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RUM RICHMOND UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE

6.5.2013 ED. 1

T N 1S ITIO ED


TABLE OF CONTENTS


STUDENT INTEREST

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What’s On . . . . . 1 Honours Night . . . . . 3 Bars and Clubs . . . . . 5

STUDENT CONTRIBUTIONS

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Exhibition Reviews. . . . . 9 Featured Art. . . . . 17 Spray Cans . . . . . 25 Short Stories & Poetry. . . . . 29 Entertainment Reviews. . . . . 35

FEATURES

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Travel: Icelandic Adventure. . . . . 38 Environment: Is Heathrow Destroying Our Air?. . . . . 55 Society: Steubenville Crisis. . . . . 57 Finance: The 2013 US Sequester. . . . . 59 Opinion: Instagram’s Envy Effect. . . . . 61

SPOTLIGHT Faculty Profile. . . . . 63 Alumni Profiles. . . . . 65

63 EXTRAS #Rumstagram. . . . . 67 Rum & Joke. . . . . 69


JUNE 12-14

London International Antiquarian Book Fair The oldest book fair in the world boasts works dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Tube Stop: Kensington Olympia Station

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15-23

13-24

Bike Week A promotion of everyday cycling for everyone. Tube Stop: Westminster Station

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Musical veterans perform in the open air court of King Henry VIII’s palace. Where: Hampton Court Palace

JULY 14

The British 10K London Run

Thousands of participants and some celebrities run through central London for this giant fundraiser. Tube Stop: Hyde Park Corner Station

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The Sound of Music

Rodger and Hammerstein’s Open Air Theatre debut concludes this year’s season. Where: Open Air Theatre

AUGUST 3-29

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

The palace opens its State Rooms to the public for two months. Where: Buckingham Palace


What’s On: Summer Edition

25-30

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Roald Dahl story takes the bold move from screen to stage. Where: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

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Opera Holland Park: L’Elisir d’Amore

Gaetano Donizetti’s work forms part of the 2013 Opera Holland Park season. Where: Holland Park Theatre

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Ride London

A two day festival that incorporates four cycling events. Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

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15 & 16

The Boss plays material from his latest chart topping album. Where: Wembley Stadium

The sexy Barbadian returns to our shores for two live performances. Where: Twickenham Stadium

Bruce Springsteen

Rihanna

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9-14

A month-long series of top notch free gigs. Where: Roundhouse

The six day festival invites Blondie, Paul Weller and Jools Holland to perform. Where: Kew Gardens

iTunes Festival

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The Great British Beer Festival

A celebration of Britain’s national drink with hundreds of ales, ciders, perries and beers. Tube Stop: Kensington Olympia Station

Kew the Music

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Notting Hill Carnival

Suburban life is taken over by vibrant Caribbean spirit and extravagantly dressed dancers. Tube Stop: Holland Park Station


in te re st St ud en t 3

Honours Night 2013 By Philip Tacason

On Friday, the 21st Annual Honours Night was held at the Richmond Hill Hotel. In attendance were eligible students, faculty, staff, academic deans, President John Annett, and Chancellor of Richmond University, Sir Cyril Taylor. Kensington students arrived by coach at 6:30 p.m. and a cash bar and mingling preceded dinner. Following the first and second courses, President Annett opened the ceremony as the guests enjoyed dessert. President Annett began by praising Honours Night as “one of the more enjoyable events at Richmond.” Appreciation was then expressed to Vice President for Student Affairs Allison ColeStutz, Student Affairs, Student Government, and the Chair of Academic Advisors for their very hard work. Special recognition was also given to Sir Cyril Taylor for his “commitment to Richmond University.” It was announced that next year, the Sir Cyril Taylor Award for Outstanding Leadership will be introduced. President Annett also noted the absence of representatives from Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy (RIASA), who were unable to attend due to conflicts with an upcoming match. Special recognition was

extended to former RIASA student, Nahki Wells. Wells recently played for Bradford City Football Club in the Capital One Cup. Following President Annett, Professor Alex Seago, Dean of Communications, Arts, and Social Sciences, awarded the Dean’s List Awards to students with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Thirty-six first year students were recognized, and Charles Ebert was awarded the First Year Student Award. Fifty-Eight students were recognized for qualifying for the Dean’s List during the Spring and Fall 2012 semesters. Best in Major awards for the School of Communications, Arts, and Social Sciences were then presented by Dr. Seago. Best in Major awards for Business and Economics were presented by Professor Parviz Dabir-Alai, Dean of School of Business and Economics. Before awarding the Robert Brennan Prize for Outstanding Achievement, Sir Cyril Taylor offered congratulations “to all who have worked and studied to earn an award.” The Robert Brennan Prize was presented to Vedica Podar. The Student Affairs Awards were then presented by Allison Cole-Stutz, Assistant Dean of Student Activities Jaclyn Hadjipieris, and Resident Life Coordinator Tracy Wills. The Student Affairs Awards

began with recognition to all Student Ambassadors, Orientation Leaders, International Night participants, and Resident Advisors and Directors. Awards for group contributions to university life were presented to: Richmond Psychology Association (Club of the Year), the Vagina Monologues (Event of the Year), the Art Exhibition Society (Most Improved Club of the Year) and the Gazelle (New Club of the Year). Individual awards were given to: Philip Tacason (Club Member of the Year), Professor Elizabeth Long (Advisor of the Year, Christian Union) and Rebecca Knows the Ground and Tyler Charwat (Resident Life Members of the Year). Further recognition was given to Patricia Schouker (Audra Longley Award), Harrison Chad- wick (Dean of Students Award), and Aman Abdel Jaber (Graduate Student Ambassador of the Year). Closing remarks were given by President Annett, who extended special thanks to Matthew Butterfield, academic deans, faculty, and staff. Students were especially recognized and invited to stand and applaud themselves on their achievements. n


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CL UB S AN D BA RS 5

This bar allows you to enjoy drinks in a friendly environment and very comfortable chairs.


guide to a good night out in London Your stay in London is all about discovering new places and meeting new people... and your studies as well, don’t forget that. But as college students we want to enjoy the best of London. So why not enjoy the juiciest steak, the authentic pasta, the best sushi and the yummiest hot dog? Add a little extra fun to your weekends by going to London’s best night clubs!

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awksmoor is the perfect place to go if you are a meat lover. With several branches spread around London, such as Shoreditch and Leicester Square, it provides a warm environment to go with friends, family or with your partner on a romantic date. Hawksmore is all about the ‘sharing and caring’. The options are written down on a chalk board to give a more easy-going feeling, and you can decide what kind of meat you want to share. For those who don’t know their meat so well, the waiters are keen to help. Hawsmore makes eating steak a whole different experience...if that’s even possible.

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ovikov is a high-end restaurant in Mayfair. With three different room options. You can have Japanese or Italian food, and if you want to complete your night with a couple of drinks, Novikov offers a bar downstairs from the restaurants. The restaurants require reservations, and during the weekends it is always crowded. The Italian cuisine there is exceptionally good, and for the sushi lovers, they have the best chefs. If you are looking for a place to go with your parents or if you just want to celebrate an important date, Novikov is the place to go. You can eat delicious food and enjoy a great bar!

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he Diner is a typical American diner with very tasty - and yes, fattening - food. Located in the heart of Soho, the Diner boosts the energy of a typical American diner, with the smell of French fries and hot dogs just filling your nostrils. Very casual and trendy, it is ideal to have a meal there and recharge your energies after some shopping. If you are not looking to leave the restaurants rolling, enjoy one of their mouth-watering deserts. If you’re going to pick the hot dog, the bacon cheeseburger or pancakes with maple syrup, embrace yourselves for a true American experience. Enjoy!

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roject Club (left) and Cirque du Soir (right) are the most sought-after clubs in London. Project has a mixture of hip-hop songs and beautiful people. Cirque du Soir is cirque themed and it will catch you off guard with the unexpected costumes and freaky dancing. While Project is amazing on a Friday night, Cirque’s spectacle is on a Monday. This gives you enough time to get over the hangover from Monday and enjoy your night on Friday!


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Visual Cultures By Kate Lochner

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As a concept, Visual Culture Studies is both a highly contested term and academic discipline. It may be argued that its very nature is rooted in ambiguity. It is a difficult task to narrow down such broad descriptions that potentially encompass all aspects of modern life. Visual culture stems from the areas of Art History and Cultural Studies, while simultaneously deviating from them. Art History grew as a discipline in the eighteenth century, but the field did not encompass an appreciation or consumption of actual history. With the rise of industrialization, globalization, and postmodernism in particular, the concept of the Cultural Turn formed within the social sciences. It brought to the fore the ideology of culture and the relevant role that cultural context plays beyond existing linguistic methodologies. Much has been written on the subject, and the subsequent development and reception of Visual Culture Studies is charged with discord. From more traditional forms of the visual arts, such as painting and photography, to film, television, popular culture, and advertising, the range in subject matter of this multidisciplinary field is virtually endless. However, visuality does remain at its core. The field of visual culture shifts away from the manner in which images are viewed towards analyzing the process of seeing. This essay will attempt to define visual culture and explore the progression of Visual Culture Studies as an academic field. Its relation to art history will be investigated as well as its proliferation in a case study on a recent music video by hip-hop superstar Kanye West. One must attempt to define visual culture as a phrase in order to work towards comprehending it as a concept. Visual culture theorist Nicholas Mirzoeff discusses this very topic in an introduction to his edited text, Visual Culture Reader, published in 1998. His opening statement reads, “Seeing is a great deal more than believing these days,” and he continues, ”visual culture… is not just a part of your everyday life, it is your everyday life.” A clear emphasis on the visual and the perceptible aspects of culture are apparent. Mirzoeff also expresses the commonality of visual culture to all people. Visual culture is an individual’s everyday life; accordingly, individuals may connect with said discipline on an unconscious

level. Visual culture is therefore available and accessible to all. The formerly prevalent high versus low culture paradigm in art historical studies is eliminated. Mirzoeff explicitly states the aims of defining and studying this discipline: Visual culture is concerned with visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology… Such criticism takes account of the importance of image making, the formal components of a given image, and the crucial completion of that work by its cultural reception. By this definition, visual culture can be understood as the individual’s consumption of images in both the past and the present. Inherent in this subject is the entire lifespan of the image. This lifespan includes the actual physical process of image production, the political and ideological context of image creation, the distinctive elements within the image itself, and the way in which the image is perceived in the public psyche. The act of consumption and spectatorship proves difficult to objectively study. Garnering the varied responses to an image would require a certain methodological analysis in reception patterns. Nevertheless, Visual Culture Studies does analyze optical processes as well as the way in which what one sees determines the understanding of culture. Mirzoeff notes that critics have previously defined visual culture much too simply. He does not accept visual culture as “‘the history of images’ handled with a semiotic notion of representation” or the “social theory of visuality.” Such explanations offer an impossibly broad characterization of the visual culture field. Rather, Mirzoeff suggests “One of the most striking features of the new visual culture is the visualization of things that are not in themselves visual.” Essentially, visual culture includes the examination of visualizing life and reality. There is a certain assumption in Visual Culture Studies that images play a specific role and are immediately accessible; however, they are not understood in the same way. Images are “rooted in specific cultural contexts and often need to be


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From top to bottom: Image 1, Image 2, and Image 3


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Image 5


translated to be understood in different parts of the world.” While not necessarily universally relatable, Visual Culture Studies translates the way in which one encounters various circumstances and knowledge, essentially life experiences, into visual representations. Visual Culture moves beyond the traditional understandings of Art History. Through the perpetuation of studying Art History, certain works of art across centuries have been privileged within the greater cultural sphere. This particular field of study focuses on examining art by using a historical methodology. Art History consists of turning to the past to study the progression of fine arts. This involves examining the “ideas, objects, and events from a historical perspective… which was aligned with the academic humanities through literature, poetry, and music of the beaux arts.” The notion of art is already defined within this discipline. Art History therefore does not encompass the actual study of optics and the physical act of seeing, as does Visual Culture. Rather, Art History locates the visual arts and establishes its relevance in accordance with past events. Visual culture takes on the role in which vision is emphasized and in turn allows multiple means of reception to become the focus of study. It examines the system of visualizing as a whole within an expanded field of visual components. Opponents to this particular field of study may argue that its range of subjects is much too broad. This may very well be true, however, there is value in such an analysis. At its core, Visual Culture Studies can thus be seen as a supplement to the Art Historical field. The music video as a medium has increasingly reflected social, political, and cultural conditions by adopting a narrative sequence. In 2010, Kanye West released a short film entitled Runaway, which he co-wrote, directed and starred in. Nine of the songs off West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are featured throughout the film, and four different versions of the film are available on Youtube. The film originally premiered in Paris, and was also shown in conjunction with the BAFTAs in 2010. Two of the film’s versions are segments from the full-length film and serve as the official music videos for his track Runaway. In its opening scene, West steps away from a long, elaborate dinner table decadently dressed in white. The table is set inside what appears to be a large warehouse, with dirty concrete floors, high ceilings, and emerald walls. With his back to the diners, West approaches a white piano and begins to tinker with it, playing the opening chords of the song. This music summons a troupe of dancers dressed in black tutus who come running into the hall. The dancers take their place in front of the piano, poised to begin their impromptu performance (see Image 1). As the music progresses, the video pans between the dancers (see Image 2) and the performer. The dancers’ choreography is timed with the beat of the song, and the effect is emphasized through use of slow motion technology. Each female body is strong, yet elegant; each move is strained, yet graceful. Intense emotions are conveyed through the dancers’ movements, facial expressions, and West’s animated performance. His face is strained, and with the climax of the audio track, he climbs atop the piano to belt out his song (Image 3). He towers over all bodies present, asserting his dominance and the power of his presence. The lyrics are difficult to separate from the visual scene as West sings, “Let’s have a toast for the douche bags!/ Let’s have a toast for the assholes!/ Let’s have a toast for the scumbags,/ Every one of them that I know./ Let’s have a toast for the jerk offs,/ That’ll never take work off./ Baby, I got a plan,/ Run away fast as you can.” The lyrics strike at the individual who is aware of Kanye West’s enormous ego and public persona. An infamous incident occurred merely a year prior to the shooting of the video.

West interrupted country pop star Taylor Swift as she made her acceptance speech at an award show, and this anthem has come to be known as a response to the incident. In a rare shot of the audience within the film, the diners listen to West and raise their glasses in a toast, but to whom or what is uncertain (Image 4). What is certain, however, is that the dinner guests are a privileged group. They are elegantly dressed, dining on exceptional food, and are privy to an audience with the talented West. His love interest in the film, a half-woman, half-phoenix, is the only character engrossed with the performance. West does not directly engage with the camera or the outside viewer a single time throughout the eight-minute video. At the end of the scene, the dancers file out in the same manner they entered the warehouse. The camera zooms in on him and as he sings his last words, he gazes downward with his hand over his heart (Image 5). The viewer is aware of West’s acceptance of his public perception at this moment. Although still physically elevated, he appears vulnerable through the lyrical exploration of his past relationships and criticism aimed at him. By combining two forms of performing arts, song and dance, the video investigates the extent to which the emotive can be teased out. Moreover, West’s power and pain are exploited. Analysis of Kanye West’s Runaway video speaks to the greater culture surrounding the celebrity icon. Visual Culture Studies examines the way in which images such as this are seen. The field was born out of a gap in the area of art history. The discipline analyzes the actual images present within society, from its production to its reception, which in turn reveals information about culture in general. As its subjects are varied and multitudinous, Visual Culture Studies has been the focus of criticism in academics. While it does take much into consideration, an exuberant amount of contemporary culture is, in fact, visually based. Music videos are accessible to the masses via websites such as Youtube, Vevo, and Vimeo. Music reaches and inspires an incredibly diverse group of people, and as fan bases grow, the prestige of the individual rises. The lyrics of the song explore the dynamics of romantic relationships and the glorified celebrity status. The song itself also reveals insight into recent events in West’s private life. The video addresses the role performers take on, and the way in which they must play a part for their audience. West does not directly engage with the camera at any point in the eight-minute video, and the dancers are caught up in their own movements. The final scene of the video shows West frozen in place, whereby he is entirely immersed in his performance and his own thoughts. Runaway confronts the standards to which the celebrity is held as well as the performative nature of the arts in video form. n

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Light from the Middle East: New Photography: How an Impossible Range of Content Becomes an Alluring Exhibition By Lillian A. Barnett

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The posters for the Light from the Middle East: New Photography exhibit at the V&A saturate the London Underground with rich tones of sepia and orange. A vastly clothed woman stares blankly to one side, adjusting the stylish sunglasses that juxtapose her traditional Middle Eastern garb. The orange text welcomes visitors to the V&A to enjoy the exhibition, and the poster as a whole is both tasteful and intriguing. Besides the wonderfully mysterious photograph that is featured on the V&A’s advertisement for this exhibition, two textual elements also serve to grab any passerby’s attention. Using the worlds “Middle East” and “New Photography” in the very title of the exhibition is an intelligent ploy to highlight the fact that the V&A is showcasing contemporary photography from one of the most interesting and controversial parts of the world at this time.

photography. Some use the camera to record or bear witness, while others subvert that process to reveal how surprisingly unreliable a photograph can be. The variety of work on display is appropriate to the complexities of a vast and diverse region. Thus the wall text begins to reveal how the V&A is going to tackle the difficult reality of a vast Middle Eastern region as documented by vastly different photographers. Their solution is to accept the diversity, while focusing on the photographer’s techniques and letting the settings and subjects fall into place. Also offered by the introductory wall text is the exhibition’s division into three sections: Recording, Reframing, and Resisting. Further relief is credited to these three divisions, as a tri-sectioned exhibition allows for three more organizational themes, and thus three sub-modes of interpretation.

A glance at the informative video provided on the V & A website only intensifies the curiosity incited by the exhibition poster. The video covers an extremely wide range of cities, subjects, and ideas, inadvertently revealing the massive genre that is contemporary Middle Eastern photography. A few photographers are interviewed for the video, all with distinctly different accents that vary between traditional Middle Eastern, British, and American. I therefore enter the exhibition at the V&A wondering how the institution will provide a cohesive display while covering different backgrounds, cities, events, themes, subjects, and ideas.

Upon entering the room labeled “Recording,” I am struck by the lighting within the exhibit space. Alternating white and grey walls blend into a grey floor, and low lighting makes for a cavernous space until one reaches the photographs that are brightly spotlighted from above (Figure 2). I am immediately immersed in an alternate reality, a space resembling a moment after a flash photograph, where one’s peripheral vision darkens. The shadowy gallery space allows the viewer to get lost in the crowd while the photographs shine in the spotlight. The mood for the exhibition is appropriately set, and the photographs are ready for consumption at last.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography is positioned to the left of the main atrium as one enters the V&A, in the Porter Gallery, a space dedicated to revolving exhibitions. The entrance is a labyrinth-like, ushering visitors through black steel edifices, on which black abstract shapes contrast with vertical black bars (Figure 1). Before entering the gallery space, introductory wall-text already begins to answer my quandary of a cohesive exhibition: Light from the Middle East presents work by 30 artists from a region spanning North Africa to Central Asia. It explores the ways in which these artists investigate the language and techniques of

The purpose of “Recording” is to display images that “use a range of approaches to exploit and explore the camera’s capacity to record.” Different sized photographs with differently colored frames are interspersed throughout this section in a manner that keeps one’s eye flicking from photographs with color to those of black and white. The wall text explains that though these images are mere recordings, meanings can shift with altering perspectives, angles, “context, cropping, or captioning.” Indeed, photographs in this section range from mere documentation, to arranged scenes, to meticulously organized still-life’s.


Clockwise from top to bottom: Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3

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Clockwise from top to bottom: Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8, and Figure 9


The photographer, Abbas, for example, documents the Iranian revolution (Figure 3). In Abbas’ case the photographs are a witness, perhaps affecting the behavior of the subjects psychologically in some way, but not physically interfering with their actions. Alternatively, in Mitra Tabrizian’s photo “Tehran 2006,” (Figure 4), the photographer strategically arranges her subjects within a strategically chosen but unaltered setting. The subjects pose as themselves, and the photograph falls in between documentation and manipulation. Crossing into the realm where the photographer has complete control, Tal Schochat’s series of photographs seem to transform natural objects into surreal manipulated entities (Figure 5). After choosing an exceptional tree, Shochat shines the fruit, leaves and branches, and inserts a black backdrop and artificial lighting before capturing the image. The result is quite the opposite of Abbas, whose photographs are a moment in real time. Shochat’s photographs are more manipulated than Tabrizian’s staged shots, as Schochat transforms the natural tree into a gleaming product resembling plastic. These three photographers exemplify the issues raised in the “Recording” section of Light from the Middle East. Though all three photographers are indeed recording, differing levels of participation and manipulation by the artist produce very different types of photographs. Although other photographers were displayed in this section that deal with the same issue, I believe the three examples listed above indicate two extremes and a middle ground when it comes to photographer interference. “Recording” ends with a video by Jananne Al-Ani that spans still aerial views of the Middle Eastern desert. The eerie procession of desert shadows shows “Recording” photography at its most distant, and is nice end to the multi-dimensional first section. Leaving the black room where the video is displayed, one steps into the next section more cheerily, as the lighting seems ethereal in comparison. This section of the exhibit is titled “Reframing,” and showcases photographers who “appropriate or imitate images from the past in order to make statements about the present… they update and interrogate, knowingly combining past and present, East and West, fact and fiction.” It is in this section that we find the mysterious lady in sunglasses that graces the exhibit’s promotional posters. She sits in a series of photographs titled ‘Qajar’ by photographer Shadi Ghadirian. The photographs are comparatively small, but alluring because of the sepia tones and captivating stares of the subjects (Figure 6). Ghadirian appropriates a portrait style from Iran’s Qajar period, but her subjects pose with contemporary western objects, addressing the conflict between modernity and tradition that especially arises in Middle Eastern female culture. Ghadirian, along with the other photographers featured in this section, do indeed seem to “reframe” with their photography, whether they compare old and new, or East and West. The last section, titled “Resisting,” wraps up the exhibition with a cohesive theme. To put it simply, “The artists in this section question the idea that a photograph can tell the truth… These works resist photography’s claim to accuracy and authority.” All of the photographs in this section in some way defy the photograph as an omniscient truth. Whether the photograph itself is blurry (Figure 7), or the artist has physically altered it, the message in all is the inability to convey reality. For example, Almirali Ghasemi’s photographs from the series “Party,” depict outlawed get-togethers in Iran (Figure 8). Because the laws in Iran would deem these partygoers as under-clothed, Ghasemi whites out his subject’s features for their protection,

transforming his photographs into an alternate reality. A second example is Taraneh Hemami’s photograph “Most Wanted,” where the artist digitally altered photographs of mugshots uploaded to government websites after 9/11, and then scratched the surface of the print. What remains are the stereotypes of Muslims that became so feared after that fateful day in 2001. Each photograph in this section refutes the idea of photography as an absolute truth. Overall, the exhibition does well to solve the problem of a wide range of perspectives, methods, ideas, cities, and subjects, by dividing the exhibition into three thematic categories. Within these themes, the photographers and photographs are able to stand on their own accord, having been sifted into a section that makes the exhibition as a whole easier to comprehend. Between the interesting wall-text, the subdued wall colors and lighting that juxtapose photographs in the spotlight, and the labyrinth layout of the exhibition, the exhibition as a whole is hugely successful. Most importantly, the three sections, “Recording,” “Reframing,” and “Resisting,” allow platforms for the photographers and their work to shine, rather than enveloping their original ideas into an unrealistic motif. Within these categories, different methods, subjects, cities, and ideas are able to take form, and exist in a single section that explodes with difference in an exciting and comprehensible way. In the exhibition video on the V&A website, photographer Manal Al-Dowayan expresses a wish for her photographs to incite in the viewers a “thought-provoking dialogue.” I think the V&A’s display of her, and all of the other artist’s photographs, does just that. n

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The Invisible Layers By Rowenna Chaskey

“This is a series of analogue photographs which explore the photographic process through the layering of images and which seek to meditate on the conceptual idea of making the invisible visible.�


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Hawiya 2013 By Nour El-Ariss

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awiya 2013 is a self-portraiture photography series dealing with the complexity of identity. Hawiya, meaning identity in Arabic looks into nationality, ethnicity, and religion as some of many factors making up an individual. As an Islamic woman born in Beirut, grown up in Stockholm and studied and worked in Kuwait City and London, the artist expresses her multi-layered identity while being inspired by the personalities and experiences of others (with similar backgrounds) that she has encountered. Creating different characters present throughout the images, this series examines the concept of the visible and the invisible as well as self-representation as a dependent variable of context.


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Spray Cans

Street legal tagging and art compared to underground tagging Photography and Article by Chris Yee Graffiti can be seen as beautiful to some, and ugly to others. It can be portrayed as art, territorial markings, or anything in between. Some tag for the thrills and to say they hit a spot before anyone else, and others do it as a form of expression. The main thing that links them all is the spray pain they use to paint walls and

other surfaces. Graffiti has exploded in areas of London, mostly in place such as Brick Lane, and other areas around more eastern London and also south of the Thames. Areas in London show off commissioned graffiti and also have set up graffiti legal zones, from old tunnels that were in disuse to skateparks. This is one of

London’s solutions to keeping it off of shop walls and other areas where it isn’t seen as desirable. For this project I shot and looked into street art and graffiti tagging more in depth than I have before. Admittedly looking at graffiti before was simply taking notice of the fact


that there was some paint on the walls. I went around different areas of London, and even followed a graffiti tagger a couple of nights to see how he worked and capture it in photos. To get the other world of more street art, and legal graffiti other areas explored were places such as Brick Lane, and South Bank skatepark. These in their own right were all incredibly interesting and beautiful and amazing oftentimes, but in their own way did not have the same feeling to me as ones that clearly were done illegally. While off shooting with the graffiti tagger, whose name did not want to be mentioned, there was a certain tenseness in the air, excitement and life that wasn’t exactly there with the legal areas. In a tunnel near Waterloo station that has been set up for legal graffiti, the people tagging there had no immediate urgency. There was no rawness to the imagery and tagging being done there. Everything was carefully constructed in the tunnel. It was more refined art, that’s to be sure, but perhaps that is the difference. Art versus the placement of a name, or tag, on a wall. That’s what it all comes down to though, is there are differences between the two. And these differences are apparent as well in the mindset of those who use their spray cans. Taggers generally don’t get along with street artists, as they are doing it for different reasons. Street artists want to show the beauty of their art and express themselves while using a spray can. This has been accepted into society much more gracefully than tagging has. Tagging is often seen as ugly and destructive. While going around and photographing and viewing street art and tags, it was apparent that many taggers would go over some street art, writing their tag over it, or obscenities as well. Part of this mindset may have to do with a certain bitterness that street art isn’t seen as distasteful but tagging is. Regardless of the differences, I can appreciate both, where do you stand? n

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ST OR Y


Betrayal By Sadaan Sayeed Illustration by Elizabeth MacNeal

On John Merlin’s 38th birthday he betrayed the two people who cared for him most. It was a sunny California day, everything was just the way John used to dream about when he first came to America at the age of 22. Back then he was a dreamer and he knew it, he had dreamed about everything that was now actually his and around him. Back then a part of him knew he would never actually have it; that part of him was wrong. When John and Ruth first bought the house, with its large manicured lawns, swimming pool, built in gym which the previous owner left behind completely equipped, and twelve and a half thousand square feet of interior area, John used to wake up every morning a little astonished – he sometimes felt as if he was dreaming and was going to be woken up with a kick and a ”get the fuck away from here” by the manager of the donut shop outside which he used to sleep. Back then he knew that if seen from the eyes of those around him his life seemed like hell, but he had seen things they hadn’t. In fact back then he was still suffering from nightmares about his ordeal in the concentration camp. The donut shop managers kick was a welcome awakening for those nightmares. This really wasn’t that bad. He often thought about the old doctor who helped him escape. Dr. Verringer looked old to John, though when he once asked him his age he said he was only thirty-eight.

Thats what five years in a concentration camp did to a person. Dr. Verringer was the closest thing to a father John had ever known, even though he had only known him for four months, thanks to the doctor himself who helped John escape. When John heard some activity in the kitchen just after nine, he went in and was greeted by his daughter, Cindy, holding a big red velvet cake with the number “38” written on it with two computer keyboard keys made with frosting. While having a breakfast consisting of nothing but cake the three of them decided, at Cindy’s request, that they would celebrate John’s birthday by taking a trip to the beach. When they got to the beach the three of them found a quiet spot and sat down on a mat Ruth pulled out of the picnic basket they had brought with them. As usual Cindy led the conversation; her birthday was less than a month away and she was telling her parents she wants to spend it in Paris. “You haven’t touched your burger” said Ruth. “I’m not hungry, I think I had too much cake”. 
“John, you barely finished a slice” Replied Ruth. “Yeah, you know what. I’m going to go take a little walk to get my appetite going”.
 Ruth looked confused. “sure” “John!”, both mother and daughter shouted facing the sea five minutes later, “Where are you going?”. John Merlin kept walking, and never saw his family again.

When John heard some activity in the kitchen just after nine, he went in and was greeted by his daughter, Cindy, holding a big red velvet cake with the number “38” written on it with two computer keyboard keys made with frosting. While having a breakfast consisting of nothing but cake the three of them decided, at Cindy’s request, that they would celebrate John’s birthday by taking a trip to the beach. When they got to the beach the three of them found a quiet spot and sat down on a mat Ruth pulled out of the picnic basket they had brought with them. As usual Cindy led the conversation; her birthday was less than a month away and she was telling her parents she wants to spend it in Paris. “You haven’t touched your burger” said Ruth. “I’m not hungry, I think I had too much cake”. 
“John, you barely finished a slice” Replied Ruth. “Yeah, you know what. I’m going to go take a little walk to get my appetite going”.
 Ruth looked confused. “sure” “John!”, both mother and daughter shouted facing the sea five minutes later, “Where are you going?”. John Merlin kept walking, and never saw his family again. n

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TR Y PO E 31

Love is Hate, Hate is Love A Poem by Bahja Norwood Hi my name is-Oh wait, You say you don’t care?

I don’t care who, I will never care, I will never--

Well I do...

Then I cry for you,

For you do not shed a tear for the one you loved.

Well I don’t!

I cry.

Shut up!

But I do! I will always care!

No! Do not cry for me! I do not cry, Because I do not care!

No. Not until you cry; Cry for the one you lost.

Well I don’t! Don’t you get it? No. Well understand it! No. Why? Because I have to care, If I don’t, Then who?

I do. I care, So I cry. Why? Why cry for me? When I do not care for tears, They mean weakness! Well I am many things, But weak is not one of them. I am strong. Tears are weak!

Y ou are weak! What!?

No! Crying is pain, Crying is weak! You say it is weak, And you say it is pain, Yet you complain... Like a weakling. I am not weak! I fuel those in need-With anger and frustration. It is not positive.

And you? You have caused pain and misery. You have broken hearts, Destroyed families even! Caused death, Suicides! As have you. So we agree? I...I think so. We are one? We are everything? We are a relationship? Yes. We are a relationship? Yes. You see...I love Hate. Yes yes and I, hate Love.


The Monkey A Poem by Bahja Norwood

I stand in the middle of this game. On one end, An individual who prefers the quiet moon while perched on a lone hill with the shadows as their partner. Opposite, You will find and individual who prefers the loud sun and the comfort of other people around. The ball is constantly thrown between the two of them with me chasing towards one end or the other, And I can never catch that ball. Even though I think of the strategic move to stay by one of the players, The ball is not thrown until I’m standing soundly in the center. I’m caught in the center of the two beings and I, Cannot seem to win. When I linger near one, Soon enough the middle will call for my presence for the game to continue. And then I’m found at the other end. I can’t seem to catch that ball, And it’s frustrating. All the other monkeys have seem to have caught the ball at either one end or the other, Yet I cannot. It’s rather a tease. And lonely. I’ve yet to find another monkey, Caught in the middle like me

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The Artist A Poem by Bahja Norwood

I can do anything I want to do to you, No one will stop me. They can’t begin to fathom what is in store for you, And neither can you yourself. You’re a blank slate, A piece of stone ready to be chiseled, And I hold the hammer. You cannot speak unless I give you words, I make you in the image I desire, I am the mad scientist, And you are my creation. My assistant lay by my side at all times. There’s nothing anyone can do, And you have no choice but to obey me, It’s what little power I have left in this world, And no one can take it away. I took this piece of paper and I made you, I designed you with such care and detail, That others will gaze at your beauty. No you are ugly, But still beautiful to many. You do not have to look the norm, I made you the norm in the world you and only you will know of. And even though I will hate you for what I have made you, Others will treasure you forever, And that is why I will never show you love, For my hands did not do as they were told. You do not look the way I wanted you to, You are ugly to me! But I made you, You are a part of me now, And you always will be. No matter what others say about you, You are still the worst creation I have ever made.

All interprative literature illustrations by Elizabeth MacNeal

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RE VI E

W S

album, I would say it’s a call to action. Whether you’re sixteen or twenty-six, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a verse that resonates with you. Cardboard Castles isn’t a plea, it’s an ultimatum. To face your life. To get over yourself. To get over other people. And most of all to enjoy the now. And now I want you to go and enjoy this album because it’s superCalifornialisticsexy (and you knows it). n

French

Cardboard Castles George Watsky

Released 12 March 2013 georgewatsky.com Review by Marion Walker RUM wanted to showcase the wide variety of international students that attend Richmond by having articles written in both English and

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the lanaguage they speak back home. This is only a small sample of the many lanaguages Richmond students speak throughout the halls on a day-to-day basis.

English Which came first--the fan girl or the album release? Watsky’s Cardboard Castles dropped with a bang on March 12th. Quite literally--the opening track entitled “Fireworks” begins with audio of a firecracker being set off. A week prior to release, Watsky put the entire album online for free streaming. It was during that time that I listened to (and kept listening to) Cardboard Castles, and like many others, scrambled to purchase a digital copy the day it came out. The standout tracks for me on the album are “Moral of the Story”, “Hey, Asshole”, and “Sloppy Seconds.” These are the ones I’ll pick out of my iTunes library, sing obnoxiously at my housemates, and hum to myself on the tube. Lyrics range from witty to emotional, and the beats entice you to dance. Darkness embedded in a verse is followed up by punching dragons. But what elevates it beyond just a propeller of a couple of hits is that Cardboard Castles, like many rap albums, has a narrative built in. It is an album that only improves by listening from start to finish. You don’t just get the story of Watsky--you get the story of yourself growing up in the mediated world in which we find ourselves. If I had to summarize the essence of this

Qui est apparu en premier, la fangirl ou l’album ? Cardboard Castles de Watsky a fait un bang à sa sortie le 12 mars. Assez littéralement d’ailleurs-- la première chanson, « Fireworks », commence avec le son d’un feu d’artifice. Une semaine avant la sortie, Watsky a rendu disponible l’album entier gratuitement en streaming. C’était pendant cette semaine que j’ai pour la première fois écouté (et continué à écouter) Cardboard Castles, et comme beaucoup d’autres, je me suis dépêchée d’acheter une copie digitale dès qu’elle a été disponible. Mes chansons préférées sont « Moral of the Story », « Hey, Asshole», et « Sloppy Seconds ». Elles sont celles que je choisis le plus souvent dans ma bibliothèque iTunes, que je chante continuellement à mes colocataires, et que je me fredonne dans le métro. Les paroles sont tour à tour drôles puis émotives, et le tempo te poussent à danser. L’intensité d’un vers est suivi par un coup de poing aux dragons dans le suivant. Mais ce qui entraine l’album plus loin qu’un ou deux hits, c’est que comme beaucoup d’albums de rap, Cardboard Castles raconte une histoire C’est un album qui s’améliore quand on l’écoute du début jusqu’à la fin. Ce n’est pas simplement l’histoire de Watsky-- c’est ta propre histoire, celle de quelqu’un qui a grandi dans notre monde médiatisé. Si je dois résumer l’esprit de cet album, je dirais que c’est un appel à l’action. Que tu aies seize ans ou vingt-six ans, ce n’est pas difficile d’y trouver un écho de ta vie. Cardboard Castles n’est pas une supplication, c’est un ultimatum. Il te dit d’affronter ta vie. De reprendre le dessus. D’oublier les autres. Et surtout de se réjouir d’être ici et maintenant. Et maintenant je veux que tu ailles profiter de cet album parce qu’il est superCalifornialisticsexy (and you knows it). n

ALBUM


Across the Universe Beth Revis

Published 11 January 2011 Razorbill Publishing Review by Sanne Vliegenthart

English

Dutch

Now is the perfect moment to start reading the Across the Universe by Beth Revis, since the last book in the science fiction and dystopian young adult trilogy will be released at the start of May in the United Kingdom.

Sinds het laatste boek van de science fictie en dystopische jong volwassenen serie Across the Universe van Beth Revis in mei uitkomt in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, is het nu het perfecte moment om bij het eerste deel te beginnen.

The book features a teenage girl called Amy, whose parents are being cryogenically frozen in preparation for a space mission that will take them to a new planet, Centauri Earth. Not wanting to say goodbye to her parents, Amy joins the mission and is also frozen on the ship Godspeed. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and Amy is woken up, but not because the ship has safely arrived on the new planet. Someone has tried to kill her and now she is stuck on the ship, without any hope of seeing her parents ever again. Together with Elder, the future leader of the ship, she delves into the history of Godspeed to find out who is behind all these strange events.

Het boek gaat over een tiener, genaamd Amy, wiens ouders cryogeen bevroren worden ter voorbereiding van een ruimtemissie naar een nieuwe planeet, Centauri Earth. Omdat ze geen afscheid wil nemen van haar ouders, besluit Amy zich aan te sluiten bij de missie en word ze ook bevroren aan boord van het ruimteschip Godspeed. Amy ontwaakt een paar honderd jaar later, maar niet omdat ze veilig aangekomen is op de nieuwe planeet. Iemand heeft geprobeerd om haar te vermoorden en nu zit ze opgesloten op het schip, zonder enige hoop haar ouders ooit nog te zien. Samen met Elder, de toekomstige leider van het schip, verdiept ze zich in de geschiedenis van Godspeed om uit te zoeken wie er achter deze verdachte gebeurtenissen zit.

If you’re looking for a fast paced book, Across the Universe is the right pick for you. Because of the short chapters, switching between Amy and Elder’s point of view, you can finish this book in a heartbeat. The story is one big whirlwind of exciting discoveries and leaves you wanting more. As with any dystopian novel, we are forced to look at our world through the eyes of a different society. Imagine having to explain our world to someone who doesn’t know anything about it; it always ends up sounding pretty bad. While the protagonists aren’t the most well developed characters, the cinematic descriptions of the setting and the great side characters make the book well worth reading. Across the Universe has a great combination of adventure, space, social commentary and a dash of romance (but fortunately no complicated love triangles). If you have a couple of spare hours, definitely pick this one up! n

BOOK

Als je op zoek bent naar een boek dat vlot leest, dan is Across the Universe een goede keuze. Door korte hoofdstukken, die wisselen tussen Amy en Elders perspectief, kan je dit boek in een adem uitlezen. Het verhaal is een wervelvind van opwindende ontdekkingen en zorgt dat je zal snakken naar meer. Net zoals in de meeste dystopische boeken worden we gedwongen om naar onze wereld te kijken door de ogen van een andere samenleving. Stel je voor dat je onze wereld zou moeten uitleggen aan iemand die er helemaal niks van weet. Hoe je het ook bekijkt, het resultaat is meestal niet zo positief. Hoewel de hoofdpersonen niet erg ontwikkeld zijn, zorgen de spectaculaire omgeving en de fantastische andere personages ervoor dat dit boek absoluut het lezen waard is. Across the Universe heeft een goede combinatie van avontuur, het heelal, maatschappelijk commentaar en een snufje romantiek (gelukkig geen ingewikkelde driehoeksverhoudingen). Als je een paar uur overhebt, is dit boek zeker een goede suggestie! n

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Veronica Mars,

Starring Kristen Bell First broadcasted 22 Septemer 2004 CW Television Network Review by Kayley Hyde Translated by Rosianna Halse

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English

Spanish

Clever, hilarious writing? Check. Strong, intelligent female lead? Check. Topical, forward-thinking storylines? Check. Veronica Mars really does have it all. Part teen drama, part neo-noir, Veronica Mars stars Kristen Bell as the title role who teams up with her father as the fictional Neptune, California’s local private investigators. The story of the show begins a year after the murder of Veronica’s best friend, Lilly Kane, and shows Veronica attempting to put her life back together and solve the murder herself while balancing her rocky family life, trouble at school and the detective cases she works on with her father. An all-star cast brings to life some incredible, contemporary characters. From Veronica’s loving, detective father played by Ernico Colantoni, to her troubled onand-off again boyfriend played by Jason Dohring, the entire cast is spot-on and finds its way into your heart.

¿Escritura agudeza y hilarante? Sí. ¿Protagonista fuerte e inteligente? Sí. ¿Tramas de actualidad e iluminadas? Sí. Veronica Mars realmente si tiene todo. Es la mitad una telenovela de adolescentes y la mitad cine neo-noir, Kristen Bell tiene el papel estelar en Veronica Mars que trabaja con su papá como detective privado en el pueblo ficcional, Neptune, California. La serie empieza un año después del asesinato de la mejor amiga de Veronica, Lilly Kane, y se nota que Veronica esta tratando de arreglar su vida y resolver el asesinato al mismo tiempo que enfrentarse a dificultades entre su familia, problemas en colegio y las investigaciones en que trabaja con su papá. Un reparto buenísimo funda unos personajes increíbles y contemporáneos. Entre el papa, actuado por Enrico Colantoni y su novio actuado por Jason Dohring, el reparto incluye actores muy buenos.

While the show originally aired in 2004 to then be cancelled prematurely in it’s third season in 2007, there has almost never been a better time to fall in love with Miss Mars. On March 13, 2013 a crowd-sourcing Kickstarter campaign was launched online to fund the muchanticipated Veronica Mars Movie. Within hours of the launch, the $2 million goal was met, breaking Kickstarter records across the board, and it reached $5.7 million by the time the campaign ended. Needless to say, Veronica Mars fans like myself could not be more thrilled and will be eagerly awaiting the 2014 release. If you love witty writing, original characters and important issues that are not often shown on television, such as rape, sexuality and bullying, definitely give Veronica Mars a watch. n

Aunque originalmente estrenaron Veronica Mars en 2004 hasta que lo cancelaron durante su tercera temporada en 2007, casi nunca jamas ha habio ua mejor hora para enamorarse de Señorita Mars. El 13 de marzo, 2013, lanzaron un campaña de crowdsourcing Kickstarter para financiar una película de Veronica Mars. Horas después de la lanza de la campaña, ganaron la meta de US$2 millón, que bató récords de Kickstarter. Acabó ganando $5.7 millón. Fanáticos de Veronica Mars como yo mismo no podrían ser más emocionados para 2014, cuando van a estrenar la película. Si te gustan escritura ingenioso, personajes originales y problemas que no suelen hablar en la tele como la violación, la sexualidad y el abuso, definitivamente debes ver Veronica Mars. n

TELEVISION


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university Trip: IcelandIC Adventure Photography and Article by Matthew Butterfield As I boarded the coach for Reykjavik airport the sun had not yet risen, only augmenting the unexpected separation anxiety I already felt as I departed a country I had known for less than a week. It’s not unusual

to be sad at the end of any glorious holiday, but this trip had developed into something more than a simple weekend getaway for me. Despite the pre-dawn start, my mind was wide-awake and actively running

through the events of the past four days. Iceland, through its stunning scenery and immeasurable hospitality, had provided the backdrop for what I can only describe as, CONTINUED >> “The trip of a lifetime.”


Spring sun melts the ice near the Prime Minister’s summer retreat...


B

eing a landscape and travel photographer, Iceland had long been a “dream destination.” A country completely foreign to me in its language, customs and culture, it had of course been high on my list of places to visit; purely for the beautifully broad and sweeping vistas so often seen published in travel magazines. To say that some of the landscapes that lay in store for me on this trip were expected would be a fair admission, but the degree to which many others quite literally took my breath away was not. More than ‘just’ the natural beauty of this small volcanic island, the way in which I was introduced to it truly formed my now inseparable bond with Iceland.

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I was offered the position of Trip Leader for the Iceland trip by somewhat unfortunate serendipity. The Student Affairs Co-Ordinator in charge of planning and leading this trip had unfortunately needed take an extended absence from work, leaving the trip temporarily un-chaperoned. Allison Cole-Stutz, Vice-President and Dean of Student Affairs had written to me, and my colleague Chris Newson in Alumni Relations, asking if we would be willing and able to lead the trip given our past experience in doing so for other Richmond University-led travels in Europe. Needless to say, accepting this opportunity was anything but a difficult decision and we both leapt at the opportunity to take eleven ‘Richmonders’, a mix of Degree and Study-Abroad students, away for the long Easter weekend. For me, missing a few lazy days of rest, an Easter roast lunch and rather too many chocolate eggs than should be consumed in any fourday period seemed an acceptable sacrifice to make for this chance to explore a new country, especially one on my ‘bucket-list’. The trip began somewhat less than smoothly, with a combination of transport delays to the airport (courtesy of both Transport for London and forgetful taxi companies) and a sleep-deprived student who decided to leave her passport on her nightstand, necessitating a hasty return home to pick it up before the flight. Still - these things are all to be expected on a group trip and as such we all took it in our stride and arrived in relatively time-

ly fashion at London’s Gatwick Airport. There was even plenty of time to spare for well-deserved caffeination and even a leisurely browse of the duty-free shops. Having stocked up on supplies for the journey, Iceland being on the pricier end of the scale for Europe, we all boarded our WOW Air flight, destination Reykjavik. Luckily the mobile phone left in the departure hall by a group member also joined us on board thanks to the goodwill of an Icelandic fellow passenger, who chased us down the gangway with it. In retrospect, his gesture – more than just unarguably kind – also unknowingly marked the start of a sequence of similar generosity which was to last uninterrupted for the next several days.

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espite being somewhat sceptical of an airline named after an exclamation, we were all extremely pleased with both the flight and service of the crew, which began with the most hilarious rendition of any onboard safety speech I’ve ever heard. (“If the oxygen masks should suddenly drop from the overhead compartments, stop waving your arms around and screaming and secure it firmly over your nose and mouth, trying not to forget to assist your children in doing so first,” etc. etc.!). After a relatively short flight of about four hours, or a rather long nap depending on how you view it, WOW Air had whisked us over the North Atlantic and touched us down safely in Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport, a structure recently refurbished and rather accurately described to me by a friend as comparable to the style and organisation of an Ikea showroom display. A 60 minute drive from the city-centre, we found coaches from Keflavik to be the favourable mode of transport for a big group and so we hopped on the bus run by Reykjavik Excursions, the fee included in the total trip cost for students. Time passed unusually quickly due the unfamiliar surroundings and new sights to gawp at, and we were soon dropped off right at the front door of the Leifur Eiriksson Hotel, our home-away-from-home for the weekend. Greeted warmly by the twenty-something daughter of this family-run hotel, we soon settled in and started plan-


ning our first afternoon in the city. I must admit to using the word city loosely in this instance as I should point out that the population of Reykjavik is only about 280,000 people making it feel rather more like a large village – a bustling metropolis it is not. Remarkably, the entire country only boasts about 300,000 inhabitants, those not living in the capital spread sparsely around the remaining 103,000 km of terrain. The ‘high-rise’ buildings in town are limited to a few recently-erected apartment buildings near the waterfront, the other homes being mostly small, colourful two-storey, corrugated metal-clad houses resembling more of a quaint Lego-like town than anything else. The main streets in town were well appointed with shops, café’s, restaurants and bars though these seemed very much more geared at attracting tourists than enticing locals; though I cannot be sure as it was even more quiet than usual given the Holy Friday holiday. Most shops boasted upmarket brands found in other European cities, but were more considerately presented, lending an independent boutique-style feel to each establishment. Interspersed among the less interesting clothing and jewellery shops were fine examples of beautiful Scandinavian design shops (furniture, fashion and more) but also local Icelandic wares such as wool clothing, wool clothing and well – more wool clothing. It’s worth mentioning that many of the perpendicular streets are home to a number of nice bookshop/café’s and other craft-filled outlets as well.

N

ot really knowing the city beyond the typical guide-book essentials we decided to simply wander around for a while, grab a bite to eat and head for the most cultural destination we could reach within easy walking distance – The Phallological Museum. Yes… Iceland has a museum wholly dedicated to animal penises and it was only five minutes away – clearly not something to be missed on the first day in a new city. Discovered in his research before the trip, one of the students had stumbled across this unique collection listed somewhere online and insisted it be investigated. Not wanting to seem prudish (and considering virtually all the others were equally

intrigued), Chris and I wandered down the hill to the museum with the group via the corner shop-cum-deli en route. Here we discovered the most delicious ham and cheese toasties known to man, not to mention floor to ceiling junk food snacks of almost every description – student heaven.

I

t was while lingering on the corner outside where Chris, Charlie and I met our first “local”. I’d love to share her name here but considering we couldn’t even pronounce it (our attempts were merely ridiculed), to attempt spelling it would be a real insult. I swear it had only consonants. This spectacularly eccentric lady spent the better part of twenty minutes leaning on her grocery-laden bicycle, discussing everything from the history of the street on which we stood to the banking crisis, the climate and their connection to the road-salt situation in the city. It didn’t stop there. With a glint in her eye, cigarette in hand and a chain-smoker’s rasp, she poked fun at Americans and Brits, followed by Norwegians and rounded off with the Icelandic for good measure – all in better English than I can sometimes muster. I wish I could remember her quips for they left us all in stitches, but they came so fast and furious sadly the details escape me now. We were eventually waved off and told to hurry along before the museum closed, but to feel free to drop by her house anytime where she sells, “headgear, handbags and dolls clothing.” Sadly we never made it to hers, the oldest timber frame house on Frakkastígur, but I shall be sure not to miss it on my return. I could go on for pages about the hilarity of the museum visit that followed, but I fear I’d not only offend some of the more delicate reader’s sensibilities, but also spoil the surprise for many others. Suffice to say, if the pickled penises of a large number of mammals (man included) won’t make you squirm, and a cabinet of moulded members from the Icelandic National Handball team won’t shock you – then pay a visit. It’s few Krona well spent on something so very unique and ‘story-when-you-gethome worthy’. It’s worth mentioning the ‘museum’ looks and feels more like a small shop as it is on the main road surrounded

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Gullfoss Waterfall cascading towards the gorge below...


by other small shops and closes rather early. Also worth mentioning is the kindness of the man working there for letting a group of giggling idiots enter ten minutes before close and letting us stay more than half an hour past it – another dose of Icelandic kindness warmly offered with no reluctance whatsoever. The rest of the evening passed relatively quietly and we all gathered for a group dinner at Vegamót Bistro, the cheap and cheerful restaurant down the road recommended by many for its extensive menu and good value. The night’s later entertainment included a very informal get-to-know-each-other session over a few drinks and card games. We stayed put in the hotel’s dining room which the staff gladly open up to guests at all hours and offer unlimited free hot and cold drinks. An early night was welcome as the next day marked the start of our exploration of the countryside…

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A

t the free breakfast the following morning, I commandeered the hotel waffle maker and made stacks for anyone waiting (including other hotel guests as it turned out) while knocking back enough strong coffee to return life to a corpse. We had all planned on taking the “Golden Circle” tour offered by Reykjavik Tours that morning, but a small printed sign on the hotel counter offered a ‘private jeep tour’ for the equivalent of about £15/20 more per head which as it turned out, catered exactly to the number of people in our group (two had decided to do their own excursions that day). Enticed by the prospect of avoiding a massive coachload of other tourists, we agreed to sign up and the hotel owner Thor, who was working the desk that day said he’d arrange it and for us to gather outside in an hour and not to worry about payment until the tour was over later. Wondering how he’d manage to book us in at such short notice we all returned to our room to gather our gear for the day and duly assembled outside at the prescribed time. When no jeeps appeared I began to question whether Mediterranean time keeping had spread northwards, but in this daydreaming had failed to notice

the Porsche Cayenne and Lincoln Navigator that had just pulled up. Suddenly from the driver’s seat of the Porsche, out leapt Thor with a smile inviting us to jump in to whichever vehicle we wanted. It turns out the ‘private tour’ was in his own family cars and driven by himself and his son, “Bjorsi-short-for-Bjorn”. As luxurious and enormous as the Lincoln was the entire group bee-lined for the Porsche of course. That was until Bjorsi actually stepped out of the Lincoln… I’ve never seen a group of girls turn in unison so quickly, rather like a school of fish but this time heading for the prey rather than away from it. Suffice to say, Bjorsi was far from unattractive and while Chris and I considered ourselves pretty good company, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the two poor girls who got ‘stuck’ with us in the Porsche! I also felt rather bad for Bjorsi who spent the rest of the day blushing from the shameless attention from the ladies.

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he drive took us northeast out of the city and up into the very rural countryside, as most of the land outside Reykjavik is given the number of inhabitants outside town. Thor told us that any settlement of 5-7 people constitutes a town and therefore a church can be built, though to be honest the churches looked more like houses with a modest steeple. Within an hour the landscape truly opened up and we were able to catch our first glimpses of what I call volcanoes but the locals seem to just call ‘the mountain’. This tends to get confusing as there are several volcanoes and all are simply dubbed ‘the mountain’ but considering I can pronounce neither Tungnafellsjökull nor Eyjafjallajökull, ‘the mountain’ works just fine for me. We passed massive inland lakes, some frozen over others crystal clear, tundra covered in lava and natural steam vents – each sight more beautiful than the next. Our first stop was at a stunning viewpoint over Lake Thingvallavatn and the Thingvellir National Park. Here, on the banks of the water we were pointed out one of the summer retreats of the Icelandic Prime Minister – a private place to get drunk it was comically described. “Is he here now?” a student asked to which Thor dryly responded that,


“she” was not, and Bjorsi also adding that “she” is a lesbian by the way. Clearly a liberal country, Iceland. After much hiking along the pathway sculpted along the tumbling river and through the lava outcrops, and even more waiting for the photography-mad trip leader (guilty as charged) we returned to the cars to set off for destination two: a geyser.

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he Strokkur hot spring shoots a 30-meter spout of water into the air every day at 4-8 minute intervals and is only a twominute walk from the road. I’ve waited my whole life to see a geyser in action but I was slightly underwhelmed by the experience. Sadly enough though, it was not by the geyser itself, but rather the reaction of those watching it. I cannot deny it was impressive and I can’t admit to being disappointed in any way by it, but the sheer volume of people standing around to watch it once and walk off bothered me. I could have stood there for hours, days even. Call me a romantic, or maybe it’s the photographer in me but seeing this natural wonder was more than just the ticking of a box for me and I regret not having more time to linger. After a quick lunch break of delicious lamb and vegetable soup hotpot (and the beer Thor snuck me from the back of the Porsche) we were on our way to Gullfoss, the waterfall created where the river Hvítá plunges into a 100 foot gorge. I’m sure I’m not alone in reaching an epic destination seen in photos, only to be totally disappointed by the non-Photoshopped reality. This was not one of those instances. Quite the contrary this waterfall is staggering and the fact that you can get so very close to it makes it all the more exciting. Even better is that you can see it from all angles and elevations thanks to the extensive, yet environmentally sensitive and safe pathways made to access it. I rarely use the word awesome but barely any other word seems fitting. The frozen banks of the cliffs around the falls and the river provided the most picturesque framing to the crystal waters that flowed over the rocks and into the crevice below. It was a surreal

landscape that I shall never forget, though the 763 photos I took should act fairly well as aide-memoires. Disappointed again to leave, but eager to see what awaited us next, and hour or so later we returned to the SUV’s (seems rude to call a Porsche a jeep) and were soon on our way again. The final stop on the tour was about another hour’s drive, allowing plenty of time to get to know Thor and hear not only interesting facts about Iceland, it’s people, culture, landscape, politics and more but also about him and his family. Our final destination was actually his brother-in-law’s farm where we were told we would also meet his sister and be introduced to some indigenous Icelandic horses. Through chatting we learned one of his daughters lived in London, which in itself is unremarkable but our conversation proved what a small world it is. “She lives in a town called Richmond,” he remarked. “Do you know it well?” Needless to say he was amazed to hear the story of our university and that I too live in Richmond. The conversation continued: “Well…They actually just moved to Twickenham,” he added, which was even more amusing given I had only just relocated there too. “To be honest it’s not really Twickenham centre, but near the Rugby Stadium.” This is when it became rather spooky as I live within sight of the stadium as well. Intrigued and amused, Thor immediately phoned his daughter in the UK and asked which road, and we were both floored to find out that she and I live not only on the same road, but only about 10 houses apart! Our already developing friendship was at this point cemented and upon learning he visits 6 or 7 times a year, we now have plans to meet over the summer to have a BBQ at mine!

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don’t know if it was the intimacy of the small tour or whether this connection from home formed a bond, but shortly thereafter we pulled in “for petrol” but I noticed the tank was fairly full. I had been waxing lyrical about how nice the Porsche was and how I had never driven one for much of the initial journey and after pulling into a petrol station for a pitstop, Thor walked over and tossed me the keys. “I’m tired - you drive!” he said with a

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The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa as seen from the sun deck...


grin and suddenly I was behind the wheel. I chose not to share the minor detail that my driving license was not with me as my wallet had been stolen the week prior. I had yet to see a police car and hoped it would remain that way. Needless to say the day was now complete in my mind regardless of what else we were to see - I was driving a Porsche across the Icelandic interior! “Put your foot to the floor and feel the power,” he insisted. “She needs a good run after my wife’s driving!” He didn’t need to tell me twice. We sped on to visit the ponies while over 400 horses churned under the bonnet.

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he farm was really just a couple of buildings, plonked in the middle of nowhere as far as I could tell, but apparently something of vague interest must be in the area as his sister’s hotel was only a few minutes away as we were told. Both she and her husband were also extremely kind and welcoming people and were happy to chat with us all while we pet the horses and played with their Icelandic Sheepdog, Sykur (Sugar). We hadn’t noticed our fearless leader had disappeared behind the open tailgate of the Cayenne for a while until he emerged with a call to gather for some ‘Black Death’. Despite thinking that would normally be something to run from, rather than celebrate, we nevertheless obliged and found out that it is in fact a local spirit - and a potent one at that. Thor had nicely laid out a full tray of shots in plastic-stemmed wine glasses, but let me tell you that shots in this country would be considered half-pints in London. Two good gulps later and with a gullet on fire I was forced to have another, “to finish the bottle.” Luckily, light hail had started to fall so we had time to recover before hitting the road again to head back to the city. As we waited, we talked about the activity of “the mountain” in the distance, and almost on cue it started to smoke from the side, and even at what must have been a few hundred kilometers we could see it rise and the snow start to disappear from a section of it. It was the perfect end to the perfect scenic tour. Energized from the fresh air, and silly from the spirits the passengers in the back of the car (who shall remain nameless here) had

an uproaringly fun ride home. They were snapping countless self-portraits on my iPhone which much to my amusement I only discovered later that night in bed. Fond memories of a fun day together.

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inner was a return to Vegamót Bistro where the main topic of discussion was the Northern Lights Tour later on that night. Our expectations were high, but there was still some uncertainty whether the tour would actually run at all. Reykjavik Excursions, monitoring a special meteorological website hourly, only confirm the trip in the evening once they are certain of a sighting. It’s a good plan, so as not to waste their or our time or money but the suspense is killing. After returning to the hostel, it was confirmed we were indeed going, but an hour later than planned at 930pm. By the time we’d switched from the mini-bus that collected us at the hotel, transferred to the larger coach and driven out of the city it was after 11pm when we arrived at our “destination”. The coach driver had given us a long spiel en-route about the science and mythology surrounding the Northern Lights, but frankly the tinny tannoy of the coach made it virtually impossible to deciper. I didn’t particularly mind – I could learn more about the aurora borealis anytime. At this moment, alighting the bus and looking upwards seemed a good enough plan. It was a beautifully still night and the skies were crystal clear, stars burning brightly against a black sky only found in such remote, unpopulated areas. In the far distance along the horizon glowed the faint orb of orange light coming from Reykjavik, but above us was a virtually blank canvas. We hadn’t driven far from the city, but it was far enough to suit stargazing at the least and there were the faintest streaks of milky white across the night sky. Eager to get away from the road, crowd and parked coaches, I tramped off alone across the snow-encrusted fields, trying (unsuccessfully) not to trip on the abundant lava rocks. Using my tripod to steady myself, I eventually found a secluded spot and started to setup my camera equipment. I had nothing special prepared – shooting something like this was new to me. I had only my trusty


Nikon, a tripod, fisheye lens and a flash. I set up quickly, in eager anticipation that something would soon start to happen. Staring up at the night, all I could see was that strange faint white glow which looked rather like the Milky Way on a clear night. Thought it wasn’t all that cold, the standing still was letting the chill through my coat so I decided to start to test my exposures on the camera. At a first guess, I opened the shutter wide to f2.8 and started out with a shutter speed of 30 seconds. Rubbing my hands together to stay warm, I waited for the long exposure to end and the digital file to process on my camera. What I saw when the preview popped up nearly knocked me to the floor.

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hough naked to the visible eye, on camera that faint white glow magically exploded into a flood of green kissed by oranges and reds spreading wide across the sky. I was beneath the Northern Lights! Looking again at the sky, it remained only white for another second but then, almost as if a switch had been flipped, the sky itself burst into life and the colours on camera suddenly filled the actual sky. A collective whoop of amazement could be heard across the field in which we were all gathered as the kaleidoscope intensified. I shot images like a madman, the exposure I had guessed at working perfectly for every shot. The stars burned through the Aurora and left a carpet of brilliant little white dots punctuating the coloured sky - the snow-covered lava fields illuminated below. I am not embarrassed to admit that I nearly burst into tears, so out-of-this-world was the experience. I even managed to make phone-call to my mother in Spain, who had always wanted to see this for herself, while snapping away and revelling in the spectacle. Wanting to make the most of the experience for the others on the trip, I somehow managed to round everyone up and pulled out my flashgun to shoot some portraits of Chris and the students against the rainbow backdrop. I could literally feel the emotion from everyone around me, and it only heightened the sense of awe I felt myself. It was like nothing I have ever seen or experienced in my life. I never wanted it to end and for a while it seemed as if it wouldn’t.

The show lasted for well over an hour, maybe two – I lost all track of time. Only when the last of the green streaks slowly began to whiten again did I reluctantly return back to the waiting coach for the ride home, but it felt like I was floating. I think I can safely speak for everyone in saying this was without a doubt the high point of the trip for us and something that none of us shall ever, ever forget. By the time we were returned home I think we had all looked at the pictures on my camera about a hundred times, keeping the memory of the evening alive until we all crawled into bed after 1am, exhausted from the adrenaline of the night.

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aturday began again with a breakfast of waffles, now perfected, and shared stories of the night before. We had a bus coming to collect most of us for a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal spa about an hour away. Thor was working the desk and just as we were all about to leave to board the bus he virtually vaulted the counter and tossed something at me, which I only realised once caught were a bunch of keys. “Here,” he said, “Why pay for the bus for everyone when you can fit so many in my Lincoln? Put as many students as you can in it and drive yourselves there! It’s in the car park opposite – just put some petrol in it and that’s fine. I don’t need it all day!” Once again bowled over by the spirit and generosity of this man, who barely knew me, I was almost speechless. He was giving me a car worth over £35k without so much as a second thought (or a credit check). This trust was remarkable and it was kindness like this, expecting nothing in return, that was as significant in making this trip special as anything else - including the Northern Lights. I shall remain forever in debt to Thor and to the other people we met along the way for showing a side of human nature so very rare to experience anymore. It was and is fulfilling to know this still exists, and in a place not so very far from home. The Blue Lagoon was exactly as expected: A completely relaxing day-long soak in massive, natural outdoor pools filled with milky-white water and heated by steam

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The Northern LIghts illuminate the snowy lava fields below...


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vents deep underground. The entire complex was gorgeous with spotless contemporary changing rooms and showers, a café and a restaurant and most enjoyable – a swim-up bar with champagne, ice creams and a number of other naughty treats. Once inside the reception area, everything can be paid for and accessed with the chipped wristband provided and paid for at the end of the day. Eleven of us lounged there for hours, believing our respective ails were soon to be banished by health-giving properties of the waters and placebo or not it seemed to work. The weather was remarkably kind to us given the date. The temperature was ideal at around 10 degrees Celsius and the sun blazed in the sky above as we let the natural white clay facemasks we applied dry and remove all our toxins. It was as relaxing as a day could be. Only the dipping sun eventually sent us home again, all the while cruising in style in the comfort of our private Navigator.

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fter a short nap later we decided to be casual and cheap and eat in, so along with some volunteers I took the car (now feeling like my own) to Domino’s where we picked up enough pizzas to stepping-stone our way back to London with them had we wanted to. Energised by the idleness of the day, and clearly hungry as it turns out, we devoured the pizza and some beers and decided to hit the town for a proper night out. Here the detailed stories shall cease, partly due to discretion, partly because there are a few wee gaps in my memory. Suffice to say it was a great night, filled with song and dance into the early hours of Sunday. In fact it wasn’t until after midday that most of us arose from slumber and returned to the bright light of day. Nothing particularly pressing on the itinerary, we merely trotted around the town for some light shopping and a head-clearing lunch at the spiciest Asian Noodle bar I’ve ever been to. The rest of the day was much the same – dotting from café to shop to café. Good conversations with good people – all of us on the trip were really bonding well and forming lasting friendships. Dinner that night

was a huge departure from the pizza night as we had all decided to go out with a bang on our last night, splurging at the Seafood Grill – one of the finest restaurants in town. It didn’t disappoint with spectacular offerings. Not only with fresh fish from the surrounding seas, but also available were birds considered local delicacies such as puffin and shag both beautifully prepared and presented. My choice, the local lamb was supposedly some of the most organic in the world and truly delicious, was served cooked to perfection with a collection of locally grown vegetables and a gravy good enough to bathe in. A deconstructed crème brulee rounded off the meal and we left the restaurant more than satiated. After our exertions the previous night and the impending 4am rise for the coach to the airport the evening, and thus our trip, ended quietly with a few rounds of cards and a couple of (soft) drinks.

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ever for a second would I have expected this trip to turn out as it did. Nor did I expect to ever feel more connected to a country and its people - probably more so than I do of those at home. I have done my best to share a selection of these experiences here but I must admit that my words cannot truly do justice to the true experience. I have made lifelong friends not only in those that call Iceland home, but also in those few who shared this magical trip with me. I hope very much that these images and tales may not only encourage you to visit Iceland, but perhaps I will have the pleasure of your company on the next Richmond University-led adventure… Until then, happy travels. n

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EN T M EN VI RO N

Is our airport destroying our air? By Sadaan Sayeed

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In 20ll, almost 70 million people travelled through London Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport. Heathrow’s two runways facilitate an average of 1,305 takeoffs or landings per day. Heathrow is not the only airport in London, but one of five. However, London is short of airport capacity and something needs to be done about this. One option is to add a third runway and sixth terminal to Heathrow. There is also a proposal to build a completely new airport on the Thames Estuary. London’s airport capacity shortage has existed for decades, but the phenomenally rapid rise of the Far East in recent years has brought with it an increasing demand for people from the Far East to travel to and from London. But the idea of adding a third runway to Heathrow has faced fierce attack from environmental campaign groups, as the air quality in London has deteriorated to dangerously low levels as it is, and Heathrow is already a major contributor of air pollution. A report on air pollution in London by Dr. Steven Barrett, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) in the United States, claims that pollution caused by shipping and aviation is responsible for 1,800 premature deaths a year in the UK, 50 of which the report links directly to air pollution caused by Heathrow. Dr. Barrett says that due to Heathrow’s location and that the winds in London are south-westerly, pollution from Heathrow gets blown over London. “If you instead had an airport in the Thames Estuary, that pollution would get blown over the English Channel and North Sea,” he told the BBC. He also added that “Because of the loca-

tion of the [Thames estuary] airport, such an airport would be further away from major population centres so fewer people would be exposed to pollution from that airport.” However, some experts argue that the remote location of the Thames Estuary airport would mean transportation to the new airport would cause more pollution than transportation to Heathrow. However, it is less likely that there will be any aviation pollution from the new airport blowing in to London, and it is unclear whether the pollution caused by transport to and from the Thames Estuary airport will amount to so much that it offsets the benefits of the very significant reduction in aviation pollution. The European Union has set legally binding limits, based on World Health Organization guidelines, on the amount of air pollution any of its countries is allowed to have. Air pollution in the UK is already above these limits, and the government has had to pay over £300 million in EU fines as a consequence. While EU air pollution limits are being breached in towns and cities throughout the country, London is the biggest offender. When a city is in breach of its air pollution limits, EU law requires that the concerned government draw up a plan to bring down pollution to legal levels within the “shortest time possible”. According to the government’s current plan for London, the earliest this can be achieved is by the year 2025. This is based on the assumption that Heathrow continues to operate at its current capacity of two runways. Adding a third runway to Heathrow will push the forecast back. Aviation is a major contributor of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and NO2 (nitrogen oxide).

CO2 reduces the concentration of oxygen in the air and can cause kidney damage, amongst other ailments. Nitrogen oxide can cause numerous lung related health problems including airway inflammation and emphysema, and is particularly hazardous to people with asthma. Aircraft don’t only produce these gases in flight and during takeoff and landing, but also while taxiing on the ground. According to Sarah Clayton of AirportWatch, a plane’s engine is sometimes on at up to 40% capacity while it is on the ground. A running engine is not the only pollution causing element of an aircraft. Ms. Clayton says another cause of air pollution is unburnt kerosene. Jet engines are designed to run at full power at high altitudes, and when a plane is on the ground and the engine(s) are kept running at only partial capacity, the engines release droplets of unburnt kerosene which escape into the atmosphere. These are known as volatile organic compounds(VOCs). VOCs also escape into the atmosphere during refuelling. Also, when planes take-off and land, the tires release particulate matter, known as PM. Particulate matter are small particles of rubber a planes tire sheds due to the friction it encounters when running on the ground at very high speeds. Landing is a greater cause of PM than takeoff, as friction is highest when the tires touch down. Aviation is not the only cause of PM; road transport is also a contributor, but planes cause more of it because they take off and land at very high speeds. Given that Heathrow has 1,305 planes takeoff or land on an average day, the PM escaping into the atmosphere cumulatively amounts to a harmful level. Particulate Matter is harmful


to both the heart and the lungs, and particularly affects people already suffering from asthma and other lung and heart related conditions. The idea of building a new airport on the Thames Estuary has faced vehement opposition from powerful figures in the government and the aviation industry, though Boris Johnson continues to support it. The mayor has always had an anti-Heathrow stance, saying that Heathrow is “fundamentally in the wrong place”, and constantly talking about it’s negative effects. Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson, in an interview with BBC, said a Thames Estuary airport would take much longer to build than Boris Johnson predicts. He also pointed out that it would only succeed and be of benefit to London if Heathrow closed down, and this would have considerable economic consequences. He spoke of how it would affect the people working at Heathrow, saying that these people would be forced to look for new jobs or move with their families to areas near the Thames Estuary. Sir Branson believes that London’s airport capacity shortage is a critical issue and is willing to invest up to five billion pounds in the expansion of Heathrow. He spoke of how planes are getting quieter and greener, and said that the fuel planes use in five years time will be “completely clean” and that pollution from planes will be “negligible, if at all”. He says the capacity shortage is keeping Virgin Atlantic from being able to fly to many destinations. He also says Heathrow’s capacity shortage causes British airlines to lose a lot of potential revenue,

as many transit passengers end up taking connections from France or Germany instead of London. Another issue he mentioned was transportation, saying that currently there are no good public transport links to that area, and that building an airport there would require new public transport links and the construction of a “massive road” through London. He did not rule out completely the possibility that his airline would back a Thames Estuary airport, but said he would need “many questions answered” before they would consider it. He said a Thames Estuary airport would be beneficial, but a third runway should be added to Heathrow while the new airport is being built. Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has called the plan “insane, stupid, and hare-brained”. He claims Boris Johnson’s plans are unrealistic in terms of both time budget, and said the airport would take “the rest of my life” to build. Mr. O’Leary says new runways should be added not only to Heathrow, but also to Gatwick and Stansted. He says this should be done “as fast as possible”. While the environmental issues stand, London’s airport capacity shortage is an issue that critically needs to be addressed. British airlines are already losing transit passengers to their counterparts in France and Germany, and the severity of the issue has reached a point where London is at risk of losing its status as a major international business center simply because its airports can not keep up with the demand for travel. British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has expressed concern that if something is not done about the problem, Dubai will claim London’s status as the world’s big-

gest travel hub. In the above-mentioned interview with BBC, Sir Richard Branson spoke of how the airport capacity shortage is keeping London from creating “thousands and thousands of jobs”, as the city’s hotels, taxi drivers, and many businesses both large and small depend on travelers for much of their revenue. According to a report by Spanish research group Ferrovial, the airport capacity shortage is costing Britain US$ 22 billion in lost trade. n

STUDENT SOCIETY OF THE YEAR 2007/2008

The Green Project is dedicated to doing what it can to improve the environment around campus, including the campus recycling program. The society aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and to educate the university community in how it can help preserve and protect the environment on a day-to-day basis. For more information or to join The Green Project, contact Charles Lavin at: clavin@gmail.com

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TY SO CI E 57

Rehtaeh Parsons & Steubenville’s Jane Doe: A rape-culture reality check By Kiely Healey It seems that raping young women and then bullying them, literally to death in some cases, is a completely acceptable practice in today’s social media saturated world. Take for instance the recent death of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, a Nova Scotia teen who died after attempted suicide because she was sexually assaulted and then harshly cyber-bullied. Just like the young Steubanville Jane Doe was, and still is, after her public humiliation and rape. Both of these women were plied with alcohol until they were past blackout drunk, then filmed and photographed while they were assaulted. Both of these women were blamed for their attacks. Some of those who followed the Steubanville rape trial believed that Doe deserved the rape, that it was never really rape at all. So many Twitter accounts claimed the same things: “She’s just a drunk whore!” “She deserved it because she drank!” “Boys will be boys!” Really? And paedophiles will just be paedophiles. This victim blaming only happens with women, and it only happens with sexual assault. No jury in their right minds would let a robber go because his victim wore a Rolex watch and ‘deserved’ to get it stolen. Granted, this isn’t an equal metaphor. This victim can take off his Rolex, women do not have that luxury. Our vaginas, unfortunately, are attached for good. Don’t worry though, boys, it isn’t your fault if you can’t keep your dirty little hands off our bits, we’ve raised you to get away with just about anything. You see, in our little world, if a woman dresses a certain way, acts a certain way, or has ever had sex in the past, her being raped is sort of just a given. Toronto police officer Const. Michael Sanguinetti said “…women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” I mean, duh, ladies! Don’t wear your favourite

dress that makes you feel super nice, because someone will read those gorgeous gams as an explicit invite into your panties. Rape trials are so often directed on what the victim was doing, rather than what the perpetrator did. Instead of focusing on teaching men and boys how not to rape, we teach young girls how to avoid it. So much pressure is put on women to keep themselves safe. Almost every high school gym class in the United States includes a self-defence section for the young women. It can’t hurt to learn self-defence, but the lesson taught does hurt. It teaches that men cannot help themselves. They will rape you if you’re drunk. They will rape you if you’re wearing a short skirt. They will rape you if you’ve flirted with them and no longer want them. Any reason that there is, it is the woman’s fault. Not the man’s. Not ever. That lesson is what killed Rehtaeh. That lesson is what let the Steubanville rapists off with only a year in juvenile detention. That is why CNN reported that the conviction “ruined their bright futures.” What about Jane Doe’s future? It’s her that will really suffer for her entire life because of this. It is her that will have to remember the pain of the assault, and the memory of so many people telling her she deserved to be peed on, drugged, and raped. She will always remember the months of bullying she received after the videos and photographs were shared on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I suppose it’s fortunate that Rehtaeh will not remember any of it; it just killed her instead. To discuss these issues, join Richmond’s Sex+ Club by emailing Kiely Healey at richmondsexplus@gmail.com


ES S BU SI N

The US “Sequester” and its Effects on the US Economy by Marlene Dieckert

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The current sequester is an automatic cancellation of budgetary resources provided by the U.S. Treasury meaning across-the-board spending cuts of $1,2 trillion over the next 9 years. It was originally designed to function as a pressuring incentive for the “Joint Select Committee” established within the Budget Control Act in 2011. As this ‘Supercommittee’ of six democrats and six republicans did not find a solution on how to cut $1.5 trillion within the deadline of November 23rd 2011 the U.S. Economy now has to face graceless spending cuts that nobody realistically expected to happen. The effects of the sequester are as drastic as unpredictable. 50% of it affects defense discretionary programs while the other 50% affects both mandatory and domestic discretionary spending. Only a few mandatory programs such as the unemployment trust fund and medicare provider payments will be affected while the majority are exempt. No program will actually end but they will all be reduced in scale. A few examples of affected programs are military purchases and base operations, construction work, education and low income programs, national health, public housing, the FBI, the federal prison system, the National Science Foundation, The FEMA’s disaster relief budget and the NASA. Examples of exempted programs are military salaries and veteran benefits, military overseas operations as in Afghanistan, medicaid, social security, welfare and food stamps. Regarding their size, the spending cuts in 2013 will differ from those in 2014-2021. For 2013 it was agreed on a cut of $85.4 billion. However as the fiscal year ends in September and a big portion of the budget is spend in 2014, only $42 billion will be

cut. Defense will be affected by 13% while other domestic discretionary programs will be reduced by 9% and medicare provider payments will be cut by 2%. For 20142021 a prospective $109 billion will be cut every year from which $87-92 billion will arise solely from the discretionary budget. The future effects of the sequester on unemployment and GDP are evaluated very different depending on who you ask. The Congressional Research Service has stated it won’t affect salaries of federal workers, military and contractors. However many industries such as food inspection and border control will have to perform furloughs (unpaid days off) which basically are income cuts. Many industries , especially when relying on government contracts fear a negative effect as government spending is an important part of GDP. Already in Q4 of 2012 economic uncertainty was noticeable as GDP declined by 1.3%. While some economists estimate the resulting job loss for 2013 at 2.14 million, adding 1.5 points to the unemployment rate, the Presidents macroeconomic advisors only estimate an addition of 0.25 points. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated 750,000 fewer jobs in 2013 and regarding GDP a decrease by 1.5 points from which 0.565 are said to be due to the sequester. Again, other economists see a more dramatic development. The question why the U.S. Economy now faces unbearable cuts nobody really wanted is in essence related to the federal debt problem. Each year, the U.S. budget deficit adds up to the federal debt. The federal debt to GDP ratio shows how likely the US will be able to pay its debt. The higher this ratio, the higher the risk of default and/or a downgrading by rating agencies as well as treasury bills, notes


and bonds becoming unattractive. The debt ceiling aims to keep this ratio as low as possible. A ‘healthy’ ratio is considered as 50% while during periods of crisis like WWII the ratio reached 109%. The U.S. federal debt has reached $16.7 trillion in December 2012. The projected budget deficit for 2013 is $901 billion. The current debt ceiling reached $16,394 trillion after it has been raised twice since 2011 to avoid debt default. First by $900 billion within the BCA 2011 and furthermore in January 2012 when the Senate approved Obama an additional $1.2 trillion of debt as he already ran on emergency funds. As current GDP is at around $15.8 trillion the current debt to GDP ratio is 106%. Therefore in February 2013, congress suspended the debt ceiling but it will go back into effect on 19th of May. Based on projections of the CBO that the ratio will rise in coming years, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, advised the government to first stabilize the ratio and then eventually decrease it while preserving incentives for Americans to save, invest and spend. Therefore the Budget Control Act 2011 was signed into law on the 2nd of August by President Obama. It included mechanisms such as the allowance to raise the debt ceiling towards 2.1 trillion, the establishment of the ‘Supercommittee’, binding spending reductions of $917 billion and the automatic sequestration should the committee fail until November 23rd 2011. On November 21st it was stated: “after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline”. The main reason for this stalemate were the different views of Democrats and Republicans on how to deal with the federal debt crisis as well as the forthcoming 2012 Presidential election. While Democrats focused on a balanced mix of spending cuts and tax revenue and refused to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans demanded protection of the military and refused tax increases on a general basis.

Nevertheless, sequestration was triggered and supposed to start on January 1, 2013. It was not until after the Presidential Election that further steps have been taken. Even worse, additional automatic tax rises as part of the US austerity program then threatened the US government to navigate towards the “Fiscal Cliff” which could have caused another recession and a decrease of $607 billion in GDP. In addition to the spending cuts agreed on in the BCA and the closer coming sequester, the expiring Bush tax cuts and the pay roll tax holiday increased the pressure on the federal debt. To avoid this fatal combination to occur by the start of 2013, it was agreed on a last minute deal. This deal mainly delayed the sequester towards the 1st of March 2013, allowed the tax holidays to expire, raised tax on the wealthy by 2% and preserved the current tax rates for the middle class. As the 1st of March passed without any further congressional action, the U.S. economy now has to deal with the sequester. The question of guilt is difficult to answer. Current surveys suggest that poll takers rather blame republicans than democrats. The main argument why the government failed is that the budget control system of proposals, hearings and negotiations between the President, the White House and congress itself is dysfunctional. In relation to that, scientists also refer to behavioral science as a reason for the democratic-republican stalemate. They claim that both party’s wishful thinking about their opponents capitulation adds up to the demotivating deadline and a seemingly impossible goal. Finally, worker unions such as the Emergency Labor Network criticize that “sequestration is an agreement of the bipartisan wall street duopoly in Washington D.C”. In summary, the sequester is the result of a democratic-republican duel fought on the back of the federal debt. However, as much as it might affect American citizens and the overall economy in a negative way, it is up to this point in time the only way to avoid the U.S. Economy from running into a debt default which would have by far more extensive consequences. n

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N IO OP IN

Everyone’s life looks better on social media... And that’s the problem.

Instagram’s Envy Effect 61

By Shauna Niequist, Republished From Relevant Magazine I keep having the same conversation over and over. It starts like this: “I gave up Facebook for Lent, and I realized I’m a lot happier without it.” Or like this, “Pinterest makes me hate my house.” Or like this: “I stopped following a friend on Instagram, and now that I don’t see nonstop snapshots of her perfect life, I like her better.”

other peoples’ lives isn’t the only danger of the Internet. Our envy buttons also get pushed because we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness.

Yikes. This is a thing. This is coming up in conversation after conversation. The danger of the internet is that it’s very very easy to tell partial truths—to show the fabulous meal but not the mess to clean up afterward. To display the smiling couple-shot, but not the fight you had three days ago. To offer up the sparkly milestones but not the spiraling meltdowns.

When you’re laughing at a meal with friends, are you scrolling through Pinterest? When you’re in labor with your much-prayedfor-deeply-loved child, are you checking to see what’s happening on Instagram? Of course not. We check in with our phones when it seems like nothing fun is happening in our own lives—when we’re getting our oil changed or waiting for the coffee to brew. It makes sense, then, that anyone else’s fun or beauty or sparkle gets under our skin. It magnifies our own dissatisfaction with that moment. When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special.

I’m not anti-technology or anti-Internet, certainly, but I do think it’s important for us to remind ourselves from time to time that watching other peoples’ post-worthy moments on Facebook is always going to yield a prettier version of life than the one you’re living right now. That’s how it works. When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special. But it only takes one friend at the eiffel tower to make you feel like a loser. My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t. That’s why it’s safer short term. And that’s why it’s much, much more dangerous long term. Because community—the rich kind, the transforming kind, the valuable and difficult kind—doesn’t happen in partial truths and well-edited photo collections on Instagram. Community happens when we hear each other’s actual voices, when we enter one another’s actual homes, with actual messes, around actual tables telling stories that ramble on beyond 140 pithy characters. But seeing the best possible, often-unrealistic, half-truth version of

But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser. I’m a writer. I use Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and my blog as part of my professional life—as a way to connect with readers and be part of a conversation that we’re creating together, a conversation about creativity and faith and writing and parenting and community and life around the table. It’s a lovely conversation, and part of my work involves reading many blogs and commenting on lots of photos and scrolling through status after status. Some days it feels rich and multi-faceted. I learn and I’m inspired. I find recipes I want to try and stories I want to live. I feel connected and thankful to be part of such an intelligent and creative internet community. And then on some days, I feel like I have nothing to offer, like I must be the only one who isn’t a graphic designer and hasn’t yet man-


aged to display her entire darling life online with lots of chevron and mint accents. I feel so certain that my life is a lot less darling than other peoples’ lives. But that’s the Internet. The nature of it. I so easily fall prey to the seduction of other people’s partial truths and heavily filtered photos, making everything look amazing. And their amazing looking lives make me feel not amazing at all. Let’s choose community. Let’s stop comparing. Let’s start connecting. Some days when I sit down at my laptop, instead of choosing to be an observer via Facebook, I choose to be a friend via email. Instead of scrolling through someone else’s carefully curated images, I use those few seconds to send a text to a person I really know and really love and really want to be connected to. It’s not about technology or not. I’m not suggesting you get all oldschool-pen-and-paper about it (unless that’s your thing.) It’s about connecting instead of comparing. Instead of using the computer to watch someone else’s perfectly crafted life, enter into someone’s less-than-perfect life. You can use Facebook if you want, but you might find email, Skype and phone calls work better. Using technology to build community instead of building carefully-curated images of ourselves is an option, and a worthwhile one. The distinction I’m making is public vs. private, not in person vs. long distance. I have very close, very honest friendships that depend on phone calls and Skype dates and long wandering emails, and I’m thankful that technology allows for those connections. But I don’t think you can build transforming friendships that take place only in a public sphere like Facebook or Instagram. For many of us, walking away from the Internet isn’t an option. But using it to connect instead of compare is an option, and a life-changing one. Using technology to build community instead of

building carefully-curated images of ourselves is an option, and a worthwhile one. And on the days when you peer into the screen of your laptop and all you see are other people’s peak experiences that highlight your lack in that moment, remember that life isn’t about the story you tell about yourself on the Internet. It’s about a million more beautiful and complex things than that, like love and faith and really listening. It’s about using what you’ve been given to craft a life of gratitude and passion and grace. Remember that the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates. n

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Pr of il e Fa cu lt y

Dr. Bryan McIntosh Supports Students Beyond the Classroom By Elana Beckett

“Teaching is always rewarding. It involves incredible, intense relationships with students. They’re not students, they’re human beings who happen to be studying.”

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Starting out as a political researcher at the House of Commons, Dr. Bryan McIntosh, an associate professor of international business at Richmond University, first worked in politics before becoming a teacher. “It [teaching] was always what I really wanted to do. Government is supposed to help people, but sometimes people just help themselves,” McIntosh said. “There are two prerequisites to teaching. You must like people and must like helping people. It’s obvious that I like helping people.” McIntosh also taught and conducted research in business and management focusing on operational efficiency at Edinburgh Napier, University of Surrey, University of Greenwich, and King’s College London. As the associate dean of postgraduate studies at Richmond University, he develops programs, but only teaches undergraduate classes. “There’s a big jump from undergraduate to graduate teaching,” he said. In the last two years, he wrote 40 academic articles about efficiency and maximizing skills and resources. He is also part of the editorial board for the British Journal of Healthcare Management, but he enjoys teaching the most. “This [teaching] is the best. It’s the best and worst job,” he said. McIntosh enjoys his time in the classroom, but he spends more time using technology to prepare his lectures. “They [students] don’t realize the half of it. Every effort in here [the classroom] is about four or five hours of work,” he said. McIntosh would like his students to develop independent and critical thinking from his classes. “The frustration is managing students. Some of

them haven’t developed critical thinking skills,” McIntosh said.

women for the future-who they want to be, not who I want them to be.”

Not only do McIntosh’s classes reach the highest enrollment at Richmond University, but he also has the highest number of advisees and the highest evaluation of all professors.

Going beyond teaching, McIntosh focuses on life lessons and provides support to students. “Professor McIntosh is unlike many teachers I've met. When I first met him he was more interested in getting to know me as a person, rather than as a student. He is very caring to his students and is always ready to help them inside and outside of the classroom,” Jenn Henderson, a study abroad student, said.

“It [teaching] is always rewarding. It involves incredible, intense relationships with students. They’re not students, they’re human beings who happen to be studying,” McIntosh said. This semester he is teaching Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Research Methods, and Leadership, bringing his total amount of students for the semester to 100. “If you have someone who’s going to look after you, you’ll stay with them,” McIntosh said. “There’s so much loyalty. I always look after my students. Life can be a struggle, but you’ve got to look after people.”

“When you show respect, it’s not surprising you get everything back. Nothing is lost, everything is gained,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh acknowledges that each student is different which also makes each class different so, to address this, he changes the structure of his lectures from class to class.

“Humans are worth the time. I’m concerned about people’s emotional being. If they’re distressed, I’m distressed,” he said.

“You can only teach to students. Student-first, not to my expectations,” said McIntosh. Outside of his classes, McIntosh helps his students by writing letters of recommendation to graduate universities and companies for jobs and internships. Some teachers write general letters of recommendation for all students, but McIntosh writes letters specific to each student. “I’ll be here [in the office] until 9 pm or 10 pm writing. A lot of time goes into it,” he said. “I understand what the employer wants and I bring out the student’s qualities. I give students the tools for success. We are preparing men and

As an extremely detail-oriented person, McIntosh picks up on people’s emotions and can easily gain an accurate understanding of their personalities.

“Bryan McIntosh is a man who likes to think outside the box, whether it's in class or otherwise. He's a colorful character who brightens any room he steps into. Most importantly, he's a lecturer who cares aor not. I personally have never had him as a lecturer, but his impact on my life has been paramount. It's safe to say that as long as I live, I will never forget Dr. Bryan McIntosh,” Philip Tacason, a degree student, said. n


PR OF IL ES NI AL UM 65

Sarah Barnacle Calvin D’Souza

Nationality: American Class of: 2008 Major: Art, Design and Media

Nationality: Indian Class of: 2005 Major: BA International Relations

Hurry Up! Slowly! is the story of a twenty-something College Graduate with the world at her feet and not a clue how to harness it. Are you doing the right thing? Making the right decision? And more importantly how are you supposed to figure it out? Follow her, as she journeys through one of the most chaotic years of one’s life, the turbulent twenties; as she tries to rediscover who she is, what she wants, and how exactly one is supposed to achieve the “important” things in life; happiness, success, and maybe even love.

“Coming from the Indian school system, and growing up in Kuwait, my transition to Richmond University was much easier than I expected. The American academic system gives me a broad base of choices with my degree. I can study courses that apply directly to my chosen major in International Relations as well as complimentary courses that diversify my degree. I love the multi-cultural environment at Richmond, and know that I am gaining a vital insight into global affairs the world over.”

Purchase your copy online by visiting http://sbpra.com/SarahBarnacle/


Rami Suleiman Talia Weston

Sarah Wiswell

Nationality: United Arab Emirates Class of: 2008 Major: BA Marketing

Nationality: Canadian/German Class of: 2008 Major: Art, Design and Media

Nationality: American Class of: 2010 Major: Art, Design and Media

Rami was interested in coming to Richmond because of its diverse culture and his own desire to live and study in London. He chose to study a major in marketing because he enjoys the creative processes involved in the development of new ideas.

Talia attests that her experience at Richmond allowed her to develop both academically and personally. She gained an understanding of and tolerance for new ideas, cultures, and beliefs as a result of the international environment which characterizes Richmond. For Talia, London itself was the perfect textbook for the study of art from the early modern period to the contemporary, and she found the university’s program to be both multifaceted and inspirational.

Sarah Wiswell has been striving for much since leaving Richmond. Her journey after graduation has led her to bike across the United States of America and taken her as far as the National Science Foundation’s famous Mcmurdo Station in Antarctica. Working as a housing coordinator, Sarah is in charge of accommodation for the 1500 individuals that live at the station during the Antarctica summer.

For Rami, Richmond is characterized by the friendly atmosphere of campus life and the diversity of its student body. Most importantly, he feels that a key advantage to Richmond’s education and culture is the one-to-one relationships that students develop with their professors. Rami highly recommends Richmond to prospective students and encourages them to come and experience the University for themselves.

Talia currently resides in Canada, where she plans to pursue a career in the field of Art, Design and Media. One of the main highlights of her university career was studying art in Italy, where she also found the experience of learning a new language and engaging with a new culture to be stimulating and enlightening. Talia would recommend Richmond highly to prospective students. She states: “However daunting it may be to move to London, I assure you that the experiences waiting for you are invaluable, exciting and unique. When you arrive at our castle in the spring or fall, you may feel like a stranger. But in a short while, you will leave just as we have, as friends!”

Sarah’s Richmond experience, “..broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to all the possibilities all over the world. I would not be the person I am today without Richmond... Richmond enabled me to dream big.”

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# r u m s t a g r a m

Richmond University’s favorite Instagram pictures for the spring semester. All photos were taken around tour Richmond and Kensington campuses or throughout London. To be featured, hash-tag your Instagram pictures with #rumstagram.

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Opposite page from top to bottom: Canary Wharf by Fatema Saad, Chalk Art by John Greenzalis, Richmond U. by Hannah C., Richmond by Silver Bahman

Current page, clockwise from top to bottom: Park by Marta Ruffinon, Street by Sonya Moorja, Natural History Museum by Sasha Ashraf, Squirrel Feeding by Matthew Butterfield, Chanel by Melanie Highbloom, Round Pond by Karli Anderson, Richmond Park by Matthew Butterfield


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M U R OKE J & A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: “That’s the ugliest baby that I’ve ever seen. Ugh!” The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me!”

A guy walks into a bar and orders a drink. After a few more he needs to go to the can. He doesn`t want anyone to steal his drink so he puts a sign on it saying, “I spat in this beer, do not drink!”.

The man says: “You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

After a few minutes he returns and there is another sign next to his beer saying, “So did I!”

One night, a police officer was stalking out a particularly rowdy bar for possible violations of the driving under the influence laws. At closing time, he saw a fellow stumble out of the bar, trip on the curb, and try his keys on five different cars before he found his. Then, sat in the front seat fumbling around with his keys for several minutes. Everyone left the bar and drove off. Finally, he started his engine and began to pull away. The police officer was waiting for him. He stopped the driver, read him his rights and administered the Breathalyser test. The results showed a reading of 0.0. The puzzled officer demanded to know how that could be. The driver replied, “Tonight, I’m the Designated Decoy.”


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Editor Matthew Butterfield

Student Editors Shannon Atwell Elana Beckett Kayley Hyde Laisa Lopes Elizabeth MacNeal Sadaan Sayeed Janina Vore

Article & Photo Contributions Lillian A. Barnett Matthew Butterfield Rowenna Chaskey Marlene Dieckert Nour El-Ariss Roseanna Halse Kiely Healey

Kate Lochner Shauna Niequist Sadaan Sayeed Philip Tacason Sanne Vliegenthart Marion Walker Chris Yee

Special Thanks Chris Newson Allison Cole-Stutz Alex Seago

Kate Carlone Perivan Ltd.


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