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Reflections: 70 Years of the NHS A look back at what the NHS means for our communities.

Fashioned from Nature How can style become sustainable?

Do You Want to Live in a Lie? It’s a dangerous world to be a journalist.



A NOTE FROM YOUR EDITOR IN CHIEF December: it’s hard to believe we are already at the end of our first term together. At the Magdalen, we are always told that our time will fly by, and every year the sitting editors disregard that observation until it hits them like a freight train. There aren’t many issues left in our tenure, but believe me when I say we will make them count. As always there will be no January issue, but by the time we come back in February, you will see what we have done with our extra month of work. In last month’s issue, I wrote at length about how grateful of and impressed by my team I am. This has only increased in the wake of an outpouring of support and outrage brought about by our discussion of anti-catholic racism as a nation-wide source of shame. We will be revisiting this throughout the year, but it did genuinely shake my sense of community. You see, I was raised a Catholic. I still consider myself one even if I did go through the obligatory “Richard Dawkins facts and logic” phase as a teenager. In a warped sort of way, I was thankful for such racist rhetoric and its unfortunate prevalence in Scottish society being brought to

the forefront, because it brought into public psyche the fact that marginalised communities are not just a race problem, an Irish problem or a foreign problem. This marginalisation happens right under our noses, and sustains itself not just through people’s malice but also through the ignorance of others. This month (after looking through our lovely magazine of course), I ask everyone to look through the posts of, and replies to, the #CallitOut campaign on twitter, to see just how stuck in the 1600s some elements of our supposedly forward-looking and independence ready society really are. I can only hope that our discussion of this issue can allow the student population of Dundee to learn from the mistakes of those who came before them. In the meantime though, enjoy our last Magdalen of 2018 together. It’s been a wild year in many ways, but I’m sure that you’ll find this month’s content just as eclectic. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Murray Glen




A NOTE FROM YOUR CREATIVE DIRECTORS It’s holiday season and we hope that you are feeling the joy! We know that deadlines are still looming, but we hope that you take comfort in the time off that we have ahead of us. Whether it’s travelling, spending time with loved ones, or just having a little time to yourself this month, may these upcoming experiences be relaxing and rejuvenating for you! We’re really glad that you’ve decided to use some of that spare time to read our latest issue of The Magdalen. We’ll be having a month off in January so we’ve done our best to ensure that the articles and designs are rich enough to keep you going for two months. There’s a fantastic selection of photographs, illustrations, and unique layouts throughout this issue that will have you pouring over our pages and coming back for a reread. As fourth year graphics students, we will be dedicating a good chunk of time to our dissertation these next few months. However, we know how important it is to be taking breaks, even just to maintain a little bit of sanity. It sometimes feels like we are in a little bit of a countdown towards graduation just now, which can

feel stressful at the very least. More positively, though, we try to use this as motivation to get as much as possible out of university life while we still can. Not just giving it our all, but taking time to appreciate all the little things, even if they might not seem extraordinary at first glance. We may not be experts, but if we can impart any advice to ponder over the upcoming break, it would be to consider your mindset. University can be truly stressful at times, but often when you look back on those moments, they aren’t as intense as they once seemed. While you still have time, try not to over-stress about the challenges you face. Give yourself a break when you can and should, and then allow yourself to enjoy those pauses. Focus on what you enjoy here at University, and then really go for it. Of course, you don’t have to listen to any of this. We’re just two slightly exhausted, but attempting-ly enthusiastic Creative Directors, but these things have helped us persevere through and appreciate working on this magazine. At the very least, please enjoy our latest issue. Olivia Sharkey Molly Porteous



EDITOR IN CHIEF Murray Glen SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR IN CHIEF Barbara Mertlova DEPUTY EDITORS Kris Aare Alastair Edward Letch

CREATIVE DIRECTORS Molly Porteous Olivia Sharkey PHOTOGRAPHY MANAGERS Domas Radzevicius Victoria Sanches ILLUSTRATION MANAGER Fraser Robertson








SCIENCE EDITORS James Dale John Ferrier


COPY EDITORS Erin Campbell Beth MacLeod


COVER DESIGNER Domas Radzevicius Olivia Sharkey


PRINTERS The Magazine Printing Co.






Feature - The Magdalen - December


70 Years of the NHS Inspired by interviews with staff at NHS Tayside, admiration, appreciation and work for our NHS. Seventy years ago, in the wake of war, poverty, and rationing, Aneurin Bevan was tasked with both housing a bombed-out Britain, and developing a public health service fit for the nation - all from a drained taxpayers purse. Churchill was ousted and instead, following a landslide victory in the 1945 General Election, the British people entrusted postwar social welfare reforms to a labour government. What followed would not only change the face of modern healthcare nationally, but globally.

On the eve of the NHS’s implementation, Bevan himself told crowds; “The eyes of the world are turning to Great Britain. We now, have the moral leadership of the world. I believe it will lift the shadow from millions of homes. It will keep very many people alive who might otherwise be dead. It will relieve suffering. It will produce higher standards for the medical profession. It will be a great contribution towards the wellbeing of the common people of Great Britain.”

Imagine the spirit of the post-war generation; a culture of communal ambition and desire to rise. To make a collective contribution, a source of individual emancipation. A belief in a civilised society in terms of wealth and health for all. By July 1948, Bevan had done it. Against a weight of sceptical opposition the NHS was born from the long-held ideal that medical excellence should be available to all, regardless of wealth, occupational status, class, gender, or age. Despite its economic anxieties, the nation was still able to do the most civilised thing in the world, and put the welfare of the sick before every other consideration. It was so much more than just a political victory.

Modern Medicine, Scientific Discoveries, and Achievements in the NHS


Today, the achievements of the NHS are extensive. Take fertility and sexual rights; contraceptive methods are a vital part of sexual and reproductive rights for women. Access on the NHS empowers women to take control of their fertility as well as preventing transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and improving sexual health at every age and stage of life. This is, of course, just one example. Many of the life-saving therapies that we now take for granted, simply didn’t exist when the NHS was


first born. Most vaccination programmes were not in place, there were no routine antibiotics or blood pressure treatments, cancer was still largely a death sentence, and no one had even heard of DNA. Thanks in part to British science, this has changed.

A true British success story was the development of the world’s first ever Computed Tomography or CT scanner; a few years later, it was the first IVF baby born in 1978. A world first, IVF offered new hope to couples unable to conceive while CT scanners revolutionised the fields of diagnostic medicine and radiography. Over the last 70 years, the NHS has supported some of the most innovative and cuttingedge procedures, with clinical evidence from systematic research, and has made these advances available to all: everything from vaccinations to antibiotics, IVF to stem cell transplants, artificial hips to MRI scanners, and provided knowledge of the structure of DNA. Some of the biggest medical discoveries have gone on to become part of the standardised care and evidence-based medicine that patients receive today. For example, beta blockers were discovered

What is now proved was once only imagined William Blake 07

Feature - The Magdalen - December

in the UK in the late 1950s, and today more than 37 million prescriptions a year are written to treat a wide range of cardiovascular disorders. Vaccinations, in their infancy when the NHS began, helped define the service and its goal to prevent illness wherever possible. Mass vaccination programmes were introduced to prevent some of the most serious afflictions of the day, including Tuberculosis (TB). The advent of the NHS saw vaccination programmes grow and become enormously sophisticated. Smallpox has since been eradicated from British shores. Diseases that had caused mass deaths or permanent disabilities, such as polio, are going the way of smallpox, with rates of infection dropping significantly. The first UK organ transplant was performed in Edinburgh in 1960. It marked the first of many successful NHS transplants which paved the way for more ground-breaking procedures that continue to benefit thousands every year. Following the development of more sophisticated drugs, organ rejection is far less prevalent with almost 5,000 organ transplants performed in the UK each year. The number of people alive due to organ donation surpassed 50,000 for the first time last year. In 1953, Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). One of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century, it turned the global scientific community upside down. After winning the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine, their discovery marked the beginning of genetic medicine globally. Understanding DNA ultimately allows scientists to better understand diseases caused by defective genes, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. In 2003, NHS clinicians were among a team of


Design by Molly Porteous

international researchers who completed a thirteen year, multibillion-pound project, to sequence the human genome which propelled scientists, researchers and clinicians globally into an era of personalised medicine and advanced genetic testing. The project’s legacy continues to improve diagnosis and treatment throughout medicine, and provides the basis for the ‘100,000 Genomes Project’ which is sequencing whole genomes of NHS patients. The project is focusing on rare diseases, common types of cancer, and infectious diseases. The data is being shared with researchers, to improve knowledge of the causes, treatment and care of the diseases affecting our nation. The NHS will always need to change to match emerging science and shifting disease profiles. The forefront of progress is NHS supported scientific research into gene therapies. Today, doctors hope inherited and incurable diseases could one day be treated with gene therapies such as gene editing. Researchers at NHS hospitals have shown that clinicians may be able to insert healthy copies of defective genes into patients. Although research still has a long way to go, gene therapies may well be the answer to many previously incurable afflictions.

The NHS Today and in the Future The NHS continues to prove itself today, especially in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester along with the Grenfell Tower tragedy which saw all emergency services, including frontline NHS staff at the heart of the response, react with world-class skill and bravery. Even today, the NHS continues to provide mental health support for victims of the 2017 tragedies. However, there is no doubt that the service is very much under attack.

December - The Magdalen - Feature

The future of the NHS is now regularly questioned in the advent of underfunding and looming privatisation. Many NHS reforms that have been implemented to cope with dramatically changing demands on its services. As Bevan himself said, the service should always adapt to the needs before it. However, costs are increasingly driven by profit incentive as opposed to medical need. The NHS has never been more at risk. Questions remain regarding funding for public health, education, training, and perhaps most importantly, social and community care. Perhaps we have directly influenced one of the most critical issues facing the NHS today. Tackling disease was the main job of the NHS originally, but we now expect much more. From advice on healthcare management through to mental health and social care, contraception, antenatal and maternity services, vaccination programmes and the fast, efficient processing of our medication and appointments. Our high expectations have never been more unrealistic. The NHS is nowhere near crisis point yet but all eyes are now on the government as there is still much that it could do better. Despite understaffing, poor pay and conditions for many, NHS staff cite vocation as a reason for staying late and giving more than their contracts require. We all, patients and staff alike, deserve better. Despite feeling valued by their patients, 80% of doctors report excessive stress. Many clinicians raised concerns of understaffing among other failings in the system, following the undue punishment of a competent and committed junior doctor after the death of a patient. 6-year-old Jack Adcock died after Dr Bawa-Garba mishandled his life-threatening sepsis while covering the work of two other doctors in an understaffed department.

Reflections This founding principle of the NHS still stands as proudly today as it did 70 years ago, continuing to lead the world in universal health coverage; free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need, not ability to pay. In many respects, it’s in much better shape than its beginnings; providing more care, in better ways, to more people. However, with a Tory government – the same party that once voted 22 times against the proposed National Health Service Act – more focused on the Brexit crisis, and hollow promises of increased funding, there is no doubt it is struggling. However, we cannot overlook its greatest achievement: its sheer survival through some of Britain’s darkest times. The whole concept came into being overnight, following a devastating war. Just a year or two later, it revealed huge depths of Britain’s health deprivation, however, the nation met that challenge. NHS running costs soared but so did life expectancy and quality of life. That meant the health needs of the nation were finally being met. If we could achieve that then, with the right political will and public support, we can surely achieve it again. When a heart arrests, it often doesn’t stop, but a fatal disruption in its rhythm occurs. The electrical charge that makes the muscles contract, goes from a smooth regular pattern to no pattern at all; totally chaotic. This means the heart is no longer efficient and therefore no longer pumping oxygen-rich blood to the brain, ultimately threatening life. The biggest question over the future of the NHS is simple; If, at some point, the rhythm that keeps it all going gets disrupted, do we as a nation fight to get it back again? Do we, if the time comes, resuscitate it, or not? Words by James Dale


Creative Writing - The Magdalen - December

Another Bloody Tangerine Weary Winter’s coming fast: Belly hangs down like a present bag New Year I’ll work out

New Year, New Me, Clichés, Your Christmas, better than mine? Better let everybody know That is not the case With 1s and 0s.

Crackers, pulled without a bang Better luck next time mate!

buy lots, show lots, Believe in Santa close the doors,

Family are happy to see me, I hope, And I am happy to see them, really ruddy am. Grinning.

It’s not rain, dear It’s snow and It’s no gonna stop anytime soon, so


Do not get cold, relax. Netflix, common cold, snacks. “Useless? This is a lot to unpack!” Boxing Day breakfast in bed? Pigs in electric blankets. A cynical Christmas poem, all wrong: all obtuse like a moose. Ho Ho Ho

Words by Nadeem Beg, design by Louise James, photography by Domas Radzevicius

December - The Magdalen - Creative Writing

A baby’s tear is shed. He cries for losing his body and mind by immersing himself: he’s an untouched canvas to be painted by others. His spirit on the other hand, the lingering bead that for a brief moment baths in remembrance, laughs like a careless child. It’s the single droplets that make the ocean beautiful. It’s not the collective, but the individual we should focus on. It doesn’t take a group to make the butterfly break out of its cocoon and only a single thought is required to bring about change. Soon after the memories of oneself dissolve, we are moulded to fit the rest. We - the clay - let others make of us what they desire, even though we possess the hands of a craftsman as well. Our eyes blur and we lose ourselves. Thus, we walk on the endless road with mirrors surrounding us. They show us who we are, the others do. I’ve lost the ability to see for myself, to see myself: I need the distorted but believable images. I’ve grown a thick fur which is built upon the reflections shown by others. And so, I march ahead. I sculpt myself to serve their eyes, to be just another among the

many, but by doing so, I forget my name: the name I remembered while bathing in the light. The world shakes as our hoofs hit the ground. They run beside me, my brothers and sisters, my community. They would fall for me and I for them. Even to our doom, we would charge hand by hand. Next, to them, I have a goal and a purpose. Together we walk on this forsaken land. I’ve noticed that I’ve become blind. I can’t see like I used to, my eyes can only perceive the reflections. My pack is my everything, but to get out of this endless road, I have to shatter the mirrors. Goodbye, I say. Hate me, despise me, but at least I’ll finally see who I am. As the herd keeps marching forward with their eyes shut, I break through the glass. I find myself once again bathing in my own awareness. It dances around me and whispers my name and not the one that was given to me by others. My community wrapped me into life, but at the same time took my eyes. Now I walk free and for the first time, I can see clearly, and not through mirrors.

Words by Daniel Pukkila, design by Molly Porteous


Creative Writing - The Magdalen - December

Your Choice I shall tell you that this world is not broken, but entrusted in the hands of the small people, the irrelevant bunch - to those you don’t hear from. It is those and only those that hold the fate of tomorrow. They are the craftsman who molds our society; the rules, our ideals and the way we think and see the World. So don’t undermine your creation and don’t complain about the outcome you have brought about, but take joy in your masterpiece. All the problems you face in your life are generated by you. How could have someone else done it when you are the one holding all the tools? You might hate me, call me a liar, a fake. Maybe even a politician! But I don’t care, for I respect whatever you say: for that is your way of perceiving this place we live in. That is your way of seeing things and it is unlike any others. The children are rising from the grave and taking their place amongst us. We leave our painting to them and trust them to be the guiding force from now on. We will keep helping until our last breath; and even after we have transitioned, we’ll keep assisting from behind the curtain. My part won’t be over as won’t yours. I shall


Design by Molly Porteous

December - The Magdalen - Creative Writing

rustle the leaves in the fall: when all turn red, brown and yellow. I shall whisper confessions of love and encouragements. You are not alone - just look at the grass, the never-ending acres of life that keep sprouting forth. You are like that as well, you are life, consciousness from what all is ignited. I vowed myself to give it my all. This last time I’ll see the world, meet people and peacefully be forgotten over winter. And when all grows a new, I’ll be all forgotten. But my touch on this world will never disappear, my experiences are indebted in my soul which never burns out. Like nature, I rejuvenate; I go through the cycles until I hit my final one. Remember that you are to blame and that you are to thank. Don’t minimize yourself, for you are the one holding the brush and pen. You are the one who has everything he could ever imagine on the reach of his Fingertips. You shall see me as the passer-by in the street. The one who might smile at you when you’re having a bad day. I shall be the one who’ll give you a hug in your dreams, just that you will feel better when you wake up. I shall chip you a coin if you decide to beg on the streets and experience the harshness this world has to offer. But know that it is all up to you - I will be there, smiling, loving from afar, because I respect you and your choices. Whether you believe this all is true or not, is totally up to you, for you decide what is real and what is not.

Words by Daniel Pukkila


Comics - The Magdalen - December


Design by Nicole McLaughlin (above) and Aimee Adam (below)

December - The Magdalen - Quiz

Which University Building Are You? Start

Well what makes you say that? 1. I am far more creative than I look! 2. I am not as organised as I look!

1 2

A pent up creative, you are: DJCAD

Do you feel your exterior matches your interior? 1. Not in the slightest! 2. Not sure to be honest 3. Yes, to a T.

1 2 3 How'd you get on with that project due tomorrow? 1. We have a project due tomorrow!? 2. Just about to finish. It probably sucks, but Ds get degrees, right? 3. It was a stupid assignment so I didn’t do it. I emailed my tutor telling her so. 4. It was tough, but I think I aced it

1 2 3 4

What time do you usually wake up at? 1. Just whenever I guess 2. 7am every day, including weekends

1 2

So you're pretty well organised then? 1. Not really, I’m just clinging on at this point 2. I have my schedule for the next 6 months already planned, hell yeah I’m organised

1 2

Bland and confusing in equal measure, you are: Dalhousie Sleek, smart, and in control, you are: Stuffy and arrogant, you are:


Bit of a slacker, but mostly just your average guy, you are:

The Tower Building

The Life Sciences Building

Frantic, exhausted, but hanging in there, you are: Ninewells

Words by Dundee Quiz Society, design by Molly Porteous


Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Got an idea?

Arts and Entertainment - The Magdalen - December

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December - The Magdalen - Arts and Entertainment

On Frankenstein,

A Monster of a Theatrical Play Mary Shelley (1791-1851) was an English novelist, best known for her gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. First published in 1818, it was written as a short story in response to a challenge posed by Lord Byron, who suggested a group of friends to write a ghostly tale for their entertainment. Mary’s grotesque Frankenstein came out as the undoubted winner.

Victor Frankenstein is the main character of the eponymous novel. An Italian-Swiss scientist obsessed with an idea of reversing the merciless forces of nature in the face of death and decay, he creates a living Creature, named after its creator, by reanimating the dead remains. However, following the fleeting feeling of victory came the realisation of his experiment’s hideosity. Cast aside by his creator, the Creature is forced to defend himself in the unwelcoming world. Ignored and unbeloved, the beast is filled with a manic desire for revenge through murder and terror.


Arts and Entertainment - The Magdalen - December


Design by Olivia Sharkey, photography by Olivia Graham

December - The Magdalen - Arts and Entertainment

With more than 55 theatrical adaptations of Mary Shelley’s novel, this year’s interpretation by LIP Theatre, the UoD student-led drama society, marked the 200th anniversary of its publication. The minimalistic cast and scene decorations of this delightful new version trim any distractions from the main narrative and deliver the story in a masterful and lively, yet concise and comprehensive manner. In 1794, in the Arctic Sea, Captain Robert Walton is on a mission to reach and explore the North Pole, pushing his crew to exhaustion. Once his ship hits an iceberg, it gets aground on an icy shore, where, out of the blue, Captain Walton and his crew overhear a dreadful cry as they see a stranger approaching the ship. He introduces himself as Victor Frankenstein and shares the story of his life since he was a little boy in Geneva and until this very moment. Victor is a brilliant student and in love with his step-sister Elizabeth, an orphan being raised by his father Baron Frankenstein. In 1793, Victor moves to Ingolstadt to pursue a degree in higher education at the University and he promises to get married to Elizabeth on return. At the University, Victor befriends Henry Clerval who becomes his best friend and Professor Waldman, his teacher at medical school. When Victor shares his intention to create life by cheating death, Waldman advises him against this experiment for the result would be abominable. Unwilling to give up on his idea, Victor steals Waldman’s notes and makes a successful attempt to create the Creature, composed of body parts of deceased persons. Petrified by the outcome of his work, although still not acknowledging the tragedy of his moral mistake, Victor abandons the beast, leaving it to die alone. Betrayed and rejected by his own creator, not only does the creature survive, it also learns how to read and write and decides to seek revenge from Victor by killing everyone he loves. What makes Dundee’s interpretation of Frankenstein stand out from its predecessors is the fact that unlike

the earlier versions of the play, where Captain Walton, the Arctic explorer, framed the narrative, LIP’s troupe decided to keep him on stage for only the key scenes. This original touch proved efficient in engaging the audience and ensuring that they are following the story as it unfolds, bypassing the storyteller. Although Walton is often offstage, an intriguing parallel can be drawn between him and Victor. Both impersonate the overflowing ambition of mankind: while one is keen on conquering the North pole, the other is dreaming of playing God and creating new life. Although the key difference is that Frankenstein’s obsession proves fatally destructive, whereas Walton’s humanity wins over and makes him abandon his quest. What does come across clearly is the idea of the Creature – more sinned against than sinning – as a sad victim of Frankenstein’s unethical experiments. Mary Shelley’s novel depicts the monster as a sensitive and emotional creature, craving acceptance and affection. Unchangeably and similarly to other productions, Frankenstein is portrayed as versed in Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. Rejected by everyone he meets, his creator being no exception, the oppressed motherless ‘child’ says ‘…one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped…’. Upon seeing his own reflection, the Creature realises that he is disgusted by himself, and once his greatest desire to find love is denied, heartbroken, helpless and disarmed, he swears revenge on Victor. LIP’s production successfully combines empathy with the abused Creature with gothic grotesque and moral parable. The performance duly combines the touching and the terrifying and accurately conveys the mythic power and pioneering virtues of the much-analysed but nonetheless inexhaustible novel.

Words by Kris Aare


Arts and Entertainment - The Magdalen - December

Review: Weekend Films can be most easily split into two categories: those whose content is clean enough to show your family at Christmas, and others whose content is...not. Jean-Luc Godard’s 1968 black comedy Weekend stands proudly within the latter category, serving cocktails of sex and violence in all their repugnant glory. Suffice to say, the film sets its tone perfectly early on during a scene involving a girl narrating a story to another male character that seems a homage to Georges Bataille’s Story of The Eye at best, and a wholesale rip off of it at worst. The film follows the story of a wealthy French couple caught in a cataclysmic traffic jam while on their way to claim their inheritance through insidious means. Godard uses this simple framework to provide a broad critique of bourgeois capitalism by placing the protagonists in absurd conflicts with the working class.


‘Absurd’ encapsulates the whole experience, in fact. For enthusiasts of the obscene, the film is an absolute riot, and this is accomplished not only through the sheer ridiculousness of the scenarios but also through the equally ridiculous talent of Godard’s long-time cinematographer, Raoul Coutard. A standout example of this comes in the form of a rather lengthy tracking shot that acts as our first glimpse of the traffic jam. The camera follows the protagonists’ comically strenuous crawl up the road largely uninterrupted, creating a chaotic tapestry of burning cars, old men playing chess, and mangled corpses. Nothing escapes this film’s carnage, not even the 4thwall. How disappointed was I then, that between all the cannibalism, rape and other content to make De Sade blush, the thing I found most offensive about Weekend was

Words by Jack Loftus, design and illustration by Leah Cameron

it’s blatant Marxist propaganda. It’s no secret that Godard was an outspoken Socialist, and he advertises this fact in the worst possible way in this film. The sensual rollercoaster of chaos is brought to a screeching halt every 10 minutes to have characters pull out a soapbox and spout political rhetoric for what feels like 10 hours. It’s fantastic lip service for those who align themselves with such ideologies, but for the average filmgoer, it takes what’s a fun joyride and adds a dozen lengthy pit stops along the way. For those captivated by the art of cinematography, or who are more... ahem...’politically inclined’, Weekend is at least worth a glance. Everyone else however, should give it a wide berth. There are other films you can watch that are less patronising to the mind and a lot easier on the stomach.

December - The Magdalen - Arts and Entertainment

Review: Cyrano De Bergerac Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh 12 October-3 November 2018 The Citizens’ Dominic Hill brings to the Lyceum a Scots version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano De Bergerac . Hill’s production is a modern rendition of Rostand’s Alexandrine play about love and tragedy set within the Franco-Spanish War of 1635-1659. The cast, decked out in great tartan garb (designed by Pam Hogg), make this production feel like it could easily be set within the Jacobean conflict or a dingy Sauchiehall St café, rather than the French pageantry of the original.

poet must be set aside as the second half unfolds. An audience must actually give a damn that Cyrano keeps the honour of his friend Christian (Scott Mackie) for the sake of Roxanne’s love. As the play moved towards the emotional conclusion however, and Cyrano reels his fateful address to the audience, my companion and I were shuffling in our seats, wondering how much longer he was going to edify the power of the moon and whimper on like Rimbaud with a pacifier in his gob.

Cyrano De Bergerac (Brian Ferguson), the sharp-nosed poet of the title is our focus in a story filled with duels, treachery and the tragedy of two star-crossed lovers (no not those two –but then again Rostand had to nick the story from somewhere eh). We expect our actor playing Cyrano to be able to convey a certain foppish confidence, yet he must also deliver the honourable elements of the character with something close to pathos. The conflict in Cyrano stems between the gall of his panache (a word first written in the Rostand original) and the self-doubt because of his overtly comical nose. The old trope of a happy go lucky shy

Tom Piper’s set design, straight out of a Montmartre cafe, provided a complementary backdrop for much of the action. It was interesting that instead of relying on pre-recorded tracks Hill chose to employ live musicians on stage letting them strike up various instruments. Adding to the sense of Carnival was Keith Fleming’s magnificently powdered De Guiche. Gabriel Quigley’s demonstrable rendition of Ragueneau, for this reviewer, was the highlight of the show. The production was well worth the reasonable price of admission (£10 for a student ticket), but if you couldn’t make it, there’s probably a version somewhere online.

Words by Will Blow, design and illustration by Leah Cameron


Arts and Entertainment - The Magdalen - December

An unassuming stage with stools and microphones. A string band and piano. No set or choreography or fancy lighting, just the performers and the music. A stripped back concert performance of a new work, allowing the audience to focus in on the lyrics, music and story. It was a delicate and tender way to showcase the piece, and something which is not so often done in Scotland. Finding a good piece of theatre is easy. But finding one which is truly inspiring is rare. One whose story lodges itself into you, and you don’t stop thinking about it for a long time. That is what I felt with Hi, My Name Is Ben, the newest musical from award-winning writing team Noisemaker (Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour).

Ben is a heart wrenchingly beautiful piece of theatre based on a true story. It’s about a man who reached out with kindness and created a community, all


Design by Neil Connor

without speaking. He was mute. We first meet Old Ben (Gerry Mulgrew) as he moves into a tiny and bare apartment in New York. He can’t talk and has very little in the way of belongings. As the story progresses, we get well timed and well transitioned flashbacks to Young Ben (Jack North) before he lost his voice, starting off at high school. With a timeline that jumps about there is the risk of the story feeling disjointed, but there was no such inkling here. The show seamlessly moves between the two actors and different periods in Ben’s life. Jack has a strong yet soft voice which lends itself perfectly to the emotiveness of the music and lyrics. The match was perfect, with his vocals only enriching the feelings that the songs invoke. He is charming and funny but also cracking from the pressure of the limitations of his smalltown life. From his very first scene we learn of his longing to escape and find more. Through his songs you grow to care for Ben, to understand him, and

importantly you see the vast changes between Young and Old Ben and how becoming mute has changed him. We watch Young Ben’s story play out. We see his family fracture at his decision to leave. We see him deal with the loss of his parents and wrestle with the guilt he feels, falling into a depression and pushing away those who love him. In contrast to the younger version we see Old Ben creating connections with those who live around him, reaching out with kindness and bringing a little happiness into their lives. We then follow the rest of his life as he encounters a miracle and lives it out surrounded by love and the family, he created. It is a riveting score that intertwines perfectly with the beautiful lyrics. There are joyful, upbeat songs followed by emotional tear jerkers. Plenty of laughter and even more tears. The talent of the writers is

December - The Magdalen - Arts and Entertainment

evident in the way their songs infiltrate into you and create that resplendent connection between the audience and characters. With no choreography and limited physical interactions between the actors to build emotion there’s nowhere for the writing to hide. But that was a wonderful thing here. The music is inherently beautiful and laced with hope. It’s easy to appreciate the intricacies and impact of the words and the talent of the actors when they’re the only things in the spotlight.

with the audience and makes them so emotional.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Jack after the show, and I asked him what he thought it was about Ben that resonates

When asked about what he hopes people take away from the show he answered: “I think audiences are potentially inspired

“I think Ben’s story gathers such an intense reaction as it puts into perspective our own life journeys and the people we connect with along the way. I think nowadays, technology has groomed us to be insular and potentially self-obsessed. We’re running at such a pace that often we don’t stop and really focus on what’s important. His story is inspiring, you fall for him. It reflects to us our own flaws and makes us think about the people we love.”

to reach out to the people they love. It tells them to stop and really take in the world and appreciate its beauty. I think people connect with his sacrifices and that his story teaches us to do more for others.” This musical is definitely the type of theatre I love - it leaves you with tear tracks on your face, a bit of heartache, a bit of hope, and a different perspective of the world than when you walked in. I’m excited to follow the future of this piece and see what Claire and Scott work on next. With stars like them writing such stunning pieces the future of Scottish musical theatre is looking incredibly bright indeed.

Words by Beth MacLeod


Arts and Entertainment - The Magdalen - December


Design by Dan Barnfield

December - The Magdalen - Arts and Entertainment

Words by Holly Roberts


Community - The Magdalen - December

The Graduate: Finding meaningful, well-paid work after art school seems to be a choice between one, the other, or neither.

A Go-To Place for Recent Art Graduates


Being a recent university graduate is difficult enough as it is, but the struggles seem to be even more pronounced for those coming from an art school. The apparent demand for a medium to showcase your work is how the website-come-magazine, The Graduate, was born. The Magdalen had a chance to speak to the founders Vivi Dailly and Paulina Masternak, about what inspired them, how they went about setting up an ambitious business like theirs, and what the main aspirations are. It was quite literally, we are told, over a cup of coffee, as the two interior design graduates were sharing their frustration about the lack of opportunities in general, that they decided to take change into their hands.“The more we talked about the idea, and the more we researched it, we realised there was absolutely nothing like it out there.” The Graduate are an Edinburghbased magazine, aiming to publish twice a year, as well as providing an online platform for student art work to get effectively shared. Their site serves a creative directory for the first steps after graduation, if in the arts and design industry. On top of that, the biannual hard copies are carefully curated to highlight new local talent; winter edition revolving around the best upcoming work, whilst summer issues compile a selection of the top degree shows offerings. In other words, they make sure that student art can get successfully published and sold, while

Words by Barbara Mertlova, design by Molly Porteous

acting as a domain of ideas and inspiration for the public, and for businesses, The Graduate offers a simple way of looking for new talent.

“Finding meaningful, well-paid work after art school seems to be a choice between one, the other, or neither.” Changing that trend is the main motivation behind what The Graduate does. Starting as a website only, they highlighted to us the benefits of refining their focus, gaining a following, and learning from some initial mistakes while online for relatively cheap, before finalising the idea behind the printed publication. Annual subscription operating on bundle basis for £20 is now available for hard copies, with first issue premiering in summer 2019. As both founders are fulltime employed, it seems to be genuine passion, as well as in the beginnings motivation from those they shared the idea with, that powers this project. The whole magazine is self-designed, and currently they include all art degrees apart from architecture. So whether you are a DJCAD student interested in finding out how to get involved, or if you simply like “aesthetically pleasing things”, which is something The Graduate makes sure to take into consideration in their strategic planning, head over to the website and have a little browse. The virtual gallery, while intentionally minimalistic, has plenty to offer for anyone with interest in all things art. Championing art and design graduates across Scotland Now looking for 2019 talents


Community - The Magdalen - December


tudents have become increasingly fond of their Instagram-worthy independent and local businesses. In Dundee alone, there has been a surge of new humble, yet groovy shops from Perth Road to Broughty Ferry. If there was ever a time to join on to a city-wide developmental bandwagon, it’s now. The cosiness of the community-orientated

Independent businesses stand for human connection in a time of austerity. Their biggest competitors will dwarf their profits tenfold. Long gone are the days when the transactional relationship in a shop wasn’t just about the transaction alone. It is the nature and dependencies on big stores, which lacks the angle of community, which irks me. It is not the fact that I dislike the people who run franchises or who work in big supermarkets to make a living: the people who depend on the job and choose to make it enjoyable are legendary. It’s more the headache inducing lights, clinic-like atmosphere and the all perplexing selfservice check out: a fragment of technology that takes us one step closer to our robotic apocalypse. You walk in, you buy your milk and then you leave. That is what is expected. Don’t you even think about asking questions! But now, there is a new challenger… Though, just before we get to that, some of you might prefer the straight-forwardness of the modern-age shopping experience

business model often assures us of the collective society which we may strive for. But why, you may ask: why do we have to like them? Sure, they exist, but do they really represent the community or are they just as capitalistic as nationwide business empires?

over the overly enthusiastic sales assistant who insists on giving you the ‘quality’ service. While it is perhaps less personable, it becomes a relationship of you both disliking one another until the job is done. Can you not just get your milk with no strings attached? Additionally, we aren’t all made from bread and the gimmick of the postmodern grassroots businesses is that they are expectedly expensive. The Notting Hill era zeitgeist rings a bell. Is it only those who are affluent who can live off of independents, or so one would assume?

while sourcing clothes from the local community. There are even openings for students to market their pieces through the shop, which is assuring for the students who try so hard to make a living off of their designs. For jewellery makers or crafters, this idea of selling and promoting your wares is made possible thanks to the open nature of independent businesses. For the investment you make, you can guarantee that you won’t be wasting your money. But it is more than just the transaction, for as Oh Hello intends, you are a part of the community itself.

To answer this, I thought to enquire with the latest addition to Downtown Dundee: Oh Hello Vintage. Starting up eight weeks prior to this interview. The vintage clothes store has generated a buzz amongst the student friends I know. As a wee shop on Exchange Street, the appeal for a quirky vintage shop is very enticing, as it implores environmentally conscious stock cycling (as opposed to mass production of the same shirt)

As part of the collective of independent shops, known as Downtown Dundee, you are encouraged to come in for student nights (with some juicy promotional offers when you bring your student card). Students, atypically, are more conscious spenders and while we may be characterised by youthful impulsive shopping sprees, we are always keen for a good deal. In the small-scale model, it becomes far easier to


Design by Lisa Dyer, photography by Heather McKay

amend prices to compromise with the consumer, versus the more rigid model of the big business. If you know the community, then you know what sells and what doesn’t. Heck, even being able to follow up on the ideas of the customers (hosting reading lockins, gigs, fundraisers or business decisions like opening up late for a Halloween party). It’s clear that the scope for developing the community aspect within shops is necessary for engaging with consumers. Not just as the people who hand over the money, yet as the people who matter to the business itself. All of this equals publicity and whether good (or bad), that might determine the longevity of a business here in Dundee. So, if you choose to interact with your local shop, consider the impact you might make as an autonomous member of the community. Where you might not have the capacity to see change in the big shops, you know that you may be understood at that lovely conscious little nifty shop located nearby.

"Independent businesses stand for human connection in a time of austerity."

Words by Alastair Letch


Interview - The Magdalen - December

A Chat with the Nobel Laureate Discussing the protein solving technique he helped develop and his research trajectory



December - The Magdalen - Interview

O On October 17th, I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Peter Garland lecture, part of a lecture series set up in 1985 in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, in honour of Dundee’s first Professor of Biochemistry, who built up the department. There was something special about this lecture. Not only was Peter Garland himself present, but the guest speaker was none other than Dr Richard Henderson, a physicist-turned biologist who was awarded alongside two others, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year.

Richard was born in Edinburgh and studied BSc Physics at the University of Edinburgh, before obtaining a PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. He then went on to conduct his post-doctoral research at Yale University and continued the rest of his career in structural biology back at Cambridge, being the Molecular Biology laboratory’s director for 10 years from 1996-2006. In the last few years, Richard’s research has focused on solving protein structure. Proteins are important biomolecules (bio- life, molecule- mass) with many diverse functions, found in all kinds of beings, from plants and animals to us humans. Their ability to have such specific and different functions depends on their conformation or structure. Therefore, by solving their structure we can obtain key information about a protein’s function, which can be very useful in treating disease, which in many cases arises from a protein that is malfunctioning.

In the lecture, Richard talked about the revolutionary technique that he helped develop called Cryo-EM (Cryoelectron microscopy), which allows us to look with amazing detail into these specific protein structures, without the need for crystallisation, which can sometimes be a tricky process. Through this technique, high resolution structures of proteins can be obtained, and it is this great detail that allows the pharmaceutical industry to develop efficient drugs for disease treatment. The lecture theatre was packed. In the last fifteen minutes before the talk it had been flooded with a crowd of professors, researchers, PhD students and some undergraduates who, like myself, were all urging to hear the much anticipated talk. People were sitting on the stairs, or even standing. But no one seemed to mind, they were too focused on listening to Richard’s words and following the evolution of this technique, which, through experiment after experiment had evolved, as higher resolution structures were gradually being obtained by tweaking the methodology. The public certainly seemed to enjoy the visual aids that accompanied the presentation, with amazing protein structure images taken at the atomic level. After the lecture finished, I approached Richard, and with a warm smile he agreed to answer a few questions. I believe his exact words were: “Why of course, this is what I’m here for.”

Traditionally, in order to “solve” a structure, scientists convert the protein into a crystal and then use X-rays to determine its conformation.


Interview - The Magdalen - December



Conchita (C): Considering the future of Cryo-EM, how it’s revolutionising how we look at protein structure and protein solving, what would you say, if you could solve any structure using this approach, what the next “big thing” would be to solve?

Richard Henderson (RH): There aren’t so many new structures left you see. Our goal is to make it perfect, so it works in practice just like it should in theory.

As a third year science undergraduate, lately there’s talk on where our careers will take us, and negative remarks towards a career as a researcher, and economic prosperity or security. I have always considered myself optimistic and passionate about discovery, and to always look at things from a different perspective. Given this somewhat controversial topic, I decided to ask Richard about it, and see what a scientist at the peak of his career such as a recent Nobel laureate would have to say about a career in research.


One of the titles that I sometimes use is “Cryo-EM theory and practice”, and the goal of what we do is to make the practical implementation of it equal to theory, and after that you can declare victory, retire, and go and do something else.

You also have to think that nowadays you don’t always need experiments for structure solving; you can compute structures. Proteins are just atoms and amino acids, and by using molecular dynamics or energy functions you can predict your protein structure by computing. Although I personally think that it will be done/solved experimentally before it can be calculated, since some of the energy functions aren’t accurate enough yet.


C: What transcendence do you think this technique has in terms of disease treatment?

RH: By solving protein structure with great detail the people who design drugs can take this information and in principle, you want a drug that blocks or activates every biological activity, depending on the specific disease, so by having an effective pill for everything you can virtually cure people of any cancer or any disease.


Design by Molly Porteous

C: Lately there’s been a lot of talk, as an undergraduate myself, within the scientific community of the choice of going into research, due to all the recent funding cuts in the UK and I wanted to see your view on it.

RH: The funding will continue to increase inexorably. And you know, Britain’s at 2%, 3% and in the world you don’t need more than 2-3% of the world to feed everybody, so the rest of the population can do whatever they want.

C: As a future postgraduate student, what would you say is key to take into account, given your trajectory starting off as a physics student and ending up studying biology?

RH: I think the key thing is to do plenty of research, talk to numerous people and never stop talking to them, because you might have missed something, when you’ve made your decision to go into a particular field. Physics is also a good thing to do when you’re starting. Actually I was destined, before I went to Cambridge, after I had searched all over Britain and I said “I’m not going to USA, because you have to sit exams”, I decided to go to King’s college in London to do a PhD. So I wrote saying “I’d like to come” and they wrote back saying “We’ll let you know”, but they didn’t offer me anything.

Some people write novels, other people read novels. People make films, people watch films. But research is onward, and the thing that amazes me is that 100 years ago, 1896-1897 X rays and electrons weren’t discovered, their existence wasn’t even known 100 years ago.

Afterwards I went to my professor, so you should talk to your local professor(s), and said “Oh no, you mustn’t go to Kings, you should go and talk to my friend Perutz”. So I went to see him and it was Perutz, Kendrew and David who were giving the Saturday morning student awareness talk and of that group of us, there were about 30-40 students looking around, two of us ended up studying there. It was two a year now I think we’re up to 30 a year.

So now, in the next 100 years… who knows! And you have to include Iphones and laptops, that technology is part of those scientific advancements and those techniques are integrated with the “people at the bench”.

But you know, you can switch from one thing to the other and if you keep talking to people, you’re going to have to switch eventually, in say a 40-50 year career, as things change, but you can’t possibly go wrong.

December - The Magdalen - Interview

Some people write novels, other people read novels. People make films, people watch films.

The way he spoke, it was as if he was telling me a story, a delightful one. I felt passion in his every word, as if he was reliving each moment when he told it. After collecting his autograph, I listened to the interview again, and after a little investigating found out that the names he had mentioned; Perutz, Kendrew and David were also brilliant scientists who had accomplished amazing things within their lines of work in Molecular Biology. David Blow was Richard’s doctoral advisor, and his doctoral advisor was Max Perutz, who had been awarded alongside John Kendrew a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962, for solving the structures of two proteins called haemoglobin; found in our blood, it helps transport oxygen molecules so all the cells in our body can “breathe”, and myoglobin, which has a similar role in our muscles. Remarkably, they were also pioneers in determining early high resolution protein structures and exploring X-ray crystallography methods. It also turns out that Richard’s doctoral advisor’s son is the present Dean of the School of Life Sciences at the University, Julian Blow. Julian is a notable researcher at the James Black Centre, in the division of Gene Regulation and Expression, who also shared a few words prior to the talk, opening up about his first encounters with the Nobel laureate. Richard was so down to earth and left me with a hopeful feeling that anything can be done if you set your mind to it; as long as you are passionate, active and you “keep talking to people” like he said. I can’t wait to see where this technique may take the field of protein solving, and happy that I get to live through the many breakthroughs that are yet to be discovered. Words by Conchita Fraguas Bringas


Current Affairs - The Magdalen - December

we need to listen

If there’s one conversation we as a society consistently shy away from, it’s mental health. Within that sphere, we have topics that seem to be both discussed to the point of exhaustion and completely avoided. Suicide and addiction. Often, we only hear about the aftermath of these issues. The reports on the wasted lives of trapped people, a cycle of deprivation in communities ravaged by drugs for generations. The tragic loss of life that could have been prevented if they’d just asked for help. Sometimes that’s not possible and sometimes, it’s not enough. Rhys Grieg is a nursing student at our Fife Campus. Last December, Rhys’ Dad committed suicide through a heroin overdose. Ryan Greig was 44 and had been struggling with his mental health and addiction for years. One common issue that came up through the course of dealing with his illnesses was the lack of community based support. In the aftermath of her Dad’s suicide, Rhys has been active in raising awareness of these issues and encouraging the development of an open conversation.


Design by Cristina Antequera, photography by Domas Radzevicius

December - The Magdalen - Current Affairs

What role did community support play in your dad’s struggle with his addiction and his mental health? RG: I don’t believe there was much community support because the issue was, especially in Lochgelly where we’re from, is that the community and the people that we knew shied away from the topic. They didn’t want to know about my dad’s addiction or his extremely poor mental health. Even when he did go and specifically ask for support, he was given medication instead. Another issue was that no one seemed to know what support was available. There were groups like DAPL (Drugs, Alcohol and Psychotherapies Limited) that had helped my dad in the past and they were amazing but unfortunately their funds got cut and their volunteers were reduced. Even charities can’t keep going, there’s so many people in desperate need and they can’t get support.

Do you think there was enough support for yourself, from the community, as a carer of someone with an addiction and mental health problems? RG: No. While I was at school, I was too scared to talk about it. There was such a shame carried with that and even the worry that I wouldn’t be seen as a real carer because you can’t see my dad’s disability. So I was scared to reach out for support and when I did, they didn’t believe me. I know that I won’t be the only person who was in that situation growing up though, or who is now. It felt like people would only pay attention when “suicide” was mentioned. I tried, I really did. I went to social work, but they referred me to someone else. Then they said to phone the police who told me to phone social work. I tried NHS24 every day for a week and no one helped. That was 10 weeks before he died. It just goes to show that

even with these community support systems in place, it wasn’t enough. They didn’t know what to do, everyone is too scared to talk about it. It’s not the NHS’ fault, there’s just no funding and people are scared to go work in that sector because it’s so taboo so no one knows how to tackle it.

How important are stereotypes in these situations? RG: So important, it definitely didn’t help him. It was strange though, because he was such a popular man and on the surface he was a normal guy. He was just in such a dark place but he never let on to anyone but I knew. And people will see what they want to, out of sight and out of mind. My dad actually didn’t fit a lot of the addict stereotypes that are ingrained into our society. That made it really difficult for me to try and get help because he seemed so normal. It’s a no-win situation because if you fit

the stereotype then you’re written off but if you don’t fit it then you aren’t believed. The world today is becoming more and more open to discussing mental health problems but we still have a long way to go. Stereotypes that have been building for generations can’t be taken down quickly. But we need to keep the conversation open and we need to listen. What we can’t do is just cover it up with some sort of “plaster” or drug and send people on their way, we need to let the wounds air and heal. It shouldn’t have to go to the extremes of suicide before people take notice. Suicide can’t be taken out of context, there are systematic structural problems that lead to it and that can be improved. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, there are support services available within and outwith the university.

“ ” I went to social work, but they referred me to someone else. Then they said to phone the police who told me to phone social work. I tried NHS24 every day for a week and no one helped. That was 10 weeks before he died.

Words by Mary Erin Kinch with thanks to Rhys Grieg


Current Affairs - The Magdalen - December

Let’s All Be ACTIVE CITIZENS What you can do to join the worldwide community to help save the world!


ecently, it seems hard to escape news’ headlines such as: plastic pollution, climate change, global warming, natural disasters, species extinction, etc…. The future can seem doom and gloomy. But it doesn’t have to be! The latest climate change report (Oct 2018) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 stated we only have 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5°C before climatic catastrophes really kick off but instead of being scared, let’s get to work! Recent studies show that going vegan is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth. By being vegan, you save 1100 gallons of water, 45lbs of grain, 30ft2 of forest land and 20lbs of CO₂ – per day2 ! This is because raising livestock is resource-intensive, whereas a plant-based diet utilises the resources directly. This means going vegan can reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73%3 . Eating locally and seasonally can reduce it even more. For a lot of people, switching your diet can be a big and scary step, but it’s not something you have to do overnight. Think of it as a gradual progress of introducing new habits and lifestyle choices that are actively positive options for the planet rather than a punishment or deprivation of your old habits. Why not try Meatless Monday for a while? Another option after that could be to join Veganuary – a global campaign to try veganism in January. Joining the campaign gives you access to free tips and lots of resources. Even here at the university we have our own options to get involved in actively helping our planet. The Low Impact Living Society was started this year and have been an active presence on our campus already. They’ll


Design and illustration by Olivia Sharkey

be hosting a campaign for Veganuary too. There is no better way to start 2019 than in an eco-friendly, ethical and healthy way. A topic that has also been in the news recently is the vast and destructive problem of worldwide plastic pollution. Whilst the EU recently banned 10 single use plastic items for the near future, the UK will not be affected by this law due to Brexit. With statistics stating that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans (by weight) by 2050 and 8 million tons of plastic entering our oceans annually, we have to make a change! Although recycling seems like a great idea, unfortunately worldwide only 9% 4 of those products are actually recycled. Instead of recycling, there is the increasingly popular choice of “plastic minimalism”. You’d be surprised by all the items you can find plastic free: fruit, vegetables, bread, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, makeup… the list is endless. A really easy way to find out where your waste is coming from is to try collecting or even just paying attention to all your waste for about 2-4 weeks. Once you have an idea of this you can more easily figure out where you need to adjust. Another big, yet often forgotten, polluter is the fashion industry. Did you know it takes 2720L of water to make 1 T-shirt? This is equivalent to what a person drinks over a 3-year period. Even discounting the chemicals, high emissions and unsustainable farming practices, fast fashion heavily relies on human exploitation. Work abuse, child labour and low pay are only some of the problems associated with this industry. A good deal for us

December - The Magdalen - Current Affairs

“There will be more plastic than fish in our oceans (by weight) by 2050”

could cost someone else their life - literally. In 2013, a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed and tragically killed 1138 people5. Instead of falling into the “shopaholic” trap, redefine your relationship with your possessions. Own what you like, sell, swap and donate the rest. Upcycle old things, shop second-hand and support ethical businesses. Choose quality over quantity, something which can actually be cheaper in the long run! Our landfills are getting bigger, our wallets emptier and our hearts more attached to materialism. So, if you only take one thing away from this, be mindful of your consumption. Remember, every time you spend money, you cast a vote for the future you want. And that makes YOU incredibly powerful. Boycott companies which ruin our future and instead support those that ensure a sustainable and ethical one. WWF recently said, “We are the first generation to know we are destroying the planet. And we could be the last that can do anything about it.” Personally, I want to look into future generation’s eyes and be able to say I tried my best to ensure a sustainable future. Are you with me? If so, let’s take things into our own hands. Let’s change from being Earth’s citizens to being active citizens for Earth. The choice is ours. Let’s fight for our home.


IPCC Climate change report (2018):




4. environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-anddairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-yourimpact-on-earth

5. uploads/2014/04/FR_GetInvolved.pdf

If you want to learn more, check out: @treesnpeace on Instagram, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks over Knives, and “The True Cost” on

Words by Josephine Becker


Fashion - The Magdalen - December

Christmas Dressing All Month Long How to channel your Christmas cheer throughout the month of December… without getting odd looks.


ecember. It’s a time to be merry, and a time of two types of people. The ones who roll their eyes every time Wham’s Last Christmas comes on the radio, and the ones who start watching Elf the minute the clock ticks over from Halloween. It goes without saying that if you want to wear obnoxious Christmas jumpers all month round then go for it! However, for those of you who want to wear their festive cheer without upsetting the former group, or who don’t want to break the bank buying new clothes to share the Christmas spirit, here are three simple ways to go about it.


Santa Chic. It’s time to pull out your modernday Santa cosplay. Think about playing with reds, creams, and even greens this time of year. Red is always a statement colour around this time, and is the perfect complement to your red nose caused by the Dundee winter. Nothing makes you feel more festive than wearing a cosy get-up while also looking like you could go ice-skating in New York at any moment. Picture this: a red jumper, with fuzzy white gloves, scarf and bobble hat. Add a statement red lipstick and you’re golden.

December - The Magdalen - Fashion

Winter jumpers, not Christmas jumpers. Christmas jumpers are a joyous invention, they truly are. But if you walk into a 9am lecture on December 1st clad in your 3D ‘Santa stuck in the chimney’ jumper, complete with a tone-deaf Jingle Bells tune playing when you click his shiny black boot, you may find yourself getting a tad ridiculed. Instead, why not go for a Fair Isle jumper to channel your inner 80s skier? There are also more ‘subtle’ festive jumpers to find, like a fuzzy robin instead of Rudolph.

One word: Glitter. Winter gleans the abundance of glitter in shops. You can find clothes embellished with sequins, sparkly tights to instantly jazz up any mundane outfit, and the shelves donned with statement glittery boot after statement glittery boot. If dressing like a Christmas tree isn’t your style, then you can always incorporate some shimmer into your makeup. One coat of glitter polish over a bare nail is a pretty way to add a subtle touch of sparkle to your look – perfect for feeling joyful throughout the month. You can also add a pop of glittery eyeshadow to the centre of your eyelid for that extra festive feel. Words by Emily Fletcher, design by Molly Porteous


Fashion - The Magdalen - December

Fashioned from Nature New Year, New Beginning: On sustainable fashion revolution shaping the future of the industry The first UK exhibition to explore the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day is hosted by V&A museum in London until the 27th of January 2019. The exhibition presents fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, innovative new fabrics and dyeing processes, inviting visitors to think about the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes. As Evening Standard puts it, ‘This is an inspiring show determined to incite change’.

disposed-of clothes clogging the landfill with 2 billion tonnes of waste per year, environmental pollution with the waste products of textile dyeing, the list can go on.

‘Fashioned from Nature’ reveals the uncomfortable truth that the industry indeed heavily relies on nature that serves not only as a major source of design inspiration but also provides raw materials, from which the art is born. The grandeur of fashion industry comes at a price, with staggering demand for water and fossil fuel supply, unloved and

As the demands on the Earth’s resources by the fashion industry continue to grow, innovative research is underway to address the impact on the natural world. Ranging from synthetic biology to the use of root structures as potential fibres, these creative solutions and their early adoption by the industry indicate a willingness to change and become more sustainable in the future. Fashioned by nature is an exposé that gathered in one place the proceedings of the world’s leading brands and designers advocating sustainable ethical fashion as the way forward for the industry. Here is a sneak peek into some of the showpieces and inspiration behind them.

Bolt Threads


Diana Scherer


Using genetically modified yeast, Californian Bolt Threads have developed a closed-loop process to bioengineer a new protein fibre mimicking the structure of spider silk. It requires neither the polluting chemicals of petroleum-derived materials nor the land, water and pesticides of conventionally farmed fibres. In 2017, designer Stella McCartney teamed up with Bolt Threads to launch the first fashion collection using the new bio-engineered fabric. Diana Scherer specialises in 3D textile, a technology based on growing the plant roots in specially designed patterns. Once fully grown, the roots are removed from soil and cut off the plant stems. Although this product is not suitable for wearing just yet, it showcases a potential for transforming the fashion industry by making its products recyclable and more sustainable.


Grâce à genetically engineered microbial species capable of depositing dyes, the method of textile dyeing designed by Colorifix requires less water, produces less or no waste and is environmentally friendly. Following treatment with a special dye transfer agent, the cloth containing microorganisms is briefly exposed to heat, which in turn results in microbial cell rupture and dye fixation onto the fabric. Revolutionary, innovative and stylish! A collaboration between Swedish and British designers conceived a product known as a wearable ‘paper’. This inexpensive 21st-century fabric has an intentionally short lifespan, and can be recycled or industrially composted. Made from unbleached wood pulp and other natural materials, the non-woven paper can be finished using natural dyes, laser surfacing, and efficient ultrasonic construction. Economical and customisable, this new technology offers another unique sustainable approach to fast fashion.

Design by Olivia Sharkey, photography by Kris Aare

December - The Magdalen - Fashion

Last but not least, at the heart of the exhibition is a display highlighting Vivienne Westwood’s fashion activism. Having established a strong collaboration with The Greenpeace Environmental Trust, she is pioneering eco fashion, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. Her activities and progress are documented on her website Climate Revolution. Furthermore, she recently released a clothing range, bold and ethical, the sales of which specifically support Greenpeace’s

cause. In addition to online T-Shirt sales, Westwood has created a visual campaign to ‘Save the Arctic’. The photographic display aims to draw a sharp focus on the protection of the Arctic and features a series of 60 portraits of celebrities such as Tom Hiddleston, Kate Moss and George Clooney wearing the recognizable ‘Save the Arctic’ T-shirt. This project comes after Westwood announced her decision to refocus her brand from growth towards good, using the famousness of her name to propel the efforts towards conservation and social change and mark the beginning of new fashion era. Words by Kris Aare


International - The Magdalen - December

What the Waters Have Divided, Design Helps to Connect


n Tuesday 16 October, seven out of the thirty one UNESCO Cities of Design across the world gathered in Dundee to share their experience of transforming public lives with the use of design. Hosted at the Steeple Church in Dundee, this long sold out special Pecha Kucha Night was brought by Creative Dundee in collaboration with UNESCO City of Design Dundee. Pecha Kucha, or translated directly from the Japanese term as Chit Chat, dates back to 2003 in Tokyo, from where it has since spread across the whole world, running in over 1000 cities to-date. Dundee has seen 21 volumes of the event so far, usually being a popular sell-out. And understandably so, as since 2014, the city has been part of the network of UNESCO Design

Cities, currently being the only one in the UK who has gained this title. The structure of Pecha Kucha evenings, which this special edition chose to follow as well, revolves around so-called 20x20. In a decoded language, speakers of the event have twenty seconds to talk about each of their twenty images. Along the lines of creating as welcoming as possible of an environment, the only other rule the event has to follow is to cheer a lot and show support to anyone coming on stage. So with all this in mind, the Dundee city centre venue hosted seven incredible presentation, arriving all the way from China, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Michigan, and Mexico. The beauty in such variety of implementation of art, provided by the international - and mainly multicultural - scene that was being set, could not go unmentioned. It left the room speechless at numerous times how breathtaking some of the pictures shown were, and even more so how the event subtly turned into somewhat of a cultural exploration. Emphasised by Istanbul’s delegate


Design by Fraser Robertson

December - The Magdalen - International

Gengo Demirer, he shared their local experience with street art, concluding with a remark echoing through the venue; “You call it chaotic, we call it home.” After only the first couple presentations, the audience began spotting common themes emerging from each city’s approach to design. While all of them had unique highlights and blew our minds with different facts - Did you know there are a total of 84 - that is EIGHTY FOUR - universities in the city of Wuhan alone? Or that Kortrijk is the main supplier of linen to the US? And that if you are keen on cars, cinema, egyptology, or 47 other specialist fields, the Italian Torino has 50 museums that cover all the above mentioned? But as I’ve said, that was almost overshadowed when the evening

the living standards in South Africa, that I realised the true purpose of the evening. Or maybe it only came with his sudden interruption; “But what are we going to do with what we’ve learnt tonight?” International travel - a privilege many can’t afford - even if done as a work trip for all the people who attended that night, should be used in ways that help to make change happen. Come, share, learn, and upon your return, implement the learnings. No matter how innovative the arts and design industries indisputably are, our worlds still build on too much rhetoric with limited action. Even that night, we spoke about culture and its importance, solidarity, as well as the perhapsoverused term innovation was thrown around. But those big words are hardly what will

Whether the cities had been divided by rivers, creating both a natural and economic separation, ... the examples portrayed the importance of design as part of a greater picture. progressed and we started seeing patterns in the role of design through all these achievements. Design and art, in all these cases, was being used as the means to create valuable connections. Whether the cities had been divided by rivers, creating both a natural and economic separation, or if the divide in local societies was rooted in other aspects, the examples portrayed the importance of design as part of a greater picture. The focus on community, combating inequality, and bringing the sides of the cities together; all of that was being achieved by collaborating across disciplines, with creative mindsets, and by involving all the people concerned. Followed by a dinner with the delegates, I had a chance to gain greater insights into how different speakers, as well as audience members interpreted the key themes and messages of the night. Speaking to a representative from Cape Town, my attention was brought to the profitability or benefits of events like these. It was perhaps when I listened to him passionately explaining how business opportunities and potential collaborations are crucial for improving

improve the lives of people in South Africa. They won’t even improve the lives of people in Dundee; we’ve all heard about (and most of us subsequently pretended not to see) the twofacetedness of our sunny little city. It has to go further. Words have to be put into actions. You’ll hear the term service design, which is likely to confuse more than it should actually explain anything. But however the world continues to call this design-thinking approach, what we saw that night was different cultures, communities, and views on life come together, share their knowledge, and try to build connections on the basis of a single thing in common - aiming to make the world a better place, for all.

Words by Barbara Mertlova


International - The Magdalen - December

A World of Opportunity


Design by Karen McLean, photography by Jakub Stepanovic

December - The Magdalen - International


few months before arriving in Dundee, I was writing with some of my soon-to-be-flatmates. This was, probably, the first time I was exposed to typical Scottish culture (different from watching Trainspotting, of course). And for a long time I could not get the need for putting ‘wee’ into every single sentence. Like, what was that even about? A sound of excitement? A way to pause in the sentences? Or a weird curse word? It wasn’t until I arrived in Dundee... I was finally told the meaning of this mystic word. Then, I eventually encountered the Scottish community and integrated in the society. But I would say, it goes both ways. When I am mentioning that I am from Denmark, people still ask me how I feel about Germany’s history. We might be tiny, but we’re still part of our own country, guys! It is always cozy and ‘hyggeligt’ to stay within your comfort zone - your culture, language and International or Nordic Society. However, there is nothing better than the opportunities which occur

when we expose ourselves to other cultures. To share, exchange and teach each other that there is a whole world out there. It opens our eyes and widens our horizon in ways that our own little community never would, despite how many times you watch The Bridge.

‘It opens our eyes and widens our horizon’

This is especially true with Christmas right around the corner (FINALLY)! This being probably the time when we feel the most comfortable - in the midst of our families, lovely friends and traditions. And it is not that any of those aren’t pleasant and important. What I am trying to say here is, remember: Not everyone opens their presents on the 25th, and that’s okay.

international communities exist within indigenous ones. This is most visible at universities, as we are integrating in a completely different society. Having this in mind, I believe that it is crucial for people to become more open-minded. Now more than ever. And I would sometimes think that the reason for that is because we live in such an international world. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. We have so many unique opportunities and chances to take. Now is the time to do it folks! And all of this is not just about being able to distinguish Danish from Dutch and Sweden from Switzerland. It is more about opening your mind, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. This will not only help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself, it will also teach you of compassion, sympathy and consideration. It can open your mind to a world of infinite opportunities!

We live in a global and fastdeveloping world, where Words by Lizzie Husum


International - The Magdalen - December

Community 46

Design by Olivia Sharkey, photography by Olivia Graham

December - The Magdalen - International

It all starts with ME & YOU! Every day, as we walk through the streets, from our rooms to university or school, we meet new individuals. We end up becoming friends with some people we had not thought about before, and we run across others we might never see again.

a sense of belonging and need to know they matter and deserve life. When we pass by people, we never know what one is going through. Even a simple ‘Hello’ can be a powerful trick. This is food for thought now…

This has become the cycle of the life, especially for those who live in a certain community. But… one question arises here; What is the hidden meaning of the word ‘community’? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘community’ is described as “the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality.” Dundee is a peaceful city with great institutions, such as is the University of Dundee. As an international student who is completely new to Scotland, I will refer to the university as a community in its own. Why do I think so? ... Well, this is a place where different schools and courses can be found, where students with different cultures and interests - all with different backgrounds and experiences - can communicate. Nonetheless, there is something that unites all of us in a certain way. I will term this as a closely knitted family. Despite the distinct knowledge or background we bring on board, as students, our desires and visions are all the same - To pass the exams and graduate. Regardless of this aim, we should not forget to make new friends every day and help each other in the little ways we can. Some of us need only a smile or a hug to make our day better. Others wish to feel

Have you ever said ‘Hello’ or smiled at the flatmate of yours who seems to be very secretive, or the coursemate of yours that never talks in class? And even to the girl or the guy you always meet in the library? Well, some of you might say ‘yes’, but others ‘no’. Most of the time, the reasons for students’ mental and health issues stem from the feeling of loneliness or the lack of understanding of what exactly is happening with their lives. However, we can contribute to their happiness in our own small ways. Although everyone has their circle of friends, we all should do our best to go beyond and give as much of our generosity as we can to those who may need it. So, the next time when we are walking around campus, we can just smile to those who pass by or simply say ‘Hello’. We may even try to start a conversation because we never know what that might do for a person. Better yet, that person might be the next Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, or your business partner or even a friend from another country. Let’s make the University of Dundee the best community to live in. Words by Sandra Darkoa Ofori


International - The Magdalen - December


Design and illustration by Maja Maliszewska

December - The Magdalen - International

Do You Want to Live in a Lie? In memory of Victoria Manolova /Виктория Манолова/

Have you ever thought about what it is to be a journalist? I believe you will be surprised b y t h e r e a l a n s w e r. The responsibilities of this work are far more complex than someone may imagine. The good journalist aims to satisfy the readers /you/. Even though they cannot read thoughts, they know what readers need. Their responsibility is to present information that is noteworthy. Yet, this is not enough. The materials should meet the standard of truth and honesty, so that readers /you/ can gain accurate knowledge about the world. Journalists are your eyes and your ears! They are everywhere, and they are the first people to know everything. They tackle the boundaries between countries, nations and time. Through their work, you can travel, cook or even decorate your house. They are the inside-out connection between a person and a country with the rest of the world. Their aim is to attract more readers and to deliver more news, which make them everyday storytellers. “The same way a verbal storyteller has a voice and a presentation style, so, too, should the journalist” – freelance writer Cari Shane. United by desires and goals, the journalist community is not based on territory or religious beliefs. Instead, it is created because of the common values, interests and responsibilities. In today’s world, the European journalist community is protected by non-governmental organisations and institutions, such as the European Journalism Centre,

Association of European Journalists and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Similarly, journalists all around Europe are brought together to collaborate, to share ideas and prospects. However, some of you may ask; ‘Why is this so important?’ It is because journalists are the voices of ordinary people. They improve everyday lives through the access to worldwide information and the latest news. Good journalists are those who are not afraid of speaking their mind and investigating the truth. But sometimes, the truth is dangerous and politically biased. So, the things here become more complicated. Their work is not only about gossip or home decoration. They can investigate even cases of police affairs – those who are obliged to defend us. This makes journalists inconvenient to some people. Did you know that only over the course of 2017/18 there have been around 5 murders of European journalists while investigating a case /working/? Now, you see why these things matter. The statistics do not affect only the journalist community. As I showed, readers /you/ are tightly linked to journalists. Do you want to live in a lie? According to the United Nations, the freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. This is the most effective journalists’ weapon that is used for free press and credible information to be provided globally. They work together to build a real picture of the world.

most recent case, which inspired me to write this article. She was a young and ambitious reporter who had recently highlighted government corruption of the European Union funds in Bulgaria. The search for the truth led to her harsh death. There are other examples of international journalists who were killed while pursuing their stories and fighting for truth. The Swedish reporter Kim Wall, the Maltese reporter Daphne Garcinia Galizia and the Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak worked in many dangerous places and sometimes were in ‘uncomfortable’ situations as journalists. They gave everything they had; even their lives. This may sound horrifying, but it is part of their job. Their brutal ends remind us that, although the European journalists generally work in fair conditions, freedom of the press and journalists’ safety are not to be taken for granted. From the materials I have read, I can say that the biggest concern and support comes from the nongovernmental organisations and other journalists all around the world. They send e-mails and letters, write posts and articles and help victims’ families as much as they can. Also, the non-governmental institutions are involved in solving the cases. As you can see then, there is a working journalist community, which, however, should try to raise the awareness and affect more people world-wide. We, as readers, should take a message and try to admire these people more. We need the bridges between our closed communities or nations and the rest of the world.

However, journalists are sometimes threatened for using their human rights. The death of the Bulgarian journalist Victoria Manolova is the Words by Maria Redeva


Lifestyle - The Magdalen - December

As the temperature dips and Dundee’s jaw dropping landscapes sparkle in the clear winter light, nothing beats a refreshing stroll to soak up the winter wonderland around you. Enjoy the magical appearance of hills glistening with snow, crisp air filling your lungs, and frost crunching underfoot - plus it’s a great excuse to escape the library during exam season. It’s important to have downtime whilst studying, and there’s no better way to boost your mood and reduce stress by taking a dander on one of Angus or Perthshire’s many spectacular winter trails.


Design by Eryn Moreton, photography by Emma Richardson

December - The Magdalen - Lifestyle

Dundee Law

Templeton Woods

A soothing skyline staple with volcanic origins and a railway tunnel piercing its middle, Dundee Law boasts spellbinding views across the Tay and its urban jungle. Those in it for a brief city stroll can simply scale the 572foot former Iron Age Hillfort and embrace the crisp panorama that unfolds.

Walk through the woods here and you’d hardly know Dundee’s busy retail parks aren’t far away. It’s a wildlife haven – keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels and roe deer. There’s a visitor centre and several different tracks to enjoy. Furthermore, make sure you stop off at Pine Cone Cafe. It’s so nicely decorated, it rivals Santa’s grotto for festive fun.

Botanic Garden The University of Dundee’s Botanic Garden is not far from the heart of the city centre. However, with its abundance of flowers, plants and trees you’ll feel as if you’re in another world. It’s perfect if you need a mainly flat, easy-going route. These gardens aren’t preened and pruned to perfection. They are well cared for, but some of the plants and flowers are left to grow gloriously unchallenged. It makes the whole area all the more appealing. The great thing is you can still have a walk even if there’s a howling gale outside. Head for the heated glass houses!

Monikie Country Park Paved with lush patches of wooded paths tracing the two former frozen reservoirs, Monikie Country Park rests on the fringes of Dundee. Walkers are presented with an abundance of options from self-led trails to guided routes, each of which hold striking scenic views. Make sure you do explore with a good walk, as it is well worth a visit.

H ermitage Woodland Walk (Dunkeld)

This National Trust for Scotland area is an absolute must if you’re out and about in Perthshire. It’s a relaxing walk through woodland, leading to the dramatic, rushing Black Linn Falls which are a gorgeous sight at this time of year. There are different routes you can follow. One of the most popular walks is the Braan route, which leads you through the woods, along by the river and to a great view of the waterfall. It’s circular, too, so you’re always seeing something different Make sure you head into Dunkeld or Birnam afterwards for a hot drink or snack!

Written by James Houston


Lifestyle - The Magdalen - December

HELEN’S CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS Everybody loves a dessert, and what’s better than a classic Christmas pudding? A traditional recipe involves steaming the pudding for up to 8 hours but we’re students so let’s face it, who has the time to be doing that? So, here’s a couple of recipes that are much quicker and easier than the ones your Granny used to make. One is cooked in the microwave and the other takes just two hours and can even be made on Christmas Day!


Design by Emma Biggins, photography by Domas Radzevicius

December - The Magdalen - Lifestyle

30 MINUTE CHRISTMAS PUDDING • 100g softened butter, plus extra to grease • 100g ready-made cranberry sauce • 2 tbsp golden syrup • 100g dark brown soft sugar • 2 medium eggs, beaten • 100g plain flour • 1tbsp mixed spice • 300g mixed dry fruit • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated

1. Grease a 1.2L pudding basin with some butter. In a small bowl stir together the cranberry sauce and golden syrup and pour two thirds of it into the pudding basin 2. In a separate bowl beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, mixed spice, dried fruit and grated apple until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper 3. Microwave on medium power for 9 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to stand for 10 minutes then turn out onto a plate. Cover with the remaining cranberry mixture and serve straight away

LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS PUDDING 1. G rease a 1.2L pudding basin. Spoon the golden syrup into the bottom and cover with the thinly sliced orange 2. B eat the sugar and butter in a separate bowl and gradually beat in the eggs 3. F old in the flour, breadcrumbs, chopped fruit and the orange and lemon juice and zest. Pour into the pudding basin 4. P lace a circle of greaseproof paper on the top followed by a circle of tinfoil. Tie with string 5. P ut a heatproof plate in the bottom of the pan and the pudding on top. Pour in boiling water up to halfway on the basin

• 175g softened butter, plus extra to grease • 3 tbsp golden syrup • 4 thin orange slices • Juice & zest of 1 orange • Juice & zest of 1 lemon • 175g light muscovado sugar • 3 medium eggs, beaten • 75g self raising flour • 75g breadcrumbs • 75g of both chopped prunes and dates

6. C ook for 2 hours over a medium simmer then turn out onto a plate and drizzle with syrup

Words by Helen Brown


Lifestyle - The Magdalen - December


Design by Olivia Sharkey, photography by Olivia Graham

December - The Magdalen - Lifestyle

A First-Class Institution With one in four of the University of Dundee’s 17,000 students and 3,000 staff coming from outside of the United Kingdom, when you join one of the world’s top 200 universities you’re also joining a multi-cultural community. Despite being two months into my Master’s course, I already feel a strong sense of the community present at Dundee, and will shed some light on what has helped me settle into the city. As a Geography Graduate, I’m compelled to consider the location of the university facilities and how they establish close community at Dundee. The compact campus is perfectly positioned, with lecture halls, classrooms, The Union and the library all within short walking distance of one another; not to mention that the city centre is a mere five-minute walk away. This arrangement means regular contact with fellow students - you are forever bumping into familiar faces and quickly feel like you belong. The close-by facilities have a knock-on effect of encouraging participation in different activities within the university community. After a long day of lectures, it’s easy to shoot across to The Union for a drink or a game of pool with fellow classmates. Even if beer and pool are not for you, there’s an abundance of restaurants, bars, sporting facilities and entertainment nearby the campus. Coming across from Belfast, the large number of Northern Irish students here has been a pivotal part of settling in for me. While shared nationality provides common ground for conversation, to hear my own accent across the water gives me the impression I’m connected to home despite being in a new city. With over 100 communities represented within Dundee University, other students are likely to echo similar sentiments - while you are part of a multicultural mix, it is still possible to find someone sharing a similar background. There is surely no better indication of the quality of a university than the opinion of those who have attended it in the recent past. Dundee ranks joint 8th in the United Kingdom for student experience and joint 2nd in the whole of Scotland. I reason that the close community feel here is intrinsic to Words by Andrew Forbes


Lifestyle - The Magdalen - December

“The close community feel here is intrinsic to this expressed satisfaction” this expressed satisfaction. In my eyes, there are a number of different ways that this connection and sense of community between students and the university is established. The Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) has been recognized as the best Student Union in Scotland (as voted by students in the National Student Survey) and is very much the hub for student activities within Dundee University. It’s ability to provide service - whether it be social, recreational or simply in giving guidance to students regardless of age, gender, background or beliefs - brings students together within a welcoming community. With this sense of belonging and security, you can then flourish at the university. DUSA hold a number of events, whether it be a holiday celebration like Halloween, a sporting fixture, or a fresher’s night out. They reflect the university as a whole, and all different members of the community can find something suited to their interests, which they can attend in order to make friends and have some craic while doing so. The eclectic mix of societies offered at Dundee ensures that everyone is catered for, and that there is a place within the community for all enrolled at the university.


While social life is important, the main reason for higher education is, of course, to further your academic studies and develop your abilities. Unfortunately, I have experienced bad teaching in the past, which led to my interest for my subject of study being dulled. Poor teaching can lead to the student experiencing alienation and disengagement from the institution and the community. However, I am pleased to say that to date, the teaching staff I have encountered during my creative writing course have been approachable, enthusiastic and displayed a genuine interest in enhancing and encouraging the growth of their student’s abilities. To have good rapport with teachers, and feel the freedom to share and develop my ideas with these people, has undoubtedly proven a big reason behind me feeling at home in Dundee. There are reasons why Dundee University continues to grow and succeed as an academic institution, and for me the sense of community present here is one of them. If, like me, you’re new to Dundee, and if you do not yet feel settled, I encourage you to get involved in the different events and activities offered here. The only person holding you back is yourself!

December - The Magdalen - Opinions

Into the Abyss There is nothing scarier than when everything becomes new. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was moving away from home. Leaving the familiar, safe space, and jumping into the abyss. The whole world suddenly turned upside down, and everything started from scratch. I had to learn how to manoeuvre in this new place, learn how everything worked and find out where I fitted in to this constantly changing puzzle.

Walking into the unfamiliar makes us want to scream, have a breakdown in the middle of the street and cry our eyes out. Nothing feels safe, and everything is potentially a threat. In addition, the constant fear of being left alone doesn’t shake off that easily, no matter how strong we are.

The whole world suddenly turned upside down It takes a lot of courage to step out of one’s comfort zone. Moving away and distancing ourselves from what we knew and held dear to us sounds like a nightmare. It’s easy when you know what you have to face, what you might encounter and, above all, knowing that you’re not alone. You don’t have to guess or even worry about tomorrow. I have walked into many new situations my life and I’ve learned that it gets easier each time.


Opinions - The Magdalen - December

As time progresses, we gain experience and learn. We gather tools that can be acquired only by stepping into the world, but if we don’t exit our bubble, we’ll never have stories to tell and, most importantly, a set of skills to build a life with.

of our own life stories. The only thing limiting ourselves is ourselves. This applies to every situation or issue we might have. We must dive straight in, only to emerge on the other side wiser.

Staying in one place is more than fine unless we’re doing it out of fear of the unknown. Gradually we start tormenting ourselves with the question: ”What if?” Being unhappy with any current situation and not doing anything about it makes uneasiness and problems build up inside of us which would eventually drive anyone insane. Little by little, life starts losing its colour and the days keep on rolling by with no apparent end.

I consider myself very lucky, for nothing binds me to one place. I’m free to roam and settle wherever my heart desires. That is thanks to my parents, as both of them are travellers at heart, and thus, have always encouraged me to see the world and challenge myself. Moving away from home has not only opened my eyes but made me realise that I was blind to so many things in the past. When something is constantly in our view, we tend to miss it, no matter how clear it is. Changing the perspective gives a whole new way of perceiving and appreciating life.

the constant fear of being left alone doesn’t shake off that easily, no matter how strong we are Yes, starting something new is frightening, but it also opens new doors. Suddenly, there are paths emerging that didn’t exist before. We create our own reality. We are the writers


Design by Loréna Jurjanz, photography by Immanuel Lavery

There are hundreds of miles between the ones I truly care about and myself. After being away from my loved ones, I have

December - The Magdalen - Opinions

understood how much they mean to me. As humans, we are very peculiar: we usually don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it. Now I see that home will always be a part of me. I won’t lie by saying that I didn’t want to run all the way back home - to the place where I knew exactly who I was and how to act in - hide under my blanket and cry. I was frightened, but I’m glad I stuck it out and stayed. After struggling through the hard part, I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Jumping over the foggy cliff without knowing if there is land on the other side requires faith in oneself. But as soon as we enter the abyss, we are hit by the fact that it wasn’t as scary as we thought. It quickly fills

with laughter and joy when we let go of the fears and worries that were limiting us. Through experience, we adjust and you can never know who you’ll meet and what opportunities could come your way if you choose to hide in the familiar.

Jumping over the foggy cliff without knowing if there is land on the other side requires faith in oneself The funny thing is, that when you least expect it, everything calms down. Suddenly, the storm stops and we’re left with ease and grace. The unfamiliar becomes familiar and everything starts working out. But for that to happen, we have to first step into the abyss and take the leap of faith.

Words by Daniel Pukkila


Opinions - The Magdalen - December

Where Will That Get You? I

know for a fact I’m not alone in constantly batting off comments from either well-meaning peers or just downright opinionated strangers about how a humanities degree is ‘a waste of time’ or a ‘waste of money’. One or two remarks are easy enough to brush away but when you’re constantly bombarded with negativity, the self-doubt begins to set in. I’m still not sure why strangers and acquaintances alike have such strong opinions on what you choose to do with your life, but I guess that is just the nature of opinion itself. I had always wanted to study Politics, and, generally, this was met with the response of ‘oh brilliant, the future prime minister!’ or ‘I hope you won’t be like all the other politicians’. Though the responses were mixed they all had a common underlying theme; the assumption that I was going straight into the world of politics before I’d had a chance to explore it academically. This placed a great deal of pressure from the off and, after dropping out once and starting again, made the otherwise positive decision to move to a degree in Philosophy one marred by shame. The responses subtly changed from ones praising


Design by Olivia Sharkey

my so-called ambition to belittling me for somehow ‘underselling’ myself. I’m probably guilty of reading too much into this but we are often our own worst critics. The language surrounding delicate subjects relating to your own self-esteem is all too often not given the care it deserves. I hadn’t changed, if anything, my work-ethic and drive to succeed had only improved, but I’d be lying if I said the comments don’t still make me doubt myself every day. I’m fully aware it is almost embarrassingly ‘on brand’, if a little ironic, that I find comfort in the subject that makes me doubt myself when I’m feeling lost. On the surface, Philosophy can seem completely inaccessible. I couldn’t possibly say it isn’t in some senses, but at the end of the day – what isn’t? It’s not all a load of old blokes sat round a table asking what the meaning of life is or sleepless nights battling an existential crisis, it truly is the love of knowledge. You can apply a myriad of philosophical concepts to every aspect of your life and you probably do without thinking about it. It is intrinsically intertwined with the sciences, arts, politics and everything in

December - The Magdalen - Opinions

between. Science and Philosophy were fundamentally woven together from the classical era with the likes of Plato and Aristotle, right through until the Medieval Age when religion dictated the need for separation of arts and sciences. Philosophical methods of seeking information follow similar paths of logic to scientific methods – albeit in a different capacity sometimes. Philosophical thinking dictates that knowledge and facts are there to be explored, and scientific thinking teaches that all elements are there to be tested. This relationship is just one where the link is irrefutable. On a different vein, Hannah Arendt, German Jewish philosopher and political activist, once said that “we are free to change the world and start something new in it”, and I don’t think she was far off the mark. Whatever your choices are, or at this stage in life lack of choices, doesn’t negate your ability to make tangible change. Call me idealistic, but every degree and skill is invaluable in one sense or another and is a key contingent of our productive coexistence. Being in a position to be able to study is one of unbelievable privilege, we are always told

to make the most of it. Though, often, these are the very same people who are quietly judging our choice of study; negativity aside – they are right. The brand attached to a humanities degree is outdated and hugely exclusionary; have a conversation with one or two actual students and I’m sure they’ll echo this. The fact of the matter is that in this day and age, if you have the emotional tenacity to even attempt to go through the extensive financial strain and situational pressure of a degree, you deserve at least the time of day before you’re dismissed for not doing what someone expects of you. The point of this is just to reiterate that you’re more likely to succeed if you are happy. And is it truly a success if you’re financially stable, for example, but completely unfulfilled in what you’re doing? You’re in charge of your own fate, despite what well-meaning family members might make you think. We are still young, we don’t have to have everything figured out yet. If you do, then good on you, but if you don’t you’re doing just as well by getting through each day and working it out as you go along.

Words by Rose Bach


Science - The Magdalen - December


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December - The Magdalen - Science


Modern technology is part of our everyday life, we have become virtually dependent on it. We all know people who say they can’t live without their phones, and become anxious without an internet connection. According to Aimee Mullins - a double amputee, actress, model and athlete - our mobile phones have become a prosthetic, an artificial extension of ourselves that has radically altered our social habits and transformed the way in which we see the world. Today we exist in two distinct worlds that complement each other: the physical and the virtual. The virtual world is incredibly beneficial, granting us everything from instant communication

over incredible distances, to the largest repository of information ever created. Instant access to this great source of information has enabled us to create and share ideas like never before. Online marketing and e-commerce have radically transformed modern business development, enabling them to reach potentially millions of customers per day. This technology can also increase productivity, all while empowering people to become independent. Assistive technology has aided people with a wide range of disabilities, enabling the blind to navigate the internet, and helping those with difficulties in reading and writing via text-to-speech software.


Science - The Magdalen - December



Design by Rachael Hastie

December - The Magdalen - Science

However, it is important to bear in mind that these technologies are tools, and are both created and operated by humans. Perhaps we need to consider what their underlying motivations are. Remember, the decision to innovate is still motivated by business interests, and it seems likely that there are more sinister schemes at work. When sitting at a computer or browsing on a phone, it is easy to forget that this virtual world is as public as walking down a busy street. When compared with the physical world, in which laws and regulations govern our behaviour, it is easy to see its virtual counterpart as a freer and more liberal place. But is it really? We enjoy access to services such as email and cloud storage because they are convenient, reliable and most importantly, they are free. But, as the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’, and there is a hidden cost to these services – user data. In fact, as The Economist recently argued, data has overtaken oil as the world’s most valuable commodity. Companies use our data to produce targeted adverts, manipulating our habits for financial gain. They can also supply it to governments who, in the name of “national security”, can record our online activity and monitor our conversations with impunity. Through terms and

conditions, often multiple pages of text that sometimes require a complex understanding of law to accurately interpret them, companies can force users to sign a contract that they were never equipped to understand. Like the infamous Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984 these corporations can know everything about an individual. They can analyse our eating habits, know our physical location, and even determine how well we sleep. Isn’t this fundamentally immoral? The corporations using our personal data to influence habits are well integrated into the economy. Recent news coverage shows some have the power to avoid vast amounts of tax. Their power can put them out of reach of conventional law covering workers’ rights, welfare and taxation. Some of the best-known corporations are seemingly untouchable. For example, according to The Guardian, “Amazon more than halved its declared UK corporation tax bill from £15.8m to £7.4m year-on-year in 2016”. It is noteworthy that many of these companies also have a poor human rights commitment, and are guilty of exploiting child labour throughout Asian industry. Perhaps we should take more care when we consider our personal freedom, do we want give it up to technology?

In some cases one can argue we are already at the mercy of various machines and technology, such as life support. The advent of improvement in artificial intelligence could soon bring a day when your modern technology is no longer operated by humans, which is a concerning thought for many. With unprecedented processing speed and efficiency, and access to a combination of corporate data and the internet, artificial intelligence could outmatch the capacity of the human brain. Superintelligent entities would eliminate the need for many jobs, to be replaced by automated processes. It is possible that we will find ourselves under the control of superior artificial intelligence. So, should we slow, or even try to stop innovation? History has taught us that would most likely be a futile effort. Perhaps it would be advantageous to take a step back, make an effort to better understand how this world functions, consider the potential risks, and reflect on what services we really want. We could collectively and critically consider what we are building with these technologies, and agree an ethical and sustainable means to improve it.

Words by Rosie Gallagher


Science - The Magdalen - December

From Gesture to Scientific Language Why people gesture when they speak Communication is happening all the time, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Communicative hand gesturing has puzzled and fascinated psychologists and neuroscientists alike, for many years. Gestures are movements used to express an idea or meaning. Here, the term ‘gesture’ is used to describe any distinct bodily action which is directly involved in the process of communication. However, evidence gathered over the past few decades has even suggested that many gestures are not communicative at all, yet humans continue to gesture even when it serves no communicative function. People from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds produce gestures. These spontaneous hand movements accompanying speech are not random and convey information that can complement, or even supplement, the information relayed during speech. Although a great deal is known about when and how speakers gesture, comparatively little is known about why they do it. So, is this behaviour learned from watching others moving their hands when speaking?


Perhaps, surprisingly to many, no! Psychologists and neuroscientists test whether gestures are used to convey useful information by analysing the gestures produced by congenitally blind people. People who are blind from birth are not visually exposed to gesturing and therefore lack a visual model to replicate. One study reported that sighted speakers gesture when talking to a blind listener, who were therefore unable to profit from any information conveyed by gesture. Even when blind speakers conversed with other blind listeners, they continued to use the same gestures as sighted speakers. Thus, blind speakers do not seem to gesture solely to convey information to the listener. In addition to these findings, it was also reported that the rate of gesturing from blind speakers was comparable with sighted speakers and researchers found no differences in gesture or word production. So, evidence shows blind speakers gestured as they spoke, at the same rate as sighted speakers, and conveyed the same information using the same range of gesture forms. For example, both blind and sighted speakers tilted a C-shaped

Design and illustration by Molly Porteous

hand in the air simulating the pouring of liquid from a glass. Blind speakers do not seem to require experience of visually receiving gestures before they spontaneously produce gestures of their own. Sighted speakers of different languages are known to gesture at different rates and it was revealed this occurs in blind speakers too. Therefore, blind Scottish speakers gesture at the same rate as sighted Scottish speakers, but at a different rate than blind and sighted speakers elsewhere in the world. Not only do blind people gesture at the same rate as their sighted counterparts, they also produce gestures resembling those produced by sighted speakers. While useful in communicating large ideas and concepts, hand gestures allow observers to make various unconscious assessments of the speaker. For example, large hand gestures infer that the speaker is much more chaotic or out of control. More interestingly, audiences lose trust in speakers when their hands are out of sight. It is clear that gestures serve an interpersonal function, one that is separate from the semantic content of the speech they accompany.

December - The Magdalen - Science

These findings underscore the ubiquity of gestures accompanying speech. Researchers have even shown gesturing takes place while speakers are on the phone, speaking through a solid partition, and even when speaking to Siri and Alexa. Therefore, gesture does not depend on a visual model or an observer, and thus appears to be integral to the speaking process itself. These findings leave open the possibility that the gestures that accompany speech may reflect, or even facilitate, the thinking process that underlies speaking. As gestures are not exclusively communicative, past research has provided evidence that gestures and speech are deeply integrated with cognition. Hand motions can reveal information that may be absent in our speech. In the absence of scientifically appropriate terminology, students have been reported using gestures to accurately pick out, describe, and explain scientific phenomena. Gestures associated with scientific phenomena actually preceded vocal utterances. As students’ familiarity with a phenomenon increases, associated speech and scientific terminology takes on greater importance and gestures begin to coincide with speech. Gesture may play a role, not only in speech production, but also in cognitive activity more generally. Gesturing may provide a tool that helps us wrap our heads around ideas. Like humans, non-human primates combine gestures, facial expressions, and

vocalisations in various ways to communicate effectively, and aids our understanding of our own complex and multilevel nature of communication. Latest theories about the origins of language suggest speech and gesture co-evolved tightly and supposes that the driving force in language evolution began with gestures. A threshold was reached during our evolutionary development that launched basic gestural communication into complex vocalised language. A relatively sudden increase in human brain size occurred in response to pressure for increasingly complex communication and technological abilities, where larger brains enabled more behavioural, communicative and cognitive innovations. While we may never fully understand the factors contributing to the acquisition of speech or when it happened, we now know gestures accompany the development of vocal communication since very early in human evolution. Although both speech and gesturing co-evolved tightly in the beginning, at some point speech became the main channel of communication, and in this way, gesture continued playing a role in conceptualising the message to be verbalised. Gestures appear to aid our cognition, providing an additional means to understand and conceptualise ideas such as complex scientific phenomena.

Words by James Dale


1st December - 1st January



2nd, 9th

8th 5th - 22nd








Issue 73 - December  

The Magdalen is a student publication of the University of Dundee. Behind the magazine, there’s a skilled team of writers, editors and gra...

Issue 73 - December  

The Magdalen is a student publication of the University of Dundee. Behind the magazine, there’s a skilled team of writers, editors and gra...