMAN IN WHITE:
I meet Picasso at the Tate Modern on Christmas Day, 1931 at the new EY Exhibtion. He has just finished painting ‘Woman with Dagger’ which depicts its subject killing her sexual rival and another, of a seated woman, whose face is rendered with a heart. And so the narrative is set. At this time, Picasso’s marriage to Olga Khokhlova, a former Russian prima ballerina, is on the brink of collapse. Rarely are we ever invited to spend a year She is suffering from a nervous disorder, with an artist simply for the sake of culno doubt perpetuated by a pathological tural curiosity. ‘It was a radical move’, acjealousy developed through her hus- knowledges Ireson. And it’s true. At most, band’s incessant infidelwe are given an overview of ity. Marie-Thrérèse, his active years, an informative significantly younger retrospective, a filtered conmistress, is instead, the versation. Ireson, states that key inspiration for his the reunification of Picaswork from this period. so’s works from this period Perhaps now it is clear shows ‘art as diplomacy’. that the first painting And indeed, the six nudes alludes to the dark and that make up early March chaotic jealousy that and the ‘three paintings in pervades his marriage three days’, subsist of a vawhile the second, gentle riety of loans from both priand romantic portrays vate collections and interhis passionate but at this national institutions such time, still secret affair as the MOMA, New York. with Marie-Thrérèse. It is So much so, that the likeliwith these parallels that hood of these paintings ever Nude, Green Leaves and the exhibition teases out coming together in our lifeBust, Pablo Picasso, 1932 © Succession Picasso/ DAC times again is distinctly unthis tension between wife London, 2018 and lover, public and private. likely. They have been placed ‘The work that one does is a together for the first time way of keeping a diary’, said Picasso. And again since 1932 and might even simulate the polarity of feelings Picasso feels this that same sensation of surprise as when Christmas Day is portrayed more keenly Picasso first unveiled Marie-Thérèse to by brush than words could ever express. the public. I realise at this point, that besides the ability to distinguish his style, I know relatively little about Picasso himself. No, never have I looked at a Picasso painting and wondered, beyond the vague outlines of his life, what he actually might have been like. And when I reach the Fame room, which in part restages Picasso’s own 1932 retrospective at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris, Nancy Ireson curator of the exhibition, validates this idea.
QUEER BETWEEN THE COVERS
CULTURE, MUSIC, ART AND LITERATURE FIT FOR KING’S
JANUARY 2018 Roar
The five mini-series started on Sunday 22 April at 9pm on BBC One, continuing weekly. Whether you wish to revel in the picturesque beauty and fine photography that we have come to expect from the BBC’s recent period dramas, or read further into the subtext of rape culture and feminism that the production introduces, The Woman in White is certainly not one to be missed.
There are round tables and long tables, shielded by library shelves filled with books on Medicine and its socio-cultural contexts. The labyrinth feeling is traded for clear routes and open spaces.There are no cubicles. My favourite essay-writing spot is facing Depression literature, with Freud analysing me from behind. As the library is open to virtually anyone with a reader pass, not just University of London students, its readers are often curious - not only as in interested, but also as in interesting: besides studious students and their laptops, there are quirky, studious ladies and gentlemen well-past their student days, hidden behind piles and piles of books on the most intriguing topics, which you will try and guess by reading their spines - for a week, I sat next to a suited man who I believe was compiling the history of smoking. At its most crowded, the library still feels like a well kept secret. When I overheard someone being told the library had ran out of reader passes, Wellcome was as full as the Maughan’s Round Reading room 10 minutes past opening time on Sunday. At its emptiest, you are not just any astronaut, you are Neil Armstrong. The library is open from 10 am to 6 pm Mondays to Saturdays, and until 8 pm on Thursdays. This
Queer fiction isn’t a genre, per say. If we are being strict about it, then literary genres must be defined by certain elements or characteristics such as literary technique, tone, style, content or length. A work of queer fiction is only a work of queer fiction because it has queer characters or themes, it is not necessarily tied to one singular genre. As it is, a work of queer fiction can be a work of romantic fiction, a work of tragedy, a work of fantasy or any other genre a writer may choose to pursue. This being noted, if you are to look on Amazon or in any large book store you will see a ‘Gay & Lesbian’ or ‘LGBTQ’ section for fiction, non-fiction and audiobooks. This being because people who identify as LGBTQ want to see themselves represented in stories and the more accessible, the better. However, this accessibility that booksellers are now providing queer people with hasn’t always been the case. Historically speaking writing about, and publishing work on, queer relationships was often just as illegal as the act itself. It is with this in mind that the Queer Between the Covers exhibition at Senate House Library attempts to navigate 250 years of queer literature, through exhibiting 50 carefully selected works from the library’s own collection. As the Exhibition Curator’s Richard Espley and Leila Kassir assert in the exhibition’s catalogue, Queer Between the Covers aims to ‘demonstrate that despite a legal insistence on sexual activity, it has been between the covers of books that struggles for acceptance, liberation and repression have been waged’. Situated in the heart of London, near Russell Square, Senate House Library is the central library for the University of London and School of Advanced Study. As an academic resource the library houses more than two million books, 50 special collections and 1,800 archival collections. It is from these vast collections that the 50 works featured in the exhibition come, for the exhibition does not aim to be a representation of the entirety of queer literature but instead highlight what one library has collected over the years. The various works featured in the exhibition range through works of satire, manuscripts, novels and pulp fiction book designs, as well as rare editions of works by famous queer authors such as Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf. These works are then displayed across six different sections which are entitled ‘Before Wilde (Pre-1850)’, ‘Uranians, 1860-1930’, ‘The Age of Wilde’, ‘Publishing Queer in the Twentieth-Century’, ‘Postwar’ and ‘Towards Liberation’. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of visiting Queer Between the Covers for Roar. Entering Convocation Hall on the 4th floor of Senate House, where the exhibition is displayed, I was met with a number of neatly organised glass display cabinets each of which held the exhibitions comprehensively organised works within their different sections. Moving around the room amongst over 300 years’ worth of queer literature it is hard not draw comparisons between the ‘then’ and ‘now’. It is difficult not to look at works by authors such as Oscar Wilde, who is perhaps one of the most pivotal figures in paving the way for queerness in the arts, and draw parallels to our freedom of expression. It is impossible not
means there is no conflict between a satisfying breakfast and the best library spot (there are no bad spots in Wellcome). Moreover, these opening times exert just the right amount of pressure, resulting neither in anxiety nor in procrastination, but in diamonds. Wellcome is a library for doing. For your lunch break, you can choose between a buzzing downstairs cafe and the quiet upstairs restaurant. Alternatively, you can discover the only Picasso mural in the UK, Mona Lisa-ing you as you savour a prosciutto sandwich from your casserole, lounging on an envy-worthy green sofa in the hall; I dare you not to feel like Nicholas Cage in ‘National Treasure’ (or Indiana Jones, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that is an unattainable level of coolness). Also, Euston station is five minutes away, which means you’re five minutes away from getting Itsu - even on the weekends (take that, Maughan). For all other breaks, you can wander around the Wellcome galleries and meet Henry Wellcome (pharmaceutical entrepreneur who started it all) through his eclectic collection/ cabinet of curiosities or go egg-hunting for exhibitions in the building, and daydream though the bookstore downstairs. Hint no.1: A surprisingly interesting exhibition on ‘Teeth’ begins on 17 May.
t o acknowledge that at one point in time or another the content of all of these works, or the physical works themselves, were illegal. With these things considered I find it quite easy to conclude what my two favourite works from the exhibition are. Both are from the ‘Towards Liberation’ section of Queer Between the Covers, the first being a Danish children’s book by Susanne Bösche called Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin (1981) and the second an interactive sex-education book by Joani Blank and Maria Quackenbush called The Playbook for Kids About Sex (1980). Information provided for the exhibition describes how Bösche hoped ‘that children with gay parents would identify with 5-year-old Jenny, who lives with her Dad and his partner’. The book is incredibly simplistic in its nature, featuring photographs of the family and simple sentences which provide a positive image of queer parents as ‘normal’ in time when it still carried a heavy prejudice. Blank and Quackenbush’s sex-education book is aimed at pre-pubescent children and has a variety of helpful information that ranges far beyond just intercourse. One section of the book deals with issues of gay, lesbian and bisexuality where cartoon pictures of same-sex male and female couples illustrate what these relationships look like. Throughout the book the children are asked to consider and fill in answer boxes for the question “what do you think?” – helpful for children for may have queer feelings they are struggling to understand and identify. Queer Between the Covers is not just an exhibition, though. In order to explore the exhibition’s themes more thoroughly Senate House Library is working with a number of partners to host a range of events throughout the season. Some of which include: --Queer Between the Covers guided walk of Bloomsbury relating to works in the exhibition – led by Queer Tours of London --7 Film screenings including - BFI Britain on Film: LGBT in Britain and LGBT films ranging from 60s classics to recently released films from the Senate House Library collection --Poetry and music events – including a live choral performance --Wikipedia Editathon --Queer Publishing Conference – lectures & talks on the world of Queer Publishing Alongside this the Library has created a fantastic online resource where you can submit information on your favourite queer book, for example how it may have shaped your own queer identity. These submissions are then added to an online bookshelf which can be accessed by the public, widening their knowledge of queer literature. Visit Senate House Library Queer Between the Covers exhibition until 16th June 2018 Photo: Sophie Perry
Hint no. 2: the Reading Room. “Flat white, flat white!”, an imaginary barista is shouting, because the Reading Room is the milk foam to the double espresso effect of entering the library. This is anyone’s dream living room, with intriguing sofas and armchairs, serene divans, and inviting desks - and plenty of things to use them for. The room is divided into 10 sections: Alchemy, Food, Travel, Body, Breath, Face, Pain, Mind, Lives and Faith, and gathers artworks, manuscripts, magazines, books, games and interactive activities on ‘what it means to be human’. Crucially, Wellcome has an amazing selection of magazines, which means you can enjoy all the publications you only buy occasionally because you’ve already spent your magazine allowance on ‘The New Yorker’, ‘The Economist’ and ‘Financial Times’. One could compare it to reading magazines in Sainsbury’s minus the shame - but I have yet to come across ‘The Paris Review’ or its ‘Women at Work’ volumes in a supermarket. Although generally pretty busy as it sometimes holds public events, even walking around the Reading Room can be the perfect brief and meaningful interlude from your studying. Looking at it from a balcony connected to the Library on Mondays when it’s closed, it feels like a secret garden. The rest of the week, it’s the most exciting living-room amusement park.
What does your data say about you?
PROPAGANDA & DEMOCRACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE
I Asked My Social Media Accounts for my Data Pretty generally, I’m quite low-key on social media.
I decided to start where it was logical. Facebook. After all, this is where the scandal originated, and it is also the account I’ve held for the longest amount of time, having first opened my page the summer before I started secondary school (I know, sue me, I wasn’t 13). I’d heard the horror stories about Facebook data in and outside of the news. How the infamous Social Network tracked phone calls, text messages, contacts. Of course, it was only right that I do some digging myself.
Recent scoops from The Observer which have been further probed and televised by Channel 4 news claim to reveal the practices, scope and impact of big data firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA). Reports of CA being employed via sister companies and even sister campaign groups in the form of Aggregate IQ and BeLeave present the possibility that the referendum on the European Union may have been campaigned for illegally. To offset plutocracy in a capitalist democracy, campaigns are given limits on spending, the big idea being that, if allowed to spend
tions that help them show me relevant ads. Again, listed in alphabetical order, I was surprised at the type of information that came up. Whilst my standard interests and likes were included: Journalism, Theatre, Black Mirror, Beyoncé, The Devil Wears Prada and RnB Music, there were also some interesting standouts: birds, the FTSE 250 Index, the Easter bunny, a park in Paris called the Bois de Boulogne, the colour brown. These were getting weirder and weirder by the second. So, I moved on. And this was where I began to become panicked -every conversation I’d ever had on Facebook, split neatly into separate folders according to who I’d spoken with. Including group chats, audio, gifs, photos. Even conversations I’d had in groups which had since been deleted. Going back as far as 2010. With the awful on-purpose spelling mistakes and XD emojis to boot. My data even had the people I had ‘poked’ back in 2010. Were we always this way?
Here’s what I found out.
When I downloaded my data, Facebook, kind as they are, split my information into 26 separate files, each with an apt title which detailed what kind of data was contained. In terms of calls and messages, Facebook gave me nothing, and the reason behind this is quite simple: I never provided the network with my mobile number as a security. Then, I moved onto ad related data. This, Facebook told me, is based on my activity on the site and other ac-
whatever amount then unchecked, rich businessmen will win elections. Incidentally, Cambridge Analytica had a hand in the Trump campaign. In their own words in Channel 4’s expose, their founder speaks of them as the ultimate propaganda outfit: they do the works. They’re likely involved in democratic processes all over the world, and have been for a few years now. The legal issues of whether the democratic referendum in the UK was invalidated in any way by Vote Leave’s campaign aren’t the issue democracy faces in the wake of this reveal from, initially, whistle-blower Christopher Wylie. The more foreboding nature of data, its misuse and our conception of it seems to be the true behemoth in the room.
and philosopher, had principals for social networks eroding thought. The first was to never accept our democracy by belying anything as true unless it was self-ev- our tastes, inclinations and ident. However, this simply isn’t how setting ourselves up to be the multitude of people work, nor is it polarised? a practical way to live a life following In an effort to better unthe advent of technology and the internet. However, is it perhaps the key derstand how my Facebook use might aid someone in to retaining a sense of truth in a democracy? When pelted by all sides in knowing my views and the lead up to a vote, apathy isn’t un- my tastes, I downloaded likely to be elicited in the electorate. the aptly titled Data SelfWhat about when individual voters ie, an extension for Google Chrome that tells you what are presented convenient your data says about falsehoods that steer you. According to them towards a the extension, narrative they I’m “a laid back, “I’m ‘a laid back, were open to in female the first place? liberal female who liberal who eats out Is the data frequently we provide eats out frequently and doesn’t by using our prefer style and doesn’t prefer e s t a bl i s h e d when buying style when buying clothes and is less satisfied in clothes and is less life than most,” satisfied in life than which off the cuff gets my genmost’” der wrong and proceeds to call me a fashion-devoid comfort-eating melancholic.
Data Mining René
The selfie goes much further however, with time spent on specific friends’ profiles being tracked, as well as pages I’ve liked – Non-Existent Existentialist Memes was the only page in my top 5 that wasn’t a media outlet – even the objects that occur most in images I’ve viewed. It even looks at the relevance and sentiment (either positive or negative, with a score) of entities that appear in content I’ve looked at.
ROAR EXAMINES THE CAMB RIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL
by REBEKAH EVANS
I only accept follow requests on Instagram from certain people, I’m liberal with blocking people on Twitter, I don’t post the entire history of my life on Facebook. Yet, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, I couldn’t help but express my curiosity. I mean, was I being social media stalked by the very people who owned these websites? And how much information could social media hold on my life, if I didn’t publicise a lot of my personal history?
by ASAD ZULFIQAR
Continued on page 9
by MOLLY MINTZ
Our online lives are datafied and putting us at risk, but few care enough to personally protect themselves Over pints in a Primrose Hill pub an astonishingly attractive boy once informed me that he did not have a Facebook account. Nor did he have Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram. I immediately remarked that I found this sexy. In our technological society, our digital devices, which we feel we cannot live without, are constantly tracking our decisions through algorithmic equations that seem either harmless or nefarious, depending on your personal perspective. This boy-inthe-bar’s form of rebellion was to opt out of data-fying his existence, thus protecting himself from both carpal tunnel and third parties using his information inappropriately. By contrast, in keeping myself plugged in, I was then (and am still) complicity leaving a trail of data about myself that makes me susceptible to targeting in the future. Although researchers and tech executives alike believe that social media and smart phones are addictive, I know that I can live—and would undoubtedly be more productive—without social media applications. And yet, I continually choose not to. As someone pursuing a career as a political, investigative, and data journalist it may seem surprising that I have struggled to delete these digitized extensions of myself. Daily, I battle over whether to keep
Data Selfie even takes on the task of deriving your personality type, with regards to the Big 5 measure. From 70 hours, Data Selfie has come up with a comprehensive – including both my personality based on what I view and based on what I type – breakdown of the person I am, how contemplative, competitive, laid-back I am. If from a mere snapshot all this and more (political orientation, health, religion, even IQ) are possible for an extension on Chrome that claims to “not care” about our data, what then has Facebook been able to amass, and how then can we be influenced?
Facebook: Keep or Delete? That Is The Question my accounts. As such, I am entrapped within the privacy paradox of social media. I feel both distraught and uncomfortable knowing that all of my data is being collected, and have even studied Big Data’s effects on culture, society and media within my course at King’s. But I have still not actively changed my practices, proving myself irresponsible and lazy in the face of contemporary data scandals. George Orwell warned us of Big Brother in 1984. Now, in 2018, we have Big Data. The two have morphed into a monster that is bigger than most can comprehend; because no real separation exists between our offline and online selves, every movement, interest, search and message is a data point that describes our real existence. After all, if someone does not exist online, do they even exist at all? The striking revelations made by The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Observer described how the London-based data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica is currently being investigated by the respective UK and US governments. Its harvesting of 87 million Facebook users’ personal data has frenzied populations of people across the Atlantic. The timeline of events that that resulted in this ‘breach of trust’, as Mark Zuckerberg called it, did not unfold overnight.
Facebook launched a platform, titled Open Graph, in April 2010 that enabled external developers the ability to access users’ and their friends’ personal data. Three years later, ‘This Is Your Digital Life’, an app created by a Cambridge neuroscientist proliferated across Facebook. US Senator John Thune, a Republican representing South Dakota, explained in Mark Zuckerberg’s April 10 hearing that the ‘quiz app, [which was] used by approximately 300,000 people[,] led to information about 87 million Facebook users being obtained by the company Cambridge Analytica’ because of the access that Open Graph provided. Analytica went on to assist Ted Cruz’s political campaign, as revealed by The Guardian. Next, Analytica took responsibility for the ‘Defeat Crooke Hillary’ video that was ubiquitous across Facebook during the 2016 election and ‘during the Brexit referendum, a digital services firm linked to Cambridge Analytica received a £625,000 payment from a pro-Brexit campaign organisation which had been given the money by Vote Leave. Later came that aforementioned expose, ‘The Cambridge Analytica Files’, in March of this year, replete with whistle-blowers and shocking statistics that prompted Britain’s data watchdog to raid the firm’s London offices. American and British lawmakers launched a class-action lawsuit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica in April 2018. Continued on page 9