__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

FREE

NOVEMBER 2020

CELEBRATING

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

ISSUE 292


Dysgu Cymraeg! Dysgu Cymraeg mewn dim ond 5 munud y dydd, am ddim.

Learn Welsh! Learn Welsh in just 5 minutes a day, for free.

Swyddog Materion Cymraeg | Welsh Affairs Officer: katie.phillips@swansea-union.co.uk


Contents

November 2020 News

• Anti-Abortion Laws in Poland – #TheRevolutionIsFemale

Features

• Black Women in History • Theresa Obgbekhiulu Interview • Voices and Ears Event

Advice

• Coping with Lockdown at University • How the SU Supports Black Students

Science and Research

• Diversity in Academia Interview with Theresa Ogbekhiulu • Mahaboob Basha

Fashion

• How Fashion Responded to BLM

Societies

• How Societies are Adapting to Adhering to COVID-19 Restrictions • SSOT Shoreline Theatre

Creative Writing

• Strong Black Women Leading

the Way in Audio Drama

Literature

• The Children of Wounded Warriors • Written in Invisible Ink • Bethan’s Book of the Month

Music

• How Racial Inequality Has Inspired Artists to Create • Is the Current Music Streaming Model ‘Fit for Purpose’?

Culture

• Appreciating the Origins of Cultural Phenomenons in Society • Diversity Within the Dance Industry

Food

• Chapati Recipe

Sport

• Black Excellence in the Bubble • Ashley Williams: Captain, Leader, Legend

Sustainability

• Does the Sustainability Community Have a Racism Issue?


Our Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief Bethan Bates

Advice Bethan Collins

Deputy Editor Alex Baker

Societies Rachel Hart

Proofreading Brooke Lucas, Angie Bosher, and Franziska Trumpp

Fashion Rhianydd Sword

waterfronteditor @swanseastudentmedia.com

waterfrontadvice@ swanseastudentmedia.com

waterfrontdeputyeditor@ swanseastudentmedia.com

proofreader @swanseastudentmedia.com

Culture & Arts Cora-Jane Jordon

waterfrontculture @swanseastudentmedia.com

Science & Research Sophie Sadler

waterfrontscience @swanseastudentmedia.com

Creative Writing Sali Earls

waterfrontcreativewriting@ swanseastudentmedia.com

Literature Ashish Dwivedi

waterfrontliterature@ swanseastudentmedia.com

waterfrontsocieties@ swanseastudentmedia.com

waterfrontfashion@ swanseastudentmedia.com

Sports Efan Willis

waterfrontsport@swanseastudentmedia. com

Music

Cat Daczkowski waterfrontmusic@swanseastudentmedia. com

Sustainability

Lucie Štěpánková waterfrontsustainability@ swanseastudentmedia.com

Student Media Coordinator

Lewis Israel lewis.israel@swanseastudentmedia.com

We Want YOU!

Seen a section you'd like to write for? Or want to start a new section? Get in touch now! Email: waterfronteditor@ swanseastudentmedia.com


Welcome to Waterfront!

Hi again everyone!

Hi everyone!

We are excited to be able to publish a full issue of the Waterfront for November. This month we have chosen to celebrate Black History Month by honouring important black figures, exploring in what ways Swansea can support black students, and much more. I am proud of how the student body and our writers and editors have come together to write a wide variety of articles on this topic. We have also expanded the editorial team this month which will enable us to write about even more topics you are interested in.

We’ve got another brilliant issue this November that celebrates Black History Month in a variety of different areas. We’ve also recently gained several new section editors so you can expect to see offerings from topics such as music or sustainability.

We have spent the last month writing, interviewing, and posting all over our social media (@waterfrontswansea). This helped us gain a wider audience and receive even more submissions! It has been super exciting to get to know more of you and hear your responses to our first issue. I love hearing your thoughts so don’t forget to let us know. In the next month I am looking forward to solidifying the editorial team into their new roles and learning more about journalism. The editorial team is excited to work with one of Swansea’s journalism lecturers on building new skills and honing our current abilities. We are also going to be working more closely with Xtreme and SUTV to bring student media together. Thank you for your support and we are excited to create more content for you. Bethan x

We’ve been very pleased to receive great writer contributions and are always looking for more! If you’re interested, please join the Waterfront Writers’ Group on Facebook as we put all sorts of fantastic opportunities in there. We also love hearing feedback from you guys so feel free to comment on our social media or on the website itself. Thank you all for your continued support and here’s to another great month of writing! Alex


Meet the Waterfront Team Rhi Sword is a second year media and communication student. She’s an avid reader of Cosmopolitan magazine and plays the saxophone in her spare time. Rachel Hart is the current Societies editor. She is a third year English Literature student and her hobbies include reading, photography and music. She can’t wait to liaise with different societies and promote their upcoming events. Bethan Collins is a third year English literature student. It’s her first year being the editor for the Advice and Relationships section. If ever you want to write anything for this section, feel free to contact her! Ashish Dwivedi is an M.Phil. candidate in his final year, here at Swansea University and our current “Literature & Nonfiction Editor”. He calls himself a herpetology and mythology aficionado; a traveller who travels for food; a lax swimmer; and a hide-and-seek genius. However, one of his serious sides include his delightful interest in Utopian & Cartoon Studies and experimental and tragic poetry. Bethan Bates is a third year English Literature and History student who is working towards a career in the publishing industry. She is a book fanatic, with a collection of just over 400 books, who enjoys telling everyone about what she is currently reading. She is also the current editor-in-chief of the Waterfront and has been involved with the paper since her first year.


Sophie Apps is an English Literature student at Swansea University. Future best-selling poet and journalist, she is ‘Emily Dickinson meets Quintin Tarantino at dinner with Shakespeare’. Currently, Sophie writes sad poems, listens to obscure indie music and pets her cat Salem whilst re-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls. Sophie Sadler is a postgraduate researcher in Mathematics and Computer Science, and is new to Swansea. As well as being the Science & Research Editor for the Waterfront, Sophie enjoys hiking & wild camping, riding her horse Bounce, and watching horror movies. Efan Willis is a third year media student with a love for journalism and sports. He holds the sports editor position at the Waterfront, so if you’re an athlete with a story to tell, feel free to contact him through the Waterfront’s facebook group. Cora-Jane Jordon is the current Arts and Culture editor. This is her second year in the position and she cannot wait to share more about all the exciting events in Swansea and the diverse population that creates such a beautiful city. Sali Earls is the Creative Writing Editor. She’s a mature student, in the second year of her part time MA in Creative Writing. When not avidly reading, or trying to write a bestseller, she can be found watching strange YouTube videos with her two children. She describes herself as an easily excitable nerd, and is a massive fan of podcasts. Cat Daczkowski is a masters student at Swansea and the newly appointed music editor. She loves to listen and create music, as well as play video games when she has time. She’s very open to all genres of music and is always looking for new contributors for her section. Emily Bollington is a final year Law and Criminology student. It’s the first year she has been involved in the paper but she is excited for the new opportunities it may bring and is keen to promote awareness of human rights violations and unjust situations happening in the world today. Bethan Norwood is a second year History student here at Swansea but she is also involved with the LGBT+ Society and the Plaid Ifanc Society. Her favourite thing to do in Swansea is going for walks around Brynmill park and getting waffles from Brynmill Coffee House. Hannah Courtney Thomas is a third-year LLB Law (Crime & Criminal Justice) student. She has been involved in Swansea University’s Dance Society since her first year, she was elected as the secretary for the academic year of 19/20 and is now the current President for 20/21. Hannah is bilingual fluent Welsh and English - and as part of her Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol scholarship she studies 40 credits through the medium of Welsh as part of her degree each year. Lucie Stepankova is a postgraduate Communications, Media Practice and PR student and Waterfront’s new sustainability section editor. Through this section, she hopes to inspire more people to start making small steps towards sustainability and encourage conversation. She also writes about sustainability as a freelancer, enjoys playing the ukulele and practicing yoga.


News & Current Affairs Anti-Abortion Laws in Poland – #TheRevolutionIsFemale By Weronika Kowalska

T

he motion to delegalize abortion in Poland followed through on the 30th of October, resulting in the biggest protests the country has seen since the fall of Communism in 1989. The Constitutional Tribunal, consisting mainly of judges selected by the Polish leading party – Law and Justice (PiS) – chose to ignore years of women’s struggles and protests, adding onto an already unstable political situation. Poland is returning to its state of communism, one that took decades and countless lives to abolish. Abortions are now only allowed in two instances – if the foetus threatens the mother’s life or in the event of rape. Most abortions prior to the delegalization were due to foetal abnormalities, which are now illegal as it violates the Constitution. Doctors are entitled to refuse contraceptives and even performing legal abortions on religious grounds. In the event of COVID-19 earning the status of a global pandemic on the 11th of March this year, new rules specifying social distancing were set up for the public’s safety, however these protests cannot be postponed. Thousands of Polish citizens took to the streets on Friday, with little regards to their own personal safety. What ensued was a series of arrests, attacks, and even injuries on the behalf of the protestors. The protest resulted in over 20,000 more cases, with hospitals barely struggling to keep up. What is perhaps most shocking, is that 33 million of 38 million citizens are registered Roman Catholics, and the sheer outrage directed at the Church means the situation is becoming increasingly more unstable. Poland is a deeply religious country, even as more citizens turn away from the institution, particularly after the set-up of LGBTQ-free zones earlier this year. Some nationalist extremists have taken it upon

themselves to ‘guard’ the Church, armed with pepper spray and calling themselves the ‘national guard’. They attack peaceful protestors, particularly women, a situation which would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. Politicians discourage these protests in a poor effort to keep the public safe – Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki received a wave of hate for his public statement on Friday morning. The question remains – why restrict laws now? The answer is simple – to distract the public from the rising virus numbers that the government cannot deal with. They can now blame protestors for Poland’s huge infection statistics, which, is a convincing argument for many Polish voters to further support the party. The truth is that Poland has been divided since PiS gained power in 2015, the virus is only a catalyst for more disasters that only serve to show how little political leaders care about their citizens. There are so many controversial politicians in Poland’s political scene – Jaroslaw Kaczynski (leader of PiS) refuses to accept any form of appeasement, even going as far as to saying that the aim of the protests is to destroy the Polish nation. Przemyslaw Czarnek (education minister) threatened to cut funding to those universities that encouraged protesting, which just displays the party’s true core values – education and human rights clearly not one of them.


Start Your Teaching Career with Swansea University! The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Secondary starts September 2021 in a range of subject specialisms

Join us at one of our Virtual Events throughout November

Book Your Place Here: www.swansea.ac.uk/pgce


Black History Month Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? By Sophie Apps

W

hen we think of culturally diverse women today – the influential and inspiring – Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey pass between our lips daily; invited as guests on talk shows. Though, there are hundreds of hidden female figures in history; the originals making their mark. From Katherine Johnson – a mathematician for NASA – to Septima Clarke – a precocious combatant for Black education, history is branded with change. Remembering, recognising and appreciating the accomplishments that diverse women have made globally is so important – especially during Black History Month, if not all year round. In contemporary society, culture, literature, art and music preserves and protects marginalised narratives. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton reimagines and resurrects the story of migrant Alexander Hamilton – one of founding fathers of America – one that could have been buried in history forever. “When you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story?” In a world filled with papers, phones and bulletin boards, now more than ever we must tell the stories of those who never had the opportunity. So, in commendation and celebration, here are eight pioneering diverse women whose stories need to be told.

Gaynor Legall Born in Cardiff, Gaynor Legall is the first BME female councillor in Wales and advocates for ethnic female minorities across the country; butchering racial inequality. Appointed by First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, Legall has pioneered a battalion that will audit all public statues, buildings and street names in Wales. Selected for her knowledge of the slave trade and Black narratives, Legall is writing history in the present; reflecting Wales’s inaccurate past. She plans to eradicate the statue of the “sadistic slaveowner” – as described by mayor Dan De’Ath – Sir Thomas Picton at City Hall in Cardiff, amid many more. Her contributions don’t halt there. Legall sits on the board of Diverse Excellence Cymru and chairs Heritage and Cultural Exchange; an organisation established to preserve the history of Tiger Bay and the black and minority population of Wales. From her myriad of devoted work to Black communities, history and female ethnic minorities, Legall prospers a different dance in Wales; untuning the levels of racial prejudice that still festers.


Septima Clarke

times smuggling messages hidden in her sheet music. For her aid, Baker was bestowed both the Croix de Guerre Born in 1898 in Charleston, South and the Legion of Honour with the Carolina, Septima Poinsette Clark rosette of the Resistance – two of was a teacher and France’s highest military honours. activist; schooling the civil rights Non-stop, Baker pledged herself movement. She infamously remarks to the civil rights movement in the “the greatest evil in our country 1950s; joining in demonstrations, today… is ignorance… we need to boycotting segregated clubs be taught to study rather than to and alongside Martin Luther King believe”. Throughout Clarke’s lifetime, Jr, she participated in the March on she educated herself and Black African Washington. The first cinematic star, a war Americans. Aligning hero and civil rights activist, Josephine Baker is herself with the National Association for the an assemblage of giftedness and generosity that Advancement of Colored People, Clarke makes her one of the most striking Black women efficaciously collected two-thirds of Charleston’s in history. black population signatures – overturning the ban on Black African American teachers. Even more progressively, Clarke set up 800 citizenship schools. As the director of Highlander’s In a sport gripped by whiteness Citizenship School Program, she – the clothes, balls, socks, shoes, pioneered a project which people – Althea Gibson paved educated African Americans in the way for ethnically diverse literacy and led disenfranchised women in Tennis, during the African Americans to vote. Clarke 1950s. Becoming the first Black even wrestled for equal pay for black woman to compete at Wimbledon and white teachers; in 1951, Gibson went on to win single working with NAACP and Thurgood titles at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon Marshall, she won the case in 1945. Clarke kicked in 1957 and 1958, along with the French Open off the in 1956. Rightly, proving that women of colour status quo of Black women and exists in history deserve a space on the court. In recognition of her as the ignition of the civil rights movement. achievements, Gibson was voted Female Athlete

Althea Gibson

of the Year in 1957-8 by the Associated Press, becoming the first African American to receive the award. With Black tennis players Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Recognised as the world’s first Black Coco Gauff charging the courts female star, Josephine Baker was of today, Gibson is the woman who African American and Apalachee made that possible. Indian origin – born in 1902 in Chantelle Whitney BrownMissouri. Baker found her flair as a Young a.k.a ‘Winnie Harlow’ dancer and singer in productions Canadian born and of Jamaican Zou-Zou and Princesse Tam-Tam; descent, model Harlow has becoming the first Black woman in remarkably challenged the a big motion picture. Through her fashion industry’s archaic success in the entertainment industry, standards. Despite her diagnosis of Baker created spaces for Black women. vitiligo – a skin-condition which causes Though Baker exceeded her theatrical areas of the skin to lose pigment – at age achievements and worked for the French four, Winnie has overcome malice to advocate Resistance and Red Cross during World War II; at body confidence and vitiligo. From her discovery

Josephine Baker


by Tyra Banks on Instagram, Winnie found recognition on America’s Top Model in 2014 and has fuelled her career with modelling for fashion label Moschino; appearing on the covers of Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and Grazia magazine too. Most notably, Harlow is the first model with vitiligo to strut in a Victoria’s Secret Show which has significantly normalised difference and subverted expectations of beauty. With a career epitomised by numerous firsts, Winnie has championed for less stigma and standards and for a more diverse fashion landscape. Harlow models a modern brand of Disney princess; representing race and beautifying difference.

Mildred Loving (and Richard Loving) Mildred Jeter and her husband Richard Loving changed the course of history through their marriage. Mildred of Indian American descent and Richard, a white American were raised within a cultured community which valued multiculturalism. The Lovings were arrested in 1958; they had married in the District of Columbia, but their union was illegal in Virginia due to the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Avoiding a sentence by leaving and not returning to Virginia for twenty-five years, the Loving’s fled to Washington. Inspired by the civil rights movement, Mildred Loving wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for help. The Lovings were referred to the ACLU, which represented them in the landmark Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (1967) where the Court unanimously ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional, in Virginia and fifteen other states. It is no coincidence that the Mildred and Richard’s surname contains love – the couple set a precedent; teaching America and the world that love doesn’t depend on the colour of your skin.

Katherine Johnson More known for her celebration in the 2016 film Hidden Figure, Katherine Johnson was part of the group of Black women mathematicians at NASA. Born in West Virginia, Black African American Johnson began her scientific career in the age of racial prejudice; overcoming barricades of sex and race, she worked in Langley’s West Area Computing Unit in 1953. Only two weeks into Johnson’s position, she was assigned to the Manoeuvre Loads Branch of the Flight Division project – permanently – calculating the aerodynamic forces o n aeroplanes. From there, Johnson developed the trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s 1961 mission Freedom 7 – America’s first human flight – and in 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, her work marked a turning point in the space competition between the US and the Soviet Union. In recognition of her abundant achievements, in 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s Highest civilian honour – most rightly so. Johnson surpassed race in her time; breaking mathematical and racial barriers that have left her an empowering Black legacy.

Image Credits: Gaynor Legall: https://www.100welshwomen.wales/100women/gaynor_legall/ Mildren & Richard Loving: https://www.theguardian.com/ books/gallery/2017/mar/29/the-lovings-in-pictures


they needed to adapt to a new academic setting, but also adapt to their social surroundings in the context of representation. These students are moving from areas where they had previously been represented by n Wednesday 7th October, the students’ union someone that looks like themselves in every aspect of life, facilitated an online forum led by Theresa to Swansea. Going from majority to minority makes for Ogbekhiulu, education officer, and Charlotte quite a stark comparison and this lack of representation Ajomale-Evans, Chair of the BAME network in engineering. left many students feeling like something was missing. The event, ‘Voices and Ears’ is one of many being held in celebration of Black History Month. Black History Month In contrast to this, some students who had come from is not just about celebrating the central role of black white majority areas, had come to university and found people in culture and history, but also creating space for it to be diverse, with people coming from all over the world, and the students’ union offering a variety of BAME discussion and education. societies. However, a striking statistic that was brought The forum was advocated to be an ‘empowering, up in the forum was that; in February 2020 less than 1% encouraging, open and honest space. Students were of the professors employed at UK universities were black, encouraged to share their own experiences at university and within 21,000 academic staff at professorial level in a positive atmosphere in which each shared experience only 140 identified as black*. This massively highlights the change that needs to be made. Representation is rewarded with an applause on Zoom. within staff members is vital as not only would it inspire Theresa explained, “Racism and racial issues are rarely more diversity within the student body and build on discussed in Swansea University and in Welsh universities Swansea’s BAME communities and create more black generally. The Voices and Ears event stemmed from the academic role models. Universities need to do better to need to create a safe space for black students to share proportionally reflect race diversity. This starts with more their experiences of discrimination, however subtle, job opportunities and less close-minded interviewing racism, racial profiling etc. But more importantly, it was processes. also an avenue for non-black students to really listen to these lived experiences, and ask whatever burning One experience that seemed to unite all black participants of the forum was the pronunciation of their questions they had.” names. Some students mentioned that they would stop Many black students participating in the forum who had lecturers before they even attempted to pronounce their travelled to university from within the UK found that they surnames, and others told anecdotes of their given names had shared similar experiences. Some of these students being white-washed by fellow students or flatmates who voiced that they felt a disconnect from their culture ‘just found it easier’. On an individual level, one tiny thing because they were living in the UK, and consequently everybody should be doing is learning to pronounce felt they didn’t quite fit in with their black friends who people’s names correctly. Make an effort, do not whiteperhaps had stronger ties to their roots. However, they wash other people’s names for your own convenience. It felt equally disconnected from their white British friends takes seconds to get it right, and is just respectful. as they were more obviously visually different from that group. As this experience was voiced on the forum, The forum concluded on what to do if someone is being many people were nodding in agreement when it was racist; report it to the university. Alternatively, directly described as being ‘stuck in the gap’; half accepted by confront them. As an ally, this is your duty, because both groups, but fully accepted by neither. This can feel unfortunately, as a participant in the forum mentioned, very isolating, particularly when you are a new student ‘as a black person, I cannot afford to be considered aggressive’. trying to become yourself and find your people.

By Emily Bollington

O

All new students come to university with the expectation *according to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) 2020 https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-andthat they will need to adapt to new people and February experiences. The discussion in the forum highlighted that analysis/staff/working-in-he many black international students have not only found


Theresa Ogbekhiulu: On the BAME Students’ Advisory Committee By Bethan Collins

“I’m aware that I can’t represent all black female students, which is why it’s important to continuously engage with students”


Bethan Collins: So, let’s start off with you introducing yourself and explaining your role within the Student’s Union.

Theresa Ogbekhiulu: My name is Theresa Ogbekhiulu and I’m the education officer at the Student’s Union. My role covers everything ranging from ensuring students have a voice in their education, to representing the academic interests at all levels within the university. I sit on the Learning Teaching and Quality Committee amongst many other committees I sit on, and I’m the lead student reviewer when it comes to reviewing the universities’ quality processes. This year I sit on the council, which is the highest governing body in the university. This allows me to ensure students are represented at the highest-level possible. Of course, there’s more behind this, but that’s the bulk of the job.

B: Could you tell us what the BAME Advisory committee is?

T: My main vision for this is for the group to be able to review policies, to ensure that BAME students are not being disadvantaged in any way. We don’t have a lot of representation in staff members, so it’s hard for staff members who don’t have the same experiences to speak on behalf of black students. It will serve as a soundboard for the university in terms of enhancing BAME student experiences. So, from running events, campaigns, reviewing policies, and general operations within the university.

B: What does the committee aim to do?

T: We want to pull together a committee of students who can represent the voices of students in the BAME category, although the term BAME is problematic and I do have an issue with it. I’m aware that I can’t represent all black female students, which is why it’s important to continuously engage with the students I represent. The committee is a good way to launch conversations in the university about race and move away from treating students as data and addressing their experiences, because that’s what counts. We want to make sure that the university is being held accountable on all the promises they’re making and drive this agenda forward.

B: What inspired the committee?

T: This started from a burning desire to ensure that students who look like me or have had similar experiences to me have a voice in the University.

Being a student, I noticed that a lot of mainly engaged students are usually white, straight men, so it felt like there wasn’t a lot of room for students who were Black, Asian, disabled or had a different sexual orientation. Studying as a medical student and finding that all your lecturers talk about is how diseases look on white skin. It leaves you as a person out of the picture. The education system is failing to teach students how to treat patients with skin other than white. So, from research and the Black Lives Matter Movement, I had a conversation with the University senior management team and questioned them on what they’re doing to support Black students, and there wasn’t much. There’s the general advice and support, wellbeing etc. But when you look at these services it feels like they’re mainly targeted to white students, so it’s left underrepresented students feeling like there’s no room for them in these services. The people who run these services don’t look like them or share their experiences and might not understand where they’re coming from. Prior to that conversation I ran a focus group to get a real feel from the black students of Swansea and they proved my thoughts right. Lots of students felt unrepresented and didn’t see themselves within the university. After this we had a conversation with the Professor of Diversity and Inclusion at Bradford University. When speaking to her, she said it wasn’t until the university started listening to student experiences that they were able to make meaningful changes. So, I was like, ‘okay, this makes sense then.’

B: Finally, what are your ultimate goals for the future?

T: I’d like to see it transcend beyond a committee. Currently there will be ten students to attend meetings, and I would like this to grow to become more strategic. More importantly, I don’t want this to need to exist. Thinking long-term, this is meant to solve a problem. I wouldn’t want it to exist for a long time because that would mean the issue is still there. We will have ensured that students know there is a safe space for them, and a place for them to progress in the University. BAME students face an attainment gap of 23%, once that gap is closed, we would no longer need the group.


Advice Coping with Lockdown at University By Bethan Collins

L

iving away at university can sometimes be difficult – being away from familiar faces like family and friends, having to cook, clean and look after yourself without any prompts when you might not be used to that, and having to cope with the workload of university itself. However, for students this year university is going to have some factors making it undoubtedly more challenging than it would otherwise have been, for example lack of inperson socialising. So, compiled here are some ideas to help you cope with being locked down at uni.

Making Your Student Room More Home-y

Since you’re living at uni, it’s very likely that you’re going to be living in a shared house/flat. Due to this, it might feel like your only living space is your bedroom, which is why making your bedroom comfortable, cosy and home-y might be important during lockdown. A good way to do this is by getting some fairy lights, since they give off a warm light creating a very cosy effect. You can also get some candles (if your contract allows you to do so), this also might make you feel to do and people to chat to. more at home if you’re used to burning candles in your room at home. Think of Some Themed Nights to do With

Arrange Ways to Keep in Contact Digitally

I’m sure we all remember the pub quiz phase of lockdown back in March/April time. You could arrange to do this sort of thing with friends and family from home, that way you have a guaranteed way to socialise and some things to talk about. Lots of societies are currently doing zoom meetups and coffee social style calls where you can log in and just have a chat with some friendly faces. Even playing some multiplayer games on your phone could be helpful in making you feel like you’ve got something

Your House/Flat Mates

You could all take it in turns to make a meal ‘Come Dine With Me’ style and see whoever can come up with the best meal. You could decorate the house with a fun theme (Hawaiian, Halloween, 70’s) and all dress up and play some drinking games together. Themed movie nights are a good idea for this time of year, with lots of Halloween/Christmas films being uploaded to Netflix. You could even have a slumber party style night, where you all wear pyjamas and order some food in.


Make a Bucket List of TV Shows, Films and Books You’re Interested in

You could make use of the library and check out some books that you’ve wanted to read for a while and work your way through some of those, or if you aren’t into reading, you could scroll through netflix and note down all the films and TV Shows you want to watch and number them. On days where you can’t think of what to watch, refer to this list and use a random number generated to help you decide what to watch for the day.

Incorporate Things from Home If You’re Feeling Homesick

Being away from home for a while might make you feel homesick, especially if the option to go home isn’t possible for the time being. To help combat this you could cook a meal that you usually have at home with your family. You could also arrange a day one every week/every other week to look forward to having a good chat and catch-up with your family!

So, there are some ideas that might help you cope with lockdown at university. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you are struggling to contact the university’s wellbeing services (wellbeing@swansea.ac.uk). The University and Student’s Union is currently hard at work making sure they have ways to support students coping with the current restrictions and circumstances.


How Swansea University and Swansea Student’s Union Support Black Students?

I

n honor of black history month, we here at The Waterfront thought it was important to investigate how the university and student’s union supports its black students, and the opportunities offered to them.

had to say about how the University and Student’s Union supports its black students: “I must admit, as BME Officer, I think the question: “How the university has supported black students” is a difficult one to answer.

Here is our Welfare Officer, Liza Leibowitz talking This is because in order for that to be answered, one about her thoughts on this: must be able to name some schemes or initiatives “If you asked me last year what the University does specifically aimed at black students. However, that to support its Black students, I may not have been is not quite possible to do so. able to give you a guaranteed response. Even in my previous position as BME Officer, the only work I knew Albeit, I am grateful for the support I have of the University doing, was collating data regarding received from the university, particularly through the reimbursements of travel expenses during my the Black Attainment Gap. summer work experience, funding from the School of It was only in my position as Welfare Officer where I Law to organise a student careers event and both could see the face of how much the University does the Subject Rep and now the Student Union Officer behind the scenes for this demographic of students, I positions. Despite this, I think the opportunities and learnt of the Equality Charter and how the University support I have gained are not merely directed at has pledged to work towards bettering the experience black students, they are open for the benefit of every students’, irrespective of race. of Black Students. I was also able to see how much my colleague Theresa (our Education Officer in the Student’s Union), alongside other key University colleagues such as our Director or Student Services, our Head of the Equality Committee and the Head of BME Engineering (just to mention a few), strive to ensure that we are speaking and acting on the problems Black Students face. Even myself, being a black student turned employee, was given an opportunity to make sure race topics were embedded in our University Strategic Plan.

However, recently the Education Officer, Theresa, and I created the BAME Students Advisory Committee. At the core, we hope to amplify the voices of BAME students, ensuring that their experiences play a part in important decisions and policies within Swansea University.

As such, through this, I hope we will be able to find ways in which the University can support black students. Most critically, I look forward to ensuring that key decisions and policies reflect the need of The space we’re falling short in currently, is purely BAME students in Swansea as a whole.” how to engage with students at ground level to make them see the actions of University and be empowered to make changes and see more people like themselves in senior positions (and maybe along the way decolonise our curriculum). I do see some real changes being made and I’m proud of the strides Swansea University has made and continues to make” Here’s what our BME officer, Rodrigues Mbongompasi,


In and Out of the Closet By Bethan Noorwood

Q

uestioning sexuality is something that every LGBTQ+ person goes through. Equally, coming out is also a rite of passage that most of us have been through, will go through or continually go through if you’re straight passing! I have been proudly out of the closet for about five years, though that sounds simpler than it is. Throughout this time, I have repeatedly come out as many different labels trying to find one that fits (there’s probably about four or five different ones I’ve once identified with.) The main message I would like to give is that this is okay, our coming out is our own, there are no rules of how best to do it, do what you want to do if and when it’s safe to do so. The pandemic and lockdown has treated people very differently. For some, the last few months have been a time of personal growth, self-care and learning to be a better person, but others have felt uprooted and ripped people from their chosen families and forced back to living with parents who aren’t accepting or other unhealthy home environments. This would understandably have different impacts on our own coming out journeys but, more generally, our mental health and I hope that anyone in the second situation gets any help they need. Personally, lockdown has come largely in the shape of my own internalised biphobia and a struggle that I’m not “gay” enough so I realise how lucky I am for this to be one of my only issues.

As someone who’s been questioning for the entirety of my time out of the closet and naturally a bit before too, I want to stress that there really is no rush to find a label that suits best. Teenage years are hard enough, let alone struggling with your identity on top of secondary school dramas, though I appreciate if you’re reading this you are long past year 11. There is a definite pressure to realise that you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and then know your label straight away. But it shouldn’t be that way, many people see sexuality as a spectrum and it takes time to realise where we fit in and come to terms with different labels and educate ourselves.

and while it still jars me and hurts on a straight person’s tongue, it’s what makes most sense for me and no longer should we let it be used against us. These types of labels I have found comfort in over my journey, as not everything is Once the decision has been made so black and white as straight or to try out a label then the next lesbian/gay. step (if you’re ready) is to tell someone, a close friend or a family If there’s any advice I have is to member maybe. Everyone has a explore and take time learning coming out story, some happier about labels, to consume LGBTQ+ than others, but even with the media/literature and find others in most accepting families it can be our community (if you need a hand a very uncomfortable conversation with this I am also the Treasurer to have. This complicates things for the LGBT+ Society, we’d gladly further if you then have to come welcome new members.) But most out multiple times if you discover importantly, it’s your own journey, a label that’s better suited. While no one else gets a say in how you uncomfortable, it is entirely ok to explore it, it’s up to you. come out a few different times, there should be no pressure or judgement and it’s normal to try out a couple different labels. It’s worth remembering that labels can be unspecific and fluid, for example there is an “unlabelled” community. I have found myself returning a few times to Queer


Sustainability By Lucie Stepankova

T

he sustainability community is known for not backing away from the difficult conversations – but there is one topic that we still seem to be avoiding: racism. There has been some discussion in the past about sustainability and poverty but, as a movement, environmentalism still fails to acknowledge racism in relation to our efforts to protect the natural environment.

bottles, bamboo cutlery or organic cotton shopping bags have been put at the forefront of how an ecofriendly lifestyle is perceived, as if ownership of those items somehow validated you as a member of the sustainability community. Much of what sustainability is portrayed as online promotes an individualist view of the topic – making a difference through your consumption choices. Voting for a better future by supporting ethical and sustainable endeavours with your money. While this can empower those, who do have the extra disposable income to take individual responsibility and shop more consciously, it further establishes the notion that sustainability is only for the privileged, while it should be something we all take part in.

A lot of these issues have to do with the elitism of the sustainability community, which has risen since sustainability has become a trend. And what is To make sustainability accessible to all, we need to trendy, comes with a premium price tag. view it as a collective effort. That means campaigning

The social media image of sustainability: to inspire some, to exclude others

to give people who are not in a privileged position the opportunity to live sustainably as well. Besides that, changing our system (such as relying on more The current view of sustainability is centred on what renewable energy over fossil fuels) will make all of those in a privileged position can do – the white, upper our lives inherently more sustainable, even if we can’t middle-class people with little restriction of access afford to buy the fancy sustainable alternatives. to education, information and technology. We are being told to ‘opt for sustainable swaps’, ‘buy organic’ or ‘shop at zero waste stores’. Trendy sustainable products such as KeepCups, stainless steel water The Elitism of Sustainability


Why do black people lack access to sustainable avoid unpackaged, sustainable foods due to their options? quick expiration – if they even get access to these items at all. In contrast to those who can access sustainable As a person in the position of privilege, how could I options without a worry are people whose position in possibly ask those who are living below the poverty the society, income, residence or race has resulted in line because of discrimination to make sustainable a disadvantage – people who cannot afford to buy choices when I know it takes the kind of privilege a sustainable coffee cup or post on Instagram about they don’t have to make them? What I can do as a how easy it is to be eco-friendly. More often than not, member of the sustainability community, and what black people belong to this disadvantaged group. you can do as well, is help make sustainability less According to a report by the Social Metrics elitist, more focused on the collective rather than Commision, black and minority ethnic households individual contribution and more accepting of those in the UK are more than twice as likely to live in who lack the resources to be sustainable in the poverty as the white population. Nearly half of the Instagram definition of the word. Black African Caribbean population lives below the poverty line, while the same is true for less than one- YouTuber Teanna Empowers talks about the elitism fifth of the white population. This drastically impacts within sustainability, and especially the zero waste the household’s ability to spend a premium on community. In one of her videos, she makes the point sustainable alternatives. that if we hope to fight environmental issues such as climate change, we need to solve the racism issue A 2018 study has shown that 1.2 million people in the first and introduce systematic changes – so that UK live in food deserts – areas with lack of access to black people have access to sustainable options. fresh produce or food in general, where most of the population lives in poverty. A significant portion of While black people (and other minorities) remain the black community is affected by this, due to their underprivileged, we cannot have conversations lower income. Living in a food desert means that about sustainability without taking racism and our you often can’t make more sustainable diet choices, fight against it into the equation. simply because they’re not available. People may need to stockpile food with longer shelf-life and


Societies Students Saving Our Theatres: Shoreline’s Summer Project By Sam Binnie

recorded performances by society members across the country. They had more than one motive: they note that ‘as all the theatres were closed, there were very few opportunities for young people to network and meet new collaborators. SSOT therefore also succeeded in bringing theatre-makers across the country together in the hopes that some may want to work together in the future.’

TikTok

The first week’s challenge was deceptively simple: go viral on TikTok. This started, of course, with making a Shoreline Theatre ‘official’ TikTok, and using it to introduce our committee. This week got a lot of our members involved – from our original ‘put a finger down’ challenge right through to TikTok musical auditions! We didn’t quite succeed in going viral, but we did have a lot of fun, and TikTok was used n March 12, 2020, Broadway shut down. throughout the campaign by many of our members. Slowly, theatre by theatre, London’s West End Besides, the TikTok account is still up and waiting for followed. Since the beginning of 2020, the us to return! Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on live theatre around the world, from the biggest 5k theatres in New York and London right through to In week 2, we were dared to get up and get active the small local theatres that amateur drama groups – run or walk 5 kilometres every day. Each day, a rely on for many performances. Here in the UK, different mix of members sent us pictures of their government funding for the arts wasn’t announced journeys – during one of the hottest weeks of the until July, and many small venues found themselves summer, we saw stops for iced coffees, a trip to on the brink of collapse. As more and more shows were see the cows in the fields a mile away, and a few postponed, and then cancelled, the UK’s university treadmill runs when going outside really was just far drama societies decided to find a way they could too unbearable. Some of us even managed to walk help. or run every day for the whole week. Warwick University’s drama society came up with a plan: a scheme they titled Students Saving Our Alongside getting fit, we also found some interesting Theatres (SSOT). They reached out to twenty-two ways to interpret this challenge. Secretary Bridget, uni drama societies, from Scotland to London and who said that ‘SSOT helped me stay connected through to us, in Swansea. Their idea was a fivewith the community I had found within theatre and week campaign focused on a different challenge gave me a sense of purpose over lockdown,’ spent every week, culminating in a scratch night of pre-

O


most of week two writing a 5000-word essay on the importance of live theatre, which we posted to Shoreline’s Facebook page. We were certainly impressed that she finished it within a week! Meanwhile, Publicist Charley was busy working out how many laps of her Animal Crossing village was equal to 5 kilometres, before spending her day sending her characters on a 5k trek. Charley says it was a highlight of the campaign for her, and that ‘it totally counts.’ Charley also edited everyone’s 5k photos for a master post every day, which she says also greatly enjoyed as she found it a great way to showcase everyone’s hard work.

Upcycling

The challenge this week was to create an outfit – either from scratch or by upcycling an existing garment. Again, we found some fun ways to go about this: one member painted a shirt to create a cosplay outfit; others broke out the sewing machine and dress patterns. I made a dress, and enjoyed it so much that I went on to make a second one for our virtual Oscars event in July!

every day during week two, told me that his work ‘generated a lot of interest for people who lived in my area, which many wishing to get involved and donate.’

Scratch Night

After five weeks of running, sewing, and learning, the campaign ended with a scratch night. Throughout the campaign, we had been asked to record ourselves performing – monologues, songs, dances, and anything else we could come up with. These were broadcast in a YouTube livestream on the last night of the challenge, and it was certainly a fantastic send-off. While an unfortunate technical issue led to some of Shoreline’s submissions not being shown during the premiere, our Social Media Rep, Cass, decided to create a video for our own Facebook page. This video featured every scratch night performance by a Shoreline member, and we’re really proud to be able to showcase it on our own forum.

Warwick has told us that they hope to make SSOT an “annual celebration of arts and what they Language can achieve,” and we really hope Learn as much of one language that we will be able to return to this as you can in a week! As the only in a year’s time. We had so much welsh uni involved, a lot of us fun, and the campaign raised naturally focused on Welsh, but over £6000 in total, which was we did also have an interesting split between 22 local theatres. mix including Arabic, Hebrew, Shoreline chose to support the British Sign Language, Latin, Savoy Theatre in Monmouth, as Mandarin, and Japanese. Bridget one of our members has close links once again provided an exciting interpretation of the challenge by deciding to learn to the theatre, and we’re very happy that we were “It’s A Small World” in six different languages; her able to support them in this way. video of this was actually included as part of the Shoreline is now looking ahead: with the recent Scratch Night as well. developments with regards to the pandemic, we’re spending a lot of time on contingency plans, but we’re Community not giving up! We’ve just won the Students Union’s Our final challenge: help your local community. September Society of the Month, due in part to our Across the campaign, this included spending time work over the summer and with SSOT. Our first set with elderly family members who had been feeling of shows are two one act plays that we are, with the particularly isolated (within Covid guidelines, of help of SUTV, turning into short films to be premiered course), bringing the campaign to wider attention before Christmas. Social Sec Saul is working hard to through local radio stations, and using specialised bring us Covid-safe socials over zoom, and we’ve search engines online to help the environment. This already hosted our own scratch night to show off was, to many of us, the most important week of the talent of the members who have joined us for the campaign, and we really enjoyed being able to the first time this year. Things won’t be the same this take part in something so fulfilling. Conor, who ran year, but Shoreline isn’t giving up!


How Societies are Adapting to Adhere to COVID-19 Restrictions By Rachel Hart

S

ocieties are currently facing much adversity at the hands of the ongoing pandemic and have been working on adapting and overcoming the multiple barriers facing them. Here at Waterfront, we have spoken to a number of groups who have discovered ways to engage with their members in a safe way. As the month of October marked Black History Month, many societies planned ways in which they could celebrate without ignoring any COVID-19 regulations. In particular, the African Caribbean Society (ACS) hosted an array of virtual events including a quiz and a virtual debate night. Such events allowed both new and returning students alike to meet new friends, take a break from studying and celebrate Black History Month from a safe distance. The ACS committee reached out to inform us that their “Zoom events have had a good turnout and we try to make it as interesting as possible because we know that it is going to be this way for a while.” The committee will continue to “avoid a situation where lots of [them] will be in an enclosed space together” and look forward to planning more exciting online events in the near future. Prior to the newly imposed ‘circuitbreaker’, it was acceptable for groups of up to 30 people to meet in an outdoor setting providing social distancing measures are followed. Many societies partook

in walks, picnics and beach trips. To ensure that the capacity of 30 students was not exceeded, societies took to releasing free tickets on Fatsoma and other similar providers. The Maths Society (SumSoc) are currently planning a beach social for when restrictions are eased, allowing students to meet the new friends they have made over Zoom in person. The society have previously held a virtual quiz and games night to break the ice and engage with their new members. Furthermore, they hosted an online film night where students could relax at home and chat about the movie together.

knowledge quiz with a baking round as well as hosting a socially distanced picnic when restrictions allow [them] to do so.”

The Swansea University Tree Society (S.U.T.S) are also overcoming difficulties by using virtual means to discuss future plans. Such plans currently include “several documentary/movie screenings (environmentally focused of course!) and maybe even a quiz night for charity.” The committee’s main aim for the year is to do their bit for the environment by planting trees and protecting the surrounding natural beauty. They remain positive that they “will still plant [their] first batch of The Baking Society hold weekly 420 trees this planting season in meetings during which members November” and look forward to watch The Great British Bake Off recruiting new members. together and dedicate time to discussing the episode. Thus far, Please visit the societies’ Instagram the group have created a ‘Fantasy pages for more information on Bake Off’ league where members upcoming events and ways to get predict the outcomes of the involved: week’s episode. Those who find themselves at the top of the league @swansea_acs when the series concludes will be @swanseauniversitymathssociety awarded prizes. The committee @swanseabaking “are working on writing a general @swanseauniversitytreesociety


Photography Artist Profile - Georgina Bell

I

first started taking pictures while I was solo travelling down the coast of West Africa during my gap year. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my phone was broken, I had no way of communicating but I was eager to document my experiences, so I sought out a camera. My fondness for photography, portraiture especially, was a happy accident. Strangers noticed the camera lulled around my arms and would ask to have their picture taken. They would start conversations, share stories and on occasion, not-soconventional flirting too. A few wide, full toothed grins later and I was obsessed. I wanted to create a narrative that centred around identity, culture, and community that Africans and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) could not only relate to but enjoy and resonate with. Through photojournalism, I hope to represent communities’ in their traditional contexts and in the diaspora too.


Science & Research Interview With Theresa Ogbekhiulu:

Diversity In Academia By Sophie Sadler

S

ophie: Hi Theresa! Earlier, Bethan [Collins] spoke to you about the BAME advisory committee, but I wanted to ask you some questions more generally about diversity in academia. To start with, I’d love to hear a little bit about your own student experience. Theresa: I was an international student and came down to do my undergraduate from Nigeria. I didn’t think I was going to do a master’s at first – that came later. I started with my foundation year in 2014 and was doing my undergraduate in Media and Public Relations until 2018, and then after that I got a scholarship to do my master’s because I got a First class. My undergraduate experience was good in the sense that I wasn’t aware of a lot of these issues because, coming from another country, I didn’t think it was a big deal being the only Black student in the class or having a curriculum that was quite Euro-centric. However, it meant I wasn’t comfortable enough to contribute and I felt like my opinions weren’t valid because none of the other students looked like me. I would sit in the front, I would be very focused, but I wouldn’t answer questions or even ask questions either. So, I was genuinely struggling and I had to work twice as hard. However, I was lucky to have a really good personal tutor who, interestingly, spoke one day about a Nigerian writer during one of my classes. That lifted my spirits. It made me think because I didn’t even know this was a big thing in Nigeria. I was willing to talk more to the lecturer because I wanted to know why she chose this example. It was exciting for me. Hearing that made me willing to ask more

questions but prior to that, I’d been very quiet imagine if I’d been seeing other examples from Nigeria in my reading list. Do you think your experience at undergrad could’ve discouraged you from doing the master’s? Are there ways that lecturers should try to encourage students to continue in further education? That’s a really good question. With my course I definitely had that really personal experience with my tutors and some of my lecturers and that encouraged me to move on and want to do other things. I spoke to someone at Swansea Uni who has her PhD and that really excited me. I was like, “she’s a woman with a PhD, I want to get my PhD too, I want to do my master’s!” So, I literally had a sit down


with her one day and asked “can you tell me about gender and with sexuality. But when it comes to race yourself?” it’s so quiet. Representation in the staff body can positively affect the progress of the students and it Speaking to her, and having that personal relationship can also draw in more students to the university, so with my tutors, definitely encouraged my success. I it’s really a win-win situation. felt like I could speak to these people and they were very respectful of my experience as an international Finally, could you talk about the process of student. It’s one thing to have lecturers that look becoming the Education Officer for the Student like the students but I think even while we’re trying Union? Why did you decide to run for that role, and to get there, it’s very key that the lecturers who are how did it come about? already here understand and empathise with the Two years prior to when I ran, I saw Chisomo become experiences of students. Having a close pastoral the first Black, female president of the SU and that relationship with students really does go a long way made me feel like I could run for a position myself. in disaggregating them rather than viewing them as Before her, most of the people in that position had a homogenised group. been white. I also knew of Robiu, who was a previous two-time Education Officer and is Nigerian. Just Do you have plans to do a PhD soon, then? knowing those people made me feel like I could be Yes, yes! I have been looking around for scholarships there as well. I was also a student rep right from my because PhDs are expensive. But yes, I definitely foundation year up until my final year, and even still have plans to do my PhD. My father has started during my master’s. So, I just thought it would be calling me Dr already, so. cool to represent students on a broader scale. You’re basically there already, then. Exactly! Going back to the things you were saying about your own student experience, what effect do you think diversity (or lack of diversity) in the staff can have on the students? I think it links back to the attainment gap that institutions face. When there’s that disconnect between what the student body looks like and what the staff body looks like, there is an imbalance. It’s more psychological than anything else. Last year I was the only Black person at any staff meeting I attended, but then at one meeting there was another Black lady and even though I didn’t know her from anywhere before, she was already my sister. I was so excited! Once the disconnect is there the staff can never fully understand the students’ experiences. I think in Swansea University we’re doing a good job with

I was so nervous. I was like, “people aren’t going to vote for me because I’m Black”, but I rallied all of my friends and the support was there. During my first campaign I got the award for the biggest campaign team. People I knew, and even people I didn’t know, all rallied behind me and that alone showed how much people wanted to be represented and how much they wanted to see their own succeed. In the end I knew I was going to win, and after the first election I ran for a second as well because I was like, you know what, I’m not quite done yet. But this time I had even more support. Thank you so much for your time Theresa, it’s been great speaking to you! Thank you for reaching out to me!


BEM for Swansea University Staff Member By Mahaboob Basha

I

have been enthusiastic about volunteering for a long time and the Students’ Union created more opportunity to hone my skills when I was a full time officer in 2011-2013. I find that by helping others I also help myself. The current situation has been difficult for everyone, but I believe it is an opportunity to get to know people and assist them. People need support at the moment, physically and mentally. It is wonderful to see when you have a positive impact. I feel privileged that people in the Swansea community put their trust in me and welcomed my help. It has been fantastic to see people coming together and supporting each other as a community, it is real- agined myself with the letters BEM after my name. I ly amazing what can happen when people look af- am eternally grateful to the Sketty retirement apartter each other. ment residence group, Geraint Davies MP, Dr Mohsen El-Beltagi, Councillor Peter Jones and CouncilI’ve learned a lot about my community and used that lor Wendy Lewis for supporting and encouraging me to my advantage, local knowledge such as which to carry out the work in the first phase of Covid-19. roads to take to get to somewhere quickly. I’ve been Hopefully this will inspire more people to come forprivileged enough to meet some real characters. In ward to support the most vulnerable people in our one instance I was able to help someone use zoom society during this unprecedented time. to contact their family, in another I made sure somebody got their groceries delivered to their door. It has Two friends (well-wishers) who would have really celbeen so rewarding to make things a little bit easier ebrated with me, the late Rev Nigel John and my for people over these uncertain times. late Aunty Sarala would have celebrated my milestone more than anyone, I know their blessing is alAlthough I’ve been active in my community for a long ways with our community. My line manager Professor time, organising practical help and co-ordinating Andrew Barron is a great inspiration to me and very various activities for the diverse community within positive (in fact he had more faith in me then I had South Wales has been such an enriching experience. myself). When I decided that I was going to help the The overall aim during the pandemic was to help retirement and care home residence back in March people and ensure that they are in a better situation 2020, he and Professor Parvez Ali, both great leaders than before and sometimes this can be challenging and motivators to me, were very supportive. This is a because you can be facing things you feel totally un- special moment for me and my family. I would like prepared for. But I enjoyed it, and I hope my support to dedicate my medal particularly to my wife Sofie really helped the people in care homes. and son Sulaiman who are the real heroes behind my work. I have been touched by messages of gratitude I have received. I think the pandemic has really highlighted the community spirit. I would never have expected to make the Queen’s Honours list. I am incredibly humbled, as a young Muslim Asian man, I never im-


Thinking about your accommodation for next academic year? Whether you are looking for a 1 bedroom pad just for you, or a large house for you and all your mates, we give you the low down on how to find the right property, plus the Top Ten tips you need before you sign anything. There are two really important things to remember when it comes to looking for your student house:1. Don’t Panic There is a surplus of student housing in Swansea so you don’t need to rush your housing search. 2. Ask for help Housing can be a complicated thing. The Students’ Union Advice Centre can give you free, confidential advice on all matters housing. When it comes to looking for housing, you have a few options to choose from, and these are:• • • •

SAS Managed Property SAS Tenant Find Property Studentpad Advertised Property Private Landlord / Letting Agency

Student Accommodation Services (SAS) is a joint venture between Residential Services and the Students’ Union set up to offer you good quality houses to live in and help you find suitable accommodation in the private sector.

SAS Managed Property All communications are with SAS so you have the security and re-assurance of dealing directly with the University on a day to day basis - like in the halls of residence in the first year. Everything works almost exactly the same! • Pay rent termly by direct debit • No damage deposit required – you pay a reservation deposit that comes off your last instalment of rent • All inclusive rents including free internet! • You pay what it’s worth – SAS band properties based on their quality

• Contents insurance provided free • Individual licence agreement so you are only responsible for your own rent • No agency fees • Cooling off period until the end of January whereby you can cancel your contract without any financial penalty* • Out of hours emergency cover provided including 24/7 access for lost keys • You don’t need to find a replacement if one of your group pulls out – SAS takes care of it *Must meet specific criteria and conditions

SAS Tenant Find Property Tenant Find properties are managed by the Landlord, not SAS. SAS organise the advertising of the properties, viewings and set up the contract on behalf of the landlord. They take the first instalment of rent, typically the summer retainer, and then pass on everything to the landlord. From that point


onwards the landlords and students deal directly before signing with each other – SAS is no longer involved. *Please be aware the University do not recommend However with these properties SAS have visited using any letting agents them to ensure they meet a minimum standard and that all the necessary certificates are up to date. Things to consider…. Landlords using this service also have to sign up to the SAS Tenant Find Charter committing to certain When to look?? responsibilities. With a surplus of housing for students in Swansea,

you don’t need to rush into the process:• SAS Managed Properties are advertised on Studentpad from 2nd November Studentpad Advertised Property • Tenant Find Properties are advertised on Many private landlords advertise their properties on Studentpad from mid-January • Advertised Properties are advertised on the SAS run Studentpad website. To register with Studentpad, landlord properties Studentpad from beginning of February must adhere to Swansea Council’s Licence Scheme Who to live with? which includes:• A property assessment for fire safety, gas and Choosing who you want to live with can be hard. Think about interests and lifestyles; are your potential electrical safety • Meeting certain standards for the amenities, housemate’s smokers, tidy, quiet, late night people or early risers? repair and maintenance • Landlord agrees to manage property Think very carefully about living with your partners – it can put a lot of pressure on you, your partner and responsibly your housemates. SAS also requires that landlords manage these properties directly themselves – they are unable to place the property with an agency following advertising so students will not be required to pay any agency / administration fees as a result.

Rent Amount It’s worth talking to every member of your group about maximum rent budget before you start looking as there’s no point viewing properties outside their means. Bear in mind extra costs such as utility bills, *Please be advised that SAS lettings do not visit or internet, food etc… inspect Studentpad Advertised properties Deposit A damage deposit is usually paid when signing a tenancy/contract. The deposit is the landlords Letting Agency insurance against you causing damage to the property, unpaid rent or utilities, missing or damaged There are many letting agencies on the same street items and/or cleaning. A few key points about in Swansea that target the student housing market. deposits:If you do decide to go to one of the agencies please • It is only paid back at the end of your tenancy consider the following:• It is only paid back if all obligations are met • They may charge fees for administration and • A typical deposit is usually 1 month’s rent credit reference checks • If you are signing an Assured Shorthold • Fees may be expensive and non-refundable – Tenancy (AST), your deposit should be protected you can’t get your money back if you change your with a government authorised protection scheme mind within 30 days of paying the deposit – this is a legal • Make sure any fees are clearly explained before requirement for landlords to provide the details of you sign anything the scheme they use. • Speak to the advice centre before you sign anything – double check if that agency have had Don’t forget in SAS Managed Properties, SAS do not any complaints made against them recently, or the charge a damage deposit – you pay a reservation property itself has had any major issues deposit that comes off your rent • The agency should give you at least 24 hours to take away the contract to read through and review


Location, Location, Location If you have never really ventured out of your local area in the first year it is worth exploring local areas – some properties and local areas may not be as far away as you think. Plus you may get more for your money and a better quality property. Below is a brief guide to the most popular student areas:-

Brynmill & Uplands These are very popular student areas close to Singleton Campus, typically between 5-15 minutes’ walk with a large selection of local amenities including pubs, shops, supermarkets, restaurants and takeaways. Accommodation is mainly flats and shared houses that have at least 5 bedrooms.

Marina Accommodation in the Marina tends to be of exceptionally high standard, comprising purpose built luxury flats. There is a choice of 1 and 2 bedroom properties with many 2 bedrooms including en-suite bathrooms. These are approximately 25-30 minute walk to either campus. Average rents are between £750 per month for 1 bedroom flats and £900.00 per month for 2 bedrooms.

St Thomas / Port Tennant With the opening of the Bay Campus in recent years it has meant that the surrounding areas of St Thomas and Port Tennant have started attracting students to live there. As this is a relatively new student area many of the houses have been recently renovated throughout to convert into student properties. Properties tend to be 4, 5 or 6 bedrooms.

Sandfields A popular area for students that is closer to Top 10 tips before signing the City Centre and slightly further away from Singleton Campus – about a 20-25 minute walk. 1. Be sure Accommodation tends to be slightly smaller with Think carefully before signing as once a contract is many 3 and 4 bedroom properties. signed it will be difficult to get out of it if you change your mind. Make sure you are 100% clear about the Sketty terms of the contract. This is a much smaller student area but close to the Uplands. You can still walk through Singleton Park 2. Be nosy to get to the campus – just from a different way in. Ask the landlord / agent all the questions you can Good facilities present here with pubs, supermarkets, think of about the property and the tenancy. Ask the shops and takeaways. Accommodation is mostly 4 current tenants how they have enjoyed living in the and 5 bedroom properties. house / area and what the landlord / agent is like regarding maintenance / repairs.


3. Be safe If looking for accommodation by yourself don’t go to viewings alone. This is not only for your personal safety, but a second opinion is always useful. If you’re part of a group, make sure everyone attends the viewings and agrees it is suitable before signing contracts and/or paying deposits/fees. 4. Be thorough Take your time, look everywhere. You’ll be less likely to miss important things and be able to compare properties more objectively. 5. Be observant Look out for the condition of the property, fixtures and fittings and furniture. Pay particular attention to safety features. 6. Be realistic Don’t take on more than you can afford; set a realistic budget and stick to it. Remember to factor in utility bills, internet, TV licence, food and other living costs. 7. Be equipped Take photos to help you remember which house was which. If you’re looking at several properties they can become a bit of a blur. If you wish to take photos you will need to confirm this when booking the viewing so the landlord / agent can confirm the current tenants are happy to allow. 8. Be organised When you start looking, make sure you and all members of your group have got the means to pay the deposit and sign the tenancy agreements – as these will be required. You don’t want to risk losing out on a house that you love. 9. Be informed Make sure you know your rights. If you need advice contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre. They can also advise if they have received any complaints about particular landlords/ agents and can review your contract before you sign. 10. Be on the ball Keep an eye out for repairs and ask the landlord / agent if they intend on getting them fixed. If the landlord / agent state any improvements works are going to be carried out in the property i.e. new kitchen or bathroom make sure you get that in writing before you sign the contract.


Culture Diversity Within The Dance Industry By Hannah Courtney Thomas

I

nclusive. That’s one word we would use to describe the environment we create Swansea University’s Dance Society. At our Dance Society we have always taken pride in encouraging diversity. To put this into perspective for you, we have over 200 members every year. Despite the fact that we, like so many other societies and sports teams, find ourselves in a very different and surreal reality this academic year, we are pleasantly surprised to see more and more members, particularly from various ethnic backgrounds, join us daily. To put it simply, everyone is welcome. Why should those who wish to join us be made to feel as though

they would not ‘fit in’ just because of their ethnicity? They should not. Why should those who wish to join us worry about having a different accent, ethnicity or background? They should not.

Styles of dance originate from all over the world … There are too many to name. Over the years, Swansea University’s Dance Society has offered several classes to reflect this such as: Kizomba; Modern Greek; Bollywood and Irish Hard/Soft-shoe to name a few. Generally, we also offer levelled classes (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced) namely in: Jazz; Contemporary; Hip Hop; Ballet and Tap. It is not only our dance styles that are diverse, but, our selected student teachers also reflect the inclusivity we promote here at the Dance Society. Dance gives people a voice without the need to speak. Through movement alone, dancers can say a lot without the need for people to listen, visually a lot can be learnt simply through dance. Many professional dancers are advocates for diversity in the competitive world of dance and are, in turn, inspirations to dancers such as ourselves at the Dance Society. One of these inspirations are the well-known dance group, Diversity (ironic, we know). As many of you may already know, they stood in solidarity and performed, on the ITV talent show ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ a powerful piece of choreography. This piece saw Ashley Banjo and his crew speak out, particularly against racism in which a voice-over stated: “another disease, deep-rooted in our system, fear, hate and ignorance, but racism was the symptom.” It is unfortunate to think that when it comes to matters as relevant as racism, it appears


as though, in the eyes of Diversity to the role of principal dancer at (at least), movement alone is not American Ballet Theatre, one of enough to get people to listen up. the world’s top ballet companies. However, Copeland once admitted On a more positive note, there that “when it comes to the ballet are clear advancements in the world, it’s always been extremely world of dance reflective of challenging for minorities to the acceptance of those from exist and to thrive.” This is a ethnic backgrounds. In 2015, sad truth, but here at Swansea Misty Copeland made history University Dance Society we aim by becoming the first African- to eradicate anyone who joins us American woman to be promoted to feel as though, similarly to what

Copeland stated, they do not exist or that they cannot thrive. We want everyone to thrive. We want everyone to feel as though they exist. We welcome everyone. Whatever background. Whatever ethnicity. Everyone can belong at Swansea University’s Dance Society.

Appreciating The Origins Of Cultural Phenomenons In Society sneaker culture. It is believed that the modern-day trainers obsession found its roots in New York, where avid lovers of Basketball and Hip Hop chose to express themselves through their shoes. The wide range of styles as well as the ability to customise the shoes appealed to everyone. Now, even big fashion brands like Balenciaga and Prada are embracing the movement by creating their own sneakers.

By Cora-Jane Jordon

T

his Black History Month, a good way to take account of the role the black community have played in all parts of life is to explore the creations of different passions. From music to fashion, minority cultures have redefined style and individuality for everyone. Below are just a few examples of how we have been inspired by the black community.

STREETWEAR It was in the 80s and 90s that there was a rise in popularity in athleticwear, chunky jewellery and Logomania. Artists such as RUN-DMC and Grandmaster Flash SNEAKER CULTURE can be noted for transforming The 1985 Air Jordan, currently athleticwear into mainstream valued at $560,000, are often fashion. Tracksuits and baggy seen as the shoe that created shirts began staples in many closets across the US and spread across the world, appealing to youth worldwide. Dapper Dan can be credited for the obsession with logos, having made outfits using illegal printing to copy famous brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Other popular trends include Bucket hats and large chains became popular when artists such

as Jay Z and LL Cool J adopted them. Now, with a resurgence of the nostalgic 90s fashion, these trends have become modern staples. SLANG Whilst most of the slang discussed below is primarily spoken in London, it is hard to ignore its origins. Officially known as Multicultural London English, modern British slang has roots in Jamaican Patois and other African-Caribbean communities. Many of the common terms used by the youth were coined by African-Caribbean speakers in the UK as well as Hip Hop artists in the US. Some great examples include: ‘Wagwan’ – ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Rah’ – ‘Really/Seriously?’ ‘Bare’ – ‘A lot’ ‘Fam’ – ‘Family’ ‘Peng/Leng’ – ‘Attractive’ ‘Yard’ – ‘Home’


Fashion How the World of Fashion Responded to Black Lives Matter insensitive products. The lack of difference has faced much criticism and it is an issue that many in fashion have tried to rectify, to some effect but arguably not enough. I will note here that when recently reading a fashion magazine, I noticed that the majority of the models were white. This suggests that there are still steps that need to be taken to create a multi-cultural community. However, over the summer as many of us came together in solidarity, the world of fashion was shown to oppose racism by making various statements. Big businesses such as H&M and Marks and Spencer pledged money to various charities supporting Black Lives Matter. More and more companies began to speak out to show their support. There was also an urgent call for people to support black owned businesses as studies showed that white businesses were more successful, with no apparent reason.

By Rhianydd Sword

W

hen I think of October a few things come to mind: Halloween, the fact that our clocks get set back an hour and the excitement of knowing that we’re one month closer to Christmas. However, the most significant thing about October is that it marks Black History month. Its importance is paramount as we continuously fight for equality amongst the Black Lives Matter movement. This year the world came together to stand up and say that enough is enough, things need to change and change now. This stand came in many forms: protests, social media posts, signing important petitions and donating to charities supporting Black Lives Matter. Historically, fashion has had a race problem with a lack of diversity on a range from models to racially

If you want to know an example of where to find small black owned businesses in order to show your support, I’ve done some research and found that a good place to look is Etsy. Etsy is essentially an online marketplace where sellers can post

their items for potential buyers. They have a section dedicated to supporting black sellers where you can find anything from bandanas for your pet to patterned playsuits. Outside of fashion, there’s also some beautiful art and items such as bookmarks and candles. What I personally like about Etsy is that they give you information on the seller to add a personal touch and so that you feel like you really know who you’re buying from. Other, larger companies such as SheIn which is an online fashion company, whilst donating money to various Black Lives Matter charities have also designed and created t-shirts in a collection called SheIn Together of which the proceeds go to different charities who want to narrow the racial divide. Obviously, these are only a few of many examples as there were a large majority of fashion retailers who showed their support. It appears that the fashion community is taking steps to become more diverse, despite previous conflicts. This, hopefully, is a positive sign.


Literature The Children of Wounded Warriors: from Okara to Beyond By Ashish Dwivedi

O

ften lauded as the “first Modernist poet of Anglophone Africa”, Gabriel Okara (1921-2019) has been a prominent Nigerian poet and novelist who is celebrated for having indigenized African literature by investing it with a local sonority and a pan-African significance. In doing so, he joins hands with other acclaimed names as Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001), Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), and Christopher Okigbo (1932-1967)- whereas the timelessness of his poetic voice finds treasured in works like The Voice (1964), The Fisherman’s Invocation (1978), The Dreamer, His Vision (2005), and As I See It (2006). The image of Gabriel Okara, however, personally-speaking, appears unforgettable in an oft-anthologized poem, entitled “You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed”, that is a scathing critique of the machiavellian paraphernalia of European modernity, and outlives amongst “the best of Senghor’s nostalgic verse [and] the militancy of many of David Diop’s lyrics” (Echeruo, 1992). Upheld as “a quintessential expression of African humour”, as Echeruo avouches, the monologue opens with a reference to a European colonialist, scoffing at the African way of life, who emanates as being incarcerated within a psychic cave of his deluded imagination, and who is blind to the enchanting cultural expressions of Africa (that are further communicated via the speaker’s ‘song’). This situation is a brief explanation of the cultural construction of the ‘White Man Laughs’, which finds its complete meaning in Chinua Achebe’s radical essay of postcolonialist philosophy, “Colonialist Criticism” (1988), and that registers Achebe’s anger towards European ignorance and racial bigotry that had plagued the roots of humanity.

The monologue follows the tradition of literature wherein ‘laughter’ is employed as a metaphor for angry resistance- this could ring a bell in feminist discourse, thanks to Hélène Cixous (b. 1937) and the philosophy of ‘Medusa’s laughter’ which was further experimented in Indian feminist discourse by writers like Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016) and Kamala Das (1934-2009). Nonetheless, Okara employs it to serve his own personal ends, draped in the spirit of anti-imperialism. It is surprising to note that the purpose of the ‘laughter’ is three-fold: i. a gesture made by the colonialist to repudiate the African cultural symbols; ii. a symbol of passive acceptance of the colonialist’s superiority by the colonized and iii. an act of courage- by the African speaker- to fight back and de-


fend the cultural prestige of Africa (Azuonye, 2011): “You laughed at my song, you laughed at my walk. . . . You laughed at my dance, you laughed at my inside.” Four other antithetical tropes further support the magnitude of the speaker’s laughter- in the shape of ‘song’, ‘walk’, ‘dance’, and ‘inside’- and combine together to (1) paralyze the cold repugnance of the colonizer’s gaze, and (2) celebrate the authentic and individual flavours and features of the speaker’s Africa. The tropes vehicle the potential of the speaker’s natural ‘laughter’ to vilify the unnaturalness of the mocking colonialist’s laughter: “but my laughter is not ice-block laughter. For I know not cars, know not ice-blocks.” The monologue concludes with the speaker’s association of his laughter (epitomizes meaningful human existence) with ‘fire’ in its varied manifestations (Azuonye, 2011), metaphorically comparing himself to the supreme elements of nature that helps in the sustenance of life on earth. This metaphorical streak of comparisons aids the speaker’s struggle to thaw the pretensions of Eurocentrist cultural arrogance and awaken the colonialist to the richness of the African cultural heritage. Okara’s pursuit seems to achieve fruition when the colonialist’s question (“Why so?”) is answered via the speaker’s acknowledgement of his forefathers as the children of earth.

As a monumental pièce de résistance, recording the genius of Okara, “You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed” emerges as a poignant expression of the colonizer vs. colonized tension(s) that are confronted and challenged by an African intellectual who soon silences “the colonizer’s… contemptuous disparagement of [the] indigenous African culture” (Parekh, 1998). It has been a favourite since the first time I chanced upon it during my Master’s, and it was a joy to go back to my archives and relish its treasures again. If you are interested in expanding your oeuvre (around works like this), kindly refer to The Shadow of Laughter (1968) by Kwesi Brew, Path of Thunder (1971) by Christopher Okigbo, and Decolonising the Mind (1986) by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. I call all them, the children of wounded warriors. Works Cited Azuonye, C. (2011). ‘The White Man Laughs’: Commentary on the satiric dramatic monologues of Gabriel Okara. Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series, 3. Retrieved from https:// scholarworks.umb.edu/africana_faculty_pubs/3/ Echeruo, M.J.C. (1992). Gabriel Okara: A poet and his seasons. World Literature Today, 66(3), 454-456. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40148369.pdf Parekh, P.N. & Jagne, S.F. (1998). Postcolonial African writers: A bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. The African Book Review. (2014). You laughed and laughed and laughed / Gabriel Okara. Retrieved from https://theafricanbookreview.com/2014/05/09/you-laughed-and-laughedand-laughed-gabriel-okara/

Written in Invisible Ink: A Celebration of Ethnically Diverse Writers By Sophie Apps

I

n celebration of Black History Month, here is an extraordinary and unappreciated list of literature written from a myriad of racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. From Angie Thomas’ The Hate You Give to Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, we have a literary mixtape of powerful narratives and exposure to a definition of literature that doesn’t begin with Harry


Potter. Admittedly, bookshelves and Goodreads lists across the planet are, at least a little, consumed with white writers. This is leading to the stories of diverse cultures often going unheard and unread. So, in the height of the Black Lives Matter Movement – centring itself on education and equality – we are summoned from various races, ages and genders to be well-read on, not only Black history but all disenfranchised ethnic perspectives. Through, diversifying our bookshelves, we can all stay informed and give praise to culturally infused literature. Next time you peruse the shelves of Waterstones or mindlessly click on Amazon, think about the books you are buying and the ethnic perspectives they have. Below are only a few brilliant racially diverse writers and pieces of literature. I hope you can find the time to read them! In the ever-lasting wake of the COVID pandemic, if you can, consider purchasing any of the books listed below (that interests you) from an independent bookstore – as now more than ever is the time to support small local businesses.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

The best-selling YA novel The Hate You Give by AfroAmerican author Angie Thomas offers a startingly insight into police brutality, humanising one of the countless voices of the Black Lives Matter movements. The book battles a struggle for voice and justice through the protagonist, Starr Carter. From the first-perspective of Starr, readers act as additional witnesses to the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil, by a police officer and the aftermath; seeing their lives echoed in the words or for readers detached from Starr’s experience, they can have the opportunity to become allies and listeners to the BLM movement. The Hate You Give additionally introduces cycles of violence within neighbourhoods and racism against multiple races which makes it even more culturally significant. If you don’t happen to read the book, the film adaptation directed by George Tillman Jr. is equally heart-breaking.

and remarkable historical narrative, Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people over the course of 15 years to account these American journeys, comparing the migration to the migrations of people in history. The Warmth of Other Suns marvellously captures the stories of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling and Robert Foster and their exhausting escapes to find work and liberation; therefore, a must-read.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Still I Rise is a blink in the chasm of Maya Angelou’s originality, political agency and flair; working as a poet, civil rights activist, storyteller, educator, singer, dancer, and being Hollywood’s first female Black director, she defines new borders of Black womanhood, both creatively and otherwise. Her written works include On the Pulse of the Morning, The Complete Collected Works of Maya Angelou and most notably I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, which are well-worth reading as a whole if you get the chance. Without giving Angelou’s poem Still I Rise too much analysis, she grasped the literary form by the teeth, as Langston Hughes did, giving a voice to herself and the millions of marginalised Black men and women throughout America during the twentieth century.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military strategy book – arguably the world’s most influential – dating from the period of the Warring States (403-221 BC). Born out of intense turmoil in Chinese history, the text analyses the nature or art of war- demonstrating how victory can be achieved in only thirteen short chapters. Tzu’s tactics include: the art of deception, knowing yourself and the enemy, and subduing the enemy’s army without battle, to name a few. This isn’t a book for everyone guaranteed, though if you’re into warfare, Chinese history or are plotting a war against your housemates for stealing your food it’s worth a read! If not for The Art of War’s ability to preside politically pertinent in today’s society.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children tells the story of Saleem Sinai Wilkerson Written by Isabel Wilkerson – the first Afro-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism – the work chronicles the extraordinary untold stories of American history during the Great Migration. From 1915 to 1970, nearly 6 million Black Americans departed from the South to Northern and Western cities to escape lynching, sharecropping and Jim Crow laws, in search of opportunity. In this bold

– a boy born at the stroke of midnight in harmony with the declaration of India’s independence – who finds himself with magical powers, along with 1,001 others, that bind him to history. As our protagonist, Saleem navigates us through the dichotomy of India’s vast, vibrant background and turbulent history which reflects the Indo-Pakistan wars in 1975 and 1971. Indian author Rushdie, through Midnight’s Children, questions reality and whether history can


be condensed into one narrative – perhaps hinting that there could be many realities experienced in a single strike of the clock. This dazzling novel won the Man Booker Prize, and with an astonishing plot and enriched cultural references, Midnight’s Children deserves a place on your shelves at home.

author Roy wills her words into lines of poetry; her language is synchronously classic and unparalleled, striking and familiar, and soaked in an Asian Indian cultural glaze. In the book’s fragmented chronology, readers are reminded that our constructed lives – like the story itself – are inconsecutive; our days are connected in a never-ending circle that doesn’t follow a straight line. A dazzling concoction of child-like White Teeth by Zadie Smith interpretation, meticulous metaphors and spinning White Teeth by Jamaican and English author Zadie stories, Roy encapsulates a politically charged casteSmith tells the story of three dysfunctional families ridden Ayemenem and the lives of those residing living in Britain: an Englishman, his Jamaican wife, there. and their daughter; a Bengali couple and their boys; and an English couple, Joyce and Marcus, and their children – who are connected by unlikely wartime When Love Arrives by Sarah Kay friends Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, who served Sarah Kay – a Japanese American poet – is a bundle together in the military. Set in the cultural and of metaphors, passion and clever wordplay; and has grand tapestry of London, White Teeth captures the already written the poem that you were planning dialects and diction of every character; representing on writing. Her poetry works include No Matter the their racial heritage, age and narratives. With Smith’s Wreckage, All Our Wild Wonder, The Type and B – tangible talent, she visualizes rounded and inimitable one of my favourite poems of hers being When Love characters submerged into generational conflicts Arrives and If I Should Have a Daughter. Through her which envelop their families. Though quite daunting spoken word poetry, Kay embraces the humour of in length, White Teeth is a myriad of multiculturalism, human existence, dancing with failed romances and humour and breath of fresh air that commands you defies expectations of what poetry can achieve. She builds palaces out of paragraphs; crafting remarkable to read it. and understandable poetry that is a cinematic experience for the imagination. Whether on Ted, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker Button Poetry or through a copy of her collections, I In The Colour Purple, Walker imagines the lives of cannot recommend her literature enough. African American women in early-twentieth-century rural Georgia; crafting a coming-of-age story that remains contemporary to her readers. This is a story Washington Black by Esi Edugyan of sisterhood. Through many letters, we live in Celie’s Esi Edugyan is a brilliant Canadian and Ghanaian trauma and triumphs; getting short glances at author, who’s written works include Washington Nettie’s life as a missionary in Africa; observing how Black, Half-Blood Blues and The Second Life of the love between two separated sisters transcends Samuel Tyne. Shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in boundaries of time, silence and distance. Walker 2018, Washington Black comes to us as a memoir compassionately narrates the lives of the daring written by a former slave called George Washington Celie, Shug Avery, Nettie and Sofia, who are nurtured Black. Readers first meet Wash as an eleven-yearinto womanhood – overcoming racial prejudice, old field slave in Barbados, then see his entire world domestic abuse and patriarchal institutions – to collapse as he adventures in a world of wonders educate each other and discover their positions in and stumbles into an unlikely friendship with the a world that places them last. The Colour Purple is eccentric Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde: a naturalist, Bildungsroman for all of Walker’s troubled characters; explorer, inventor, scientist and abolitionist. As the where redemption and resilience are won. Amen to two take flight across the eastern coast of America – the epic, independent women that shape this rich in a spectacular flying machine – Edugyan similarly feminist text. to Wash, takes her readers on a story they are least expecting to go. Washington Black is not only an The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy unflinching depiction of slavery but tells a profound Fuelled by wit and tragedy, The God of Small Things narrative of friendship, morality and questions of openly telling us of an electric and frequently freedom. unlikeable family wreckage consisting of grandmother Mammachi; her son Chacko; her daughter Ammu; Ammu’s dizygotic twins Esthappen and Rahel; and Baby Kochamma, the bitter grand-aunt. Indian


Bethan’s Book Of The Month By Bethan Bates

N

oughts and Crosses is set in a ‘dystopian’ world in which black people are the elite upper class “crosses” and whites are the suppressed “noughts”. It is the first in a five-book series set in this universe and introduces readers to the characters of Sephy and Callum tracing their lives from childhood to adulthood. This story is timeless and really resonated with me when I read it over lockdown. Malorie Blackman presents a world eerily similar to ours with ‘race wars’ and rebellions asking for human rights. *Spoilers start here* TW – sexual violence, racism, and death

far too close without ever knowing where the other The relationship between Sephy and Callum is is. Sephy and Callum spend the book seemingly tumultuous and toxic, childhood sweethearts orbiting around each other constantly coming back separated by class and society, but always drawn to each other even when it seems the worst timing. back to each other. I struggled internally with my desire for them to be together and happy and my My least favourite part of the book is towards the knowledge that they were totally wrong for each end where Sephy is kidnapped by Callum and other other. Malorie Blackman shows the power dynamics members of the resistance. At this point their love and of inter-racial / inter-class relationships and how desire is no longer unrequited and upon their reunion power imbalance and suppression can cause they have sex. However, due to the circumstances, I cannot read this scene as anything other than a man resentment and fracturing. who abuses his position of power over his captive This can be seen when a group of Noughts begin at and rapes her. Despite Sephy’s instance to the other Heathcroft school causing major protests against characters, this relationship continues to be toxic their education there. The protesting students start and problematic to the highest degree. using slurs and abusive language causing Sephy to Although I accidentally ruined the ending of the lash out and shout that they were being “worse than book for myself, I still found the book gripping right animals, like blankers”. Blackman does a number of until the last page. I have a terrible tendency to flip important things in this scene; firstly, she mimics the to the last page to see how many pages are in the type of abuse and discrimination that black people book, it was at this point I saw the announcement in our world experience; secondly, she uses the term of Sephy’s child listing Callum as deceased. Despite ‘blanker’ which is the racial slur of choice by Crosses; this ending, there are four more books in the series, finally, it represents how Sephy and Callum have a the next featuring Jude, Callum’s older brother, on constant struggle between their commitment to his missions to avenge his brother and father’s death. each other and their different communities.

The book is written with alternative character Overall Star Rating - 5/5 perspectives with Sephy and Callum’s narratives running parallel. This builds suspense as we watch Sephy and Callum constantly miss each other or get


Food

Chapati Recipe By Mitchelle Wamahiu: East African Society

S

imilar to Naan, Parantha, Roti, Safati, Phulka, and Roshi, chapati is a very well-known dish eaten anytime of the day, but most often during social gatherings and holidays. Originally from India, or parts of Egypt, the recipe was first discovered on the coastal shore lines of Eastern Africa. The recipe is different from the usually parantha or naan, where instead of yoghurt, the recipe calls for milk or water, as this will not dry up the dough, and a substantial amount oil, that aids in the multi-layered flatbread. Fried on a skillet accompanied by plenty of oil, I would say it’s like making a pancake. Holidays are never missed with chapatis as the dish plays a big role in social settings, where everyone is always excited to share this meal as it signifies happiness and unity of people, especially family. Whenever you would have a Christmas dinner and Chapatis are left over, you know for sure you’ve scored the jackpot for breakfast They go well with stews, vegetables such as fried spinach or just a cup of tea. It’s a meal for any time of the day

Ingredients

140g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1 tsp salt 2 tbsp sugar (optional) 90ml water 90 ml milk Oil or Ghee

Preparation and Cooking

1. In a large mixing bowl, add water, oil, sugar and salt and mix well. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon till the mixture comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface 2. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for about 15 minutes until smooth - when it doesn’t stick to your hands. If it does, add 2 tbsp of flour and

continue to knead till smooth. The longer you knead, the softer the chapati will be. 3. Poke the dough with your finger, if it slowly comes back, then your dough is ready. 4. Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough out to make a large, even rectangle then gently brush the dough with melted butter or ghee and start cutting into strips 5. Take your strip and roll the dough like you would a yoga mat. Coil the mat-like-dough and tuck the end in the middle of the coil. Repeat the process with all the dough. This is the process that will ensure layers in your chapati. 6. Cover the dough once more and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes 7. Working with one dough at a time, lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough using a rolling pin to a thin 20cm circle (slightly thicker than a tortilla) 8. Heat a skillet/pan over medium-high heat, add some oil and place the rolled out dough 9. Cook for about 30 seconds till bubbles appear on the upper side, at this point, brush some oil on the chapati and flip. Gently press against the skillet for 15 seconds as you turn it. Flip once more and press the other side gently against the skillet too. Remove from the pan, place in a serving dish and cover with the lid 10. Served with, beef stew, curry, and fried cabbage


Creative Writing Strong Black Women Leading the Way in Audio Drama By Sali Earls

mysterious company arises, she says yes.

The trailer comes with some very strict rules: it must be kept at a certain temperature; it must be dropped off by 5am in Chicago; and it must For this month’s podcast review, I wanted to look remain locked. As soon as she hits the road, she at dramas led by formidable female characters. has second thoughts, especially when she comes There’s often criticism in the world of film and to realise what she’s carrying may be alive. TV about the lack of roles for women, but with audio, thankfully it seems to be different. A great cast of well known actors led by Erivo give I’ve reviewed three drama podcasts with black actors in leading roles, and each of the shows have also been devised with innovative and immersive sound design, enhancing the listening experience.

Carrier The premise of Carrier is simple. What happens when a truck driver picks up a loaded trailer, but has no idea what’s inside? We find out exactly what, over seven intense and electrifying episodes. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, Bad Times at the El Royale) is exceptional in the leading role of Raylene, an African American truck driver, working on behalf of her sick father, desperate to get the job done to get home to her children. When we meet her, she is being pulled over by a state trooper. The stop throws her off schedule, and potentially out of pocket, so when the opportunity to pick up a sealed trailer from a

life to the story, but the sound design on Carrier is something else. The sound was designed using binaural audio, a process designed to simulate how ears capture sound. Listening on headphones, this gives the impression of being in the heart of the action, with sound coming from all around you. I loved this podcast, written by Dan Blank, and listened to the whole story in one day. A movie version is now in pre-production, again starring Cynthia Erivo. But will it capture the magic of audio? We’ll have to wait and see.

Forest 404 Written by Timothy X Atack (Doctor Who audio dramas), Forest 404 is an unusual podcast drama. Set in the 24th century following an incident called The Cataclysm, which mixed up and destroyed vast swathes of data about the earth and human life. Our protagonist, Pan, is a young woman


given the tedious job of sorting through and deleting irrelevant sound files that survived. But she discovers a set of recordings from the rainforests of the early 21st century that haunt her. The rainforests no longer exist, but Pan hunts down the truth of how they died, all while evading pursuing agents of the new world. As Pan, Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) brings real pathos and heart to the character. Through her experiences, we are forced to imagine our world as one of ruins, with the beauty and soul of nature remaining as sound fragments. Unusually for a drama podcast, each episode is accompanied by a short talk exploring the issues and themes of the show from a diverse range of speakers; and an immersive soundscape of natural world sounds pertinent to the episode, designed for a binaural 3D headphone experience. There is also a 10 minute experiment that listeners are encouraged to take part in, to discover and assess the effects that different natural sounds have on mental health and wellbeing. Forest 404 is an ambitious undertaking, creating a futuristic world with a soundscape of current nature. It’s not something I would rush back to listen to again, but the combination of taut drama, with educational talks and sounds, presents an experience unlike any other I’ve had so far.

The Left Game

/

Right

Written by Jack Anderson, based on his r/nosleep subreddit series of 2017, The Left / Right Game follows idealistic and somewhat naive journalist Alice, who tries to make a name for herself by travelling with

a group of paranormal explorers, obsessed with a apparently harmless pastime known as the Left/Right Game. As Alice, Tessa Thompson (Thor Ragnarok, Westworld), is likeable and compelling, all the while playing a character that is deeply flawed and frustrating. While trying to tell the story of this mismatched group of pioneers, Alice puts herself and the group as a whole in increasing danger. The journey takes her into a supernatural world that she and the other members of the expedition cannot handle, or survive. Her journey is being followed and documented by her close friend Tom (Aml Ameen), who has received an email with an audio file from her after a long period with no communication. As he searches for her online, and in person; a journey that takes him across the UK and to the US; he starts to question his own sanity. Why is he the only person who can remember Alice? This is a wonderfully compelling, immersive and spooky adventure that I really enjoyed. As before, The Left / Right Game has also been designed for binaural audio, and some of the sound effects really can take you by surprise. Amazon Studios have secured the TV rights to this intriguing show, with Tessa Thompson slated to star and produce. Can you recommend some audio drama podcasts to listen to? Email me at waterfrontcreativewriting@ swanseastudentmedia.com


Music Is the current music streaming model “fit for purpose”? The DCMS will investigate By Cat Daczkowski

T

he Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee are launching an inquiry into the economics of music streaming and whether the current model is “fit for purpose”, but will it change anything? According to the official UK Government committees webpage, music streaming accounts for over half of the global music industry, with £1 billion being generated in the UK alone, however, artists are being paid as little as 13% of the income generated.

interestingly quick to absolve any involvement with the advertising campaign. In 2019, PRS for music processed £18.8 trillion from “performances” but with the current pandemic, musicians are unable to play live meaning their income is solely based on how they sell themselves digitally. PRS raised an emergency fund of £2.1 million to support the 1,600 songwriters signed up to the organisation when the first COVID-19 lockdown began. Charities such as Help Musicians hurried to help in March, raising £5 million, but with such high demand for financial support from musicians in the UK the fund ran out in a single week. The DCMS revealed in a video on Twitter that even though streaming sites are incredibly popular, generating a great deal of income, the streaming platforms take 30% and 55% is split to the label/ producer/artist with the rest going to the stakeholders.

In response to the increasing outcry for fairer pay for musicians, arguably sparked by online movements such as the #BrokenRecord campaign on Twitter that began in May, the DCMS committee is now in process of launching an inquiry into the music streaming industry, and whether artists are treated fairly by the model. They are also looking to investigate whether Some smaller musicians are opposed to uploading the algorithms used on online streaming sites their music to streaming sites, arguing that it’s not a viable source of income. In an interview with are favoured to musicians with larger Colin James Macfarlane, the frontman of fanbases, creating an increasingly a Pontypridd based punk band “Sparky difficult battle for smaller artists. Renegade”, revealed that he has not uploaded his music to streaming sites After five months of social since around 2016. He said, “YouTube media campaigning, a is by far the most generous streaming government-backed advert platform” as it is free to upload a video calling for young creatives to to the site meaning uploaders receive begin a career in cybersecurity “instant profit”, and that the payment was released but it was quickly model used by YouTube is much fairer taken down due to the uproar than other platforms. all over social media. This incident occurred two days before As mentioned by Macfarlane, streaming sites the announcement of the music are not free to upload to for artists, and some streaming inquiry, and the DCMS were


services that allow musicians to upload to these platforms also take a percentage of the earnings as well as the upfront fee. One distribution service, Distrokid, charges its users $19.99 (£15.48) once a year to upload music onto streaming sites. Some sites charge even more, Tunecore for example charges $23.99 (£18.58) for the first year, and the fee rises to $40 (£30.97) the following year.

have and if the musicians rely on their music career solely to live. As a comparison he gave the example of using the Facebook promotion system, “if you put £50 into that [promoting a video] you won’t get anything back” but if a band paid a yearly fee to share their music on a streaming platform, there is a chance that they will make a profit. Some people have even taken to social media to prove how the organisations who are there to help musicians, are not providing the service that they pay for. An artist must pay a one-off £100 fee to join the PRS for Music organisation, then PRS will ensure that the artists are paid every time their music is performed “live, broadcast on TV or radio, played in public, streamed online or used in the film”. Andrew Hunt, a member of the band “Buffalo Summer” shared his 2020 PRS payment on his Facebook account, where he earned just £7.38.

Even though the fees to upload to these sites are high, some would argue that the income they receive through streaming is not worthwhile. The Twitter user, “@thetrichordist” released a table of the different payment levels that each major streaming site currently uses Although, the YouTube video service seems to offer the best value through its ad revenue model, its music streaming counterpart pays its artists the least amount with £0.0012 per stream, meaning artists require on average 7,267 streams to earn one hour of UK minimum wage. Amazon is the best for the artists according to this evidence as it With the online presence that is surrounding this pays £0.009 per stream. issue, it will be interesting to see how the creative industry will be adapted by the government through Even with these figures, some artists still choose to this inquiry. If you would like to submit evidence to use streaming sites to share their music. Mitchell support this investigation, go to this website, https:// Tennant, the frontman of Head Noise, an Aberdare committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/273/ based DIY punk electronic band shared his thoughts in economics-of-music-streaming/ by the 16th an interview about using music streaming platforms November 2020. to promote his music. He stated that “it’s more about getting the music out there for people to hear” than receiving any monetary gain. He believes that it depends on what other sources of income bands

How Racial Inequality Has Inspired Artists to Create to the protests that occurred in Missouri in the same year. It’s a hard-hitting rock track featuring power chords, a series of sing-along lyric fillers and the classic Tom Morello style solo, but more than that, it’s a song with true meaning. Morello tweeted out ook: after the release of the song, “Against death penalty Protest against racial inequality through music but if instituted 4killer cops, corporate criminals & is no new concept. However, with the huge presidents who go to war under false pretence might #BLM movement this year, I believe it’s important be deterrent?” to share not just the most recent creations, but the creations of the past. Notable Lyrics: “A nation at half-mast, Figured I’d get the last laugh Tom Morello - Marching On Ferguson Back in 2014, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) Carving up that golden calf released the song, ‘Marching On Ferguson’. It refers With a blow torch and gas mask…”

By Cat Daczkowski

H


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Feat. Jamila the painful lyrics, he created a huge impact on the historic award ceremony. His song, Black was released Woods - White Privilege II Macklemore is another artist who has been inspired by racial inequality. In 2016, his track White Privilege II was released which begins with a white Macklemore joining in on a protest but he questions whether he has the right to march due to his personal privilege. The song continues to cover other aspects of racial inequality that many people face. One of the songwriters “Ben Haggerty” said in an interview with NPR that the song is “purposefully…uncomfortable.” This is more than just a song - it’s a statement piece against racial prejudice. Notable Lyrics: “We want to dress like, walk like, talk like, dance-like, yet we just stand by We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?”

Childish Gambino - This Is America

in 2019 but for his performance at the BRIT Awards, he added another verse that argues that everyone deserves equality and if someone doesn’t see that now, they probably never will.

Notable Lyrics: “Black is people namin’ your countries on what they trade most Coast of Ivory, Gold Coast, and the Grain Coast But most importantly to show how deep all this pain goes West Africa, Benin, they called it slave coast”

Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent Performance

Artists haven’t only released music in retaliation of racial hatred, but other forms of art too. Diversity performed on the Semi-Finals of Britain’s Got Talent this year, with a performance inspired by the tragedy of the death of George Floyd. Ashley Banjo was seen lying on the floor with a policeman resting on the back of his neck, and he shared the words, “Black Lives Matter.” This caused outrage with some, with over 24,000 complaints (As of September 24, 2020) being made with Ofcom. The communications regulator, however, decided to not investigate the performance.

A more visual example, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” has over 700 million views on YouTube. This video and song (released in 2018) is a true journey, highlighting the violent undercoat that encumbers America. At the beginning a man is shot, the man is dragged out of shot, but the gun that shoots him is carefully carried away. Acts of violence is a constant background in the video, as Gambino uses his eccentric and individualistic dance moves try to Take a look at the official Spotify “Black Lives Matter” playlist for more examples of anti-racial inequality and distract us. inspired music. Notable Lyrics: “Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy) Guns in my area (word, my area) I got the strap (ayy, ayy) I gotta carry ‘em”

Dave - Black (Live at the Brits 2020)

The 2020 BRITs featured some amazing current artists such as Billie Eilish and Lizzo but the rapper, Dave, used his performance to call attention to a real issue that faces our society today. The simplistic stage set-up was incredibly effective and alongside


Sport Black Excellence in the Bubble By Efan Willis

I

n the midst of the fight for racial equality across the globe, few sports associations have shown their unwavering support for the cause as much as the NBA and its athletes. The NBA was forced to postpone its 2019/20 season in March after the COVID-19 outbreak compromised the safety of thousands of employees. On July 22nd, the season resumed, but under unique circumstances; the remainder of the season was to be played in a Coronavirus-free ‘bubble’ setting. Players and staff members would have to self-isolate independently before flying to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida, which is where the NBA chose to house the bubble. This is where they would stay, cut off from the outside world, until one team was crowned champion. During the season’s hiatus, many ambassadors of the sport showed their support for the Black community in the midst of nationwide protests, following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement officers. Current NBA players, such as Jaylen Brown, Trae Young, and Russell Westbrook, took to the streets in solidarity with their community.

Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships (still the most of any player in the league’s history), but according to Russell, when the team polled fans on how to increase attendance at the games, “more than 50% of the fans polled answered, “Have fewer black guys on the team”.” During his playing days, there were “still only around 15 Black men playing in the League”, so when he boycotted a game against the St. Louis Hawks in 1961 as an act of peaceful protest, the white players simply suited up and played without him.

Since the days of Bill Russell’s playing career, the NBA has gone to great lengths to ensure that Black athletes, who now make up 81% of the league’s players – which is the highest percentage of any major sports league – have their voices heard. Following the resumption of the season in the bubble, players were allowed to adorn their jerseys with messages in support of the BLM movement, or any worthy cause of their choosing; ‘Black Lives Matter’; ‘Justice’; ‘Say Their Names’; and ‘Love Us’ were among the most popular messages the players chose to use. Players were also encouraged to peacefully protest, by taking a knee during the performance of the US National Anthem, which is traditionally performed before the game tips off. ‘Taking the knee’ is a symbol of unity that has become synonymous with Black athletes worldwide, since it was made famous by ex-NFL NBA greats, such as Bill Russell, also shared their Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in 2016. experiences with racial injustice during the 1960s, and how they have noticed very little in the way of No act of protest, however, was more significant change to the treatment of Black Americans since and impactful than the players’ decision to boycott their youth. Russell, a stark proponent of the civil nationally televised NBA games, following the news rights movement during his playing days in the 1950s of 29-year-old Jacob Blake’s murder at the hands and 60s, was a pioneer for Black athletes in all major of a police officer. Milwaukee Bucks guard George sports. He was the first ‘superstar’ the NBA could Hill organised the boycott in protest of the lack market to their audience, even if he was subjected of accountability taken by the police officers in to racial abuse at the hands of white fans and question and their governing bodies. Hill stated that opponents during every game he played. He led the “when we take the court and represent Milwaukee


and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and at this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement,” and on August 26th, the Bucks’ playoff game against the Orlando Magic was postponed.

their fight for racial equality. The Lakers and Clippers voted to boycott the rest of the season entirely, citing basketball as a distraction from the broader issues of racism and police brutality that have plagued the nation for centuries. The rest of the teams present voted instead to continue playing, promising to use every remaining game as a vessel to assert a message as important as any other: that Black lives Hill’s decision to organise a boycott garnered support matter. from his peers, and athletes from a host of other sports leagues. All NBA games scheduled between Without question, the meeting held by NBA players the 26th-28th were cancelled. The same was true for on the evening of August 26th is one of the most all Major League Baseball games. On August 27th, a defining events in the history of the National total of nine NFL teams opted not to practice, in an Basketball Association, and perhaps of professional act of solidarity with the NBA bubble teams, and on sports as a whole. Basketball has been a familiar the 26th, Naomi Osaka, ranked 3rd in world tennis part of Black culture for decades, but for the first by the WTA, announced that she would not play time in the league’s history, its fate, financially and her semi-final matchup at the Cincinnati Masters, culturally, rested firmly in the hands of its Black following Jacob Blake’s death. athletes. The protests taken by athletes worldwide following Jacob Blake’s death served to affirm an A meeting was held by all remaining NBA bubble irrefutable truth: that without Black athletes, the teams following the Bucks’ decision to boycott their sports world stands still. match, where they deliberated on how to continue


Ashley Williams – Captain, Leader, Legend By Siôn Misra

T

he terms captain, leader and legend are often overused in the sporting world, however, when it comes to Ashley Williams, it sums him up perfectly. Born in Tamworth, Williams’ rise to the top of Welsh football is a long one, but also an inspiring one. Having been released by West Bromwich Albion as a teenager, he found himself playing for nonleague side Hednesford Town while working parttime jobs as a Beefeater restaurant waiter and at Drayton Manor theme park. In 2003, Williams was signed by then League Two club Stockport County, where in his early 20s he became captain of the club. In 2008 Williams was bought by Swansea, where his career well and truly changed. Gone were the days of working as a waiter, as he quickly made a name for himself at the Swans. Having guided the team out of League One as champions, Williams was named captain of the team, in arguably their most successful period of their history. Under his captaincy, Swansea achieved promotion to the Premier League, won their only major trophy and even managed to defeat European footballing giants like Valencia. Ashley won many honours while playing at the Liberty, including player of the season and being named in the Championship Team of the Decade, an achievement no Swansea player has managed before or since. Remarkably, Williams made his Welsh debut while still playing for Stockport in the fourth tier of the English pyramid and has been a mainstay in the team ever since. His presence in the heart of defence provides a comforting reassurance to his teammates and fans alike. After making his debut in 2008 against Luxembourg, Williams has made a further 85 appearances for Wales, putting him fourth on the list of all-time appearances for the Welsh national team. Undoubtedly, the highlight of his Welsh career was captaining the Red Dragons at the 2016 European Championships in France, where he led Wales to the semi-finals. His warrior-like mentality was clear for all to see throughout the championship, particularly

in the game against Northern Ireland, where he appeared to suffer a bad shoulder injury. As the management prepared to make a substitution, Williams got up and barked out ‘I’m fine!’ towards the bench. The fire in his eyes was clear for all to see, and firmly cemented himself as the leader of the team. As Wales bound out of the tournament against eventual champions Portugal, Chris Coleman heaped praise onto Williams and the impact he had on the team; ‘Ash is a big credit to his club and country and to be captain of this team is a big honour for him, he’s worn the armband with pride and passion’. Away from the field, Williams is also having a big impact on the communities around him. He is a patron of numerous charities including Street Football Wales, a charity which fights against social exclusion; the Ethan Perkins Trust, a charity that raises funds for research and awareness of childhood brain tumours and he is the founder of WillsWorld. Ashley set up the charity to help deserving and underprivileged children. On his charity work Williams says; ‘I’ve always wanted to give something back to the community and to help others … people may think I’m a role model, but I don’t see myself like that, I’m just me’. The rise of Ashley Williams from a restaurant waiter to a Swansea City icon is nothing short of spectacular. He has been an exemplary character for any up and coming footballer, a blueprint on how to be a model professional. There is no doubt that Ashley Williams encapsulates the phrases captain, leader and legend.


First Saturday of every month Please email Georgia-Rose Gleeson for further information georgia-rose.gleeson @swansea-union.co.uk


We supply news coverage, ignite debates and capture what it’s like to be a student. We have three different media channels, Waterfront, SUTV and Xtreme radio, all led and produced by students. We’re always on the look-out for new recruits and as long as you’ve got passion and enthusiasm, you’ll be welcomed aboard. SUTV If you want to work in TV and film production, Join the crew! We make scripted shorts, political interviews, comedy shows, you name it. Plus you dont need any experience to join - win, win! swanseaunitv

XTREME RADIO We broadcast online 24/7 from our fully equipped studio. It’s completely free and we provide full training, from presenting to production. Just remember us when you’re on Radio 1! xtremeradio

WATERFRONT The long running student publication of Swansea University. We cover everything from fashion to film to politics and poetry, and rely on students to write, edit and design everything. waterfrontswansea

Profile for Waterfront

Waterfront 292  

November 2020 Edition of Waterfront.

Waterfront 292  

November 2020 Edition of Waterfront.

Advertisement