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JANU By Brian Lee PROMETHEUS AND PANDORA by Grace Oldfield

THE GHOST WARS by Amara Khan


The University of Technology Sydney would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians and Knowledge Keepers of the land on which UTS now stands, and pays respect to Elders past, present, and emerging. Maree Graham Deputy Director, Students, and Community Engagement Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research Vertigo would like to extend a personal acknowledgement to the Traditional Custodians and Knowledge Keepers of the land on which we lived and worked as editors and designers during the creation of this magazine. We pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging, and extend this respect to any First Nations’ people reading this volume. As students, we must acknowledge the Indigenous contributions to academia that have enriched our understanding of Australian history and culture. We exist on stolen land, and recognise that sovereignty has never been ceded. Hannah Bailey and Alice Winn would like to acknowledge the Garigal and Dharug people of the Guringai Nation Erin Ewen would like to acknowledge the Garigal and Caregal people of the Eora Nation. Mauli Fernando would like to acknowledge the Dharug people of the Eora Nation Tara Frawley would like to acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gweagal people of the Eora Nation. Angela Jin and Rachel Percival would like to acknowledge the Wallumedegal/Wallumettagal people of the Eora Nation. Sevin Pakbaz and Katherine Zhang would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.

If it is within your means, please consider donating to an Indigenous organisation such as: Blak Business — “Bringing together information, knowledge and resources to facilitate broader learning and discussion about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics.” — blakbusiness.com.au IndigenousX — Indigenous media organisation — Indigenousx.com.au Seed — Fighting for climate justice — Seedmob.org.au Black Rainbow — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy (LGBQTI+SB) Organisation — blackrainbow.org.au ANTaR — Advocacy organisation dedicated to justice, rights and respect for Australia’s First Peoples — antar.org.au More organisations can be found here: thelatch.com. au/indigenous-organisations-to-donate-to

CONTENT WARNINGS Vertigo readers should be advised that there are content warnings before relevant pieces. Please keep this in mind as you enjoy our magazine; your health and safety are important to us. Some articles and images contain themes or references to: alcohol, blood, body dysmorphia, colonisation, child abuse, climate change, death, discrimination, drugs, fatphobia, gore, mental ill-health, misogyny, murder, physical abuse, Queerphobia, racism, r*pe, sexual references, sexism, trauma, violence, war.

Please keep this in mind as you enjoy our magazine; your health and safety are important to us. Contact the UTS Counselling Services on 9514 1177, or visit the UTS Counselling Services website to find out more and access the extensive online self-help resources. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling one of the numbers below. Lifeline — 13 11 14 Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636 If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced sexual abuse, you can call or refer to the following confidential hotlines. General — 1800 737 732 Counselling — 1800 211 028 Crisis Centre — 1800 424 017 If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or child abuse, call or refer to the following 24/7 confidential free hotlines. Domestic Violence Line — 1800 656 463 NSW Child Protection Helpline — 13 21 11 If you are struggling with self-injurious behaviour, such as self-harming or an eating disorder, please reach out to the following: Butterfly Foundation — (02) 9412 4499 If you, or someone you know, is struggling with or has struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling the numbers below. Alcohol and Other Drugs Information Service (ADIS) — 1800 250 015 NSW Quitline — 13 7848 (13 QUIT) Available Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Available Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia 1800 737 732 (general) 1800 424 017 (crisis centre) 1800 211 028 (counselling) Beyondblue - 1300 22 4636 Lifeline - 13 11 14

Dear Vertigo readers, Well friends... somebody cue the Green Day and sappy slideshow. We’ve reached the end.


The final volume for Vertigo 2021 is now in your hot little hands (or screens) and we couldn’t be more proud of you. Yes, you! You made it. After 15 weeks of lockdown, (not like we were counting or anything) and a swift regression into online learning, the promise of hot vax summer on the horizon. But, before we all run head-first into the bliss of double-jabbed-freedom, we are here to give you ‘Autonomy.’ The final installment from the 2021 editorial team is here to examine power, agency and voice. This year has been, for want of a better word, quite the shitshow. We didn’t expect to be writing that in the 2021 editors’ letter, but alas, here we are. Losing a sense of personal autonomy is something we have all experienced in some capacity recently, some more than others. For our election issue, we wanted to highlight the invigorating and empowering student voices of UTS. We sought out to explore the eternal dichotomy between control and freedom. We asked, and you sure delivered. You gave us your stories of struggle and triumph, and here we present them to the world in black, white, and red. Having said that, it is our obligation to let you know that this particular issue is a stark contrast compared to ‘Sublime’. You may find certain articles and works of art in the upcoming pages to be confronting or intense. We don’t want to overwhelm you, and we certainly don’t want you to think that you have to enjoy every single page in here. As we explore the boundaries and structures that our identities and societies are built upon, we are undoubtedly going to stumble upon uncomfortable truths or come across information that upsets our comfortable worldview. Peruse at your own pace and take breaks if you need to. Remember to read the content warnings before each piece.


At the risk of sounding completely cliche, working as the Vertigo team for 2021 has been a genuine pleasure and true privilege for all of us. The majority of the team are scarily close to finishing our undergraduate degrees. We’re preparing not only to bid farewell to Vertigo, but for many of us, to UTS as well. The real world is sitting just around the corner, but we’re happy to bury our heads into these pages just one last time. As we gear up to welcome the next editorial team, it’s hard not to look back on our previous volumes and feel all the feels. Our purpose was to be a magazine for the students, completely, in expression and authenticity. From the outset, we sought to be relatable, accessible, and inclusive. We wanted to inspire creativity, connection, and conversations. And you, the creatives of UTS, came out in force to help us achieve these goals we set for ourselves almost exactly one year ago when we took office. One of the major highlights has been engaging with Vertigo readers and feeling more connected to the student body than ever before. Most importantly, we want to thank our dedicated and talented contributors. This magazine would quite literally not exist without you and we are eternally grateful for the countless edits, revisions, drafts and reworks. You made Vertigo 2021 what it is, and we can’t thank you enough. Thank you for sharing your stories. It was empowering to tell them. We’re not crying, you’re crying. All our love, Vertigo 2021 Editorial Team


CONTENTS FICTION Selected Poems from 'The Magic Salamander’

016 by Joseph Lucas

FICTION Existing as Colonialism Itself

A Woman Colour’d Ill

008 by Melodie Grafton

Prometheus & Pandora

022 by Josh Green

Upside Down & The Weather’s Wife

030 Generation?

034 by Angela Jin

050 by Grace Oldfield

068 by Carly-Faye Jarrett 095


Another Game by Jeremy Fung

Beneath the Tower, the Beach

Is Comparison Culture Creating a Cautious by Lucy Ballenden Story from the margin: Experiencing social

038 discord in Australia by Pragya Paneru


"You do you, just don't involve me." A Critical

042 Look at Religious Freedom and Autonomy in Australia by Amelia Bussing

Don’t be sad, go get a tattoo: Chit-chat with Syd-

018 ney Hand-poke Artist @nah_mate_pokes by Sevin Pakbaz

Bringing Justice to the Law: Interning at The

054 National Justice Project by Dana Rutner


Conformity and Self-Determination: Mish Bae Is Seizing Control of Her Life by Angela Jin


Europe! Voices of Women in Film: Confronting Gender Inequality through the Celebration of Female Filmmakers by Sevin Pakbaz

On Getting to Grips With Power, Like Hey, How

056 Are You? How Do I Exercise You? by Kate Rafferty

The Unsustainable Systems of the Present and

068 the Future

by Angela Jin

In conversation with Diana Reid: Exploring the fra-

Experiences within the Queer Community as a

Love & Virtue by Erin Ewen

by Vanessa Lim and Jai

082 gility of friendship and morals in the debut novel, 102 Person of Colour The Ghost Wars

110 by Amara Khan


088 by Lachie Davis

One for Me, Two for You

090 by UTS Literary Society in collaboration with

011 by Brian Lee 028 by Oriana Peralta Marino 033


I am home alone, I eat dinner at midnight by Carly-Faye Jarrett Whispers

045 by Sophie Whitehead Objekt in Raum

046 by Brendan Plummer JOUISSANCE

060 by Anna Xu


061 by Anousha Nandni Xegas Alone Together

096 by Oli Poignand In The Depths

100 by Elijah Hollero

Autonomy Playlist

Autonomy Embodied: Character Studies UTS Drawing Circle UTS Stupol 101

106 by Erin Ewen Horoscopes

114 by Suzy Monzer How as your 2021 been?

116 by Angela Jin

Vertigo Wrapped

118 by 2021 Vertigo Editorial Team KO! Autonomy VS The UTSSA

122 by Vanessa Lim, Eshna Gupta, Cal McKinley, Anna Thieben, Nour El-Houda El-Zmeter, and Anon


“Yes,” I replied. “Of course?”

by Melodie Grafton, UTS Ethnocultural Collective CW: Racism, trauma, colonisation As a child, I had no sense or understanding of my racial identity, and what this meant. I knew I was Filipino, by way of my mother and the Tagalog and Visayas-speaking ladies she’d keep for company. I knew that somehow, funnily, my mother and I were sometimes mistaken for a nanny and her employer’s child at the local Walmart. And I knew that I was born and raised Canadian; an identity I would carry with me through my various moves between Canada and Australia growing up. But race and identification were never on my mind; this may have been a privilege, to have my innocence and experiences of overt racism confined to what I observed through my mother. I was raised privileged. In my Canadian hometown, I took up figure skating, went to school, and played in the snow when winter came around. Then, we moved to the airy Sydney that we all know. All I knew was the little life I had with Mum and Dad, the Filipina aunties and the relatives we saw around Christmas time. One of the earliest memories I have of feeling ‘different’ due to my racial identity and family, was at the ice-skating rink, where my mum and siblings (who were still toddlers at the time) came by to speak to my father (my coach) and I briefly. Nothing out of the ordinary; just a chat. Afterwards, one of the girls I iceskated with, who I had noticed was gawking at my entire family during the interaction, asked me, “Is that really your mum?”


My feelings of fractured identity have only grown since then, and exponentially since leaving high school. During the HSC, my community was in the Blacktown LGA of Western Sydney, slightly on the edge of the Hills District, where I surrounded myself with what I’d call the ‘Good Catholic Asian Girl’ friend group. My friends, more often than not, were also Asian. One other girl also had an Asian mother and a white father. Never, throughout any of my high school experiences, do I recall my Asian-ness ever being a question or even anything anybody cared about. Most of my peers were multiculturally diverse as well; we were all immersed in the non-white cultural identity of kids with migrant backgrounds: Sikh kids, Filipino, Indian, and other Asian and non-white backgrounds. Our diversity was nothing to pay attention to… or perhaps we were just kids. Flash cut to university. Higher education is another privilege, one I’m lucky to receive as I write this. But I’m not sure what happened; maybe it was the innocence of adolescence and ‘growing up’ that hid the active thought and criticism of my cultural identity from my consciousness — now I feel stuck there. I’m constantly contemplating the validity of my identity as a Person of Colour (PoC), and my authority to be such a leader, for an autonomous social and political group of People of Colour on campus. The realisation that you don’t truly understand what you look like, is one that I’ve made slowly since my emergence in political spaces, including mostly in university student activism. The feeling of being stuck between two halves of a whole — a body that’s simultaneously an ‘other’ in mainstream Australian (and Canadian) monoculture, but perhaps also not ‘other’ enough for an identity and community that would naturally be my refuge. But the feeling of being two halves of a self — in which I was

Is my identity, and its worth, contingent on how others view me? Will they see me as an ‘other’, a ‘not enough,’ or an ‘I don’t know?’ But that’s just it: who owns my identity, if not myself? How can I own something that isn’t mine to hold? It feels like I’ve lost control over how others objectively perceive my appearance and the assumptions resulting from this. Is it assumed that I carry whiteness alone, with no other terms or conditions? Am I burdened to face the intergenerational trauma of colonialism and my family’s history alone? Have I become colonialism itself, personified? Of course, there must be acknowledgement and understanding of the ways in which my proximities to whiteness are a privilege: my light skin, for example. My mixed white skin is capital in the Philippines and in traditional Filipino cultures, a derivative of the Spanish and American colonisation of the nation dating back to 1521. The idea that lighter skin is superior, for its class and colonial values, comes from this violent imperialism. The term mestizo in the Philippine historical context was used to describe individuals mixed with native Philippine and Spanish colonial ancestry and was a class status for those who were. Light-skinned Filipinos, including the mestizo, were also associated with the understanding that they (light-skinned Filipinos) were of upperclass status and therefore ‘higher' than the dark-skinned native Filipinos, the working class, who spent their labouring days

under the hot tropical sun. This proximity to the coloniser, in this case, the Spanish ruling class, was an economic asset to have, ensuring high status and social mobility.


both and yet neither of — has grown to be a familiar feeling, and one that has only intensified since that day on the ice rink.

Indeed, these ideas still remain in Filipino culture: there is a reason why skin-whitening products are so rampant and why the light-skinned, usually bi-racial, winners of Miss Universe Philippines go on to represent the nation at the global beauty pageant, Miss Universe. The Miss Universe 2015 winner and representative of The Philippines, Filipino-German beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach comes to mind, as do famous Filipinas Liza Soberano (actress) and Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018). Whiteness also serves as a tool still, for working-class Filipinas to access class mobility by way of marrying ‘foreigner’ men, therefore gaining access to migration to European, North American or Australian destinations, and the employment opportunities that come with this. This reconciliation between myself and my identity is ongoing — and maybe it always will be. Should identity merely be described as blood quantum? Or should identity be a feeling; the complex mix of emotions, the passion, shame and love you hold? The groundedness you feel in the dirt and ocean and humid air; or the pride in my growth and journey... If identity isn’t this, then what is it? I am reminded of something I heard a friend, also bi-racial, say about themselves: both, not half. The duality of wholeness;


to balance opposites with compassion. In psychotherapy, I’ve learned, there is the practice of the ‘Wise Mind’: to hold both emotional and rational thought in a Venn diagram, the sliver of overlap highlights that there are multiple truths; two sides of a complete understanding. Still, I remember that I grew up with my mum on the phone with friends, cousins, and relatives, speaking loudly in Tagalog and Visayas, as a familiar ambience; the pandesal and cassava cake as treats she’d try to make, or bring home after a quick stop at the local Filipino shop; parents’ wedding and my infant baby photos in the backdrop of my mum’s lush volcanic island home, with its deep green hues and family ties — and I remember, this is who I am.


And next to this, there is still room to equally balance my pride of having come from a family of activists; from my grandmother, an English migrant and artist, involved with the Australian Green Bans movement, co-founded the radical Darlinghurst Residents Action Group in 1973; to the uncle who was expelled from school for protesting the Vietnam War. This side is powerful, too: ambitious, proud, Grafton. Perhaps, instead of being ‘other,’ or ‘either/or’, I am the balance of both, creating an equally valid whole. And maybe the balance, too, is an identity I can hold.



JA NU by Brian Lee




The capsule collection: Janu honours the works of my mother, Yena Cho. Digging into the archival photographs of her discarded painting series titled, Being, 1994. Exploring the existential struggles of simply 'being' and 'existing'. The ideals of this concept are reimagined through printed textiles to capture and immortalise the essence of these paintings of a 'being' questioning their purpose and meaning.



Designer Brian Lee @brixnlee Artist Yena Cho Model Gloria Sun @guh_loria Assistants Sarah George @s.georgeee & Veronica Siou @roni_siou






This piece may be triggering for those who've been abused by the church

'The Magic Salamander' CW: Sexual references, blood, drugs, queerphobia, death, child abuse

by Joseph Lucas

Mirror Twins (in the shape of a death’s-head Hawkmoth)


\ / Same egg Split from \ / the yolk Of the trek , \ / of the exodus To the great Salt Lake, ----^---of our ancestors. Ripped open when | 9 9 | was at its close We mirrored in spirals ||| and gaps in our teeth. You walked into the light --- filled bath and drank Gilded foam from his cupped palms and he weaved Starlight into your matted hair / And when the \ water rose up higher and higher You weren’t Afraid to Sin (k)



Birthday Watch

‘There are no homosexual members of the church.” -David A Bednar

Since December it has lived with me, inanimate and matte, a sort of sleek parodic charm.

There is a tragic evil among us, don’t click the thumbnail. Scrub to the best part, scrub away the sin that sticks soot to skin, stubborn and gloved, scrub again. Let me ask you a question, are you over eighteen? We believe in exodus at that age, enter the shower of seven heads, the Cerberus of shower heads.

These fat tongues lap at the leaky water. Look down at their wagging tails! They cup them in their palms like bibles, shuddering for the dog to kiss the nape, wash his feet like Jesus did, lick the soot like sherbet. Watch as they nuzzle their nose into the arch of the foot— The sensation is like a thousand sparkling nettles. And with their wives, they would press into them like paper, Only in missionary. Slits of Christ with lids closed, Bruises, cuts and the heavy red blush. Folding into each other, like mission papers.

It tells me the time, like the one where I am a priest. The bread ripped apart, waxy cotton buds soaked in rehearsed prayer, tears into shrivelled peonies then passed around like coke. When the recital is unsound, It must be repeated. Again. The nod of the bald head. And now the hands are stuck, Oh, great stasis. The pen-hole mouth that whispers; ‘How’s this?’ And I fall beneath the shimmering rapture.


The garments are soaked to transparent nude, nipples press through like tiny mountains.

You had to remove four links, before it sat around my slender wrist.

It’s a funeral song; The child is dead. I stamp him down into a shrink-wrapped pill and pray for it to dissolve into holy water. In time, I will think, How I have fallen considerably far. Clouds are blooming, pink mushrooms exploding over the surface of Venus and her other lights. My birthday watch, tells me the time, inside the chapel. How quickly my mother knows, glowing bright on Sunday. Fingers kissing the organ keys and then bunching up like roses. I will let time be stuck here.



by Sevin Pakbaz With the recent spike in interest around hand-poke tattoos, Sydney artist @nah_mate_pokes has created a loyal following of supporters who admire his unfiltered flash designs. He currently works at Little Art Tattoo studio in the Inner West and having received three pieces from @nah_mate_pokes herself, Vertigo editor Sevin was thrilled to have him featured in this issue.


Illustrations by @nah_mate_pokes



SP: It’s great to see the stigma around tattoos slowly vanish — with more people appreciating this form of body art as self-expression. Thanks for speaking to us. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? Can you tell us your name and what you do? YO! My name’s nah mate pokes, I’m a hand-poke tattoo artist at the Little Art Tattoo studio in Leichhardt, Sydney. SP: Can you explain how you got into hand-poke tattoos? What inspired you? I got into hand-poking in 2007 because the tattoo equipment I was originally using was really shit and would overheat and do all kinds of weird stuff. I’d start a tattoo and then the machine would wig out so I’d have to finish it by hand. It was annoying but it got my lines straight. I dipped in and out of tattooing for years and did other stuff — bullshit money jobs. Then in 2018, I started tattooing again here and there when I was travelling. When I got back, I started posting on Instagram. I was working in a sex shop at the time, working from 4p.m. ‘til midnight for five nights, and I’d get stoned and draw for at least seven hours every night at work and post on Instagram. Then I started getting big hits so I set up my place as a studio and have been tattooing full-time since.

SP: Your IG has so many fresh, yet simple line-drawing designs — some more intricate than others. How would you describe your own style, and why ‘nah_mate_pokes’?

SP: Your flashes are edgy, suggestive, and fun with an element of nostalgia. Some are redesigns of logos, brands and memorable cartoon characters with a personal twist. Would you say you’re someone who likes to step outside of boundaries and experiment? Yes. I’ve lived outside the boundaries for most of my life (laughs). All of my designs have me in them somewhere. The more you get to know me, the more it makes sense, I guess. I will say, 110% do whatever you need to do to be you. SP: And what inspires you now? Tattooing my designs is the most inspiring thing I can think of. I love drawing and mashing up ideas from my head, posting on Instagram and having someone love my design enough to have it on them forever. That makes me want to do it forever. SP: According to Insider, there’s a growing interest in hand-poke tattoos in 2021. Have you noticed this? What’s the benefit of hand-poke vs machine tats? For sure hand-poke is a big player, demanding a spot in the real world. Sydney is not set up for hand-poke, so most setups are home studios at the moment. But there’s some crazy hand pokers out there in Sydney — it’s a matter of time before we see one in every studio (as it should be). I love hand-poke and machine tattoos the same. I think it’s more about liking the artist than the method. If you like a design and it’s a machine artist’s design, then go machine; if it’s a hand-poke artist, then go hand-poked.

SP: What are some messages behind your designs? Do you ever try to make social or political statements through your work? My designs are based on the buzz or mood I’m in at the time... that’s why I don’t really do flash sheets… there’s a lot of messages I guess, but most of it is just the shit in my head (laughs). SP: We love seeing local artists producing socially relevant content. You recently came out with a Zine, created with four other Sydney artists. Can you describe the creative process behind that and why you chose to explore ‘The end of the world’? The zine was unreal, @cumghost69 got us all together, made it happen and he killed it. The process was super easy. We just went for it, all of us are a little dystopian and punk in our own way so the ‘end of the world’ thing worked for us. I’m just happy I can say I featured in it and all those artists are legends.. 19


My style is bootleg, ignorant art. If you check my IG (@ nah_mate_pokes) you’ll see what I’m about. My partner is a graphic designer and she came up with the name when she was doing my branding. I liked it so we ran with it.


Photography by Sammy Pinto


SP: You consistently create and share your art. How do you juggle coming up with new ideas, designing and tattooing?

SP: Being a tattoo artist would be so rewarding, as your creations are valued enough to be body art and part of someone for the rest of their life. What’s the most memorable tattoo that you have done and favorite thing about what you do? They’re all my favourites! I’m blessed everyday to work as an artist and sell my ideas and collab with my clients. SP: Individuals should feel comfortable and safe in the studio with their artist. How do you ensure your clients leave feeling happy? Literally have respect for people, that’s it. Everyone has their version of life and I’m lucky enough to be a part of that for an hour or so when they want a tattoo, so let’s have a good chat and a good time (laughs). SP: Lastly, what are you working on now and where can our readers find you? We’re in lockdown at the moment, so I’m just working on flash and I’m also doing a cookbook zine which will be fun. I’m playing GTA5 as well — I’m working on that a bit (laughs). You will always find me @nah_mate_pokes on Instagram, sometimes @littlearttattoo. And Park St Starbucks — I’m there a lot as well.



Yeah, I draw all the time. I either start and see where it goes, or I see something and get an idea then just roll with it and see where it goes. For example, I watched the Limp Bizkit concert on Saturday night, drew a bunch of Limp Bizkit designs and mashed it up with some images of Fred Durst, then posted it... and Fred Durst reacted to my story! So on Sunday, which was yesterday, I tattooed one of the designs on me. I guess that’s a glimpse into the process (laughs)


"When French students start to protest, governments sit up and pay BENEATH attention ... THE TOWER, itTHE [doesn't] BEACH feel like the STUDENT AUTONOMY same thing ON THE UTS CAMPUS could happen by Josh Green


February 6, 2020. I’m on exchange in Montpellier in the South of France. My first class for the day, Grammar and Methodology, is set to start at 8:45am — except it won’t. I’d seen indications on Facebook that the local student union, SCUM, was planning to strike, but I hadn’t realised what exactly that meant. When I arrived on campus, the stairway leading up to my classroom was completely blocked with the shoddy furniture that would normally be arranged in neat rows facing a whiteboard, rendering the whole block fully inaccessible. When the students in France strike, they make sure no one can cross the picket line. At the library door, students posted an explanation for their action. Their biggest issue was reforms to retirement schemes, but they also wanted their thirteenth week of semester back — an issue I hadn’t expected to be so universal. It also advertised the protest that would be occurring imminently in a prominent city-centre location. My course, designed for international anglophone students, was nonetheless able to organise a substitute classroom for the weeklong strike. My professor, a kind older woman with thick black eyeliner from the north, asked my class if we understood why student protests were such a big deal in France. When French students start to protest, governments sit up and pay attention. Their movements are coordinated, all-encompassing, and effective. In May 1968, a protest against conservative president Charles de Gaulle broke out. What originally started over the right for two students to sleep together, blew into one of the biggest movements the country had ever seen. At its peak, two-thirds of the workforce were on strike, paralysing the country and its booming post-war economy. What came of the revolutionary May of 1968 were major reforms to education, the eventual resignation of the president, and the rise of new values across France, namely autonomy. But for some reason, after hearing all this, it didn’t feel like the same thing could happen at UTS.

The finished building was full of compromises: necessary wall-mounted equipment meant no windows at eye-level, the chic Grafton sandstone intended for the building was replaced by a dull grey-brown, and most crucially: ‘the Student Union — to be the ‘hub of the entire complex’ — was deleted to avoid its use as a flashpoint space for the kind of student insurgency witnessed in Paris in May 1968’ (Freestone et al. 2021). Of course, the campus is much larger than Building 1, but still no ‘hubs’ exist where a massive group of students can really make themselves heard. It’s clear from the way architects and designers (and UTS executives) speak about the campus that it’s a project of grandeur, a playground for international brochure photoshoots. Such a campus is great — if you want to milk all the money you can from international students! Freestone et al. cite Mould’s identification of a grim ‘branding issue’, where universities ‘[build] as much to give themselves an identity as they [do] to give themselves accommodation’. Take the decade-long, $1.3 billion project to renew and renovate the UTS campus with flash new buildings and resources. This was meant to create a ‘sticky’ campus, one where students are keen to study, stay, and socialise. The makeover also sought to address the ‘fragmented nature of the [pre-existing] campus’, or so the plan was. Our renovated campus is now a smorgasbord of disjointed styles split into an archipelago by bustling city streets while trying desperately to feel connected. And at its heart, our precious strip of The Outdoors: the Alumni Green.


If you were to organise, it would make sense to choose the Alumni Green as your location: it’s central, easily located, visible. But it’s never that simple. According to Education Officer Ellie Woodward, if you want to use the Alumni Green, you have to book it. “It’s all quite bureaucratic, we don't have a lot of free use of campus … I think that contributes to a feeling that we’re guests here and that we don't have much of a right over the place, literally or in terms of the institution itself.”

First of all, UTS simply doesn’t have the space to facilitate this kind of action, and that’s not an accident. Before gaining university status in 1987, the educational body had worked up an expansionist appetite in the sixties, keen to create a new Broadway-facing campus for what we know today as UTS. Grand designs of seven buildings, each twenty stories in height, dominating the western entrance to the CBD emerged and were whittled down until, in 1977, one of Sydney’s ‘ugliest’ buildings was born: the UTS Tower.

So even if you did want to pull off some collective action on campus, where are you going to do it? And how will you keep it from getting shut down within minutes? These questions aren’t quite as relevant as they might have once been since the way we do politics as students has shifted over time. Student unions have become more professional and largely representative bodies, such that the need for collective action, like forming a picket line, is eroded. An increasingly diverse student body, with different backgrounds, views, and


h o , s y . ] e g n


interests is undoubtedly a good thing. However, it doesn’t make it any easier to rally around one shared political cause. It’s exactly this factor that makes a representative system — students sitting on councils, duly meeting with university executives — more appealing.


NEOLIBERALISING THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE Really, given how much has been thrown at disintegrating student life over the years, we’re lucky to have student unions and any semblance of a culture on campus. Beyond the physical inability to congregate in large masses literally built into our campus, voluntary student unionism (VSU) is regarded as one of the strongest blows to our autonomy as students. In 2005, the Howard Government ended compulsory membership of a student union, spelling job losses and reduced funds accessible for universities. It certainly wasn’t a simple issue — even nowDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, then a senator, voted against the legislation — but it had real effects which rippled throughout the sector. The policy was met with some of the biggest demonstrations by students in years, and by 2007 student services were shutting down across the country. You might be surprised to learn you used to mandatorily belong to a union by virtue of being a student, but it isn’t like you aren’t paying up now. By 2008, a Labor government had taken power and conducted a review of the impacts of VSU on universities: ‘Many submissions put forward the view that VSU had resulted in a lessening of the vibrancy, diversity and, to some extent, the attractiveness of university life.’ Then in 2011, that government introduced the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF, or the second page of that semesterly online Tax Invoice student admin emails you about). If you loved compulsory student unionism, then you would consider the SSAF the next best thing. There was a huge difference though: funds could not be used for political purposes. Establishing VSU is symptomatic of the brand of neoliberalism that has increasingly shaped our politics since the eighties. The neoliberal approach to all things — not least of all higher education — means we see everything primarily in economic terms, erasing some of the more human aspects along the way. Thus, in a highly neoliberalised higher education landscape, you


have little chance of escaping its effects. The massive student contributions to Bachelor’s degrees means way more students are working now, than at the heyday of student activism in the sixties and seventies. Not only does that mean we have less time to take action (“You going to the climate strike on Friday?” “Can’t. I have to work.”), but it also means we view ourselves in economic terms — as good little student-consumers buying our prestige qualifications from our lauded university. We’ll be leaving with heavy debts, so we have to think about our study as a return on a big ‘investment’. Think about how you even ended up choosing this university. Did the product (your degree) offer you attractive employment outcomes, ones with higher salary expectations than if you’d done your studies elsewhere? Did UTS’ global rankings entice you? Maybe you were a fan of the fancy buildings?

PRECEDENTS FOR UTS POLITICS The thing is, UTS does have a proud, um... bona fide history of student politics. A glance at the UTSSA website reveals occupations of the Vice Chancellor’s office in 1991, after the uni allocated $2 million to his home on campus. And again in 2000, following then-Chancellor Gerald Brennan’s homophobic remarks in response to students’ request for funding for a float at Mardi Gras... It goes on (anti-Iraq war, anti-Cronulla Riots, anti-fee increases), but there is one glaring omission from the webpage. Easter ’97: students seized the uni administration amid threats to Youth Allowance and deferred student fees, the latter of which the protestors claimed UTS was keen to spearhead. They lasted three days before cops busted in at 2am with police dogs. Police claimed the costs of the action totalled $110,000, including $40,000 in damage. That this crucial point in our history doesn’t rate a mention in the UTSSA’s history is why the word ‘proud’ is struck through above. Maybe if things were different — if we had a campus more amiable to collective action, a student press that reported weekly on student issues, a student politics to which we felt genuinely attached and engaged, then the culture on campus would be more autonomous. As it is, USyd’s Honi Soit does a better job keeping tabs on UTS’ student politics than we ever could locally (no fault of our beloved Vertigo!). If we had the means and the will, we could have had a better say in trimesterisation, more nuanced discussion on staff cuts and fee increases, and exactly what it is we want out of being a student here.

"When French students start to protest governments sit up and pay attention... [doesn't] feel like the same thing could happen atUTS."

This year, as the Education Action Group (EAG) was gearing up for a rally against job and course cuts, members went postering around campus to spread the word. The Students’ Association issued a warning that they weren’t allowed to do that. When the EAG posted to Facebook announcing it would continue to defy the warning, UTSSA President Aidan O’Rourke took action, telling Honi the post was against the university’s rules and placed the Association at risk. What ensued was bountiful political drama, dubbed #BluTackGate, reported widely by USyd’s press. If we pay attention, there is real student politics taking place on campus, something you could have a stake in, but we can’t see it without an expanded student media.


THE FUTURE OF UTS So what of all of this now? We’ve spent this entire semester behind our computer screens in our homes, far from the sterile white lights of UTS classrooms. Quick Zoom classes and a few pre-recorded lectures took up all our time, and the size of the Alumni Green and what that means for protesting a policy you hate is probably the last thing on your mind. Well exactly! How much more subdued can you get as a collective if you can’t collectivise? How do you strike when you’re already forced to stay at home? Zoom-bombing is one option, but only until the host sends out a new link to participants and sidesteps your radical action. The mute button can literally silence the student voice. Of course, lockdowns obviously aren’t life as normal for anybody, but online classes might one day be. The move to online learning has been UTS’ goal for ages. ‘Blended learning’ or as it is branded at UTS, learning.futures, is the future for us, and will mean more and more time spent off-campus. You may never see the inside of a lecture hall again! Such a model is cheaper for the uni and COVID-19 has handed the high-ups an opportunity to speed up the process in spades. In 2019, Nigel Oliver, the project manager for the 2010s renewal of our campus, summarised where we’re at: "We certainly don't need the massive buildings … to provide online courses. But we do still need infrastructure to provide for a student-focused campus environment for the more social aspects of their higher education” (Freestone et al. 2021, p. 41). So why can’t we focus a little more on how students want this place to be run? Sous les pavés, la plage: the French believed if they pulled up the repressive and overly organised structures that ruled their education and lives, they would find freedom beneath. God knows what’s beneath the UTS campus.


REFERENCES AND RESOURCES Cooke, R. 2020, ‘A unitary theory of cuts’, The Monthly, August, pp. 8-10. Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2008, The impact of voluntary student unionism on services, amenities and representation for Australian university student: summary report, DEEWR, Canberra. Forsyth, H. 2015, A history of the modern Australian university, UNSW Press, Sydney. Freestone, R., Pullan, N. & Saniga, A. 2021, ‘The making of a city campus’, Geographical Research, vol. 59, pp. 29-45, <https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu. au/10.1111/1745-5871.12439>. Harrison, D. 2010, ‘Student union fees to return’, The Age, 30 September, viewed 31 August 2021, <https://www.theage.com.au/education/student-unionfees-to-return-20100929-15xgk.html>. Heath, R. 2000, ‘Fear and loathing on University Council’, Vertigo, vol. 7. Lichfield, J. 2008, 'Egalité! Liberté! Sexualité!: Paris, May 1968', The Independent, Saturday 23 February 2008, <http://www.independent.co.uk>. Nimmo, A. 2016, ‘The city campus and urban agency’, Architecture Australia, vol. 105, no. 4, pp. 52-56, <https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/ INFORMIT.168179642802110>. Ollivain, C. & O’Brien, S. 2021, ‘UTS Students’ Association accused of censorship and breaking collective autonomy’, Honi Soit, 7 April, viewed 1 September 2021, <https://honisoit.com/2021/04/uts-students-associationaccused-of-censorship-and-breaking-collective-autonomy/?fbclid=IwAR0iPbG sSAvbyPGe9Y8tH22LtEA_FEgd3HAMY1h0fIoEADe1vv-us-Gsrq8>. Raaper, R. 2021, ‘Students as ‘Animal Laborans’?: tracing student politics in a marketed higher education setting’, Sociological Research Online, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 130-146, <https://journals.sagepub.com/ doi/10.1177/1360780420952810>. University of Technology Sydney n.d., How our students learn, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1 September 2021, <https://www.uts.edu.au/research-andteaching/learning-and-teaching/learning.futures/how-our-students-learn>. UTS Students’ Association n.d., History, UTSSA, Sydney, viewed 30 August 2021, <https://utsstudentsassociation.org.au/about/history>.

One For Me, Two For You


The act of taking a photograph has an inherent imbalance of power. The photographer looks at the subject through their gaze, choosing a moment they believe necessary to be captured by the lens. The subject stands before them, the way they’re being seen unknown to them, however they remain acutely aware of being perceived. Historically photography has been dominated by men, their gaze being the one shown when viewing images of the subject, of women. I wanted to explore portraiture in a way that challenged this inherent power and gaze that traditional portrait photography holds. In a collaboration with eleven women, we created a Photobook filled with their portraits titled ‘One for me, Two for you’.


By Oriana Peralta Marino


By giving each woman hold of the shutter release attached to my camera, and stepping away from the viewfinder, I wanted to create a shift in power. I was present to provide the tools necessary for the photograph, and maybe some encouragement but not much else. They placed themselves in front of the camera, in a setting they chose, and captured the image when they wanted to. We conversed about our experiences, about our struggles with our bodies and the way that we are perceived. The book was treated like a diary by each person, their handwriting on the pages telling the story of their portrait. I wanted to give them autonomy not only as subjects, but as women. Having autonomy over the narration of your story is empowering, and something that I believe to be important to consider when you step behind the camera as a photographer.


Is Comparison Culture Creating a Cautious Generation? NON FICTION

by Lucy Ballenden


CW: Body dysmorphia, fatphobia, mental ill-health

“We need to make a decision our future selves will thank us for.”

As if the world wasn’t already intimidating enough for someone in their early-twenties, a worldwide pandemic sure adds a whole lot of pressure. Prepandemic, our minds were used to tossing up how to use our precious time — studying, entering the workforce or travelling the world. But right now it feels like all these decisions are being made for us, and our youth is continuing to slip away. It feels like pop-culture has conned us into thinking that we should be having the time of our lives while we are young — spending our money with reckless abandon, jetting off overseas for months on end, and going on a million first dates. Without these experiences, you won’t have those formative stories to share with your future children.

But for many of us, this is far from reality. Instead, we’re staying home and saving our money, while constantly reading about the decaying world around us. We end relationships because we don’t see a future and tiptoe around risk in order to land ourselves onto a safe and reliable path.


We’ve all heard the cliché stories of youth: drunken nights spent lost in a foreign country, finding ‘the one’ every few months, making new friends only to later forget their names. But, in the age of lockdowns and social distancing, time feels so fleeting. How often have you heard someone say, “I’m losing the best years of my life to the pandemic”? But are our youthful years really obsolete? Are we expected to move into adulthood without these rites-of-passage? Many of us in our late teens and early twenties seem to be asking the question: how are we supposed to be young and carefree when there is so much to care about?

For millions of us right now (us being the Gen Z/ Millennial-hybrid generation) being ‘young and free’ feels impossible — and apparently it’s not all thanks to the pandemic. A US survey shows that teenagers these days are less likely to drink, smoke, and have sex than previous generations.1 Instead, we are picking up these activities later in life, after cautiously riding out the tumultuous years of teenagehood. So, why is this? Are we, as young people, really more responsible than our parents because our eyes are more open to the world around us? Ultimately, I think the answer comes down to what we’d all expect... social media, in all its overwhelming glory. As young people, we are constantly switched on to others’ opinions. Not only do we spend hours scrolling through our feeds, we stop to check what other people are saying, avoiding forming our own opinions until we are confident others agree.


Sometimes, the Youtube comments section is more interesting than the video itself. Whether it’s conscious or not, opening Instagram or TikTok can lead us to question every aspect of our identities. Am I pretty enough? Are my clothes nice enough? Should I be studying a different degree? How will I make as much money as [insert rich person here]? Do I have a weird chin? Weird lips? Do I work hard enough? Am I spending too much time on my phone?


Upon opening TikTok, my ‘For You’ page is saturated with fully choreographed daily vlogs, house tours, workout routines, and ‘What I Eat in a Day’ videos. I’ll watch hours of clothing hauls, full of products that I know have been gifted to the influencer in question. And although I know these videos aren’t necessarily realistic, I still find myself wondering why my own life doesn’t reflect those that I view online. My list of role models is always growing, mostly with people aged 30+, with careers I aspire to have, houses I aspire to own, and with the kind of happiness, I aspire to achieve. If I can curate my life to look exactly like theirs, I will become just as successful, right? But why do I feel that I need to achieve this lifestyle as quickly as possible? Here lies the problem. We have constant access to those we admire. While it’s not inherently problematic that a 19-year-old is looking up to a successful person with far more life experience, the rush that I find myself in to be just like them is. Our generation is one that’s used to instant gratification. So, when I see 35-year-olds with the ‘perfect life,’ I want that life too — now — disregarding all the mistakes I would have to inevitably make on the way. And no wonder this phenomenon of comparison means our generation always strives for perfection. On social media, it isn’t hard to find someone seemingly better-looking, smarter, richer, and with better connections than yourself. And it’s also where we often see people getting publicly picked apart for their mistakes.

we are not only guilty of comparing ourselves to others but critiquing them. We watch as influencers and online personalities are over-analysed for their every move and face unwarranted backlash for the most human of mistakes, which can sometimes leave us fearing making the wrong move in our own lives. Social media is rarely a place where we see flaws in people; anything less than perfect is edited out in hopes of avoiding judgement. Therefore, this unattainable idea of perfection can tend to transcend into our lives offline. We ultimately begin to hold these expectations against, not only those with public platforms, but ourselves as well. However, social media is not completely to blame for our generation’s rush to grow up. It’s important to acknowledge that the generations before us may have had more freedom to live wildly, without the pressure and implications of a pandemicstricken economy looming over their heads. While this doesn’t negate the fact that social media has undoubtedly changed the way we live, it’s clear our fixation with being young and successful has been encouraged by more than just this one factor. But back to the ultimate question: is comparison culture scaring us into living cautiously? As young people in 2021, should we be living for ourselves now, or live for the future? When we’re older, will we look back and say, “I wish I had taken more risks,” or “I’m glad I played it safe”? For most of us, the decision is entirely subjective, and one that our generation isn’t the first to face. But, it is one that needs to be made away from the commotion of social media. Ultimately, we need to make a decision our future selves will thank us for. And although social media may seem like a scary place, it’s important to acknowledge that during a pandemic it truly can bring a sense of community for our generation. It creates a space for us to discuss all of our big, bad worries, and share a feeling of hope that when it comes to our wild youth, all is not lost.

1. https://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/22/health/teens-grow-upslower-partner/index.html

Spending so much of our time online can mean


I am home alone, I eat dinner at midnight by Carly-Faye Jarrett


A Woman Colour’d Ill FICTION

by Angela Jin













vertigo Vertigo is always on the lookout for creative writing, visual art, feature articles, news, and reviews in the following sections: Fiction Short stories, poetry, flash fiction: we want it all!

Amplify Home to culture, music, fashion, arts and lifestyle. This section showcases individuals in their creative elements. We’re looking to support and promote the creative scene of UTS and cover events near you. Offhand This weird and wonderful section features quizzes, games, playlists, satire and comics. Nothing is too quirky! Showcase Interested in presenting some visual art you’ve created? We’re always looking for standalone artworks, as well as visuals to feature alongside written pieces. We want to see any of your architecture, fashion, photography, typography, or any other art-related works.


Non-Fiction We want non-fiction and creative non-fiction writing from all facets of life: essays, opinion pieces, memoirs and campus issues. Anything you’re interested in, we’re interested in too.

Cold Submissions Have something you wrote a while ago? Or maybe an assignment that you’re quite proud of? Send in your completed piece to submissions@utsvertigo.com.au with a brief summary and what section you would like to be featured in! Pitches Have an idea that you’re not quite sure how to finish? Send it over with the following: • Title • Summary of themes and content • Style and tone • How long you’d like the piece to be If you have any examples of previous work, please attach them to your email too! Contact us Email your work or ideas at submissions@ utsvertigo.com.au and one of our editors will be in touch! Remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for callouts! For other inquiries, please contact us at editorial@utsvertigo.com.au Social Media utsvertigo.com.au @utsvertigo @utsvertigo Vertigo + Vertigo on Air



I wonder where my roots are. The clothes I wear the books I read tell the stories of alien land. They say my village is desolate, my traditions are outmoded. I bend my head with gratitude to the light when lit, to the land I tread, and the rivers that rinse. I worship the sun, planets, mountains, animals and rocks. But they laugh at my reverence. Thus, I wonder Where my roots are.

by Pragya Paneru


Being a Brahmin from Indo-Aryan communities, I belong to a structurally privileged group. However, being a woman from the Far Western Corner of Nepal, I stand on the brink of that privilege. This land, enriched by the majestic aboriginal tribal culture reminds me to explore my roots and makes me wonder how far our generations have moved away from our cultural heritage. In the following sections, I attempt to retrieve and recollect some of my cultural memories.



I am from a patch of land that survived direct colonialism but could not withstand globalisation or modernisation. This clicked when I was trying to categorise the clothes of the represented characters from Nepalese textbooks into local or Western types. It was difficult for me to imagine our traditional attire. With some exceptions, most of the clothing in the textbook images were frocks, trousers, T-shirts, pants, and skirts. As the words suggest, they were all Western. I also grew up wearing these and I remember people judged one another based on how they dressed. The more Western their clothes looked, the more modern, advanced and influential that person is regarded. But, this realisation came to me only when I became an adult; even in my 20s, I was judgmental of the dresses of villagers because I grew up in a time when anything traditional was regarded as old and outdated. Now, I regret not appreciating my local costumes and judging my fellow people from remote villages.

In my own land, my mother tongue has lost its gleam within our academia, workplaces, and society. Although there are more than 100 regional and ethnic languages in our country, Nepali language is the official language in Nepal. Besides Nepali, English literature and language are regarded as esteemed subjects in universities, whereas their Nepali Counterparts have lost their former lustre. When I was in university it was the English department where most of the students enrolled. In schools, students are encouraged to use English and if they do not comply, they are punished, insulted, and made to pay fines just for using the Nepali language. People are judged on their local language accents. Contrastingly, the more one is fluent in English, the more prominent and sophisticated that person is regarded. As the Nepali language is institutionally privileged, this has burdened non-Nepali speakers to learn Nepali language for communication in different institutional settings. It also has a negative effect on the academic outcomes of the school-going children from families of non-Nepali backgrounds, as the Nepali language is a mandatory subject within the school education. Even though the government has the provision of providing basic education in local languages, due to lack of resources this is not implemented.




In my case, I find it difficult to speak and understand my regional language because I was raised far from my native village. In my young age, I developed an inferior attitude toward my regional languages and did not want to be associated with remote and traditional villages. I deliberately did not speak or learn my regional language, nor did I feel I should appreciate my language and culture. Rather, I felt proud to be able to speak the standard Nepali language. Looking at the demand of time, my parents sent me to English medium private schools and I was expected to choose English Literature, which was one of the most esteemed courses in academia. I do not regret graduating in English literature, however, my pejorative attitude toward my local culture and language makes me feel uprooted. I feel guilty about being a teacher who appreciated the students for speaking English fluently and criticised them for using their own language. Looking back, I have realised we are misleading our generations. In my opinion, learning a second language is great but discriminating one language from the other and associating high social status and knowledge attainment with a particular language is unfair.





Education I have heard a Sanskrit saying about the tasks required of people in certain age groups. It says 7-25 years is the age range for education attainment. This proves that there used to be a unique educational system. We can see the mention of this system in our mythology and literature, where pupils used to leave home to their master’s place to learn literacy and skills. Pupils used to give their guru 'Dakshina', that is, offerings to gurus at the end of their learning phase. There is no trace of this system in my culture anymore. It was partly due to the fault in the system itself, as education attainment and access were limited to the so-called high-caste group of people and their communities. Also, partly due to the global waves of the flourishing Western schooling system. Western powers and developments gained popularity and became a standard to measure our civilisation. We learned to look to the West, follow them, and aspire to look more sophisticated and civilised rather than reflecting upon the self and mending the cracks in our own culture. As a result, our languages, cultural roots, and lifestyle lost their value in our eyes.

Our Anthropocentric Rituals Most of the entities of nature, including biotic and abiotic are deified in our culture. We worship the Sun, planets, plants, animals, rivers, mountains, forests and rocks. According to our traditional beliefs, each natural space and resource is guarded by some kind of holy power. Therefore there are gods and goddesses of the forest, rivers, lakes, planets, plants, and animals. That is why we literally regard the Sun, the Moon, the Earth and other planets as gods. We also worship plants like pipal, banyan, banana, basil and animals like dogs, crows, cows, oxen, snakes, and elephants. The rivers and mountains are sacred as we believe that higher power resides in them. Our gods and goddesses use animals as their spiritual vehicles and those animals are revered. This concept of appreciating and paying respect to the biotic and abiotic elements symbolically was contributing to the care and perseverance of everything in life and the environment. However, as globalisation and capitalism grew, technology, wealth, and an urban lifestyle


became prioritised. Our old way of living together with nature and animals with equal respect became obstructions to infrastructure and property development. Our religious message of compassion, love and care for all lives became outdated and cliché. Instead of exploring the significance of our rituals and lifestyle, we started branding our culture as uncivilised, unscientific, superstitious, and backward. We forgot that our science was life-centric, not technocentric. This feeling of inferiority associated with our traditions did not let us see the ecocentric view embedded in our lifestyle. Even though our occasional rituals desperately howl out the antianthropocentric message in our festivals and celebrations, our ears are blocked to hear that scream. In my case, I follow our tradition of doing namaste (joining both hands to pay respect) to the source of light. I show love and respect toward animals and plants. Previously I used to feel awkward and used to do the rituals automatically rather than understanding their essence but these days I really appreciate such traditions.




Family We have a saying 'Vasudeva Kutumbakam' in one of our scriptures that means the whole world is a family. I have heard the word uncivilised to describe us. I have not asked why they use that word, but I can figure it out from my village experience. I know people in villages are still striving for only a simple life and some of them haven’t been in cities or used modern technology. I remember Kathmandu was just a dream for me until I went there for my master’s degree. I had to learn how to walk on a road shared by vehicles because the place where I was born did not have vehicles on the streets. My father used to take me and my brothers to a nearby hill to show trucks down the road which looked like matchboxes and we used to feel amazed looking at them from far. There have been developments in our villages since then, and I think most of them have seen vehicles by now. However, I could visualise how the locals have not experienced modern technologies and facilities. I could imagine them swarming around the newcomers, and the curious questions they would ask. People of my village don’t differentiate people as 'other' and they do not have any concept of boundaries. Our culture is based on community and commonality rather than individualism. This notion blurs the boundary between the self and others. Ingrained by the feeling of ‘world as a family’, they could

touch you, would want to look at your things, shower you with thousands of questions, and stare at your white skin, modern clothing, gadgets, etc. Apart from this, I know they are not 'uncivilised.' They are simple people to whom the concepts of selfishness, concealment and apathy have not yet reached. The simple lifestyle of local villagers and muddy roads, adjusting among the insufficient resources and facilities, can look quite meagre to people from developed areas. I would recommend anyone from a developed or Western society to research the local culture before visiting such villages to avoid misunderstandings.






Due to the influence of modernisation and globalization, we have neither Indo-Aryan nor Tibeto-Burman ways of life in our culture as almost all of our lifestyles have been influenced by the current trends. Due to the popularity of modern lifestyles, we study modern literature and contents in academia. Or, at best, our society is not as interested in exploring our own culture as much as Western culture. As a result, we are neither purely modern, nor traditional. We have long forgotten our history and the paths from where we came. Even though some reminiscence from rituals remind us of our unique roots, we have forgotten their essence. I think it is necessary that no culture should be judged as civilised or uncivilised. East or West, we should respect and appreciate all ways of life. The measure of societal development should be based on that culture’s contribution to the enhancement of lives and environment rather than economic prosperity. Our education and research areas should focus on the exploration of how significant traditional local cultures are so that the new generations can understand and appreciate them. Then, only one type of lifestyle or culture would not be put on a pedestal and people belonging to simpler lifestyles would finally recognise their own importance in this world.



Practicing Culture



Australia Australia is very dear to me as it gave me exposure to a new world. It brought back my love for creative writing which was in hibernation for a few years with some mysterious reasons that I am still unaware of. Coming here, I also learnt to appreciate my culture. As Australia has become my home away from home for the last two years, I celebrate almost all the occasions that I used to celebrate in my home country. In my small balcony garden, I have planted a basil plant. Basil plant is regarded as a female mythical character who would marry one of the Hindu gods called Vishnu. So, we do have specific days of sowing the basil seed, planting the basil plant, and its marriage day. Those rituals remind me to pay respect to the plants, not only basil. Also, I celebrate the five days festival called Tihar (this is also called Diwali) that offers respect to the animals like dogs, oxen, cows and it is also called the festival of lights. I lit oil lamps in the evenings for three days on my stairs, windows, doors, during this festival. Australia has made me more aware of our cultural knowledge and simplistic organic lifestyles that are still practised in our rural villages. I would definitely do something for the perseverance of our cultural heritage when I return to Nepal.


It is not that we are saints without any dark sides. We have caste hierarchies and subtly discriminative prejudices based on gender, religion, and economic status. We also have problems like corruption, bad leadership and crimes which are commonplace throughout humanity. Just like the rest of the world, we are striving towards betterment.









I have long felt that there was a general attitude to religion in Australia that I couldn’t quite understand. I think that as a Christian and a religious person, I’ve noticed and cared more about it than others might have. If I had to simplify, I have felt that perceptions of religion in Australia are both increasingly critical, while also apathetic. In a sentence: “You do you, just don’t involve me.” Before you read on, I feel it’s important to note that religion is deeply personal. It is not just about what happens when we die, but it’s also about how we choose to live. Whether someone has been religious all their life, or if their faith is a new-found faith, that faith is often a major part of their identity and worldview. Discussions about belief can therefore hold an enormous amount of weight to individuals, making it incredibly important to be cautious when having these conversations. I am going to do my best to look at religious autonomy in a way that is considerate to both those with and without religion, but I acknowledge the limits of my own knowledge, and I cannot come to the conversation unbiased, as I do hold the Christian faith.

In 1966, 88% of the Australian population identified as Christian, and 0.8% said they had no religion. Yet, 50 years later in 2016, only 52% of the population identified as Christian, and 30% of people claimed agnosticism.1 As it was phrased by the controversial Australian Lamb ad in 2017, the fastest growing religion in Australia is that of having no religion.2 Moving away from statistics, I feel that there is an increased expectation in Australian society for agnosticism to be the norm. Just as one is innocent until proven guilty, you’re agnostic until proven religious. And, when religion is brought up in conversation, the subject is typically changed swiftly, as it is seen as contentious, plagued with assumptions and stereotypical images as portrayed in the media. In broad strokes, being religious is seen as being traditional and conservative, and typically associated with some level of bigotry or intolerance. Of course, I have mainly experienced this phenomenon from a Christian perspective, however I would be hesitant to say that other religions do not suffer similar negative assumptions.

You do you, just don’t involve me. They smile and nod, hum and say,



course, it’s

imporTant to


you, we

but not

talk about it here?” Or,

“Now r









I feel like I have experienced this conversation time and time again. I try to be open and honest about my faith and what I believe, speak up when I feel convicted; yet it feels like each time I do, the room gets a little colder as perceptions about me shift. Nuance is removed, individuality is eroded, and further attempts at sharing religious experiences are met with scepticism and discomfort. Of course, not every experience is the same. I’ve had incredibly deep and challenging conversations about religion with friends in the past. But these conversations are with people who have seen who I am, what I care about, and the way I act. It reminds me of a concept often talked about in church: the idea of a spiritual bank account. Essentially, the more you get to know someone and open up to them, the more they are able to know you and open up to you.



There was a sentence that a group member wrote in a recent assignment that stuck with me. The student was referring to the partner organisation we were working with and said something along the lines of, “(The company) can no longer rely on the lay Catholic mission message it formerly associated with in an increasingly agnostic and multicultural contemporary Australian context.” The reason this stood out to me was not because this comment was misplaced, but rather because it was a broad claim that, in all honesty, holds its truth.

The attitude towards religion intended to be considerate and peaceful can end up leaving you feeling isolated and unheard.

Thus, it becomes easier to have conversations about faith with friends that I often see and spend time with. But, with a group of relative strangers at uni who don’t know me as well, we don’t have that spiritual bank account, making it harder to open up and be honest about something that feels so deeply personal, and often, controversial. So, what’s the solution? How do we encourage religious diversity and freedom in a culture that is increasingly agnostic? How do we speak about religion without acknowledging the deeply personal feelings tied to religious discourse?


Whatever side of the conversation you’re on, the most important thing is to pay attention to others in that conversation. Pay attention to body language, tone, and other non-verbal cues to make sure that you aren’t making the other party feel unsafe or unheard. The truth is, sometimes, religious discourse is a sensitive topic. In order to avoid discussions becoming toxic and harmful, all parties involved need to maintain a level of empathy and care for others in the conversation. If you can see that the subject is negatively affecting someone, move the discussion to safer common ground. Besides making sure people are comfortable, the next most important thing you can do is keep an open mind. I know that it can sometimes be confronting, but remember that meaningful conversations are a two-way street. If you’re not engaged with what the other person is saying, they are more likely to shut down about the topic. When people think about speaking about religion, it is so often framed by the idea of the ‘religious debate’. However, if we really want to build a culture of diversity, inclusion, and religious freedom, we need to hold non-argumentative conversations about religion. No matter how different your beliefs are, hear the other person out. Seek out common ground, and try to understand their perspective. Give yourself the chance to open up to someone about your religion and you might be surprised with what comes out of it. You might not end up changing your mind, but maybe you’ll understand them a little more. References

1. Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia Stories from the Census, 2016


2. The Australian Lamb Ad - Gods of the World eating Lamb at the dinner table

s r e p s i h W





















brendan plummer







Prometheus Pandora by Grace Oldfield

CW: Gore, blood, physical abuse


I could not stand upon my pyre. Could not let my guilty skin char, blood bubble, and eyes burst. Could not spit, pop, and crackle amongst the flames. Had the heart he placed inside my chest once again forsaken me? I despaired. Trees, under the weight of Arctic snow, bowed like expectant mourners, but I could not appease them. So I stood shivering, despite the warmth of my demise. Would I forever feel rapid, desperate heartbeats against my fingertips? Slight vibrations of gasps against my palm? Flecks of blackened wood stained the whiteness around the fire, and the intense heat had started to melt the surrounding snow. I stood there until the first rays of dawn, when the horizon and the flames turned the colour of embers. The coals were the flowers placed upon the coffin of my freedom. All there was to do was drag these heavy feet across another continent, collecting little more than callouses. For thirty years, I found lonely refuge in forests and mountains. The Alps had lost their sense of monolith, the Swiss forests their beauty. All that remained of me were footsteps. Oh why? I had commiserated. Why could my fingers and toes not turn blue and waxy, and my heart still within my chest? Why would animals not latch onto my limbs and tear them out of their stitched sockets? But, it was when travelling through Paris that I obtained the objects that would change my life’s path; an intervention by destiny. The French have beautiful outdoor bookstores — bouquinistes. Boxes of second-hand books lounged across each side of the Seine, manned by fellows in tailcoats and tophats. I had found that peering at these carts from alleyways was the closest I would come to reading, and so had made a habit of sitting, head resting against cold brick, watching people skim the shelves.



It was a crisp, cold October morning when I saw gold glimmering within the books — three vibrantly coloured leather books, the divots of flowering edging on either side of the spines. Encased in orange paint were the words Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. Looming above these chapter distinguishments, were the words: FRANKEN STEIN My hands started to quiver, and my brow dampen. My creator’s name — lengthened but nonetheless his — caused my breath to quicken and vision to blur. Had Dr. Franken risen from the dead, seeking final vengeance on his creation? I knew it could be a coincidence, yet the blinding banner of gold would not relinquish my attention. I waited patiently for someone to pick up the tomes, in hopes I could steal it from them in a darkened alley. Alas, this moment never came and the books sat, prideful, on the cart. I had no choice but to confront the setting sun and snatch the books myself. I had hoped the bookseller would keep his back turned, but neither he nor I were so lucky. Upon seeing me, he trembled and struggled with the comprehension of my form: my glowing yellow eyes and patchwork skin. I snatched the three tomes and held them to my chest, bolting down the street. I ran into another alleyway, never stopping, and abandoning all embodiment of a sleuth. Once I had arrived in the surrounding countryside, I ducked behind some bushes to recapture my breath. I allowed my spoils to spill onto the grass, one of the novels opening to the first page. Frankenstein, ou Le Promethee Moderne, it read. Par Mme. Shelley. I flipped to the next page, then the next, finding my life surmised in curves and strokes of ink. The creation and the downfall. The unforgivable acts of jealousy and revenge; such human reactions for someone as non-human as myself. I had not felt the sensation of tears for years, but on this occasion, they were drawn from my eyes. To read the thoughts of my creator, to hear he did not care — did not attempt to care — cut me deeper than any physical wound. On my second reading, I saw hope in-between the lines, the spellings of another life. My own destiny within my master’s. I took mental notes on the places he had travelled, the schooling he had received. I had never known the place of his most vital research, but now my dreams were captured within my hands. It took a mere week-and-a-half to return to the lab and vials of my ‘childhood’. I knew I may find nothing, and perhaps that would have been more of a comfort to me. Nonetheless, when searching through the library in the dead of night, I found my answers. Scribblings of anatomy and musings of da Vinci lay like sleeping giants within books written by the natural philosophers. The handwriting of my creator. With those words came the realisation, the eureka. I could hold a dead thing in my hands and state: “Not you. You will be present.” There were reasons for hesitation. I had no house or homestead, and no place to source body parts. But my mind was fixated on companionship and the sensation of a woman’s hands. I found a cave, no more than seven feet tall, and collected the most desirable body parts from the nearby morgue.



After three months of crawling in and out of my stone laboratory, I finalised my work. There She lay, fragile and limp. Purple veins pressed against her grey skin; and her eyes, one blue and one green, stared blankly at the rocks. When I witnessed Her form, so beautiful in the darkness, the words of humans entered my mind. Monster. Daemon. Heathen. I reached for the twine with one hand, and found the other closing Her eyes. Eyelashes delicately tickled my palm. Murderer. Wicked. Cursed. I let the needle pierce the soft, thin skin of Her eyelids. Wretched. Devil. Evil. I pushed and pulled, the needle jolting each time it was relieved from the pressures of skin. Suddenly, Her eyes were shut and my hands were on the electric-machine. With a spark and crackle and great flash of light, there was a woman on the slab, moving Her fingers, wiggling Her toes. Her eyes strained at the twine, and Her lips opened in a gasp. “Hn-uhn,” She said. I took Her hand in mine and She tugged against it slightly, as if testing the resistance. Finding my grasp would not relent, Her fingers fell slack. I taught Her how to stand, then walk, then talk. The latter was resolved through bringing Her miscellaneous animals and fruits and discussing these through touch. It only took a few months for us to start to converse. I told Her of the forest and the expansive world beyond, the cold mountains and colder humans. I explained to Her my story, discarding the grotesque details, to make Her grateful for our home. Sometimes She would go deep into thought, head in Her hands. It was peculiar seeing a woman's body so hunched and oblivious to the world around Her. That night I found Her a dress and corset, hoping the nice fabrics would assist in diminishing Her depression. She was excited at the new sensations on Her skin, and for the first time a slight smile cracked Her lips. “Thank you,” I said, and She repeated. And so, every second night, I cast away into the darkness to find trinkets for Her. She had started a collection in the corner of the cave, paper laid beside rock laid beside shell. Each night, She eagerly rushed to me, a flood of compliments on Her lips. It had warmed my heart, seeing Her so captivated with things as small as petals. But like all things, this happiness too would end. It started when She asked if She could wear pants. She complained of the coldness that travelled up Her skirts, and the impracticalities of movement. She asked if She could venture and find trinkets Herself. Hunt by Herself. She asked why She was confined to stone and cold while I was not. I will admit I raised my voice, louder than I expected or had known possible of myself.


“The world outside is a dark, terrifying place! Do you not recall what I have told you of my existence? Of the cruelty of men and fear of women! You will not find the world worthy. I have given you the greatest kindness and yet you meet me with betrayal.” She shied away from the heightened tone. “I want to leave,” She whispered. It was with those words I realised I was never to be called son or husband, nor father. I was her master. I stared hopefully into her stitched-up eyes, willing them to see I was her equal. I searched for upward creases beside her mouth, or a light easy breath. It was with the absence of these things that I realised I had failed. I was alone again. I wrapped my hands around her wrists — the very limbs I had brought life to — and threw her to the cold stone floor, where she did not rise. Dr Franken’s notes could not have been wrong; I must have misread a line, misunderstood an instruction, miscalculated an equation. I have besmirched his work with a defective creation, but I could undo my mistake — I could take her apart to find the flaw and remove it. Perhaps the voltage was too little or too much, or the cave too septic for such divine work. My dismay and anger soothed into composure and contemplation. I would remake her, replace the tainted pieces. And when she came to me anew, we would be happy. I tied her limp hands and feet together with some rope. She was slouched, her corset the only structure in her form. I heaved a deep breath and took refuge in the cool night, letting the moonlight wash upon me. I stared up to the sky, ruminating over what I must do next. Around me, the grass swayed gently in the wind. I resorted to picking flowers, planning to place them among her collection, however I found myself plucking absently at the petals until all I was left with were stalks. She had proven to be an irrational thing, but still I hoped that she, in her final moments, understood my intent was not to harm. I returned, seeking to cure her madness. Instead I found two short pieces of twine, stained a rusting red. Scattered around them were the browning petals I had given her and the rope I had bound her in. I did not cry or tremble, clasping onto the only two pieces of her I had left. Instead, I rearranged my stone laboratory and adjusted the controls on my electricmachine, preparing for my next journey to the morgue. END.


Bringing Justice to the Law


Interning at The National Justice Project by Dana Rutner CW: Discrimination, Racism

In theory and often in practice, the law is structured and rigid, making it diffi- cult to mould and reflect contemporary societal values. An individual may feel like a cog in a vast law producing machine. I’ve had many lawyers and barristers tell me that justice and law often do not belong together — and can even oppose each other. When you aim to find what is correct within the realm of the law, where does justice fit? And what does justice really mean?


When a lawyer tackles a case, it’s about adhering to the law. We must take a step back and see, is what the law says just? Does it provide equal opportunities, or does it discriminate? Although traditionally, law and justice are intrinsically seen as linked, but from my experiences, this is not always the case.

Rudd’s apology in 2008 and further noted that the majority of the Indigenous children being forcibly removed, were not placed with Aboriginal families. The passion and desire for justice were behind every word that he said. From that point, the incredible values of the National Justice Project were forever entrenched in my mind as an organisation that I would love to be a part of.

There are organisations that oppose this more traditional view, that justice and the law cannot co-exist, but rather they approach legal issues with the belief that justice and the law must coexist. And if they don’t, you should fight for changing laws to allow justice. The ability to fight for justice to be brought into the legal sphere is a fight that allows people to regain autonomy, respect, and fairness, aspects that can often be disregarded when focusing just on the law.

Some of the areas that the National Justice Project works within include: medical care in detention and access to health care in offshore detention, youth detention, inquests, racial discrimination in health care, discrimination, government and police accountability, and medical negligence. The National Justice Project works within these areas to help vulnerable people and communities. Fighting these challenging cases allows the National Justice Project to advance human rights, create exposure to issues that are too often forgotten in the Australian media, and bring light to the need for systemic change. The notion of justice has always inspired me; it was one of the reasons why I wanted to study law in the first place. I wanted to be a ‘change-maker’, so when searching for a legal internship, I looked for an organisation that embodied that value. It wasn’t by chance that I found the National Justice Project. Years ago, I was watching the documentary After the Apology (2017) directed by Larissa Behrendt, Director of the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, and there was a Q&A panel afterwards where George Newhouse, Principal Solicitor and CEO of the National Justice Project, spoke about injustice concerning Indigenous children being taken away from their grandparents. The documentary notes that the rate of Indigenous child removal has increased exponentially since

The National Justice Project is a civil rights organisation committed to equal access to the legal system. Many of the National Justice Project’s clients have been faced with a disadvantage due to the systemic injustice that runs in our legal system, from inherent racial discrimination in the language that is used within the legislation, to the inability to have legislation that acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the first peoples. The National Justice Project not only works with individuals but their legal team also targets systemic problems of abuse and discrimination found in our legal system. Once these issues are identified, NJP takes the next steps to look at the law and see how justice can be incorporated. It is hard not to be motivated to make a change when you see such injustices occurring in Australia. From the moment I started interning at the National Justice Project, I was moved by our clients’ stories — their fight for their rights and freedoms. There is not a single case that doesn’t inspire you to be advocating for those whose voices have been silenced.


The National Justice Project is one of these organisations, and what I like to call one of the ‘change-makers’ of the legal industry. It is not an easy feat and often comes with complex legal arguments and mounds of paperwork, but the produced change leaves the legal sphere with a closer attachment to justice. This has been seen through NJP’s participation in the UN Human Rights Commission complaint regarding Aboriginal deaths in custody by Leetona Dungay, and the lobbying for individuals to be evacuated from offshore detention to Australia.

My mind whirls from the amount of new information that I have absorbed during my days at the National Justice Project. Whether this be researching a particular area of law or writing a chronology for a medical negligence case, you know that the work you are doing is going to make a difference, and with that attitude, no task is discouraging. Still, I know that each day I am going into that office and making a difference, no matter how big or small, I am the change-maker I always aspired to be. I am giving power to those who fall through the gaps of the legal system, I am advocating for what is best for a person who has always been trapped behind a fog of prejudice. I am educating myself and those around me about what systemic changes need to be made to achieve justice. The National Justice Project has taught me that justice and the law are dependent on each other, and for a just society to exist, we must embrace this partnership of justice and the law.


























E JIN CW: climate change, racism, sexism


Earlier this year, fellow-editor Sevin and I were fortunate enough to attend the 2021 All About Women talk, ‘How Smart is AI?’, by author and academic Kate Crawford with host Rae Johnston. We were unsure of what to expect when we sat down, but an hour later, we left the auditorium indignant and a little more glum than before the talk. We walked along the harbour towards Circular Quay station in an urgent conversation, rehashing everything we had just learned to commit them deeper into our memory. We trash-talked Jeff Bezos and affirmed what an awful person he is. We reminded each other of the lithium shortage. And of every billionaire’s desire to abandon the planet. As AI steadily permeates every aspect of society, including facial recognition software now being used for HR and hiring purposes, Kate Crawford reminds us that we only have a few short years to push back on these systems. First, let’s lay down some harsh truths. We often associate AI with something entirely intangible and incorporeal. A quick Google search will show you how the concept of AI has been sold to us visually; AI is a dazzling circuit board made of light. Or a genderless human face made of light. Or a human brain… made of light. You get my point. It’s easy to see how we’ve come to regard AI, data, and the cloud as otherworldly, when in reality, data centres very much belong to this world. In fact, data centres (the buildings that house servers, i.e. the home of your internet and Netflix) contribute the same amount of carbon emissions as the airline industry.1 Not only do most data centres rely on non-renewable energy sources, but the industry is expected to grow 500% by 2050.2 3


There have also been multiple reports and papers citing that we are due to run out of lithium soon. Lithium is the highly toxic but crucial metal in all of your rechargeable devices and batteries, and very, very soon, demand for it will outstrip the supply. Rae Johnston makes the astute observation that there is currently a push for consumers to embrace electric cars, yet the very materials needed to make those batteries may run out in the next decade or two. Kate suggests we’ll run out of lithium by 2040, which is quite a generous estimate, as other reports claim it may be as soon as 2025.4 5 If we figure out how to recycle lithium, the reserves may last until 2100, but according to Kate, we are so very bad at figuring out how to recycle lithium.

We are not only running out of a key resource and failing to recycle it, we’re also at a loss about what to do with our e-waste. There is a lake in Inner Mongolia, about 8 – 9 kilometres in diameter, that is entirely made of black sludge and toxic waste. “We’re literally terraforming the Earth with the legacies of e-waste, and it’s something we will be living with for generations until we can figure out a much better way to ... construct and use hardware.” If this is not enough to convince you that the systems we have created are not sustainable, look to the projects that the billionaires are undertaking. As many of you may be aware, a new space race has taken root in our current era, culminating in Richard Branson ‘beating’ Bezos to space earlier this year. Elon Musk is promising to take humans to Mars. Don’t worry if you can’t afford it, you can pay it off when you get here. Indentured servitude might be frowned upon on Earth but maybe the rules are different on Mars? CEO, entrepreneur (born in 1964) Jeffrey Bezos, however, is not looking to start a human colony, rather he wants to move human labour off-world to mine asteroids. You know we’re in the folds of late-stage capitalism when even capitalism is spreading beyond the stratosphere.



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Instead of making this planet — the only suitable planet in the solar system for us to live and thrive on — more sustainable, the most powerful men in the world are looking to move on. We are forced to watch as billionaires invest their money, time, and teams of engineers into anything but real, pressing issues on the planet that we actually have. We are being sold an unrealistic and unattainable fantasy of moving to a new planet. It’s nonsense, but it’s powerful nonsense. When you move to a planet as inhospitable as Mars, I guess there’s not much biodiversity for you to ruin, eh, Elon?


“It strikes me as not a coincidence that the men who made their fortunes from AI ... are all now focused on leaving the Earth,” Kate muses. And given what we have learned about the environmental impact of these tech giants, can you blame the billionaires for wanting to launch themselves away from the Earth? She continues, “[Their] vision of the future is so astoundingly terrifying to me, which is the complete abrogation of responsibility and ultimately a departure from the Earth entirely. There’s something so shocking about that, as the end point of these great technologists’ vision.”

Who exactly are the people in the ‘room where it happens’? Unfortunately, stereotypes about the gender imbalance in STEM industries are real; by a generous estimate, over 85% of Amazon engineers are male. The World Economic Forum found that ‘only 22% of AI professionals globally are female’.6 So, it’s easy to see how AI has ended up with its infamous gender and racial biases. When a system is being developed by such a homogenous group, the resulting AI is bound to make mistakes. Kate posits, “Who are in the rooms where AI is designed? Who are the engineers that get to decide what problems can be resolved by AI and for whom this AI will work best? Who runs these companies?” Her answer, to no one’s surprise, is white men, who have ‘skewed the thinking and priorities that these technical systems are serving’. Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, reported that the image datasets being input to teach AI facial recognition skewed heavily towards ‘white persons’, with 75% male faces. Facial recognition systems are far more likely to misclassify women than men. Darker-skinned women were found to be misclassified at an error rate of 35%.7 As the use of AI and facial recognition software in public spaces grows, racial and gender bias in the system not only put women at a disadvantage and at potential harm, but also people of colour, and trans and non-binary people. This will be one more thing that marginalised people will have to teach their children, unless we take action now.


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A member of the audience asks, “Early on, women were prevalent in data and computer development. How did they get blocked out? And how do we get them back in?” “I love this question,” Kate gushes. I love this question too; I thought of Margaret Hamilton, the software engineer instrumental in putting NASA’s astronauts on the moon in 1969. Kate’s answer comes without a beat: money and popularity. As an industry grows more popular and becomes associated with profit, they become more male-dominated and women get pushed out. Instead of thinking that the 60s seemed progressive for hiring a female engineer to lead the Apollo software team, why had I never considered that the industry had in fact regressed? Kate argues that it fundamentally comes down to the way we’ve constructed these industries, what they’ve come to prioritise, and who’s work they value (or in the cases of women’s work, don’t value). Again, this harkens back to the question of ‘who is hiring?’ and ‘who is being hired?’. Despite society’s well-meaning attempts, more often than not, the gender imbalance issue is often simplified into: well, more girls need to be encouraged to pursue a STEM career! And so, the solutions include creating coding camps for girls or a mentoring program for girls, as if that’s enough to prepare women before they are thrown into male-dominated workplaces. It’s quite clear that society is treating a symptom, rather than the disease, because, well, treating the disease is much harder. The problem is not that there aren’t enough girls interested in STEM, it’s that women are being marginalised, harassed, and made to feel lesser than in these spaces.


Is this another story where we can dump the blame on consumers? Is it your fault for not boycotting the tech industry? Is it your fault that electric cars are being sold to you as the right choice, despite dwindling lithium reserves? No, absolutely not. This information is kept away from you while decisions are being made in rooms dominated by men. Kate argues that the information required for the public to understand the issue and ask the right questions ‘are kept at arm’s-length and are kept invisible and hidden’. It is the responsibility of those who are in the AI space to make these systems clean and comprehensible to the people who will be most affected by them. As Kate puts it, “It’s a much bigger question about how we are creating systems that are fundamentally unsustainable.” She remains hopeful though, despite having just spent an hour telling us how morbid our future might very well be. We are taught that ‘technology is inevitable’; it’ll come and you’ll have to use it. Except you don’t, Kate argues. Entire cities around the world have rejected the use of facial recognition software. All of these systems can be rejected, you don’t have to accept them. This is why it’s so important to have these discussions. “We have this window to create real change and that’s something we have to do collectively.”

How Smart is AI? is available to rent on the Sydney Opera House website.

If any part of this article sparked your interest, please consider reading Kate Crawford’s The Atlas of AI.


4. Emerging Markets Report: Lithium Could Run out by 2025

7. When Good Algorithms Go Sexist: Why and How to Advance AI Gender Equity

2. Digital Sobriety: Reducing the Impact of Data Centres (Part 2)

5. As Tesla Booms, Lithium Is Running Out

8. Beyond San Francisco, more cities are saying no to facial recognition

3. This is how we reduce data centers’ carbon footprint

6. Assessing Gender Gaps in Artificial Intelligence


1. Energy Hogs: Can World’s Huge Data Centers Be Made More Efficient?



by Anna Xu



by Anousha Xegas CW: Colonisation, racism Disposession explores how type and data visualisation can be used as a self-aware medium in social justice issues, referencing the Black Lives Matter movement and the design industry’s own failings in diversity. It acts as an exposé of the persisting colonialism that allows stolen designed artefacts from around the world to still reside in the British Museum.















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Upside down

by Carly-Faye Jarrett


The upside down girl in the upside down world. Finding myself again AGAIN — God damn! I have found my way way way back, to the body that has gone nowhere — limbs that were never lost a pumping heart that never stopped two inches of holy brown regrowth and between my legs my dripping oath. Introducing herself to me like a stranger in reflections, to the body that has gone nowhere give me (ONE MORE TIME) direction.

At the back of the hall, of a first-year philosophy course at Sydney uni; you ask us (the lecturer, to the class) he asks me (the boy sitting on my left) I ask me (this plays in my head) I ask you (that afternoon, in your bed). The great debate, what do I think? (First, does it matter?) I guess there’s not really, an answer. But how empty to accept, to be content without one, remaining indifferent to the presence of the sun.



To choose a meaningless answer; the most powerful way to believe. Knowing there is no reason to sway, But the Still — you must leave. The most meaningless of happenings, happen to me with reason. It was never up to me, my favourite of the seasons. (Note: this fate is only made, by the fact I have swayed). Each leaf falls as if it were a music note, rain falls only when I have remembered a coat. It is sunny when beauty waits in my park, which was ready for me, back when I only saw dark. All the awful ugliness of this life! It must have happened with reason — I am the weather’s wife.

I trust in the weather, I trust in the skies, I trust in the way money comes, I trust in the way money goes I trust in my damaged body I trust in my damaged mind In all its meaninglessness, I choose to sway. And there is no reason, for left, for right, but at least I do not stay still.

There is a story behind each night, To put your trust; not in your hands, not in the skies, a betrayal, in my eyes.



On Getting to grips with power, like hey, how are you? How do I exercise you? by Kate Rafferty CW: R*pe, death


How do you exercise power? This is an interesting one. Why? Because it’s not the opening question. This question has been picked out of a list of numerous preceding questions, of which the first might be, ‘How do you feel about power?’, or maybe, ‘What do you think about power?’ ‘How do you exercise power?’ however, assumes that you’ve recognised your own power — which is really, quite an ask.

‘Mad with power’, our world is casting human rights aside, placing offenders on pedestals, soft-pillowing r*pists, and treating human lives like they’re just a speck in a bowl of burnt ash. It’s a ‘sweep it under the rug’ mentality, combined with a feeling that there’s ‘plenty more where that came from’, and it’s being driven by a blunt and growing sense of righteousness.

The devastation and the hopelessness is totalling. People have been left to fend for themselves in a country they barely recognise. Once lively with people, the streets of Kabul are now arenas for bullets and bloodshed. “Today, unfortunately, all my dreams died,” were some of Bayat’s first words. After waging fierce resistance against the Taliban, she and other protestors were told they had 20 days until a harsher crackdown would be laid upon them. Bayat said she would use those days to raise her voice for “a million women.”


Power is often considered a dangerous thing. A weapon of dictators and authoritarian regimes, power silences the helpless, and propels vindictive aims. It’s the tool of the money-hungry, and the manipulative. Pursuit of it can drive you to insanity, so instinctively, most of us keep a healthy distance. There’s no doubt we’ve seen that side of things recently. Power has been rearing its ugly head in more obvious ways of late, and without realising it, I feel we’re becoming more attuned. From the Taliban’s brutal takeover of Kabul, the icing-out of Brittany Higgins’ renegade sexal assault inquiry, the dozens organising, and still organising antilockdown rallies — even the appearance of DaBaby and Marilyn Manson at Kanye West’s listening party for Donda. We are seeing power used in more frustrated, raging and unwarranted ways, and it really is a kind of madness.

A few weeks ago, I watched a video by the New York Times, of young Afghan resistor, Crystal Bayat. Bayat was one of seven women to attend and help organise a protest for Independence Day, which falls on August 19 in Afghanistan. That was only a week or so after Joe Biden began removing US troops from their 20-year stations, and the Taliban began infiltrating every weakened cleft and crevice around the country.

Shrieking into a microphone amid 200 other protesters, Bayat’s determination was penetrating. Her fearlessness to riot, scream and yell, for the sake of women, and for the sake of her life, is like nothing I’ve really seen before. She ends the video: “If they shoot me, still, ‘til the time they shoot, I will strive and I will seek my goals, and I will not let them deprive me [of] my fundamental rights.” Bayat is, of course, an extraordinary example of someone exercising their own power for a cause they care about. She struck a chord with me. Seeing her taking charge so ferociously, made me think about when, if ever, and how I do similar things in my own life. I realised that I really do not.



The thought of exercising my power is uncomfortable to me. It involves not only recognising what power I have, but also coming to terms with that and owning it. And that’s not innate to a people-pleaser. As an abuser of exclamation marks in emails, and someone who fears the day they need to ask for a raise, ‘owning and exercising your power’ basically translates to walking on hot coals. But the notion continues to strike me, because as much as it makes me recoil, it also makes a valid point about privilege. If you were to put Crystal Bayat and I side-by-side, there is no equal footing or fair circumstance. She is a woman, downtrodden in a war-torn country, trying to make something of what could be the last few days of her life. I am a regular, 21-year-old first-world white woman. I have no clear markers of my ethnicity, or heritage, no accent, no institution I’m tied to, and no man with a gun to my neck. I ooze privilege like a ball of burrata. Like any person, there’s guilt for having that power. But more deeply, there’s guilt for not doing anything with it. Especially when there are people like Bayat, who have such little power and such little freedom, but remain such a force. As mentioned before, the comparison is certainly not fair. Bayat’s fight is driven by the horrors of her circumstance, with her facing a reality we can’t possibly relate to. The reality for us, is that without a gun to our necks, we aren’t likely to be driven to enact any similar change, especially not to the same scale.


On the other hand, I do think we have the power to give a damn. We can naturally sympathise, and create action around that sympathy. Because what we have that Bayat doesn’t, is a government that isn’t brutally corrupt. A government that we can pressure, without fearing for our lives, or the lives of our loved ones. We have a media free of censorship, and access to education and tools that can help us amplify the voices of those not afforded a platform. And we can do it with the simple click of a button. So, while I’m certainly not looking for a cause to fight for, I am looking to act. I’ve grown tired of simply sitting in my bubble and ‘feeling sorry’ for those less fortunate, or even feeling sorry for myself when my current position fails to propel me to places I want to be. I’ve grown tired of fearing to act on, or urge matters I care about, whether that be enfranchisement for women in the Middle East, or my own damn pay-rise. I’m sick of thinking of power as something ‘dangerous’, or difficult, or out of my depth. What is dangerous is sitting-back, letting things unfold before you, and trusting that you’ll be perfectly fine either way. Privilege is the luckiest of powers, but too often it goes unrecognised, wasted, while we sit around waiting for something to inspire us to make use of it. While I’m not calling on people to forge an army, or a campaign, or an antiestablishment clothing line (although, I would love that), I am suggesting to do a little more with the power that you have. Whether that be by educating yourself, or others, empowering yourself to enter the intimidating conversations, or standing up to the bigwigs at work. It’s time we stopped basking in our complacency, and took a bigger part in what’s happening in the world today. Because there’s a lot more to life than meeting deadlines and more to the world than your Instagram grid.

“Getting to grips with power should be about actioning your power in smaller ways...” Now, that’s not to say that these aren’t real life stressors, or that ‘standing up to the bigwigs at work’ should feel like a piece of cake. Trust me, if there’s anyone who’s struggled to see a deadline as not the be-all and end-all of the world, it’s me. I definitely know how easy it is to get caught up in your own fears and world. To the point that you barely feel like there’s time to watch a movie, let alone read a 20-page explainer about the Liberal party’s policy on climate change. Getting to grips with power should be about actioning your power in smaller ways, at least to start. The good news is we’re already wrapping our heads around this.

While we might look at agitators like Crystal Bayat or Greta Thunberg and feel totally overwhelmed, we shouldn’t let that dampen our sense of action and where it can take us. After all, Bayat and Thunberg have decided to lead — but change doesn’t come from leaders, it comes from people. By utilising the very devices in our hands, pockets and handbags, we can embrace power in a whole new way. Even more exciting I think, is that it takes place in our domain.


Over the past few years, the sharing of resources on social media has taken off, revealing a whole new side to how we can engage and embrace our power online. More and more people are eager to align themselves with the causes they care about, and are even opening themselves up to new conversations. The new, and purple “I got vaccinated” sticker on Instagram stories is a perfect example of this. While some might scrutinise the sticker as a “superficial” interaction with power, I think it holds a little more weight than that. In this day and age, where the internet can afford you as much anonymity as you desire, choosing to identify yourself with a cause online is really quite the political move. It is certainly not a big political move, but it is an identifiable one, and that’s encouraging.

From documenting protests, and sharing news articles and scholarly studies, the power of persistent sharing online is our modern way of keeping the torch alight. It’s ‘soft power’, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

I say we embrace a whole lot more of it.


Conformity Self-Determination: Mish Bae Seizing Control Her Life by Angela Jin CW: Sexual references, sexism

Photographs provided by Mish Bae

Vertigo editor Angela was lucky enough to speak to one of her absolute favourite tattoo artists, Sydney-based Mish Bae (@mishbae). Known for her stunningly-detailed black and grey designs, Mish graduated from UTS in 2018 with a degree in Visual Communication. She now works at Le Jardin de Zihwa, in their Sydney studio, where Angela has every intention of visiting one day to be tattooed. AJ: I remember reading about your career trajectory one day on your Instagram stories, and I found it so interesting and inspiring. Can you explain to our readers what the last few years of your life have looked like and how you ended up where you are today?

Becoming a tattoo artist has always been my response to ‘If you could do anything as a job, what would you do?’. After a few months of working full-time at the design agency, I saw on Instagram that one of my favourite tattoo artists, Zihwa (@zihwa_tattooer), was looking for an apprentice to join her at her new Sydney studio. I immediately jumped on my laptop and sent in my portfolio without a second thought. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. Coming from a strict family, I’d subconsciously implanted into my mind that being a tattoo artist was out of reach. This all changed when my apprenticeship application was accepted. I came to a realisation that nothing is impossible, you just need the strength to be able to take a step out of your comfort zone. Once you do this, the possibilities are endless. It’s been around two years since I started as an apprentice, and I always try to continue growing as a tattoo artist. AJ: What did you want to be when you were little? Would younger Mish be surprised to know that you’re a tattoo artist? MB: I wanted to be everything when I was young. I dreamt of being an artist, pianist, animator, policewoman, soldier, and mad scientist among many other things. I still


MB: I’ve always enjoyed drawing and I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that involved drawing in some way. During my first few years of study, I juggled freelance illustration work, a part-time design job, and hopping between different cafes and restaurants as waitstaff. In my final year of university, I studied part-time and started a new full-time job at a creative agency as a mid-weight designer. Even though everything felt like it was settling into place as I approached the end of my degree, I felt depleted not being able to do what I loved most for work: draw.

constantly want to try new hobbies. I’d like to say it’s a strength of mine, although it does sometimes mean I don’t have enough time in a day to do everything I want to. If I told my younger self that I’d become a tattoo artist, I think I would be in disbelief; at the same time, I’d be extremely excited. Gifting permanent art to someone just seems so surreal, don’t you think? AJ: What have you been able to bring from your VisCom degree to your tattoo artistry and job? MB: Despite VisCom being quite different to what you’d expect from the tattoo industry, I was surprisingly able to apply many of the skills I’d learnt from my degree to tattooing. An obvious example is the Illustration and Animation electives I studied; they helped me focus on drawing and developing my own art style. A big part of being a tattoo artist, especially in this current age of the internet and social media, is creating an identity and a brand for yourself. By having a background in VisCom, I could apply that knowledge and experience to build my online presence as a tattoo artist. I’m currently working on designing business cards and other promotional materials such as postcards, prints, a website, and so on. I wouldn’t have the skills and knowledge to undertake these side projects without my VisCom degree and previous work experiences.


My tattoo clients come to me as they resonate with my art style. I feel as though I can express my creativity more freely since this is what draws clients to my work. I’m extremely lucky to have amazing clients who respect and trust me and my art, and many have even given me complete freedom to design whatever I want on them, for which I am extremely grateful.


AJ: Do you prefer drawing custom designs or flash?

AJ: What was the hardest thing about transitioning from designing at an agency to designing tattoos and tattooing? MB: The first year was the most difficult; shifting from a decently paid and stable desk job to a full-time unpaid apprenticeship in an unfamiliar field was not an easy task. I learnt that it would take immense responsibility and dedication in order to have a career as a tattoo artist. To pursue something with no pay initially is difficult and almost impossible — you need passion and willpower to persevere. As a tattoo artist, your work directly represents your career, similar to an artist or a musician. You also create your work for an individual rather than a company. You’re giving a permanent piece of art to a person, something that will live on with them and become a part of who they are. It is extremely personal and I hold immense responsibility for the quality of work that I present. AJ: How do client expectations differ as a graphic designer compared to a tattoo artist? MB: The intent, purpose, and the level of personal trust is what I believe makes the biggest difference. From my experience as a graphic designer, I felt that I had to mould myself in line with my client. The purpose of the work I created was vastly different from that of a tattoo artist.


MB: Custom designs for sure! Most of my tattoos are custom-designed and unique to each client. A custom tattoo gives me the flexibility to design a tattoo best suited to the individual, especially as everyone has different skin types and bodies, as well as unique ideas they want portrayed. On the other hand, flash designs give me more freedom as the tattoos are pre-drawn. I guess custom designs can be seen as an artist adapting to the client’s ideas in their own style, and flash designs as the client catering to the ideas put forward by the artist. This doesn’t mean that custom designs don’t provide creative flexibility, it depends case by case! AJ: Your coworker, Goyo (@goyotattooart), started her tattooing journey in Korea, just like Zihwa. Can you explain to Vertigo readers what the tattoo industry looks like in Korea? How would a tattoo artist’s experience differ there, compared to Australia? MB: Prior to my apprenticeship, I had no clue that tattooing is basically illegal in Korea. To be able to legally tattoo in Korea, you are required to hold a medical licence, which means most of the tattoo studios there are run illegally underground. The flagship studio is located in Korea and although I haven’t yet visited, I know of the industry and the experiences of tattoo artists in Korea through my coworkers and mentor. Compared to Australia, Korea is much more conservative, especially when it comes to the public’s view on tattoos and tattoo artists. Many still view tattoo artists as criminals, and people with tattoos as disruptive and anti-social. Because of this, the tattoo scene in Korea is very tense; the shop address needs to be kept hidden and artists need to be careful with who they accept as clients. To pursue your career as a tattoo artist in Korea means that you are putting yourself at risk.

AJ: Given this preconceived notion of tattoos and tattoo artists — and you mentioned earlier that your upbringing was quite strict — was your family supportive of your career change? MB: My family is quite conservative and religious. When I told them I had decided to quit my graphic design job to pursue an unpaid tattoo apprenticeship, my mum was especially shocked and extremely against it. Tattoos still carry a negative connotation for many of the older generations and it was quite difficult for them, especially when I first started my apprenticeship. Over the years, they’ve slowly started to become more accepting of it, they can see how passionate I am in what I do. I found that the best way is not to try to convince them with words, but to show them through action. Tattoos to me are a special medium of art, and beautiful in the way that’s so personal and expressive. I want to deliver this message to not just my family but also to the world.

The tattoo industry has developed through the years from many different cultures and backgrounds. I am a part of a new generation of artists, and one of my biggest goals is to change the negative perception of tattoos. I want my work to shine light on tattooing as a positive medium for art and self expression.


AJ: The creation of Instagram has changed the way that tattoo artists and their portfolios can be discovered and accessed by clients. Yet, online creators are constantly harmed when the platform tries to update their policies on semi-nudity and women’s bodies. Have you or people you know in the tattoo community been negatively impacted by Instagram censorship? What is the best way for people to help online creators and small businesses? MB: I have not personally been affected but many of my tattoo artist friends have had negative experiences with Instagram censorship. A few of my co-workers’ Instagram accounts have been banned or have received warnings accusing them of sharing inappropriate content. Tattoos are art on skin and the body is inherently a big part of its medium. Showcasing tattoo art subsequently means featuring the body, and it’s pushed some to criticise it as too sexual for social media. As a tattoo artist, I have to be careful of what I share. I know that it isn’t realistic to be completely accepted by everyone on social media, but I don’t want to limit myself from sharing my creativity and the work that I am proud of. People can help online creators and small businesses by being more aware and conscious of these issues. It happens more frequently than you’d realise.


AJ: Have you considered using other online platforms to engage with clients and fans? MB: I have, and I think it is important to do so. My main platform is Instagram, since it’s where I started, but after seeing the extent of censorship experienced by tattoo artists, I don’t think it is safe to rely on just a single platform. I haven’t experimented much with it yet, but once I get back to work after the lockdown, I want to try exploring and creating more video content. Video-based social media is on the rise and being able to adapt is crucial in this day and age. Filming the tattoo process also brings a closer insight into the work that I do, which I think would be very interesting to share.

AJ: What has been the most rewarding moment of tattooing? MB: The most rewarding moment is seeing my design tattooed on my clients’ skin at the end of the session and how happy it makes them. I’ve had clients tell me that they have developed more confidence and self-esteem after receiving their tattoo. The positive impact my art has on a person is the most rewarding part of my job. Getting a tattoo is a big decision and commitment for most people. Being a part of such a significant process in someone else’s life makes me humble and appreciative of what I do. AJ: If any of our readers are interested in finding more examples of your work (or if they want to book a session with you!), where can they find you?

AJ: How do you see your art style developing? MB: You can find me on Instagram @mishbae and Facebook @mishbaetattoo! You can also follow @lejardindezihwa for works by the talented artists in both the Sydney and Korea studio.


MB: I’m constantly experimenting and pushing to develop my art. I currently specialise in fine line blackwork and I plan to further strengthen my techniques. I would love to do more larger pieces such as full back, arm and leg sleeves. A larger size means that I’m able to utilise the shape and form of the body, as well as incorporate more details which would not be viable in smaller pieces. Since skin is alive and constantly changing through one’s life, the tattoo will also inevitably change. A great tattoo artist designs tattoos not just for how it will initially look, but also for how it will look and age over the years. I want to constantly be learning and improving, it’s something that I continue to keep in mind and strive for as I grow as a tattoo artist. AJ: You have quite an international following. What cities would you most like to visit and do guest work in? MB: Too many places! Firstly, I want to visit Korea and the Le Jardin de Zihwa studio in Seoul. I have yet to meet some of the tattoo artists at our main studio. Also Auckland, Vancouver, Paris, New York, LA and... honestly, I just want to travel everywhere I can get an opportunity to guest work. I visited Madrid a few years ago and I had so much fun meeting new tattoo artists and clients from a different country. It was such a memorable experience and I’m excited to do it again in the future.


Europe! Voices of Women in Film:


Confronting Gender Inequality through the Celebration of Female Filmmakers Interview by Sevin Pakbaz CW: Sexism

Calling all film-fanatics, you are in for a treat next month! For their 68th run this year, the Sydney Film Festival — in partnership with the European Film Promotion — is set to include a dynamic and vibrant range of films and documentaries from Europe! Voices of Women in Film in their agenda. While there is always room for improvement when it comes to the quota of women in filmmaking, it’s refreshing to see the effort being made to champion female vision and creative direction in the European film industry. Vertigo editor, Sevin was lucky enough to speak to Sonja Heinen about the work of Europe! Voices of Women in Film, the increasingly diverse gender representation in the field and what viewers can expect to see on the big screen.


Sevin Pakbaz: Thank you for your time and doing this interview with Vertigo! Can you please introduce yourself and your role in the European Film Promotion? Sonja Heinen: I am Sonja Heinen, the Managing Director of EFP (European Film Promotion). EFP is an international network organisation of the national film promotion institutes, from 37 countries all over Europe — each representing their national films and talent abroad. Under the EFP flag, they team up to jointly promote the best of European cinema worldwide. SP: Europe! Voices of Women in Film shines a spotlight on European female filmmakers. What initially inspired this program?

SP: Filmmaking is a major form of art, and essentially, creative power. It impacts who is telling stories and whose stories are being told. Are women adequately represented in key creative roles and positions of influence on the set of these films, apart from filmmaking? SH: The numbers have become slightly better. Statistics say that in the past year, an average of 43% of the producers, 33% of the writers, 7% of the cinematographers, and 6% of the composers were female, and 45% of lead roles are played by actresses. SP: How can women begin to overcome the biggest challenges and barriers faced in this industry? SH: Maybe being blunter and more self-confident. SP: From having a sneak peek at the media release, there are films which will explore notions of prejudice and inequality — one example being the U.S. porn industry. Can you outline any other themes and content that will be portrayed? SH: What is so impressive about Ninja Thyberg’s film PLEASURE, about a young Swedish woman looking for her place in the L.A. porn industry, is the choice of the narrative perspective; the female gaze of both

In a similar but different way, Robin Petré creates an intimate visual connection with the animals in her documentary FROM THE WILD SEA. With her camerawork, she goes on eye-level with the creatures to show their pain and helplessness in the face of life-threatening pollution caused by humans with waste like plastic and oil. Inquisitively, the whales and swans and seals look straight back into the eyes of the marine rescue volunteers working day and night to help them — wondering what these people would have in mind. In both cases, the chosen perspectives portray inequality.


SH: We launched the programme in 2016 (before #Metoo), because we wanted to actively address the gender imbalance in the industry. It was an important opportunity for us to bring films by women directors to a continent with a promising market, and one where they would perhaps not otherwise be seen, taking a stand for gender diversity in film and creating a taste for films from all parts of Europe in Australia.

the director and her protagonist as a response to the exploitative and consumerists gaze of men in that industry. This angle connects the audience with the heroine’s vulnerability and empowerment in an intense way, which is explicit without being judgemental.

From the Wild Sea, film by Robin Petré (Hansen & Pedersen)

Then there is a film with another interesting perspective referring to time; in LAST DAYS OF SPRING Isabel Lamberti recreates the future of a family facing eviction from their home in a neighbourhood of Madrid. The members of the family pre-imagine with their performances what will happen to them and courageously travel through expected emotions of separation and loss. This shows that it is not only the films’ narratives which explore human injustice and inequality, but also the ways they are made. Other films — like Blerta Basholli’s HIVE or Evi Romen’s WHY NOT YOU — deal, in very different ways, with deeply anchored patriarchal systems and how they affect the lives of people looking for alternatives beyond traditional norms.

“Obviously, not all the films are necessarily about gender issues. Women make films because they have a voice, not because they are women.” 79


How to Kill a Cloud, film by Tuija Halttunen (Copenhagen Film Company, Made, and Wacky Tie Films)

SP: The upcoming screening will be the sixth annual Europe! Voices of Women in Film. How have previous years been, in terms of audience reception and the topics covered? Sonja Heinen: Every programme has been very diverse thanks to Nashen Moodley’s and Jenny Neighbour’s careful selection, and very well received by the Sydney Festival audiences. They love to engage in thoughtful and controversial discussions with the directors, who are able to travel to Australia to personally present their work. The variety of the film topics are endless — covering tomatoes grown with classical music, women fighting in a small Swiss village for their right to vote, the discrimination of Indigenous Sámi people in Sweden, ethnic tensions between young Balkan men, a friendship between a girl and a boy defying societal rules in rural Afghanistan, a sensitive portrait of a few days of escape in Romy Schneider’s life, or even zombies or a sea monster. SP: The submissions are from Slovenia, Sweden, Kosovo and Greece — to name a few. What went into the selection process for the films and how did you uphold diversity, not just in gender representation, but to show an intersection of different identities? SH: We invite all our EFP member organisations, from 37 different European countries, to submit films


made by women filmmakers for this programme. This already creates diversity in regards of cultural histories and identities, and also of audiovisual production capacities. Obviously, not all the films are necessarily about gender issues. Women make films because they have a voice, not because they are women. And finally Nashen’s exceptional curatorial expertise ensures that the final selection offers a wide range of themes and cinematographic languages for Sydney audiences. SP: This year, there’s a range of fantastic features, as well as documentaries. Can you summarise what Wild Sea and How to Kill a Cloud is unpacking? These are indeed the two films in this year’s program dealing with environmental questions and sustainability. While FROM THE WILD SEA gives the floor to disoriented animals, HOW TO KILL A CLOUD looks at clouds, ecosystems, and human politics. Both films look into the anthropocene, the collision of humans and nature. But HOW TO KILL A CLOUD shows much more than a scientist struggling with questions of her own integrity, when she is asked to use her knowledge and research tools to make it rain over the desert of the United Arab Emirates. The film also reveals her estrangement in a male-dominated Arab society where women stand in other lines than men. It pays a mesmerizing tribute to the beautiful diversity of migratory clouds and the wonder of nature.

“We can watch their films, talk and write about them, make them travel, invite friends to see them, spread the word, connect them, support them with our attention and word of mouth.”


SP: A study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University showed that Hollywood reached a record number of women in directorial positions on movie sets. In 2020, women represented 16% of directors working on the 100 highestgrossing films, which was up from 12% in 2019. In your experience, does this figure translate into Europe’s film scene? SH: The numbers are very similar in Europe; we have 18% of European feature films directed by female driven teams. SP: What are some impactful films everyone should keep an eye out for during this festival? SH: Every film has its own value and impact — it is up to the audience to decide which films and themes and stories they would like to experience. SP: Lastly, how can Vertigo readers access the screenings? SH: The easiest way is to visit the Sydney Film Festival’s website, sff.org.au and buy tickets once the full programme is announced. We are so looking forward to presenting the films in Sydney cinemas this year.

How to Kill a Cloud, film by Tuija Halttunen (Copenhagen Film Company, Made, and Wacky Tie Films)

From Wednesday 3 November to Sunday 14 November 2021, the festival will be in full-swing (in a COVID-safe manner). Check the SFF website for updates on their program!

Photos provided by Europe! Voices of Women in Film






Fran Lebowitz famously said, “A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.” And yet Sydney-based writer Diana Reid skillfully crafts an entirely new space with her debut novel, Love & Virtue — one between door and mirror. Ried propels us into the world of Michaela and Eve, two intensely sharp young women who meet during their first year of university. We join them on drunken escapades on King Street, doing ‘juicys’ on dorm room floors, their whiplashinducing debates and their navigation of the fragile world of performative activism, backdropped by institutionalised privilege. As their story unfolds, Reid quietly weaves an intricate web around us, one of power, sex, privilege, feminism, consent, and morality. Only when we are squirming does this web crystallize into a mirror. Ever-so-gently, we are prompted to take a closer look at ourselves, and ask the pivotal question: am I a good person, or do I just look like one?

Without once drifting into the dangerous waters of didactics, this deafeningly quiet interrogation on Reid’s behalf, will (hopefully) teach you a few things. Tackling enduring questions faced by our generation, Ried carves a strong voice for herself within modern-Australian fiction. Vertigo editor Erin spoke with Diana Reid about Love & Virtue, university culture and creating during lockdown. EE: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Could you please introduce yourself to Vertigo? DR: I’m Diana, a debut author, and my book Love & Virtue is an Australian campus novel. Like the characters in the book, I studied philosophy and graduated at the end of 2019. I also studied law but and deferred my job as a lawyer to try and do theatre stuff... but COVID cancelled theatre, so in lockdown last year, I thought I’d try writing a book. It ended up getting picked up and now it’s my life... crazy.

DR: It’s a weird thing. I think that my book coming out remotely, in lockdown and all, is kind of good. It feels like it’s happening somewhere else. I’m not nervous, even though I think I probably should be, and probably would be if the release was happening in person. EE: Consent and feminism are two major themes in this book. Were discussions surrounding these issues part of your own university experience? DR: Yes, while the book is fictional and all the events in it are fictional, the way the characters talk to each other is very much like the way that me and my friends talk to each other. It was kind of based on two things. So in philosophy class, we would have these very abstract, vague debates about morality. And then also on campus, in-person and also in online culture, I saw a lot of black and white arguments about the right way people should be thinking about things. Both of which are important and are great things about going to uni, but these themes were definitely things I thought about and had been exposed to before.


Baked into the vibrancy of Reid’s humming literary style, moral challenges invite the reader to investigate and evaluate the parameters of what they believe makes a good person. Exploring the liminality between the boundaries of good and bad — and the consequences once those boundaries are crossed — is how Ried artfully unfolds the delicate balance between morals and actions, revealing the unsettling and sometimes bitter truth: it’s complicated.

EE: Love & Virtue has just been released. How are you feeling about your debut novel hitting the shelves?

EE: Yes exactly, that’s what’s so great about uni. DR: My heart breaks for people who’ve done two years of uni online now. As you can tell from my book, I just loved uni. I think it’s a really fun place; you meet lots of people and you get drunk. It just breaks my heart that what’s written in the book might be an experience that a 19-year-old who has been at uni for two years can’t actually relate to. It actually makes me want to cry. EE: It’s so interesting you say that because obviously I read it during lockdown and maybe that’s why I dove so deeply into this world. I was missing it. DR: It’s so formative. Michaela makes heaps of mistakes, but she’s the person she is by the end of it because of all of them. It stresses me out thinking about how people have missed out on that time to make those mistakes and meet people. And have friendships that don’t work out.


EE: And do juicys on the floor. DR: Exactly, when else are you going to do that? It’s important. EE: That’s what I loved so much about this book. I’ve sat in those rooms and listened to those stories. I’ve laughed at those jokes. DR: Yeah, and it sounds stupid, but when I think about the new students who haven’t sat in those rooms… I think they are just as formative as the lectures. Maybe I shouldn’t say that… I’m not encouraging drunkness riotousness. It’s just the people you meet and the experiences you share with them cannot be replicated online. They’re really important.


EE: This book is clearly a story about morality, yet you really let the reader wade through those murky waters without too much guidance from yourself. I can imagine two people forming entirely different opinions and conclusions about your characters and their relationships, despite having read the same book. What inspired you to explore the liminal space of morals? DR: Well, that was definitely my aim so I’m very glad that you feel it’s sort of ambiguous. I think it was sort of an aesthetic decision on my part, which kind of shows what I like in literature and why I think books are important. Basically, I think we live in a culture where there’s a lot of black and white moral thinking and a lot of that is performed online. While I think that’s important and especially good for social progress, I also think that morality is complicated and the world is confusing. I think literature is a good space to explore the grey areas. I guess that’s because literature deals with individual people and individual people are complicated. If your characters are real, and if you’ve done your job properly as an author, your characters shouldn’t be embodiments of different political positions or a way for the author to perform their own moral goodness. I think characters should just be people. And I think people are really complicated and confusing. That just shows my take on reading and what I think a good book should be. Some people might like reading because it clarifies what they think, and that’s totally their prerogative. I just don’t like books that tell me what to think.


EE: Yes exactly. When I got to the end of this book I felt uncomfy but in a good way. I felt like I had been tested because I was forced to think, what do I actually think about this? DR: I think I was trying to use feminism and consent almost as an example of a bigger theme: are you a good person, or do you just look like one? Even for those who haven’t engaged with themes of consent and feminism, I think a lot of people our age — if they’ve existed on the internet — have probably felt that pressure to perform as a good person. I think for our generation it’s really hard to tease out that idea and explore the concept that looking like a good person actually might not be the same as being one. EE: Performative activism is another theme quite cleverly explored in Love & Virtue. Do you think the political climate of the past year inspired your writing or has this long been a topic you’ve wanted to write about? DR: So I started writing this in March 2020, obviously post#MeToo, so it’s not as if I thought of that myself. But it was before the current consent discussion around the Australian Government really fired up, and the issue of consent being taught in schools. I certainly didn’t write it with any current activists in mind. I think it was more inspired by the performative student activism that I had seen on campus, rather than anything that’s happening now in the public sphere. In the book, I think I do have a bob each way — well, I try to — insofar as I think that the activist character in the book does objectively leave the university a better place as a result of her work. Even though she might not go about it in the most morally perfect way, I think that she does good work. I wouldn’t want people to think that the book is anti-activist, because I genuinely don’t think that. I do see that kind of work as necessary for social change. I guess I just want more people to think about if someone being an activist is the same as them being a good person. I think the two often get conflated.

Photograph courtesy of Curtis Brown


EE: You have two young, female characters who are in clear and intense competition with each other throughout the novel. The ‘competing women’ trope is something that I feel gets shied away from for fear of being problematic, but you tackle it head-on. Were you ever concerned about this representation? DR: Yes, I actually just wrote a blog post about competitive female friendships for Booktopia so I’ve got a whole lot of thoughts on this, you’ve opened the floodgates. I think I was worried about it for a few reasons. The first being that I was concerned it was just a symptom of my personal, internalised misogyny. I was worried that it was how I related to some women when I was younger and that people would read it and be like, ‘Wow, she’s so toxic and weird.’ But it’s interesting because overwhelmingly women who have read it have said, ‘Oh, I had an Eve.’ None of my male readers have said this; they’ve said lots of other insightful and helpful things, but they’ve not said that. It is toxic, but I also think that it seems to be something that a lot of women can relate to. At the risk of being genderessentialist in talking about experiences of womanhood and friendship, I do think that there’s something to be said about the point of representation of minorities in any art form, but particularly literature has to be to represent them not as tropes or as types but to represent them as real people. If these are the kind of relationships that real women are experiencing then representing the truth is probably better than representing a kind of rosy version where being a woman is all about sisterhood and supporting each other.



“AS FRUSTRATING AS IT IS, YOU CAN’T JUST WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO GIVE YOU A PRIZE OR SINGLE YOU OUT... YOU JUST HAVE TO SIT DOWN WITH A LOT OF FAITH — AND MAYBE A BIT OF DELUSION — AND WRITE THE WHOLE THING.” I think Michaela does have some positive friendships with women, but the one that drives the book happens to be a toxic one. It was also a dramatic choice because friendships that are calmer and maybe more wholesome just don’t make for interesting reading. My other point would be that insofar as it provides a kind of unsavoury picture of female friendship, it needs to be said that they’re in a male-dominated academic environment. Hopefully, it’s implied that their circumstances create an environment where it feels like female space is limited; so, it seems natural for them to compete with each other. They don’t really care what marks the boys in the class get, they just want to be the best woman philosopher. It’s as much social commentary as it is a comment about those specific women and their personal competitiveness. EE: I definitely found it refreshing because at times, the concept of sisterhood is done well, and at others, it just feels so transparent.


They’re not at uni to get a boyfriend. They are at uni because they want the university medal. EE: We also publish a lot of fiction in Vertigo so I’m sure people are going to want to know how you transitioned from being a student to a published author. Can you talk about the experience of writing and publishing your first novel? DR: I didn’t have plans to publish a novel, which I can see might be unhelpful and infuriating to hear so yes, I do apologise for that. At uni, I was in a lot of revues and was involved in that scene. I wrote a lot of sketches and in my final year, I co-wrote a musical that we put on at the New Theatre in Newtown. So, I hadn’t written fiction but I’d been writing the whole time I was at uni, but none of that went anywhere. Then I wrote Love & Virtue in lockdown.

DR: While the ‘competing women’ stereotype can be really negative, there are a lot of dramas that hinge on a rivalry. I don’t know if you’ve seen Hamilton or the film Amadeus, with Mozart and Salieri, but in a way that’s sort of similar to the Michaela and Eve type dynamic — they’ve always been rivals and one of them ends up more successful than the other.

My path to publication was one of just sheer luck, I guess. I gave the manuscript to a friend to read and that friend had worked with someone who had been published before. Then that person was able to give it to someone in the publishing industry. After that, I contacted an agent to tell them my manuscript ended up in the publishing industry and asked them to read it. The agent read it, liked it, and that’s how I went from there.

There is an element to rivalries that doesn’t need to be derogatory because I think part of having a rivalry shows that you’re ambitious. I think that it’s cool seeing women being academically ambitious and taking themselves seriously.

If I were to say anything to people who are trying to get published, as frustrating as it is, you can’t just wait for someone to give you a prize or single you out and say, “You! You’re talented. You should write a book.”

You just have to sit down with a lot of faith — and maybe a bit of delusion — and write the whole thing. And, when it’s done, people will hopefully want to read it.

EE: Not to dismiss the fact that you’re about to release your first novel, which is obviously a huge achievement, but what’s next for you?

At first, I sent the first three chapters and they said, “Oh, we like it. Can you give us the rest?” So you might have to be in that position where you’ve got the whole thing.

DR: I’m working on a second novel.

I remember at the time of writing it, I was kind of embarrassed because I’d never so much as won a university competition for fiction writing. I was like, “Who do I think I am? I’ve got 80,000 words and I’ve spent months on this thing that no one has asked me to do and it might not be any good.” But the moral of the story is no one will ever ask you to do it, so you’ve just gotta do it anyway.

EE: There has been a lot of hype surrounding your debut release. You’ve been heralded as the new Sally Rooney — how does that comparison sit with you as a young female novelist? DR: It is totally bizarre for me. It’s a very strange experience. I think I feel quite disassociated from it because it is really a case of this thing that I wrote in my bedroom on an 11-inch, eight-year-old laptop because I literally had nothing else to do. And now, it has become my life. I genuinely didn’t think it would ever be published. It’s very strange. As far as the Sally Rooney comparisons go, I know that there’s a political answer to that — that you shouldn’t equate novelists by virtue of being white, female, and young. But Sally Rooney is obviously so talented — she has created a whole new style of writing which my book is certainly in the shadow of. I could sit here and winge, and be like, “Oh it’s so sexist,” but I’m just grateful for the comparison and at the end of the day, people love Sally Rooney. If a comparison can get people to read my book, then who am I to complain about it?

DR: (Laughing) I know! I was thinking about this the other day and it’s a bit alarming if I want this to be a long career — which I do — but I can’t only write when there’s a plague on. Unfortunately, to date, that has been the case. EE: (Laughing) Yeah, I’m not sure if that’s the most sustainable environment. DR: No, it’s a bit sick. I can’t be wanting this to go on. EE: Lastly, I just couldn’t help myself. Are you a good person, or do you just look like one? DR: I personally think neither... I basically think that all people are quite selfish and not what we conventionally think of as good. The act of striving is the work of a lifetime. So when I say someone’s not a good person, I don’t mean to condemn them. I see that as very normal and they can join the masses... Wow, that makes me sound so cynical... I should say that I think being a good person is about striving. But I am very suspicious of people who position themselves as morally perfect because I think that that’s very, very, very difficult to achieve.


It’s hard because obviously, I went to uni and got a law degree. I think that with a lot of those structured systems of education employment, it’s very lockstep. You sit an exam, you get a mark. There are annual application rounds for a job, so you apply, then you interview, and you either get it or you don’t. Whereas in the creative industries, no one’s gonna put out a call asking for people who fit certain boxes to apply to this thing on this date. You just kind of work in this vacuum… but you should do it anyway!

EE: Is it the vibe of lockdown that just chains you to your keyboard?

... Speaking with Diana only made me realise that, as a current student, writing for a university magazine, themes of consent and feminism feel nauseatingly close to home. So much so, it’s almost astonishing to see a new release like Love & Virtue become the campus novel we’ve needed all this time. We have sat in those lecture halls, we have heard these conversations. We know these people. Razor-sharp, provocative, and thought-provoking, everyone should be talking about this book. Talk about it with your friends. Talk about it with your colleagues. Talk about it with your parents. Talk about it with the people who you know don’t want to talk about it. Love & Virtue is out now through Ultimo Press.


Playlist by Lachie Davis How should I listen to this? Original order and 3 second crossfade


1. Ain’t Nothing Changed by Loyle Carner 2. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free by Nina Simone 3. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron 4. (Don’t Worry) If There Is a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go by Curtis Mayfield 5. Fever by Judas Priest 6. I Wanna Be Somebody by W.A.S.P.


7. Eruption by Van Halen 8. My Queen Is Harriet Tubman by Sons of Kemet 9. Fists of Fury by Kamasi Washington 10. You’ve Got to Have Freedom by Pharoah Sanders 11. Release the Beast by Breakwater 12. War by Edwin Starr OFFHAND

13. Ohio / Machine Gun by The Isley Brothers 14. Hero by Michael Kiwanuka 15. Redemption Song - Band Version by Bob Marley & The Wailers 16. Freedom Street by Donovan Frankenreiter 17. Free by Judas Priest 18. Ricordandoti by Piero Umiliani


Autonomy Embodied: Character studies


by UTS Literary Society in collaboration with UTS Drawing Circle Autonomy: the struggle for freedom versus the security of what is known, the intrinsic human desire to exercise self-agency against the backdrop of overbearing authority. LitSoc analyses the hidden subtexts and outright juxtapositions that form the expression of autonomy through our mini-studies of the characters caught between such conflicting ideals. If these pique your interest, delve deeper with us at our monthly book clubs, or chat with us about all things bookish on our Discord. Find us on Instagram @utslitsoc or UTS Literary Society on Facebook.

Paul Atreides from ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert (Chilton Books) Zara Meier: President CW: Death, war “Prophets have a way of dying by violence.”

UTS Drawing Circle provides a judgement-free space for students to have fun, build relationships, and develop their skills with others passionate about art. Social events involve everything from weekly art challenges, to workshops and collaborations with other societies, to collective, frenzied doodling. Students of all skill levels are encouraged to join us in Pictionary, animation, art style analysis, or even just discussing the manifestations of our inner turmoil and stresses through art. However you choose to express yourself artistically, you’re welcome to partake in the chaos and joy that is UTS Drawing Circle. Together, LitSoc and Drawing Circle have breathed life into characters that we hope can inspire you to find your voice, carve your path, and champion your independence.


Paul Atreides is only 15 when he is thrust into a world of politics and power, all of which are out of his control. Although he sets off with good intentions, his limited agency means he is forced to make decisions with unintended consequences. Paul serves as a warning to those who put their faith in charismatic leaders, warning that even those with the purest intent can be problematic. His prescience means he can often see far into his future, yet the inevitability of his fate leaves him grappling with the ultimate question: how do you know if the decision you are making is the right one? A prophet who is inextricably bound by his purpose showcases that even an all-knowing man is nothing more than what his followers make him. If they decide to use his legacy for wrongdoings, they are within their right to do so. Paul is no hero, he is just a symbol — whatever the people need him to be — but most of all, he is human, something that is often forgotten by many along the way.

Vasya Petrovna from The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden (Del Rey Books) Talia Moodley: Publications Director CW: Sexual violence, r*pe, animal death, war, death, torture, violence “I have been running through the dark, trying to save all who have need of me. I have done good and I have done evil, but I am neither. I am only myself.”

Vasya Petrovna illustrated by Sethana Meas

Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt and Co.) Liam Maher: Treasurer


Vasya Petrovna is a woman and a witch in 14thcentury Russia, where men want the former at home bearing children and the latter dead. She grows from a reckless and unruly child into a fierce guardian (albeit, still an unruly one) of the precarious peace between Orthodoxy and paganism. This road is not easy, and Vasya learns through trial and bitter error how to carve a place for herself in a world that would rather delegate it to her. Despite the trouble this lands her in (the kind that sets Moscow aflame and raises the dead) Vasya fights for her freedom. Sometimes the price of this is disappointing those closest to her, who would rather see her settle down into marriage, and Vasya has to make sense of her own ambition, doubt, and desire when all three are considered unnatural. But, if there’s one thing we learn, it’s that the denial of choice is what is truly unnatural.

CW: Addiction, child trafficking, violence, slavery, gambling, death “She was not a lynx or a spider or even the Wraith. She was Inej Ghafa, and her future was waiting above.” Captured, sold, and exported to a pleasure house at 14, Inej Ghafa was stripped of her family, country, and purpose; and yet Inej remained courageous in her plight to better her circumstances with a burning passion to spark a movement, putting an end to the destruction of using girls for pleasure. Inej is a vivid expression of the perseverance of individuality when robbed of autonomy; rather than seeking revenge, she pursues change. After being sold, Inej is purchased by a gang-boss and works as an indentured servant to fuel and carry out high-stake crimes, becoming a close ally to the leader, Kaz. Her intense and unwavering loyalty to her friends challenges her beliefs as a faith-guided person forced to survive through the darkness of gang violence. Ultimately, Inej battles with her abhorrent past to fuel her success as the Wraith, and demonstrates the struggle of being unnoticed, owned, and underestimated — her dynamic experiences motivate her to fight for her own autonomy.

Paul Atreides illustrated by Christy Kun


Jena Lin illustrated by Allegra Thadea

Jess Brightwell ‘Ink and Bone’ by Rachel Caine (Penguin)


Melissa Lee: Content Creator CW: Violence, war “You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it.”


Jena Lin from ‘A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing’ by Jessie Tu (Allen and Unwin) Erin Mason: Secretary CW: Sexually explicit scenes, self-harm, alcohol and drug use, fatphobia, racism, sexism, violence “I want attention and I want it all the time. The urge feels like a hunger I can’t contain, an illness without remedy.” Jena is a lonely person, emotionally detached and focused on filling that void through fulfilling her sexual desires. As a child violin prodigy, her talent becomes a source of joy and pain. We see Jena lapse through intense and excruciating periods of practicing her violin, neglecting her own needs, and isolating herself from everyone. The violin becomes Jena’s outlet for expressing her creativity and an immense burden that drains her life. Intertwined with this struggle is Jena’s experience with racism and sexual abuse, which work to dehumanise her and make her question her identity outside of these experiences. In so many of these experiences, especially with her toxic relationships and sexual activities, we see her continue to lose control but operate under a guise of calm and perfection. It is a twisted paradox to have a character who, though independent and autonomous, makes her own choices controlled by her fear and tendency to be self-destructive.


The heir to a family trade of book smuggling is tasked to infiltrate the Great Library, where he must pretend to protect ancient texts and manuscripts. Sounds like the beginning to a great heist story, right? It’s so much deeper. Unlike his father, who sees books as a mere part of the business deal, Jess has a deep interest, care, and respect for the books he is tasked to smuggle. This philosophical contradiction is one of the reasons why it’s so easy for him to find a more desirable life purpose with people of similar mindsets. Jess’ character is extremely entertaining and crafty, someone who considers personal, social, and political aspects before making decisions. Of course, this means his father’s authority gives him reason to lapse back into the familiarity of his family trade. He can use his position in the Library to benefit his family...and sometimes use his family to benefit the Library. For him, autonomy doesn’t mean a complete rejection of the past which used to be your whole world — it’s about embracing what the past has given you to face the present.

Fang Runin from Poppy War’ by R.F. Kuang (HarperCollins)


Chantelle Cortez Maglalang: Communications Manager CW: Violence, genocide, r*pe, death, drug use, torture, gore, blood, drug addiction, sexual violence, racism, xenophobia, self-harm “I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible.”

Shahrzad al-Khayzuran from ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ by Renée Adleih (Putnam) Regina Azwar: Graphic Designer CW: Animal death/cruelty, death, suicide “If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The Wrath and the Dawn is an angsty, romantic tale inspired by One Thousand and One Nights. The story follows 16-year-old Shahrzad, seeking revenge for the death of her best friend after she was a bride to the Caliph, Khalid. Khalid, the mysterious and ruthless boy king, takes new brides every night to be executed the following dawn, but something else lies beneath his heart. Shahrzad is passionate, strong minded, and silver-tongued with a fiery temper. Her reckless demeanor and fierce loyalty, combined with her smarts, charm, and beauty, allows her to entrance Khalid to uncover the truth. She will stop at nothing to avenge the death of her friend. However, she comes to learn that Khalid is not what he seems and may not be the villainous murderer that he is tainted to be. The Wrath and the Dawn is a dazzling tale that dances between love, betrayal, and mystery, narrated against the backdrop of a beautiful and vivid world for Renée Adleih’s complicated and beautiful characters.


There is utter devastation that resounds with Rin’s character. Her story gripes with more than just gaining power but the right to be consumed by burning rage. Rin fights tooth and nail, baring soul and searing self. She is a true example of the continuous battle in taking ownership of the blood and dirt of one’s origins. Her story lays the groundwork for questioning control and agency within war, internally and externally. It is not about the simple binaries of good and evil but the painful tendrils that lay in between — the harsh and bitter paradoxes, and the tumultuous events that played out long before her birth. She can be callous but at the same time you cannot help but feel this constant ache for her, despite insanity and extremity.


illustrated by Serena Hor


Sonmi-451 from Atlas’ by David Mitchell (Sceptre)


Katie Hopkins: Publications Co-ordinator CW: Death, violence, suicide, racism “We are only what we know, and I wished to be so much more than I was, sorely.”


illustrated by Liana Duong



Sonmi-451 is what they call a ‘fabricant’, an android created for the purpose of manual labour, one of thousands. However, she is able to break free of the programming that was preventing her from learning autonomously and developing a unique personality. She discovers that every fabricant has a conscience and learning capabilities, suppressed by their food which she calls ‘soap’, perhaps for its ability to cleanse any learning from their brains. The story is fundamentally about Sonmi-451 discovering her autonomy and learning to use it to assert her beliefs against a government preaching conformity. She escapes and finds herself in the middle of a plan for a fabricant rebellion, with herself as the figurehead, fighting for the autonomy of all fabricants. She therefore becomes a symbol for autonomy itself, which is ironic considering how the government set in motion the events which provided her with that individual power. Her autonomy, in short, was only ever an illusion.

Septimus/Boy 412 from ‘Septimus Heap: Magyk’ by Angie Sage (HarperCollins/Bloomsbury) Rashane Joseph: Vice President CW: Violence, death “It’s been waiting a long time to find someone like him... Things have a habit of working out, you know. Eventually.” Boy 412 starts off with very little to his identity; he is little more than a number. Coupled with his reserved personality and you get someone barely noticeable. However, adventure calls to all, and only requires a willingness to step out of what is known. That is exactly what Boy 412 does. Though at first unsure, we watch as he interacts with new people and for the first time we start to see little hints of the boy behind the number. This culminates in a final choice — does he return to what he has known his whole life or does he continue onwards into the dark, with only hope by his side? Magyk emphasises how it is these choices, these acts of free-will, that define us, and it is only when Boy 412 steps out into a new world that he discovers who he is and what he can be. His name is Septimus Heap and he can be more than he ever dreamed.

by Jeremy Fung


Another Game

Another Game Another Game Another Game



Alone Together


by Oli Poignand



98 PG#




in the depths by Elijah Hollero CW: Racism


In February 2021, I, along with another member of the UTS Ethnocultural Collective, wrote an article in response to the former Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs’ anti-racism statement. We focused on the impacts of systemic racism versus interpersonal racism and sought to provide achievable goals for our university in the continual fight for racial justice. We tackled the critical thinking required to be “proactively anti-racist” while questioning the UTS community every step of the way.


However, as the months have rolled on, and we have yet to feel any tangible change, I want to shift focus and ask the question: how does racism impact our autonomy? What has been the emotional cost of being in an education system built on colonialism and white supremacy? When your identity is not one of a cis white man, how do you keep yourself from drowning?




CW: queerphobia, discrimination, racism

As Queer people continue to fight for equality within society, Queer People of Colour are also fighting a second battle as they question their autonomy within the LGBTQIA+ community. Due to colonial roots, whiteness is often percieved by young People of Colour as the unspoken norm of Queer spaces. Jai and Vanessa discuss some pressing topics on toxic aspects of their community. Before reading further, Jai and Vanessa want to acknowledge that they are in no way encompassing the experience of every Queer person of colour, but are rather sharing a part of their own experience.


On how colonial structures of Queer culture have limited autonomy...

JAI: Being religious is something that is sometimes so foreign and has negative connotations in the Queer community. It’s pretty clear why, but that being said, one’s religious views are a person’s own business and choice. It should never be judged, but rather talked about to remove doubt and ambiguity. If God didn’t want gays, why did he make us? The discussion is important, not just for understanding other people, but for the progression of thoughts and opinions. The world is constantly changing and we should also keep moving forward. We should not have to question ourselves and our entire belief system just because another person doesn’t understand them.

JAI: As a Queer man of colour, there have been instances where I’ve felt discriminated against because I was... well, not white. It sometimes feels like it’s not my space to claim despite my sexual orientation. Predominant notions correlating Queerness to whiteness are still perpetuated to this day. This component of Queer culture needs to change if it is to include Queer People of Colour. Understandably, back in the 1950s, the Queer community was more hidden as a result of rampant Queerphobia in society. Additionally, overt racism was much more prominent. We as a whole community need to become more accepting of one another, regardless of body type, skin colour, ethnicity, or anything else. The strength of this kind of acceptance will lead to unity within the community. I reclaim my autonomy now by asserting my identity in this space that is rightfully also mine.

The element of the Queer community I would want changed is the predominantly colonial white ‘norms’ that have been perpetuated into the 21st century. Each decade in history has been an important milestone, from the Stonewall Riots to the first countries legalising gay marriage. However, equal representation is still lacking in the Queer community, despite the global push for diversity. VANESSA: I’ve had instances of microaggressions from Queer white people. When I’ve spoken about cultural traditions that were perceived as ‘cis-heteronormative’, or very ‘traditional’, they have often invalidated my thoughts in favour of a more ‘progressive Western approach’. Feeling like we need to separate our cultural background from our Queerness invalidates our identity as Queer People of Colour. I’ve also witnessed instances where Queer white people have stated overtly pro-police and pro-colonial statements. Understanding each other before gatekeeping certain ideas about Queerness is really important. With a large Queer community comes an array of different identities and experiences. While many people in the Queer community are accepting of each other, there is a minority of people who still have fixed ideas of what a Queer identity can entail. My ideal Queer community would be willing to accept how Queerness intersects in other areas of a person’s identities such as ethnicity.


On toxic experiences in the Queer community...

VANESSA: In the past, I’ve had a complex relationship with gender as a femme-presenting person entering some Queer communities. When I was closeted, I would try to find solace in the online Queer community and discovered many people gatekeeping what certain gender labels meant, leaving me in denial of my own identity. I’m still exploring gender expression within myself today, through immersing myself in inclusive Queer spaces and communities. This has made me realise that labels don’t have to be fixed. For example, you do not need to look androgynous-presenting to be non-binary. It’s the colonial cis-heteronormative structures that have created such an emphasis on having specific and rigid identities in Queer spaces. Gender is a spectrum and sometimes people’s genders cannot be fully defined. I am proud to be someone who sees themself as gender-diverse but doesn’t fit within a specific label at the moment.


On dating and self-discovery...


JAI: There are a variety of people I have come across while dating. I think the most important thing is to recognize that everyone will possess their own proclivities and affinities. For example, an individual may believe in marriage and their dating goal is to find a suitable partner to settle down with. However, for others dating is just a path to sexual gratification (i.e. casual dating). I was mocked by this one guy for wanting to get married and have a family. The point is not to agree but to respect another person’s decision. I realised that I am not for everyone; my autonomy is more significant than another person’s opinion. I decide who deserves my attention and a place in my life. VANESSA: As a person of colour, it can be hard to date other Queer people. I’ve even had Queer People of Colour tell me they would rather date white people as it was ‘easier’. A lot of Queer People of Colour are more likely to be closeted in comparison to their white peers as they fear ostracisation from their ethnic communities. My friends have told me about Grindr profiles that explicitly state ‘No Asians’, or use an overtly racist slur. I don’t think dating a Queer Person of Colour is something to avoid. Like any other relationship, it requires open communication and willingness to learn about your partner’s cultural background.

PG# 104

Unique experiences as Queer people, whether negative or positive, shape who we are today. As Queer People of Colour, those experiences should unite us as a community so that we can tackle greater issues. Strength comes in numbers but only if those numbers aren’t fragmented. By taking the lead in decolonising Queer spaces, creating and occupying space in Queer communities, we can claim our autonomy collectively.

by Erin Ewin


Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of the Vertigo editorial team. ‘Autonomy’ is the election issue of Vertigo for 2021, meaning more of our content is reserved for student politics in the lead up to the election. We are here to inform students of the current discourse surrounding the UTSSA so they can better understand the current climate of stupol at UTS and make informed decisions when voting. Even as part of the UTSSA ourselves, Vertigo knows the world of student politics can often be a mystifying one. For those who aren’t up to date, have never voted (or cared) about the UTSSA election, please consider this your go-to explainer for all things stupol at UTS. So... what’s the SA? The Student Association, or the UTSSA, is an autonomous group of students who advocate for, support and represent UTS students. Essentially, they work together to provide services they deem valuable to students, like free meals from Bluebird Brekkie Bar, or student legal services. They are an elected group that acts as the voice for students within UTS and an advocacy body, which is especially important when engaging with UTS management.


Collectives and the SRC: Within the SA, groups of students interested in the same issues join together to create collectives. There are heaps of collectives, including the Queer Collective, Enviro Collective, and Women’s Collective, just to name a few. Collectives are one of the key areas students can get involved with activism and political advocacy. The SRC, or Student Representative Council, acts as the authoritative body within the UTSSA. The current Executive Team running the show are Aidan O’Rourke (President), Erin Dalton (General Secretary), Camille Smith (Assistant General Secretary), Sabrine Yassine (Welfare Officer), and Ellie Woodward (Education Officer). Upcoming Election Details:

While for some, this may mean no more awkward conversations on the Alumni Green with people you don’t know approaching you, asking for your vote. But for others, it means voting in this student election might actually be more accessible. Why should you care? Lots of us come to uni just to hold that sweet, sweet diploma. And honestly, that’s totally fine. Right now with everything going on, it seems there’s one echo chamber that really cares about student politics within UTS, and then the rest of us who just want to get on with our degrees. But it’s clear others came with the goal to make the university a better place when they leave it.


Each year, there’s an election to determine who holds these positions of authority within the UTSSA. This year, it’s being held entirely online, from the 26th – 28th of October.

As we all know, 2021 has been a tough year for students. It’s important to be seeking strong student representatives who advocate for us and uphold the values we support. Student life (or the lack of it) has gone through some serious changes since the pandemic began two years ago. We should be looking to vote for a student council that isn’t focused on getting uni back to the way it was, but focuses on future-proofing the student experience and making it better than ever. Education Officer, Ellie Woodward, said: “The UTSSA is a very important organisation, as are all student unions — student unions can be incredible forces for change, student democracy and, radical politics. It’s really important that students engage with the UTSSA and its collectives.” At the end of the day, you’re paying for these services. Your Student Services and Amenities Fee directly funds them. If you would like to have a say about how your money is spent, vote. Those who get elected will go on to make decisions on behalf of us, the students.

What’s the deal right now? As always, making decisions on behalf of others is fraught with problems and student politics is no exception to this. This year’s SRC has faced its fair share of criticism. As the student publication of UTS, it would be remiss of Vertigo not to highlight such issues when they are brought to our attention. We usually let the reports at the end of the magazine speak to these issues, but as this is the election issue, it only seems appropriate.


Accusations of censorship and undemocratic action against student activists have been made towards the UTSSA.


Education Officer, Ellie Woodward provided comments to Vertigo regarding these criticisms: “This year the Labour-run UTSSA has censored collectives, stripped many of us of our budgets, and banned many of us from using or entering the UTSSA spaces.” “This is extremely undemocratic, and converse to how a student union should operate. The student union should not discipline student activists on the orders of, or to protect the interests of, university management — that is not the role of any union. We need a fighting UTSSA that doesn’t freak out when activists put up posters. Though it is important to remember that a union is its membership, not its leadership,” said Ellie Woodward. When approached for comment on these issues, UTSSA President Aidan O’Rourke said: “It should be noted that an argument will be mounted to claim that this is about posters and Blu Tac. This is an astonishing distraction from the real issues. The measures set out by the UTSSA have always been about ensuring that our rules are followed. When our rules are broken, we become illegitimate, unaccountable, and not transparent — words that should never be heard in an over-a-million-dollar organisation. Rule-breaking also significantly affects our ability to secure funds from the University. As President, I have not taken any direction from university management nor have management given me a direction, with only one exception – that both university rules and our own rules are to be followed.”


In regards to the allegations of censorship, President O’Rourke said: “The response from the UTSSA to the rule-breaking was simple. Funding and UTSSA resources to rule-breaking Collectives would cease until they agreed to follow our rules. The Collectives argue that this amounted to censorship. This argument ignores two facts. Firstly, Collectives could elect to follow the rules and mount a full-throated campaign on any issue of their choice. No university or UTSSA rule prevents Collectives from engaging in any campaign or from campaigning in university spaces. Secondly, the decision to withdraw support from the UTSSA meant that the SRC could not provide funds in accordance with any rule, or By-Law. In effect, our hands were tied. From any other perspective, the withdrawal of support amounted to self-censorship.” “This effort by the Collectives was a concerted political attack on the President and the SRC to create the illusion of censorship and aid their inevitable election campaign. The fact is if these critics were elected and allowed the degree of rulebreaking they were advocating for, they would be committing fraud,” he said. Vertigo was approached by Education Action Group (EAG) activist, Lucia Thornton, who said: “The Labor factions of the UTSSA have an appalling record of shutting down activism on campus. All year they’ve been preventing activists from putting up posters for rallies, barring students from entering activist spaces, and even calling security on myself and two other students for daring to ask questions in what should have been a democratic student union meeting.”

While there is a dispute over the behaviour exhibited at this meeting which prompted security to be called, the EAG activist was concerned over the recent decision to form a grievance committee, whose purpose would be to “hear and manage disputes within the UTSSA”, as stated by the President.

“Given the dire state of the world, student unions need to be organising around pressing political issues rather than spending their time repressing activists,” said Lucia Thornton. In response to this criticism, President O’Rourke said: “The matter of the Grievance Committee is straightforward. The UTSSA Constitution (reformed in 2019) requires the SRC to establish a standing Grievance Committee — that is always in operation — to hear and manage disputes within the UTSSA. Last year’s President failed to set up and build the required procedures of the Grievance Committee, leaving it to this year’s team to build them instead.”

Please note, these statements were not written on behalf of the UTSSA and are personal statements from the President. So... what now? As a student union, the SA should fundamentally reflect the needs of students. It’s clear that the balance of the UTSSA as a student service provider and advocacy body has been questioned this year. As the SA operates on student money and this money is allocated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, we are in need of a student union that engages with activism and takes strong political action while continuing to support and provide for us.


Lucia Thornton continued, “The UTSSA has set up a grievance committee to discipline those whose behaviour they declare to be unacceptable. Considering what has been deemed “unacceptable” in the past amounts to putting up posters for rallies or asking questions in meetings, it’s clear [the Grievance Committee] will be used as a political tool to bar activists from running in opposition to Labor in the upcoming elections.”

“That project was initiated and supported by every Councillor and Collective at the time. As Collective frustrations with SRC emerged, support for the Grievance Committee waned because they recognised that the Committee would penalise their breaking of our rules. Effectively, opposition to the Grievance Committee is driven by a want to break rules without punishment,” said President O’Rourke.

In this election, we can only hope that a skilled, strong and unifying UTSSA will deliver this. The UTSSA President’s statement can be found in full on our website.



The Ghost Wars – a note on Imperialism in Afghanistan by amara

Solidarity is a powerful concept. It chips away at notions of borders and barriers which create a reluctance to stand for justice. As we have witnessed after the murder of George Floyd in the United States, there seems to be a paradigm shift in the way users of social media consume information about foreign politics. The mainstream media, once seemingly legitimate and unquestionable, is now subject to justified criticism as audiences examine the ulterior motives behind each media outlet and how they frame these issues and topics. The crisis unfolding in Afghanistan right now has undoubtedly shaken the roots of Western interventionism, once again bringing it to the forefront of current affairs. To understand the situation in Afghanistan is to acknowledge the dangerous propaganda created by US and Western media platforms to justify the historical and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. For us to stand with the people of Afghanistan, we must learn the narratives that have been widely dismissed.



CW: war, violence, racism, murder




The invasion of Afghanistan, referred to by British officers as ‘The Great Game’, has been one of the largest and longest military operations by imperial forces. The Great Game between England and Russia can be traced back to 1830, lasting throughout the 19th century. The Durand Line, viewed by many Afghans as an arbitrary and involuntary agreement, has continued to complicate the relationship between Afghanistan and bordering nations like Pakistan. Previously, the British sent diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand to negotiate a partition between Afghanistan and British-India, without the consent of the Afghan population. This period of tensions resulted in three major Anglo-Afghan wars, which saw King Abd al-Rahman Khan accept the Durand Line and forfeit large amounts of land to the British Raj. During the Cold War, both the US and the Soviet Union attempted to gain a foothold in Afghanistan, through the instalment of infrastructure and military intervention. Between the Soviet intervention and US support of the Afghan anti-communist fighters, imperial powers have long been waging covert wars, leading to devastating effects on the region.

The first Anglo-Afghan War erupted after British forces became concerned with Russian advances in Central Asia, using Afghanistan as the ‘buffer state’.



Soviet influence continued to rise with the installation of Babrak Karmal as the leader of communism in Afghanistan. •

In the same year, Pakistan’s army and intelligence services, principally the InterServices Intelligence Directorate (ISI), contributed to strengthening the Taliban by training and arming resistance fighters to destabilise Afghanistan.

President Zia Ul-Haqq engaged in a conservative ‘Islamisation’ of Pakistan. This led to the strengthening of relations between other conservative Arab states like Saudi Arabia, who began to train and indoctrinate young Afghans and Pakistanis to form the resistance as part of Zia’s Operation Strategic Depth.

Throughout the 1920s, Afghanistan became the first recipient of Soviet military and economic aid, installing telephone lines, air routes, and infrastructure.


The Partition of India and Pakistan led to large parts of Afghan territory being absorbed into the newly created state of Pakistan. This resulted in the Pakistan government gaining more control over the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.



The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed after the Saur Revolution.


Armed resistance to the Soviets were installed in every province. The Soviets were faced with two options: either allow the growth of an anti-Soviet fundamentalist regime, backed by conservative Arab nations, or invade the region.



Soviet troops entered Afghanistan catalysing the creation of the ‘Carter Doctrine’ which stipulated that an attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf region was to be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the US and that such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary.

President Carter then approved Operation Cyclone, the CIA’s covert operation to arm and finance the Mujahideen. Carter further offered Pakistan $400 million in aid, who then funnelled this money into the hands of the resistance. The CIA along with Pakistan began advocating Islamic fundamentalism to counteract the rise of socialism.


Throughout the 1980s, the Soviets groomed and installed two different leaders, Babrak Karmal followed by Mohammad Najibullah, leading to an influx of Mujahideen mounting its opposition to Soviet forces. The war of this period left more than one million Afghan civilians and 15,000 Soviet soldiers dead. Six million Afghan civilians became refugees, with approximately three million fleeing to Pakistan.


The Geneva Peace Accord was signed by Afghanistan, the Soviet Union, the US, and Pakistan, signalling the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

1994 The Taliban emerged with close ties to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; their aim was to dismantle Najibullah Amin’s pro-communist government and take control of the state’s capital.

1996 2001

Post 9/11, a US-led coalition invade Afghanistan under the guise of ‘restoring democracy’, signalling the start of a 20-year exploitation and series of brualities.


In recent news, the US has decided to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan, closing a 20-year chapter of brutal exploitation, unjustified interventions, and destabilisation. However, American intervention in this region actually began some decades earlier. In 1987 alone, the US contributed approximately $680 million in military aid to the Mujahideen — the warriors of Afghan resistance who had been established as part of a campaign to maintain anti-communist sentiments in Afghanistan. To understand the reality of the Taliban takeover in the contemporary climate, and what it means for the peoples of Afghanistan, we must be aware of the multiple external powers that have created the Afghanistan that we know of today.


The US capitalised on the anti-communist sentiments shared by the Mujahideen and successfully drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan. From 1994 onwards, the Taliban have implemented an ultraconservative ideology, wreaking havoc upon those who opposed their beliefs. This would not have been possible without the direct influence of the US, whose primary aim was to establish the United States as the lead player in a global game of guerrilla politics. From Mujahideen to US and Pakistan-backed Taliban – how did we get here? The Mujahideen originally emerged as a reaction to the ‘godless communist agenda’ of the PDPA. They are not a single group of people, but instead are divided into four main factions: a regressive, traditionalist group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; a more moderate faction led by Ahmed Shah Massoud; leftist groups that felt disillusioned by the government; and the fourth group of ordinary people who armed themselves with weapons but no ideology. In any case supporting the Mujahideen, for Pakistan and the US, was the cornerstone of imperial victory. From the Mujahideen, onto the emergence of the Taliban, what is evident is that the Taliban is not a new phenomenon, but a calculated strategy that imperial powers have used as a crutch to defend its presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban have been responsible for some of the most horrendous acts of violence against religious minorities including Hazara people (most notably the 1998 Mazare-Sharif genocide in which thousands of Hazara people were brutally massacred). This would not be possible without Pakistan and the US perpetually providing military aid to the Taliban — an indication of political ambitions and the greed of leaders — and the economic gains received from its supply and trade of opium. The 2001 US occupation of Afghanistan has crumbled the social and economic fabric of the country. A US-led coalition launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, which officially aimed to target the Taliban with military strikes


but covertly led to the murder of millions of Afghan civilians — with some evidence of strikes explicitly aimed at civilian villages. Australia must also be held to account for these unjust wars. The groundbreaking findings of Major General Paul Brereton’s investigation reveal that Australia’s special forces deployed in Afghanistan have been guilty of heinous war crimes that have shaken the legacy of the defence force. Australian troops were documented to have murdered several unarmed civilians in what is referred to as the ‘single deadliest atrocity of the entire Afghanistan war’. In true imperial nature, the US first aided and abetted a brutal regime to align with its anti-communist agenda. Once its interests had been achieved, the US began to frame its involvement in Afghanistan as a necessary step to ‘restore democracy’ in the region — leaving the people ill-equipped to deal with the oppressive policies of the Taliban. Meanwhile, in the perspective of multinational defence contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, the war on Afghanistan brought about copious wealth and economic benefits. Call to action — what can non-Afghans do to help? Afghanistan has long been dissected, analysed, and debated upon by those in the West who are evidently detached from the experiences of imperialism, colonisation, and exploitation. Somewhere in the battle between the right and the left, the voices of Afghan people have been forgotten. What the people of Afghanistan need the most at this moment is a shift in perspective. A realisation that this land and her people have been perpetually silenced. The ousting of US-backed President Ashraf Ghani and the official takeover by the Taliban signals growing concerns for the safety of Afghan citizens. Centuries of war, exploitation, and destabilisation have left the people of Afghanistan in a limbo — unable to return home, yet unable to seek refuge in countries like Australia, who hold equal responsibility for damaging the region in the name of our own national interests. In order to be a true ally, stand by the truth, and support the movement to reclaim the narrative, it is imperative that we listen to the voices coming from Afghanistan. Although the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan seemed like an unattainable dream, we must not forget the threat of the Taliban and whose interests they have historically served. We must be wholly invested in seeking the establishment of peace for the people of Afghanistan, by the people of Afghanistan. In the age of misinformation, it is crucial that we do our part by learning the bitter realities of foreign intervention, its impact on countries like Afghanistan, and how we as non-Afghans can do better in our allyship. Below are some resources if you would like to learn more about foreign involvement in Afghanistan and its impact on Afghan civilians.

Resources for further reading

Books: • • • • •

Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad by Eqbal Ahmad Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan by Tamim Ansary Terrorism: Theirs and Ours by Eqbal Ahmad No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan eyes by Anand Gopal Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Imperialism of Our Time by Aijaz Ahmad

Podcast Episodes: • • • • •

‘Another empire falls in Afghanistan w/ Shah Mahmoud Hanifi’, The East is a Podcast ‘Faith Must Be A Part of Anti-Imperialist and Anti-Capitalist Movements’, By Any Means Necessary ‘US reaps the chaos it has sown in Afghanistan’, Any Means Necessary ‘After the Afghan evacuation’, Today, Explained ‘Taliban 2.0’, Today, Explained

Instagram accounts: @khalqcollective @bamiyan @burqasandbeer @estaarback @afghansempowered @blingistan


• • • • • •

REFERENCES 1. Ahmad, E., Bengelsdorf, C., Cerullo, M., Chandrani, Y., Chomsky, N. 1999, Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad, Columbia University Press.

A Look At Afghanistan’s 40 Years Of Crisis — From The Soviet War To Taliban Recapture

Afghanistan: Remembering the Long, Long War We Would Rather Forget

Afghanistan: The Massace in Mazar-i Sharif

The Durand Line: A British Legacy Plaguing AfghanPakistani Relations

$10,000 Invested in Defence Stocks when Afghanistan War Began Now Worth Almost $100,000

The history of US intervention in Afghanistan, from the Cold War to 9/11



1. Aries

When’s the last time you worked in a team? Aries, there is so much to be gained from collaborating with others rather than going solo. This is a good time for you to lean into your skills of negotiation and tactful diplomacy. You will benefit from getting like-minded people together and have plenty of time to clear the air and resolve any lingering issues. 2. Libra

Why are you trying to be someone you’re not? Time to express yourself authentically, reach some genuine goals and make new friends! Right now, your trueself holds so much power, you shouldn’t want to be anyone but YOU. Due to this surge of power and self-awareness, you’re going to feel the need to be brutally honest. But make sure to carefully judge when you should and when it would be better to let diplomacy come to the fore.








3. Taurus

Time to get out of bed! Lately you’ve been feeling stuck or like you’re stalling. This is the perfect time for you to introduce a system of balance because you have Mars right behind you! A surge of pro-activity is upon you so it’s time for you to kick-start some new initiatives and lean into your desire for bigger and better experiences in love or other key areas of your life. 4. Scorpio

What is still unresolved in your life? Eliminate emotional baggage and find closure on lingering issues. Your spirituality is flowering right now, so if you’ve ever wanted to meditate or learn another spiritual practice, go for it. Yoga, journaling and practicing mindfulness are on the cards for you. Seek out opportunities that enable you to make use of your intuition. 5. Gemini

Have you been checking your bad habits? If you’re eager to learn a new hobby or get in touch with one you used to enjoy, now is the time. If you have any projects that you want promoted to a wider audience, now is your chance. Your efforts will quickly build momentum. Also, there is a full moon on October 20 which could coincide with a boisterous and uplifting event... time to celebrate! 6, Cancer

Have you apologised yet? Feeling powerful requires one to reflect on their space and declutter. Clean your space, make amends, and create harmony within your social bubble. Kick back and enjoy what you love doing, but don’t forget that community-care is also a form of self-care.




7. Virgo

Images sourced from Creative Commons

What talents are you hiding? This month, focus on financial autonomy! If you want to open a savings account or create a budget, now’s your time. Secondly, you better pull those hidden talents out of the closet! Use what you’ve got to achieve all forms of prosperity. 8. Capricorn



Are you ready to move to the next level? This is a great time for you to achieve what you desire! If you want to kick-start a goal or launch a project, do it now. Just make sure while you’re in your hustle that you don’t forget to listen to your body and tune into your soul. Enjoy self-care and show empathy to those around you. You have control, use it wisely. 9. Leo


Is life at home a little intense at the moment? Leo, you should embrace your communication skills, which are on fire right now. Have those talks, close those deals, charm those people! Some aspects of your life may be a little intense right now — you may find yourself making some radical changes to your lifestyle, but you’ll find yourself thinking long and hard about it first. Trust the process. 10. Aquarius



When’s the last time you did something spontaneous? You might find yourself eager to explore new terrain. This can produce exciting results and you’ll see the benefits very quickly. You may have been feeling frustrated or delayed recently. This will all start to ease as you move into various new activities that you feel attracted to. ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’ should be your mantra of the month. 11. Sagitarrius

Do you miss your friends? Great news! Your social life should be getting groovy, given that restrictions have eased. For your community or charity, focus your energy on teamwork, aligning with kindred spirits, and pulling together with others. Healing is in the air; dig deeper, uncover those wounds that may have been a source of discomfort. 12. Pisces

Why so rigid Pisces? Resolve some issues that have been hanging over you! You may realise how much subconscious stress is being produced because of these worries. This is a time of transformation. You might not get everything done at once, but having a plan could see your efforts snowball. If you’ve felt off, this could possibly relieve you. Do not impulse shop, though.


12 115




The first three words you see describe your year so far.

We surveyed all the wonderful contributors from this year, to bring you...


what a year we've had!

Top Faculties

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1. FASS 2. DAB 3. LAW

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Pronouns 65% She / Her 30% He / Him 3.2% She / They 1.8% He / They

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1. Remedy by Katherine Zhang 2. Glitch by Tara Frawley 3. Sublime by Emma Turney

Top Podcast Ep. 1. Pandemonium


1. Sublime 2. Pandemonium 3. Glitch

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Favourite Pieces

1. 'Atomic Bi' by Evlin DuBose 2. 'Peninsula' by Richard Chuanxu Wang

Favourite Interviews

1. 'In conversation with @elliotisacoolguy' by Rachel Percival 2. 'Making Actionable Change in 2021 with Claudia Bailey' by Erin Ewen 3. 'The culture shaker carving a space for People of Colour: Meet Jayyyslays' by Sevin Pakbaz












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2021 119

Contributor ors s Lucy


Lucy is a second-year Journalism and Public Communications student. In school, Lucy’s report cards always said she was guilty of talking far too much. You can find her on Instagram @lucy.ballenden.


Amelia Bussing Amelia is a third-year Creative Writing student. She loves gaming and has spent over 400 hours in Animal Crossing New Horizons. You can find her on Instagram @ameliarosesb Lachie Davis Lachie is a third-year Business student. When he’s not knee-deep in early ’80s funk and disco, there’s a good chance he’ll be scouring the internet to feed his retro football kit addiction. You can find him on Instagram @brekkiechampion Erin Ewen Erin is in her final year as a Journalism and Creative Writing student. She thinks zucchini is criminally underrated. You can find her on Instagram @erin_ewen Jeremy Fung Jeremy is a third-year Business and Law student. When he’s not studying, writing or gaming, he’s probably sleeping. You can find him on Instagram @jeremy.c.fung Josh Green Josh is a fifth-year Journalism and French student. He can’t think of a better time to be leaving university. You can find him on Twitter @joshzgreen Melodie Grafton Melodie (she/they) is a third-year Social and Political Sciences student. They are an activist and amateur Pokémon Go player.


Elijah Hollero Elijah is a fourth-year Social Political Studies and Language and Cultures student. He is a genderfluid activist with about a million different hobbies, and is currently working on an EP. You can find them on Instagram @elyjahhs. Jai Jai (he/him) is a fourth-year Science student. Carly-Faye Jarrett Carly-Faye is a Law student, and multi-disciplinary artist living through three personas with two wigs. You can find her on Instagram @fairyfaye666 @ slaveacidbitch @postpoemscollective Angela Jin Angela is in her final year of Communication and International studies. She’s studied three languages at university and can’t speak any of them. You can find her on Instagram @angelajin Amara Khan Amara is a UTS graduate. She’s a part-time community organiser for the NSW Greens and a full-time book, tea, and political science enthusiast. You can find her on Instagram @amarakkhan Brian Lee Brian Lee is an honours student completing his Bachelor of Design (Honours) in Fashion and Textiles. He continues to explore the fond memories of following his mother to her exhibitions as a child even through his honours project and wishes to continue to capture and immortalise the essence of these long-forgotten memories through his work. You can find him on Instagram @brixnlee.

Vanessa Lim Vanessa Lim (she/he) is a fourth-year Digital Social Media, Journalism, and Creative Intelligence & Innovation Honours student. She’s the current UTS Enviro Collective Creative Director, and in her spare time, she does calligraphy and works at a community radio station. You can find her on Instagram at @_v.lim_

Oli Poignand Oliver Poignand is a third-year Bachelor of Design In Photography student. He works mostly within the medium of photography to explore contemporary Australian culture, the subtleties of togetherness and separation which define our past, as well as our present. You can find them on Instagram @ olipoignand.

Joseph Lucas Joseph is a third-year Media Arts & Production and Creative Writing student. He still enjoys watching Vine compilations on YouTube for some reason. You can find them on Instagram @josephlucasworld

Kate Rafferty Kate is a fourth-year Journalism and Diploma of Languages (Spanish) student. She believes all woes can be cured with a good cry and a chocolate croissant. You can find her on Instagram @kate. rafferty

Grace Oldfield Grace is a second-year Public Communication, Creative Writing, and Creative Intelligence & Innovation student. You can find her on Instagram @gracefully.yt

Dana Rutner Dana is a penultimate Law and Journalism student. They’ve never lost a game of Just Dance. UTS Drawing Circle Drawing Circle is the place to be for funky doodles and downtime. Let your mind run wild and draw to your heart’s content. Draw closer on Instagram @utsdrawingcircle or UTS Drawing Circle on Facebook.

Pragya Paneru Pragya is a Masters by Research student. She likes creative writing, travelling, photography, walking, music, meeting new people, reading, and researching. You can find her on Facebook (‘Moon Miracle’), Twitter @MiraclePragya, Instagram @Mooningoodmood

UTS Literary Society UTS LitSoc explores all things literature. From classic to contemporary, they have you covered. For more information, you can read between the lines with them on Instagram @utslitsoc or UTS Literary Society on Facebook.

Oriana Peralta Marino Oriana is a third-year Design Student student majoring in Photography. She can recite the entire Hamilton musical from memory, loves Taylor Swift and hates turning on any artificial lights during the day. You can find her on Instagram @orianaqeralta

Sophie Whitehead Sophie Whitehead is a second-year Design in Visual Communications and BCII student. She loves an acai bowl and sipping an almond mocha when scribbling in one of her many crazy sketch books. You can find her on Instagram @studio.s.w

Brendan Plummer Brendan is a second-year Fashion and Textiles student who specialises in sculptural and conceptual clothing. He takes a large influence in fine arts from artists such as Ronald Bladen, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois and he attempts to implement these sculpture influences into his designs. You can find his work on Instagram @brendanp.lummer!


Sevin Pakbaz Sevin is a final-year Law and Journalism student. If she’s not reading up on astrology or scrolling through the rat side of Instagram, she’s probably watching a horror film. You can find her on Instagram @seviiiinnnn

Anousha Xegas Anousha is a third-year Viscom and BCII student, who enjoys blueberry bagels and jazz. You can find her on Instagram @anoushanx Anna Xu Anna is a third-year Visual Communication and International Studies student. You can find her on Instagram @byannaxu


K.O. ! Autonomy VS.





Association by Vanessa Lim, Eshna Gupta, Cal McKinley, Anna Thieben, Nour El-Houda El-zmeter, and anon

For the past few years, the factions of the UTS Students Association (UTSSA) that are influenced by national political groups have been stripping UTS Collectives of their autonomy. This year, our breach of autonomy has reached a breaking point for many. The UTS collective system is made of autonomous and non-autonomous collectives. Autonomous collectives are for students who are part of the named identity, for example, only First Nations people can join the UTS Indigenous Collective. A non-autonomous collective is open for all UTS students to join.


Autonomous Collectives: Indigenous Collective, Queer Collective, Womens Collective, International Students Collective, Postgraduate Collective, and Ethnocultural Collective. Non-Autonomous Collectives: Enviro Collective, Education Action Group, and Welfare Collective. Collective systems form an integral role in providing safe spaces for students in autonomous groups. All people in collectives can access and participate in activism, connect with other students, and organise social events. Recent changes and additions to rules, created by the current politically-affiliated factions in the UTSSA, have constrained important collective work. This has resulted in collectives not receiving a funding agreement, activism being restrained, as well as the safety and anonymity of students being threatened.



13.1 The following practices by members or employees of the Association, or their associates, are prohibited in relation to the Election: 13.1.5 Publishing election related material in Vertigo or other official Association publications with the exception of candidate’s statements, voting instructions as provided and authorised by the Returning Officer.








Autonomy to UTS Collectives means people can have access to safe spaces and maintain anonymity if they wish. It means that we are able to receive necessary funding to run events and provide necessary resources. It means our work is treated as essential and not constrained by bureaucracy.






Collectives are strong networks of people seeking to create active and sustainable change at UTS. Strong collective action means fighting for marginalised peoples’ rights, fighting for student issues (such as the UTS FASS cuts which have hurt both staff and students), and fighting for climate justice which will directly affect young people in the near future. “The very first time I shared my pronouns with people was in the Queer Space at UTS. Where I had previously been wary of disclosing to others how I felt about my gender for fear of judgement or backlash, there was something so innately welcoming and inviting about the Collective that made all those fears dissipate. I was able to truly explore and connect deeply with my Queerness when I was at last afforded a place where I was surrounded by people who shared identities with me, free to define who we were outside of cishetero confines. Autonomous collectives have been able to provide me with a place to exist unashamedly, unabashedly, and unapologetically as a Queer, trans, disabled person, and allowed me to form connections with others that were so much more deep, raw, and honest than those formed in spaces without the presumption of complete autonomy and safety.” — Cal McKinley, Queer Collective Convener

“I learnt there was a family member studying at UTS who I desperately didn’t want to find out about my trans status for my own safety. In the past, when they knew I identified “As sentient people, autonomy is not just the freedom to as trans, I was subjected to all kinds of abuse. Without do whatever you want, but the freedom to do so comfortably because you are encouraged to be truly yourself. going into too much detail, it was just a dangerous and Autonomy for the collectives is important because there’s shit situation, so being outed again to them would mean a reason these collectives chose to form in the first place; repeating those interactions. Learning about the autonthey strive to be seen, heard, shared, known, loved, valued, omous Queer Collective was amazing for me as I could connect with the Queer community at uniwithout the fear respected and held dear, in a way that was lacking from of being outed. I am in a safer position now as that family the previous institutes they formed within. Without this sentient autonomy, collectives would be merely just anoth- member no longer studies at UTS, however students in er marketing strategy by a large organisation claiming they similar situations as I was, may be outed or exposed if autonomy was broken.” are diverse and inclusive.” — Nour El-Houda El-zmeter, Ethnocultural Collective member

— S, autonomous collective member









Under this year’s Student Association, collective autonomy has taken a critical hit. Time and time again, the factions of the SRC influenced by national political groups have favoured their bureaucracy over autonomous voices. These are some examples of how the current Student’s Association has affected collective autonomy: ATTACK


The UTSSA has revoked all funding from some collectives, because we didn’t agree with their threats to our autonomy. ATTACK The UTSSA banned collectives from booking any rooms at the university.

→ →

damage We’re unable to run events and have no more resources like posters, furniture for spaces, megaphones for rallies, and health items (condoms, pads, tampons). damage The collectives were unable to hold events outside of their assigned safe spaces. The Women’s Collective was prohibited from booking a room for a banner painting event supporting youth survivors of sexual assault.

special ATTACK The UTSSA passed a by-law which requires everyone in collective meetings to have their names recorded and sent to the Executive Officer.

damage This put Queer and trans students at risk of being outed, and international students at risk of being persecuted for participating in political action. Those who wished to remain anonymous no longer felt safe at meetings.



President remove no











back, there


the to was


→ →

Vertigo’s comment: This by-law has since been revoked. ATTACK The UTSSA excluded Officers from meetings aimed to provide support for their community. SPECIAL MOVE The UTSSA did not teach Officers how to run collectives, despite this being their responsibility. CRITICAL The UTSSA just happened to forget to pay the Women’s Officer for the first few months of her term in office.



The Women’s Officer had no say in the Respect.Now.Always campaign, despite many student survivors speaking out against it. The Enviro Convenors were excluded from the Sustainability Student Committee. damage Technical details and minor oversights were policed harshly. After months of holding meetings, running events, and working to provide safe spaces on campus, the Women’s Collective was deemed ‘inactive’ and the election of the Collective Convenor was considered fraudulent. This was because its Officer had never been taught the proper protocol to hold a meeting! KNOCKOUT! Collective autonomy is constrained under the current bureaucratic Students Association!



In essence, the political-party-aligned factions who currently control the UTS Students Association do not see inherent value in collectives, especially in those who maintain and foster autonomous spaces on campus. Importance is placed on following arbitrary bureaucratic processes and punishing us for minor rule violations rather than supporting us to enrich our collectives. Our voices are spoken over, and our consultation is never sought out on issues that directly impact us. We demand a better Students Association who must dedicate itself to protect and maintain student autonomy.






Collectives are spaces where students can find their community and build a better UTS environment. They’re spaces where every student, whether within an autonomous identity, or not can participate and back each other up. So, we encourage you to get involved with Collectives and support them. The important work Collectives do, need your help to advocate for student rights, their voices and community.




With the restrictions from the NSW Government in response to the COVID-19 Delta-variant outbreak in Sydney, the UTSSA is required to operate remotely for what will likely be the remainder of the year. The UTSSA Executive team has been meeting regularly to review how the UTSSA can best represent and protect the interests of students. Accordingly, the Executive resolved to launch some comms supported by members of the Executive. The Welfare Officer, Sabrine Yassine, prepared the most recent email blast and social media campaign raising awareness of the financial support and welfare packages available for UTS Students. The email was successful with above average open and click through rates. UTSSA services that usually operate in person, such as Night Owl Noodles and Bluebird Brekkie have been temporarily suspended. The UTSSA has the view that where services can return safely they should do so. When appropriate and safe the UTSSA will investigate restarting the Brekkie Bags service. In the meantime, international students in need of food support can access the food hamper service. Domestic students have a range of financial support packages they can access. Regrettably, Vertigo has suspended printing with the remainder of the editions this year being available online and on their website. Vertigo editors and contributors will still receive a hardcopy of their work.


The UTSSA has secured a financial funding agreement with the University. The total agreement is for $1.18 million. Unfortunately the agreement represents a disproportionate reduction of funding from last year. In total, the UTSSA has received a 22% reduction in funding from 2019 levels. The University points to a reduction in full time equivalent study load, a high fixed cost of Activate, the Associations reserves and our surplus last year to justify this decision. I have submitted a proposal to the University about funding over the medium term. The University is unwilling to commit to the proposal and will likely need to be followed up across the next term. The proposal seeks to lock in a proportion of SSAF revenue. If you would like more information on this matter feel free to contact me. As usual, I have attended an assortment of University committees, if any student would like to raise a matter to any level of the university I encourage them to contact the UTSSA. The Policy Review Committee will meet soon. Here we will discuss the policies of the Association and the development of the UTSSA Standing Policy Platform. Collectives have each been given an opportunity to submit policy for the draft platform. The Review Committee will consider the draft and decide whether the Association should pursue its construction. Given the low number of policy platforms submitted to Council this year, a standing platform project will give an opportunity for every Association member to contribute to our policy development. I wish everyone well for their upcoming exams and assessments!

GENERAL SECRETARY As the first General Secretary of the UTS Students’ Association, my term has been one of considerable ups and downs. Looking back on this past year, I’m reminded of how the best intentions and the brightest outlook sometimes work against you rather than for you. After spending 2020 as the Education Vice-President and dealing with all of the myriad uncertainties and stresses of the role through COVID, this time last year I thought my year ahead would be much smoother. Sadly, this was not the case. 2021 has been a challenging year for all of us I believe. It has certainly tested the strength of the UTSSA and our student representatives. Throughout the year, in my opinion, some of my colleagues have risen to the challenges admirably, while others have chosen to disregard the obligations to, and the expectations placed on them by the student body and the Association itself.

I am proud of the advocacy we have done for students throughout this term, and the return of Bluebird and Night Owl to campus in Autumn after a year-long hiatus, as well as innovative new solutions to the problems posed by lockdown this semester. I’m especially proud of the driving role I’ve had in all of these, and the contributions to motions and policy I’ve made all throughout the year. My experience at the forefront of fighting for students’ education last year has let me collaboratively put together policies calling for a WAMnesty at UTS, as well as allowing for late withdrawals without academic or financial penalties, automatic extensions during lockdown, and extended study time before exams.

Once again, we are in a perilous position in terms of our longevity due to continued funding cuts and uncertainty about the future. Now more than ever, it is essential that the UTSSA is run by those with the experience and dedication to its cause. It is my sincere hope that the UTSSA is able to function in 2022 and the years ahead. Students at UTS deserve that much at least. Erin Dalton UTSSA General Secretary 2021



I would like to thank Camille for all of her support. Having someone who can shoulder some of the load of my job has helped me immensely when things have been tough. I’d also like to acknowledge all of the hard work Aidan has put into making sure the Association’s governance structures are well-established. His attention to detail and incredible thoroughness will be appreciated by future General Secretaries down the line. Finally, I would like to thank Sabrine. Her quiet consideration and thoughtful contributions to our discussions in the Executive have helped us be as successful as we have been.

The Association I care about is one that allows people to put aside their political alignments and personal gains for the good of the student body of UTS. The SRC should be a forum where disagreements are had, arguments are made, and compromise towards consensus is built. All student representatives ought to approach this in good faith, and with the best interests of the Association at heart.

The Queer Collective has been actively providing a support network for queer students during lockdown and advocating for all intersections of people within the queer community. We started off the semester sharing a ‘Welcome to the collective’ video, where we showcased our collective members and the work we have done over the years. Our welcome event was a Kahoot night, where we answered trivia questions about Queer history and Lil Nas X tweets. On August 14th we attended the online ‘Religious Freedoms Bills’ protest, against the legislations proposed by the Liberal government that would allow businesses, schools and doctors to openly discriminate against LGBTQ+ people under the guise of religious freedom. The Queer Collective will wholeheartedly condemn bigoted attempts to continue the oppression of Queer people. To strengthen the collective community during this difficult lockdown period, we hosted many online events that provided people with much needed connection to the Queer community. Such as our screening of Rūrangi, and our online games nights.


We also rebooted Book Club, with an introductory session analysing non-queer books through a Queer lens. We have now begun The Boy From The Mish by Gary Lonesborough; a Queer Indigenous young adult coming of age novel, that we discuss weekly. Autonomous collective working groups were also established, providing spaces where members who identify as POC, transgender, nonbinary, misogyny effected, or disabled discuss their shared experiences, developing ways to be more inclusive and free of bigotry. The Queer Collective collaborated with other UTS Autonomous Collectives to hold the panel ‘Oppression Reinvented’, where speakers discussed ways that microaggressions impact them and the broader systems of marginalised oppression. We planned Pride Week events which ran from September 20th – 24th. Events included:


Queer Sex Ed workshop with Kristian Reyes — Provided an opportunity to learn vital information about how to engage in safe Queer sex. Coming Out By Cake — A group discussion where we ate cake, talked about our coming out experiences, and our lived Queer experiences. Prison abolition workshop from Queer Indigenous person Tabitha Lean. Special book club with Gary Lonesborough, author of The Boy From The Mish. Workshop on makeup and gender expression ran by one of our collective members Talk on how to spot TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) in media with Andie Moore You Can’t Ask That panel, where Queer students and staff members answered questions on being Queer that some people may ordinarily be too afraid to ask

Outside of Pride Week, we will run panels to collectively learn and grow. We are working with Canberra based QTBIPOC collective DEiFY on a talk about how to combat racism in queer collectives, touching on decolonialism, and disability justice. We are also planning a radical gender roundtable discussion where we invite a trans and nonbinary collective members to discuss discuss their different gender conceptions. We look forward to continuing our work throughout the rest of the semester. If you are interested in joining the Queer Collective please email queer@utsstudentsassociation.org.

WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE The UTS Women’s Collective (WoCo) is a safe, autonomous space for all misogyny affected students. We are both activists and a fun social group! Our feminism is radically leftist, intersectional, trans and sex worker inclusive. WoCo acknowledges that we gather on stolen Gadigal land, and that Indigenous women should be at the forefront of our feminism. We began this semester with an online speed-friending and games night; it was really refreshing to have a break from the lockdown blues and meet so many new people! While our social events have been a blast we’ve started learning about radical politics recently. WoCo started our book club this semester! We’ve loved reading, Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis and having engaging discussions alongside. We now also host regular ‘Radical Rants’ — a space for conversations about issues that are ignored by liberal, girlboss feminism. Our activism this year has also been on the streets! We protested various issues, notably the sexual violence epidemic, the occupation of Palestine and Latham’s transphobic bill. WoCo petitioned and flyered for better sex education in schools. We gave speeches at UTS Education Action Group events to oppose UTS management’s attack on our education. We recently hosted an intercollective panel on microaggressions. It was super successful and insightful, we’re looking forward to doing more soon! Currently we are campaigning around several important issues such as #PayOurNursesAndMidewives which addresses the unsafe working conditions of (student) healthcarers. We are currently focused on demanding a reevaluation of Consent Matters at UTS.


The fruit-centric messaging is performative, inaccessible for international students, and trivialises sexual assault. Resources for survivors at UTS are also few and ineffective. You can help us change this by filling in the National Student Safety Survey to demand tangible support for survivors and effective consent education. All of WoCo’s achievements have been despite the UTS Students’ Association. Below is an incomprehensive (we don’t have enough words) list of how Labour and Labour Left have obstructed collective action:

On top of that, when it comes to environmental education, our collective members have been doing the most. We have started implementing a small 5 minutes education section in our meetings, where we touch on current environmental news. Our topics range from ‘how hay fever is caused by botanical sexism’ to ‘the reality of clothes recycling’. At the end of August, we co-hosted the COVID & Climate forum [thank you for chairing Anna]. The forum was a major success. As of writing this report, we have three panels and forums in the work, ‘The environmental movement is still rich and white!’, ‘Social Ecology’ and ‘UTS STEM: no pracs, no internships, #StopADANI’.

- Completely revoked collective funding - Disallowed us from booking any university rooms or using any association resources - Prevented us from making banners, postering or flyering for youth survivors of sexual assault - Requiring the names and attendance of members, putting trans and international students in danger - Dubbed a clearly active collective inactive

- Didn’t pay the Women’s Officer for half the year

ENVIRO COLLECTIVE TL;DR: Enviro Collective online involves a lot less shouting and painting and a lot more zoom calls and emails. “Enviro is still active, xoxo” How we’re coping — From Damien It’s Damien and Anna back back back again with all the lovely Enviro Collective deeds. At the moment, Enviro is doing great. Like the environment, our collective time and time again adapts to the extreme circumstances thrown at us (luckily at a rate faster than evolution). Enviro hosted and will continue to be hosting several social events this semester. If you suggest it in our meetings it will happen! Just to name some of our events: Enviro Games Night, Craft night with Enviro and Powerpoint night. After seeing the IPCC report and being forced to participate in the worst group project of our lives (COVID), it is only right that we filled ALL the vacant slots in our calendar with social interactions.


- Accused the democratically elected convenor of being fraudulent

UTS should #StopAdani — From Anna UTS is partnered with Engineering giant Siemens. Siemens preaches ‘sustainability’ when it is profitable, yet is building the signalling infrastructure for Adani’s rail line. Thus, enabling the biggest expansion of thermal coal in the southern hemisphere! (Big Yikes). Siemen has promised to hold Adani accountable to Australian environmental laws. However, at the point of writing our report, they have broken their promise, not one, not two, but FIVE times. This resulted in relentless destruction to the lands of the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples. Enough is enough, Siemens should be held accountable for its hypocrisy, and UTS should be one of the leading voices for the #StopADANI movement. We didn’t declare a Climate Emergency to sit on the sidelines and let our partners lay down the red carpet for coal expansion. Through relentless petitioning and emailing, as of writing this in early September, we are meeting with 3 UTS ViceChancellor Atilla Bungs, Shirley Alexander and Patrick Woods to demand they publicly take action against Siemens, pressuring them to immediately end their contract with Adani. A closing note — From the both of us By the time this report comes out, it will be ‘election time!!!’ - which Enviro is super excited for. It is very poetic that every spring, we get a new office bearer (a new bloom). However, what that means is this will also be our last Vertigo report [Big sad; we love you Vertigo 2021]. Thank you to the Vertigo team for being so kind and understanding throughout the year, especially when it came to deadlines and editing our articles. If you have yet to, please have a look over our collaboration in Vertigo Vol.3: Holocene! Best Regards, Damien and Anna


WELFARE COLLECTIVE This is not the semester many of us looked forward to or even expected. Online learning can really drain us, from the neverending cycle of zooms, spending your whole day in one spot, not getting to have new experiences or meet new people it can feel begin to feel like Groundhog Day and remove a lot of the excitement we used to find daily. It’s important to remember that lockdown isn’t forever and looking after yourself during this period is key to maintaining a healthy being. Whether it be psychological, spiritual, physical or physiological, taking care of yourself is the number one priority.


If you are living at home with family try take this period to appreciate the time you can spend together (even if it all feels a little crazy), try not to limit yourself to one room and change where you are studying/working, go outside, if walks aren’t for you go for a drive or just find a quiet spot outside to sit, try to disconnect yourself from your phone so you can take a deep breath and focus on the bigger picture. Ask yourself will this matter in 6 months’ time; will you even remember then what you were so worried about? All these things can help ground us during this never-ending period of lockdown or even general stress and uncertainty. Everyone is currently going through the same unprecedented pandemic so try to be understanding to those around you. If you are struggling or COVID-19 has impacted your ability to study in anyway apply for special consideration or even talk to your tutor or subject coordinator. There are always options, never forgo your wellbeing to get that assignment in on time. And if your issues are longstanding speak to a mental health professional such as our UTS counsellors. Do not wait to ask for help. If you are dealing with any specific welfare issues right now, please contact us via our fb page, Instagram, or email where we will be able provide assistance or refer you to someone who can. I also strongly encourage anyone who has ideas on how we can improve student welfare at UTS to contact me at: welfare@utsstudentsassociation.org Also follow our Welfare Collective on Instagram @uts.welfare. collective for more updates on our upcoming projects and events such as our previous wellbeing interactive zoom where we learnt methods of dealing with uni stress during lockdown. Sabrine Yassine Welfare Officer




On the 26th of August, the EAG held a very successful forum on the cuts at UTS. Over 50 staff members and students attended, unanimously passing a motion to fight the cuts at UTS, and stand united in the event that the NTEU take industrial action. Staff and student activists spoke at the forum, and there was a great effort from the EAG and NTEU in the building! We went straight back at it and held a forum in midOctober on what it is we are fighting for, how historically staff and students have fought back at UTS, and how we are going to do it now.

Hi there!

We’re also involved in organising and building for a forum exposing corporate universities and their unethical ties to weapon manufacturers, foreign militaries, big banks etc, which I will be co-chairing. We are planning a movie screening to welcome new members to the collective, and a monthly newsletter to keep staff and students informed about the situation at UTS, as well as sharing articles written by collective members looking at education from a more ideological viewpoint.

To get involved in the fight back email us at Education@ utsstudentsassociation.org, or join the FB group @UTSEAG Thanks! Ellie

This year, though largely impacted by the ongoing (at this moment of writing) COVID-19 restrictions across Sydney and New South Wales, we have nonetheless worked productively on anti-racism and growing our Collective community. Since the last Vertigo volume publication, we have so far conducted two “Home To Biloela” email lobbying nights, which have been non-autonomous hang-outs on Zoom, first writing the email script and individually emailing relevant politicians together. Our demands reflect the goals of the Home To Biloela campaign — to advocate for the Tamil-Australian Murugappan family’s return to their hometown of Biloela, Queensland; and the granting of bridging visas and subsequently, Australian citizenship. Additionally, on the 27th of August, we co-hosted with other UTSSA autonomous Collectives (such as Queer, Women’s, Indigenous, and International) the Zoom panel event “Oppression Reinvented: Understanding and Identifying Micro-Aggressions”. The event featured panellists of varying intersections of identity as well as the academic Siobhan Irving, who was able to speak about the intersectionality of queerness and Muslim identity, as a member of Sydney Queer Muslims. Discussions were insightful, deep, and meaningful. We look forward to creating more opportunities for intersectionality, anti-racism and education in the form of panel events during Sydney’s COVID-19 lockdown!


Notably, the EAG has had an anonymous tip off from a staff member in the FASS faculty that they and other staff received a directive from Management that they were not to allow EAG activists to speak on cuts in their classes. This continues the repression the EAG has faced both from university Management and the Students Association all year, and is an attack on the freedom of speech, and freedom to organise of staff and students. When jobs and our education are under attack, we need to talk about it and organise together — in our classes, in meetings and when we can, on the streets. We, as always, appreciate staff ignoring this directive and continuing to stand united with us in the fight against cuts.

The UTSSA Ethnocultural Collective is an autonomous social and political organisation consisting of Indigenous people, People of Colour, and individuals marginalised by mainstream Australian monoculture. We fall under the UTS Students Association, which is UTS’ resident student union.

We look forward to seeing what the rest of the Spring Semester and 2021 brings. :) In solidarity, Melodie Grafton (she/they)



UTSSA 2021 RETURNING OFFICER’S REPORT on the close of nominations



Nominations closed at 2.00pm on Friday 1 October and the following

Online Voting will open at

5.00am Tuesday 26 October

Schedule details the nominations received and the current status of

and be open until

8.00pm Thursday 28 October.

each nomination.


CAMPAIGNING The authorised campaigning period begins on 5.00pm on Monday 11 October. No campaigning is permitted on Campus this year due to

the candidates and their photos (where supplied).

COVID-19 considerations.



The period allowed for nominations to be withdrawn has expired.

Philip Binns


Associated with the nomination schedule is the information supplied by

Postal Voting is not available at this election

Returning Officer


9 October 2021

Voting will be held for the contested positions.



Due to COVID-19 considerations, voting this year will again be online. Due to the limitations of the online voting system being used, in the ballots for for SRC and NUS students will vote for Lists (Ticket) names, not individual candidates. All enrolled students will receive an email to their Uni email address containing a link to the Uni on-line voting system. Voters will use their Student ID and UTS password to access the voting area. This will be sent at the opening of voting


SCHEDULE OF NOMINATIONS RECEIVED AS AT THE CLOSE OF NOMINATIONS AT 2.00 pm, FRIDAY 1 OCTOBER 2021 FINAL Candidates or Tickets are shown in ballot paper order, within each position


List Name

Ballot Paper Name Status

President Erin DALTON Accepted President Anna THIEBEN Accepted General Secretary Damien NGUYEN Accepted General Secretary Sabrine YASSINE Accepted Assistant General Secretary Sahel MOHAMMED Accepted Assistant General Secretary Melissa SUKKARIEH Accepted Education Officer Will SIMMONS Accepted Education Officer Cat DOHERTY Accepted


Welfare Officer Holly HAYNE Accepted Welfare Officer Nour AL HAMMOURI Accepted Postgraduate Officer Stella HAYMAN Accepted Postgraduate Officer Harry RYAN Accepted Women's Officer Eshna GUPTA Accepted Women's Officer Hayley WONG Accepted Women's Officer Bailey RILEY Accepted International Students' Officer Antona BURSA Accepted International Students' Officer Antara NARAYAN Accepted Indigenous Offficer Camille SMITH ELECTED UNOPPOSED 14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability



14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability



14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Jovan BEA


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Charlotte WARDELL


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Jeremy SAAD


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability



14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Zakiah TAHIR


14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate



14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate



14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate

Lina MIN


14 Student Representative Councillors




14 Student Representative Councillors




14 Student Representative Councillors




14 Student Representative Councillors


Vanessa LIM


14 Student Representative Councillors




14 Student Representative Councillors




14 Student Representative Councillors


Simashee DE SILVA


14 Student Representative Councillors


Shaheen BOAZ


14 Student Representative Councillors






List Name

Ballot Paper Name Status

14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC



14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC



14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC

Mehmet MUSA


14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up

Bailey RILEY


14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up

Priscilla SPALDING


14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up

Rianne HAMAD


14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up

Trinity SANTOS


14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up



7 NUS Fire Up Zebadiah CRUICKSHANK Accepted


7 NUS Fire Up Sabrine YASSINE Accepted 7 NUS Fire Up Nour AL HAMMOURI Accepted 7 NUS Fire Up Bailey RILEY Accepted 7 NUS Fire Up Will SIMMONS Accepted 7 NUS Fire Up Jared TURKINGTON Accepted 7 NUS Fire Up Erin DALTON Accepted 7 NUS Alliance for Accountability Adrian LOZANCIC Accepted 7 NUS Alliance for Accountability Charlotte WARDELL Accepted 7 NUS Revive Damien NGUYEN Accepted 7 NUS Revive Holly HAYNE Accepted 7 NUS Revive Eshna GUPTA Accepted 7 NUS Revive Chloe RAFFERTY Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Callum MCSULLEA Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Aden URE Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Georgia BROGAN Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Aleena RIZVI Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Abina KIRUBAHARAN Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Grace OLDFIELD Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Olivia GARCIA Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Ruvi RATNAYAKE Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Vanessa LIM Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Deb LOMBARD Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Jenny CHEN Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Neysha SANTOS Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Rebekah BATSON Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Jessica TEASDALE Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Talia HORWITZ Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Josef FINSTERER Accepted



List Name

Ballot Paper Name Status

Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Isabelle TRUDGIAN Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Sophie WHITEHEAD Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Sofia LOCKE Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Ella HAILEY Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Penelope DAY Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Pierce HADJINICOLA Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Andy LEE Accepted Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror

Jessica PROWSE


Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror

Sophia RAMOS


Vertigo Editorial Team

Vertigo Mirror



Philip Binns


2021 UTS Returning Officer Saturday, October 09, 2021



and discipline to make sure the UTSSA runs smoothly, as well as the fighting spirit and activist skills to really turn up the heat on UTS management. Our Executive team have worked extremely hard on SRC and in our Collectives to make sure students are supported, and that the UTSSA listens to you. I couldn’t be prouder of the team I have, but

My name is Erin and I use they/them

we need your support to keep the UTSSA together.

pronouns, and I’m running to be your President for 2022! Through my time

Being a student representative has been one of the greatest privileges

at UTS I have been heavily involved

of my time at UTS and giving back to the UTSSA so that everyone has

in the UTSSA and our Collectives,

the support and social connection it has afforded me is my highest

as well as in student advocacy

priority. Without the UTSSA, students wouldn’t have someone in their

and activism more broadly. This

corner fighting for them, and without a strong and experienced team,

year, I have been the first General

the UTSSA is under threat.

Secretary of the UTSSA, ensuring that our Association has been functional and


next year as UTSSA President.


Over the past two years, I have been at the forefront of the UTSSA’s


activism and advocacy through extremely difficult times. I’ve seen first-hand how hard online learning has been for so many of us and


effective. I’m really excited to represent you all

Hi there! My name is Anna Thieben

have worked alongside the rest of the Executive in fighting for more

(she/her) and I would really like

support from UTS management. I’ve been a driving force behind most of our initiatives through 2020 and 2021, and I’m extremely proud of

to be your SRC President. I’m

how we have adapted the essential support services we provide to the

an Environmental Science

constantly changing circumstances we’ve found ourselves in.

student running with [REVIVE] alongside incredible, experienced and passionate independents,

This year we brought Bluebird and Night Owl back onto campus

committed to “reviving” our Student

through the Autumn Session, and we have continued to deliver our

Union (it desperately needs it). I’ve

casework and legal services online. Disappointingly, UTS management are refusing to fully fund all the services we provide. Services that we

know help students immensely. Now more than ever, Bluebird and

as the 2020 Officer and 2021 Co-Convenor of the Enviro Collective.

spent two years working within the UTSSA

Night Owl, Vertigo, and our Collectives are under threat, with UTS

I’m also an active member of the Education, Women’s and Queer

slashing our funding allocation for these areas. The UTSSA needs

Collectives. I’m continually inspired by student strength, and I see my

experienced and stable leadership going forward, so that we can focus

presidential responsibilities as twofold; To use my position to advocate

on fighting for the funding we need to support all of you. I know that I

for you and to facilitate a council that encourages the campaigns of all

have that experience, and I know that I am the best equipped to secure

students. I will prioritise transparent clear communication, you deserve

the funding that we so desperately need.

to have a say in what the SRC does because we are your Union. You literally pay us to represent you!

The President of the UTSSA is such an essential role in determining the future of the UTSSA in this environment of funding cuts and

As President, I will fight for quality accessible education. Our

uncertainty due to COVID. However, I can’t do all of this without a

university is being ravaged by course cuts, staff casualisation, and

passionate and dedicated team. Fire Up! your SRC have the experience

job cuts. Personally in Environmental Science, subjects critical to


developing fieldwork skills have been unashamedly cut and tutors have unstable employment. This cost-saving is seen across all faculties making the situation dire. I will work with the National Tertiary Education Union and all students to organise practical methods to take action against unfair cuts and fee hikes. I am also committed to ensuring a safe and accessible university.



Support systems offered by UTS are challenging to access, meaning

My name is Damien Nguyen [he/him]

vulnerable students fall through the cracks. I will work to cultivate

and I am an international student

effective student support services. We need autonomous safe

from Viet Nam. I am the current

spaces for the Women’s, Disability, Ethnocultural, International and

Environmental Collective Convenor

Queer collectives alongside accessible interfaith spaces. We need

and the 2021 Science Society

anti-racism training modules for everyone, concession Opal cards


for international students, zoom captioning and greater accessibility STUDENTS’ ACTIONS, NOT

consultation for disabled students.

POLITICAL GAMES Trust me, the list goes on. I cannot pretend to understand the unique challenges of every student on our campus or the services they

I want to be given the opportunity to immensely improve students'

require. However, I will actively work with our SRC and UTS students to

lives. As this year will be the last time I’ll be enrolled as an international

seek input, listen and learn. My door will always be open for a chat.

student, I look forward to being able to represent both domestic and


international students in a candid way. We need to revive our campus Particularly close to my heart is the fight for climate justice. The

and I have the experience to do so. In the last year, I’ve rebuilt the

Enviro Collective has been integral in building the climate strikes

Enviro Collective community, quadrupling our active members, and

and campaigning for UTS to oppose the Adani Coal mine. We should

facilitating student mobilization for the May 21st Climate strike, and

amplify these campaigns, hold management accountable to carbon

supporting our team’s #StopAdani campaign. Whether it be chatting

neutrality and get staff superannuation out of fossil fuels. Pronto!

to you at an event, liaising with the Vice-Chancellors, or advocating for campaigns, I will ensure that our Association is fighting for the student

I am running in this election to ensure we have a Student

body, not playing political games.

Association genuinely fighting for ALL students on this campus. One that encourages students to voice their concerns and seek our


representation. Honestly, we need an Association that students actually know exists!

This position is the Secretary, the Vice President, and the Treasurer all at the same time. Most students don’t know the current salary for

Soooo if you agree….

this position is more than the entire Vertigo team combined. THAT IS OUR STUDENT MONEY. Being given that platform, I aim to facilitate a

Vote [1] REVIVE for SRC and NUS

version of the association that you, the average student, can be a part

Anna Thieben for President

of. Students should not have QR codes shoved in their faces and be

Damien Nguyen for General Secretary

demanded to vote blindly.

Melissa Sukkarieh for Assistant General Secretary Cat Doherty for Education Officer


Holly Hayne for Welfare Officer Eshna Gupta for Women’s Officer

I’m running to represent the 13,000 international students at UTS. I’m

Antara Narayan for International Student Officer

running for the students who have to pay more than $40,000 a year just

Stella Hayman for Post-Grad officer

to be at UTS, those who have to skip meals to afford the “Australian

Camille Smith for Indigenous Officer

Dream” and decide between spending the last $8 in their bank account on dinner or transportation to university. I intend to make the services at this university such as health and counselling services, CareerHub, plus Vertigo be accessible for all. At the same time, I aim to facilitate and prioritize campaigns led by collective actions.



The General Secretary is required to be proficient in implementing or improving systems and processes with in the UTSSA, as well as

Our association is filled with legal jargon and future national politicians.

assisting with day-to-day operations and governance to allow our

That is NOT how it should be. As a student who is uninterested in

Association to run effectively and successfully. I believe my experience

being a political figure, I promise that in voting for me, you will be

and successes have shown my capacity to take on these important

supporting a commitment to a real transparent council. Student council

roles diligently and in the interests of the students we represent.

meetings will be accessible to everyone and not on private zoom links with motions being passed behind closed doors. I will ensure you know

As Welfare Officer I had the opportunity to engage with vulnerable

how we are spending Student Fees, from expanding BlueBird Brekkie

students and understand the issues that affect their ability to thrive in

& Night Owl Noodles, to supporting Vertigo, to pushing for better

their academic and student life. Having listened to those that need to

monetary support for Activate clubs and societies and bar tabs in the

be heard and standing up for the issues they deem most important,


I have the understanding and drive I need to represent students in a more senior role.

REVIVE OUR CAMPUS POST-PANDEMIC. The work of the UTSSA within our university milieu is invaluable. Providing a voice, spaces and services for students is of critical Vote [1] REVIVE for SRC and NUS

importance and should be reflected in its people and practices. At

Anna Thieben for President

times we have seen differing voices of the Association drown out the

Damien Nguyen for General Secretary

important work we have done throughout this year. It is important to

Melissa Sukkarieh for Assistant General Secretary

unite these voices through democratic discourse to maintain the spirit

Cat Doherty for Education Officer

of the Association and stick to the key principles it was founded.


Holly Hayne for Welfare Officer Moving forward I will ensure SRC meetings are accessible to all

Sabrine YASSINE My name is Sabrine Yassine, and I am running as the candidate for General Secretary with the Fire Up! team. I am the 2021 Welfare Officer on the

students. I will do this by using our social media to keep students updated on our meeting times and ensure that key decisions made by Council are broadcast. Our meeting minutes and Association documents should also be maintained and kept in an accessible location online. I will work to break down our complex governing procedures into easy guides so that our Association is open, transparent, and accountable.

Executive of the UTS Students’ Association (UTSSA), a role where

For a dedicated, experienced and student focused team vote Fire Up!

I am able to utilise the Welfare Collective to positively contribute change to the social fabric of our university.


I have always been confident in voicing my beliefs, one of them being my active desire for positive development in student life for all students at UTS. My work this year as focussed on increasing awareness of our mental health services (especially needed in light of this year’s COVID-19 situation), student advocacy services and the UTSSA’s role in the university. I have delivered this focus through many successful events, initiatives and campaigns being run on a wide range of student welfare issues throughout the year. I believe I have honed the necessary skills to not only advocate strongly for students, but to navigate the organisational and logistical management skills required for a role such as General Secretary.



Melissa SUKKARIEH Hi, I’m Melissa Sukkarieh (she/her), an environmental science student running for the position of Assistant General Secretary with the ticket [REVIVE], and I’m looking to ‘revive’


UTS for the students. This includes student unionism, collective activism,

Hello, my name is Sahel Mohammed

adequate learning conditions, and an

and I’m running for Assistant General

active student campus life. I’m running for

Secretary with the Fire Up! Team. My goals this year is focussed on

council because I believe in forming a strong union that fights for student issues both on and off-campus.

ensuring that the UTS Students Association (UTSSA) is open, fair

Throughout my four years at UTS I’ve had the opportunity to be the

and available for UTS students to get

2020 Queer Officer and hold a 2020 General Councillor Position.

the best from us. In my term I

will focus on ensuring that are rules


and procedures are easily understood and

I’ve been engaged within the Environmental, Queer, Women’s, and Education Collectives since 2018. In my time within Collectives, I've had the opportunity to grow personally and politically, surrounded

accessible so that Students can maximise their experience at the

by a strong student community. I want to give that back to students

UTSSA. I will also support the creation of better induction processes

and facilitate a council that real students engage with, which fiercely

so that new student leaders understand their role and all the support

represents their needs. The experience and knowledge I’ve gained

structures available to them.

within our community are what has informed my policies and what I will bring to the council.

I will deliver my pledges by drafting easy-to-read instructions on UTSSA processes. For example, I will draft a plain-English manual on

I’ve been involved in the education campaign against the course and

how collectives can access their funds and include a Q&A of frequently

staff cuts since early 2020, and have seen how management has

asked questions. I will also assist the General Secretary in maintain the

chipped away at the quality of our education. Firing 200 staff in 2020,

Association’s documents and ensure that they are available to students

increasing course fees, cutting subjects, and pushing for continued

at all times. I will also work on creating an audit trail for our key

online learning past lockdown. Our learning should not come at a cost

governance documents so that students can track the changes being

that students have to bear. Staff deserve stability, and we deserve

made to how we run and enquire into why they changed.

quality education. Within my role, I will continue the fight against these appalling cuts.

I believe it is important to have a diverse student voice in key positions on the Executive. I will proudly represent any student who wishes

Students should know what our money is funding, and what our

to have their voice heard. As Assistant General Secretary I will be

money should be funding is student publications, Collectives, Activate,

perfectly poised to pursue my ambitions for loud and positive student

and student life. Vertigo funding has been cut drastically over the


last few years; we should be encouraging student media and culture. Student publications should not have to fight to get their work printed.

It is important in an over-a-million-dollar organisation that our policies,

Additionally, we need adequate funding to support campus life through

procedures, and documents are transparent and accountable to UTS

collectives and societies. Properly funded student groups mean

students. After all we are funded by student money, and students

stronger campus culture and a healthier student community.

deserve the best for them! 2022 will be a massive year for student movements with the VOTE [1] SAHEL MOHAMMED for ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY

environmental crisis more pressing than ever, the staff enterprise


bargaining deal, and the fight for better learning conditions. Our


student union needs to change and our council cannot be complacent on these issues. We need to foster a transparent, engaging and passionate council. I believe the [REVIVE] team will work together to create pragmatic changes for all UTS students.


EDUCATION OFFICER Will SIMMONS I’m Will Simmons, a second year

Over the next year I will: •

create meaningful policy and change. •

Build and maintain the Education Action Group.

Make the Education Action Group an inclusive space where all students can voice their concerns and anxieties about their education.

Communications student, proudly

Over the past two years at UTS, I

Collaborate with other SRC Office-Bearers to foster a discussion about intersectional issues, such as anti-racism education and

running with Fire Up! to be your 2022 Education Officer.

Advocate for education issues on the SRC and collaborate to

accessible learning. •

Ensure a strong relationship between students and the NTEU.

Fightback against management's ruthless attacks on staff and our education!

have been involved in many activist campaigns, such as Students for Freedom in Myanmar. I am passionate and dedicated to education activism


because I believe that a free, publicly funded, decolonial education system is one worth fighting for. I know through the power of Student Unions, and collective action that students can at UTS.



enact change on their campus, and this is something I want to foster

Hey everyone! My name is Cat (she/ her) and I’m running for Education

Over the past year I have served as the Convenor for the UTSSA

Officer with [REVIVE]. I’m a second-

Education Action Group. In that role I have maintained a strict level

year Communications (Social and

of professionalism and accessibility in my responsibilities. I believe

Political Sciences) and International

it is important to ensure that all students can attend Collective

Studies student, currently running

meetings as the integrity of activist spaces is vital to its success. As

for Education Officer because I

well as assisting in organising, forums, and rallies.

believe everyone has the right to free, accessible, and comprehensive

My experience has allowed me to develop an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Education Action Group making me the most

education. I know how important our learning conditions are, and I am passionate about helping

experienced and capable candidate to lead this Collective into the

students fight back against the attacks on tertiary education. UTS’s

next year. The Education Action Group needs this experience in order

cost-cutting measures have led to our class times being shortened,

to fight for better working and learning conditions for students, and

our lectures disappearing, and our tutors without enough time to give

staff alike. In the year that will be 2022, we need a strong and effective

us adequate feedback. As Education Officer, I will be committed to

student union and Education Action Group, and a resilient Education

standing up against any further erosion of our education.

Officer to lead it. I am the 2021 Convenor of the Women’s Collective (WoCo), as well I have also been an engaged and active participant of the wider

as an active member across the collective system generally. Through

fightback against university job, subject and funding cuts. Most notably

my role as WoCo convenor, I gained valuable experience in fostering

was my participation in the 2020 USyd student protests, capturing the

a strong collective, organising and building for campaigns and

violence enacted on protesting students and staff by the police.

rallies, lecture bashing, event planning, writing open letters, flyering, postering, and speaking at forums. This included the Staff Student Forum: Fighting the cuts at UTS, hosted by the Education Action Group this year.As Education Officer, I will protect the quality of our education by fighting to bring back on-campus lectures and tutorials, when it is safe to do so. Students don’t want to teach themselves - they


want a classroom experience with lecturers and tutors who are experts in their field. I will also ensure that there are better accommodations for accessibility so that online classes and lectures remain for those who need them. In-person classes are essential to revive student life


on campus, in order to have the uiversity experience that too many of

I’m Holly and I’m running for Welfare Officer

us have completely missed out on. I will fight for paid placements –

because we need an activist student

internships and placements are real work, and there should be no

union that will fight to defend our

more exploitation of student interns.

education from cuts and take up important social justice issues like the

Underlying my campaign is a deep belief in free education for all,

campaign for climate justice, LGBTI

and as your Education Officer, I will put pressure on our university

rights, for refugee rights, and Black

to lobby the government to fund education properly. I want to

Lives Matter.

empower students to become active and join the fight for putting education before profit!

This year has been a travesty for student welfare. Hundreds of UTS staff have been sacked

The impact of a disrupted uni experience is personal for me, and I’m

and whole courses slashed as UTS management sit on six-figure

sure it is for you too. And that’s why I’m running. As Education Officer,

salaries and pursue dodgy deals with fossil fuel companies, weapons

I will fight on your behalf for the quality education experience we

manufacturers, and other nasty corporate partners. We need the


UTSSA to lead a student fightback to defend staff jobs and student learning conditions, and this year I’ve organised numerous protests


and forums through the Education Action Group. As a socialist activist I’ve helped campaign to defend LGBTI rights as part of Community Action for Rainbow Rights. The UTSSA must take a stand against the transphobic ‘Religious Freedoms Bill’ and other attacks. If passed, the bill would legalise discrimination against LGBTI people in schools, workplaces, and clinics. I’ve also campaigned for refugee rights, against the deportation of the Biloela family, and for the protection of Tamil’s fleeing genocide. We need a student union which takes up social justice questions and mobilises students to resist attacks from the government and university management. The recent ‘code red for humanity’ IPCC report paints a chilling picture for our planet’s future. Australia’s place as the world's third biggest exporter of fossil fuels means our student unions have an important role to play in resisting the government as they continue to expand the industry. This year I helped organise the UTS contingent to the Sydney Climate Strike, and promise to fight to make reviving climate activism central to what the UTSSA does in 2022. The current COVID crisis has highlighted the gross inequality in Australian society as the Liberals refuse to put health before profits. The Berejiklian government’s failure to lockdown properly has seen infection rates spike in poorer, working class areas like Western and South-West Sydney. And now the government is reopening nonessential businesses like restaurants and hairdressers, as well as schools, to restore profits. As Welfare Officer I’ll campaign to increase centrelink payments and prioritise health measures over reopening the economy. Vote me for Welfare Officer if you want a student union that's committed to rebuilding activism on campus.


Nour AL HAMMOURI I’m Nour Al Hammouri, a Fire Up! candidate and your 2021 Welfare Convener. I am running to be your 2022 Welfare Officer! 2021 was undoubtedly difficult, plagued with horrendous lockdowns and egregious worldly affairs. I would like to believe we all hope for 2022 to be better.

POSTGRADUATE OFFICER Stella HAYMAN Hello UTS, my name is Stella Hayman (she/her) and I’m running to be your Postgraduate Officer with [REVIVE]. I’m

However, regardless of 2021’s lack of positivity, the Welfare Collective worked on a vast

array of campaigns and events with direct focuses

on student betterment, positive change and support. Reflecting on student feedback, we believe our efforts weren’t futile and they surpassed our expectations. What worked in 2021, will work in 2022 with the continual upholding of values, morals and ethics that the Welfare Collective defines itself by.

studying my Masters of Teaching, and have a Masters in Creative Writing from UTS. I’m an active member of the Queer Collective and have been involved in several LGBTQIA+ focused initiatives on campus. I believe in material change from the ground up, and the collective power of students and teachers. As an undergraduate at the Sydney College of the Arts (Usyd), I fought

inherent values that I hold and expended in 2021 onto the Welfare

against the university’s neoliberal approach of cutting departments

Collective - which I believe is what led to the success we had this year,

and filling teaching positions with revolving casual contracts. As your

in the face of adversity.

Officer, I will fight against fee increases and cuts to staff or degrees-


Empathy, empowerment, advocacy, care, transparency and trust are

like my own course area of Teaching, which may face cuts in 2022. Throughout my capacity as Welfare Convener, I have been fortunate

I aim to increase funding and scholarships for PhDs and call for

enough to work on many student initiatives such as a Mental Health

more postgraduate courses to be covered under Austudy and Youth

Q&A on managing lockdown stress and adversities. We’ve also

Allowance. I am committed to improving work conditions for PhD

kickstarted a review into the special consideration processes to

students who are UTS casuals, in solidarity with the NTEU.

attempt to reflect student needs and make it more accessible to those individuals.

I intend to enact sustainable practices on campus and direct the university’s resources toward climate justice, for example by achieving

There are many items this year that the collective has focused on

[REVIVE]’s target of carbon neutrality by 2030. I hope to bring the

throughout 2021, that should begin implementation in the upcoming

research perspectives of Postgraduates in faculties like FEIT, Science

few months - such as WAMnesty, giving students the ability to

and Arts on sustainability at UTS. Centring Indigenous voices is crucial

withdraw from subjects anytime throughout the semester, easier

to any environmental initiative and I believe any future development

access to extension services and hopefully implementing trauma-

plans at UTS must engage with the local Indigenous community.

informed counsellors from ethnically diverse backgrounds. [REVIVE] believes students should not just survive but thrive, and In 2022, I plan to continue responding to what students want and also

that’s why we intend to use SSAF funds for life on campus as the

continuing the initiatives that I have started this year; in particular with

university reopens, including bar tabs, events, and increased funding

regards to mental health and special consideration. As an experienced

for collectives and societies. A [REVIVE] led SRC would provide drug

member of this collective, having spearheaded many initiatives and

testing and life-saving Naloxone to safeguard the health of all students.

campaigns, I believe I am well equipped and most qualified to be your

Allocation of SSAF funds should be easily available to students, so

Welfare Officer.

students decide how student Fees are being spent.


For a sustainable and just future for students, vote Stella for Postgrad


Officer and [REVIVE] for SRC 2022!




Harry RYAN Hello, my name is Harry Ryan and I'm running for Postgrad Officer for 2022. I am studying postgrad Law after finishing a


degree in Communications. I’ve been

Hi! I’m Eshna and I’m running with

living a stone’s throw from UTS my

[REVIVE] in hopes to be your Women’s

whole life in the Inner-West. I love

Officer for 2022! I’m currently

history, politics, and current affairs, so

studying Law and Communications.

naturally SRC is the next logical step.

I revived the Women’s Collective

I aim to always approach decisions with

with the help of incredible activists

the students in mind first and foremost.

last year. This year, I want to cement the legacy of inclusivity and

I’ve worked full time as a lifeguard for the past 4 years, I love my job

radical activism that we created. My

and I love the community as a whole. In essence my job requires that

platform has always been about safety,

I be vigilant to any possible problem and preemptively fix it. The same

community, and intersectionality. It has been ensuring

can be said about student’s affairs at UTS, if there’s any problem or

that students feel that a university is a place where they feel secure

possible problem that we see, I strongly believe that we should be

not only in their educational pursuits but also in their capacity to seek

proactive rather than reactive.

support. It is also that this safety is extended to all students – queer,


trans, Indigenous and disabled students – we should all have the same I get postgraduate studies is a different game to undergraduate studies,

access to a university education free of fear. The fear that you may not

most of us have a full-time job and important life responsibilities.

have housing, that you may get assaulted on campus or that you won’t

Something I understand wholeheartedly after starting my J.D. is that

be able to access reporting and counselling services are unacceptable

balancing full time work and uni can work – provided the right policies

and must be addressed.

are there supporting us. I’m no stranger to doing a 7-hour shift at the pool only to get stuck into a 3-hour tute directly after – it happens – but

My policies are based on the principle that the university must

our studies shouldn’t be the be all and end all of our lives. UTS should

pursue action, not admin! In response to sexual assault on campus,

provide a balance.

the university ran a campaign with fun fruit innuendoes like “Wanna Spoon? Ask first” which does nothing to materially help survivors. I

I completely get it, that’s why I’d be heavily pushing for more options

demand consistent consent training, more funding for counselling

for all students in terms of the flexibility of studies ¬– what does this

services and accessible methods of reporting. Furthermore, we must

mean you ask? I will push for more recorded lectures so we can more

protect the most vulnerable of our peers. UTS refuses to translate

easily balance study with everything else, more options for classes

consent materials to other languages as international students

later in the evenings to accommodate those who work full time jobs. I

“came here to learn English,” ignoring the fact that they are the most

believe these changes will make studying more accessible to everyone

susceptible to sexual assault. We also cannot stop at consent, once

with important life commitments.

consent is given students should have the resources to feel safe. This comes from sex education modules that work on destigmatising all

I’m privileged to be able to run for postgraduate officer at UTS, yay


democracy! I hope to be able to represent you, UTS postgrads, and best represent whatever concerns and/or ideas you have for how UTS

I have also lived in student housing for my entire university career and

should move forward in the future. Thanks!

have seen it steadily deteriorate. When I moved in, we were promised secure, affordable housing with a safe community and access to


university resources. Instead, the three most affordable residences


were sold, gym memberships were revoked, and students were forced


to leave their housing communities. There is also no protection and education for students in housing. Should [REVIVE] be elected we will strive to implement drinking and drug safety education, access to preventative measures such as drug testing kits and Naloxone, bringing back Indigenous community housing and overall demand that students be put before profit.


Hayley WONG Hi guys, I am Hayley and am nominating to become the Women’s Officer for UTS Student Association. I am a 4th year Engineering

in mobilising people to stand up and fight for the values that we as feminists believe in. I believe I am the best choice for Women's Officer in this election and I hope you will stand with me and help create a strong Collective that will act as a voice on campus for intersectional feminism.

and Business Student and have had lots of different experiences with different people all over University. I want to make a difference and speak out for women to encourage all women to be confident and be able to express themselves without restrictions. I would love to represent every single women to create a more diverse and equal place for UTS.

Bailey RILEY Hey I’m Bailey, I use She/Her pronouns and am currently in my second year at UTS, studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in


Social & Political Science. I'm running in the upcoming SRC elections to represent you not only as a strong and resilient leader, but also as the first Trans and Indigenous Women's Officer at UTS. The Womens Collective has been one of the most respectful, accommodating spaces on campus and one of my goals as officer would be to make this space open to any people who are negatively impacted by the patriarchy, upholding the Collective’s intersectional feminist values that have been a large part of my lived experience. As we (hopefully) come back onto campus next semester, I see this as the perfect opportunity to build an active in-person Collective that has regular meetings and a wide variety of events such as picnics, movie nights and forums that can be attended by everyone on campus. I also want to make sure that the collective maintains its accessible approach to meetings & events that has helped connect people even in lockdown. The Women's Collective must always be an easily accessible space for those who are affected and want to fight back against the patriarchy. The Collective has always been a vibrant activist space and I intend to improve upon this. As the next federal election draws closer, we need a space where feminists can organise effectively to promote the ideals we want to see in wider Australian politics and I believe I am the best person to do this. I have frequently campaigned for progressive women in all levels of politics and through this have gained experience



I further aim to facilitate a safe and autonomous space for international students to voice their concerns and find comfort in one another. Moreover, I hope to work alongside my peers at REVIVE and other society heads at UTS to form a large network of students (both domestic and international) that help advocate for international students from the classroom to the student-council board room. Lastly, I strive to advocate for and hopefully mitigate the financial pressures that international students face on a daily basis. This includes forming grassroots working groups to challenge rising international student fees, pushing for cheaper and safer university accommodation, and necessitating concession Opal cards for all international students. In 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison infamously advised international students to ‘make their way home’. The ongoing reluctance to bring

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offshore international students back to Australia affirms the view that we are not seen as essential to the fabric of Australian society. Once international travel resumes, and more international students start to hopefully return, I hope to rehabilitate and welcome as many international students as possible at UTS. If I were to be elected as


the International Student Officer at UTS in 2022, I will make it my goal

Antara NARAYAN Hello everyone! My name is Antara (she/ her), I am an Indian international student studying a Bachelor of Law and Communication, proudly running for International Officer with [REVIVE] 2022. International students in Australia often feel as though all the cards are stacked against us. Factors like workplace exploitation, alienation in the classroom, financial instability, societal discrimination, and an endless list of humanitarian issues contribute to our adversity. While international student rights have always been a contested issue, the pandemic has revealed to us more than ever the importance of continued advocacy for international students' social and economic security in Australia. This is what I aim to do if elected to the position of International Officer. My primary aim is to provide accessible international students’ resources and knowledge that characterise our UTS experiences. A range of changes includes mandating translations for important information such as welfare support, pushing for diverse and welcoming classroom environments that will result in higher academic engagement, and requiring lecture recordings with closed captions.


to see that every international student who has put their trust in the Australian Education system is able to think of UTS and Australia as their home away from home.

SRC Alliance For Accountability

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Alliance for Accountability


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Jovan BEA

14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Charlotte WARDELL

14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Jeremy SAAD

14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability


14 Student Representative Councillors

Alliance for Accountability

Zakiah TAHIR

Alliance for Accountability is for a better UTS - for all of us. As an

religion, cultural background, level of education, mental or physical

independent group on campus, we will put you first ahead of executive

ability and all factors which diversify individuals, we will continually

or partisan interests. We will keep the executive honest, and we will be

promote the fair treatment and inclusion of all voices, ideas and

your voice on SRC. Our social justice plan acknowledges and addresses



14 Student Representative Councillors

key issues, and we will advocate for awareness over the climate change crisis, equality and against discrimination in all its forms. We’re

Climate Change Crisis

not extreme, but passionate – so we will be able to negotiate with on your behalf, to achieve the best outcome. We will protect and support

Our focus will be heightened when assessing the environmental

student journalists and publications. Your experience on campus

regulations imposed around campus and we promise to advocate for

matters - we will advocate for more social facilities and support.

future generations so they too are given the freedom of clean water, air and ability to witness a thriving ecosystem.

A vote for the Alliance is a vote for accountability, an amazing experience on campus, a strong education and a vote for you.

On top of the already innovative steps taken to tackle the current climate crisis, we will further advocate for there to be action taken to


generate renewable power throughout campus buildings by installing solar energy panels – an investment that will make a real difference in

In line with our ethical and moral beliefs regarding the advocacy

preserving the environment whilst also limiting hefty costs.

for empowerment of all people regardless of socioeconomic status,


In addition to this, we will advocate for students to voice their concerns

Introducing additional stipends for student journalists as a reward for

and take a stand against absurd policies, putting an end to the

their outstanding service to the UTS community. This would see an

suppression of student voices!

award for the most coveted student publication of the year alongside a series of other prizes to motivate talented and involved students and



With an increasingly diverse population of students across the campus,


we will advocate for consequences to be imposed upon those who are racist or act in any discriminatory manner towards another student.

Collectives and advocates should not be silenced by the SRC. When

We will also advocate to increase funds allocated towards educating

elected, we will restore and protect the autonomy of collectives and

students on various linguistic and cultural backgrounds in an attempt

advocates. Remove UTSSA SRC/Executive overreach into collective

to deter acts of racism from taking place. By increasing the possibility

affairs. We will reduce executive power to accomplish this (see ‘Reform

of accountability we will further promote a safe and welcoming

Our Src’).

environment for all students. Improve YOUR Experience on Campus In addition to this, we will advocate for students from diverse backgrounds to voice their opinions and ideas by advocating for

Everybody has different views on how they want to live and spend their

increased support programs.

university life. Some prefer the parties and socialisation aspect where


others prefer to get over and done with their degrees. Overall, our ticket Discrimination against Mental Health – The public stigma

aims to satisfy all diverse goals of university lifestyle.

With the recent wave of unprecedented events, the need for reliable

and accessible counsellors are more in demand than ever. We will

Providing more freedom to plan larger and more entertaining

advocate for the wellbeing of all students to be a significant priority. We will do this by advocating for increased funds to introduce a variety of

events for different individuals who are apart of different societies •

programs and facilities which will provide assistance to students when required.

“Advocate for increased funding for societies by the University:

More late night activities and drinks on campus, with increased measures to improve safety.

Stronger and effective anti-discrimination policies to address problems with violent or extremist behaviour and fundemantalist


groups on campus. •

The Vertigo student publication is integral to expressing students’ curiosity, creativity and vision. Our campaign strives to support vertigo

problems and are instead used for censorship. •

and its creators by supporting student stipends and resources available to the publication. We support vertigo and believe that there should

More social facilities, advocate for the University to invest in recreational facilities, including pool tables, table tennis, large

University Executive and Government to account. Aligning ourselves whilst intertwining our own values of transparency and independence.

Push to maintain more online and offline classes to accommodate lifestyles of all uni individuals

be more initiatives available for student journalists to hold the SRC, with the core values of the publication of inclusivity and representation

Repeal the policies which are ineffective at addressing these

chess set in the main building. •

More support for those living in University housing, speaking and working with them to understand their needs.

Our plan comprises of: REFORM OUR SRC Removing the requirement for 35% of content to be approved by the General Secretary of UTSSA. The change enables more freedom for

Our student union must be democratic and transparent. Our ticket was

creators to be expressive and bold with their works to raise important

formed as a result of concerns by students over recent actions and

social issues or to simply explore abstract concepts.

reforms to the association. We will use our influence in the Student Union to call for and act on:

Creating more opportunities for students to become involved in having their work shown and publicised through greater investment. The

[Transparent and Open Meetings]

investment would target the Vertigo team’s ability to market the need for submissions on a periodic basis.


We will call for all meetings of the SRC to be livestreamed, for the

students to be able to ask questions during meetings and for all

The executive should not exert control over editorial content, and we

minutes to be uploaded to the website immediately. A set period of

will push for the repeal of section 2.3 of the by-laws for the Students

time should be set aside during meetings so that students can ask

Association of UTS which mandate that 35% of the content must be

questions of their representative body. This will help ensure that the

approved by the General Secretary before publication.

SRC act in a responsible manner, and will encourage collaboration in the face of scrutiny.

[Election and Constitutional Reform]

[Mandatory Disclosure of Political Affiliation]

Nominations for SRC must be better advertised, to ensure our elections are competitive and to prevent officials from being Elected Unopposed.

SRC should not be a playpit for wannabe politicians.

Many students we’ve spoken to are unaware of the Student Union, nor that elections are taking place.

When elected, we will push for SRC members to declare membership of political parties and/or factions. We will fight for election reform to

The UTSSA and SRC Representatives should not have the sole power

ensure this information is clear at elections, to ensure transparency

to change the constitution, rather we support changes students vote on

and prevent SRC domination by a specific organisation. Lets keep party


politics out of our association. [No Unreasonable Censorship or Sanctions by UTSSA] We live up to what we stand for, so here’s our political affiliation disclosure:

Representatives who disagree with the UTSSA executive should NOT be threatened with sanctions, expulsion from UTSSA SRC, nor a ban on participating in elections. If elected, we will ensure that this power is

A minority of our candidates are members of the Australian Democrats

not misused and will push for reforms.


A majority of our candidates are Independent (Unaffiliated on Campus) (Unaffiliated on Campus)

[Student Votes for Major Changes] [Association Money should be spent on YOU - NOT Consultants] If a major change is made to the constitution of the UTSSA, all students Money allocated to the Association should be used on causes that

should have a say and should be eligible to vote on it. A majority of

matter to you, and should be used wisely - as some of it originates from

student votes to alter the UTSSA constitution.

your Student Services and Amenities Fee. We are concerned by the increase in spending for Consultants from $3,073 in 2019 to $25,383


in 2020 for the purpose of drafting new Grievance Procedures and “assist[ing] in writing [the association’s] By-Laws.”

As we were unable to run candidates for executive positions this year, we will fight to achieve our policy through advocacy, negotiation and

Students must be informed if such a large amount of their money is

by pressuring the UTSSA executive to ACT. Over the next 12 months we

spent on hiring consultants - and we will fight for this process to be

will look for more candidates to fulfil our vision of a better UTS. We will

transparent and for all students to be informed. As an independent

be transparent and will keep YOU informed!

voice, we will investigate why the money was spent this way - and will ask questions. We will evaluate the stipends paid to UTSSA executive


members. A vote for Alliance for Accountability is a vote for a team which will hold [Reduce Executive Power]

the university, your representatives and the government to account. We are not running candidates for most UTSSA executive positions this

When we vote for an UTSSA Executive (granted its a competitive

election, so vote for who you think best suits your values and we will

election), they should be subservient to you - the student, and should

keep them honest.

not boss you around. The UTSSA Executive should not have the ability to interfere or meddle with independent activists or collectives on

Vote [1] Alliance for Accountability for SRC

campus. We will fight for the repeal of Collective By-Laws introduced

Vote [1] Alliance for Accountability for NUS

by the previous executive in March as collective members deserve privacy, safety and autonomy.



14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate


14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate


14 Student Representative Councillors

Students 4 Climate

Lina MIN

🐚 Action 🐚

student life, however, are only offered at limited days and times of

🌿 Policy 🌿

the on-campus week. ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ believe that access

💥 Justice 💥

to nutritious and free food should be flexible and accessible to the working and studying student: we believe in expanding the reach of the

STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE is an experienced yet fresh-faced ticket

UTSSA’s present food welfare programs.


with passion for the environment, climate and for green action. We believe in a more sustainable future and in that, a better UTS: one that

POLICY: ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ believes in a strong and united

supports the #StopAdani movement; commits to their 2019 declaration

student union based on fair and just policy, and a student union that

of a climate emergency; and actively supports staff and students

advocates for the University’s policy-making on issues relating to

participating in global climate strikes. A better UTS means a UTS that

sustainability and environmentalism. We commend the work of past

recognises the power they have as an institution to create change,

Students’ Association members in cultivating a culture that takes action

influence other universities and develop an eco-conscious culture.

against the climate crisis and against climate denial, however see the opportunity to additionally use the connections, channels and networks

ACTION: ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ believes in the power of students

of the Students Association for productive and long-lasting impact.

to create meaningful change through climate actions, which include strikes, demonstrations and protests. With members of ‘STUDENTS

The Students Association should continually be pressured to support

4 CLIMATE’ as participants in several climate strikes as well as

the UTS environmentalism movement, and we believe we are the best

organisers for climate rallies, we understand the passion and frustration

for this job.

commonly felt by students, as we also feel this frustration. JUSTICE: ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ believes in not just climate justice, But ‘action’ doesn’t always have to mean radical protest: we also

but also economic, social and political justice. In the climate sense,

believe in the power of individuals to contribute to the fight against

“justice” also encapsulates how marginalised and under-resourced

the global climate crisis. This can mean deliberate decisions made

communities bear the brunt of climate change. For example, rising sea

to preserve water, energy and consumer waste. As ‘STUDENTS

levels pose a threat to island nations in the current and future; and

4 CLIMATE’, we believe that UTS should make a greater effort to

rising heat especially impacts Western Sydney, where urbanisation has

influence the UTS Community’s individual choices by installing a

created a hotter atmosphere.

compost system, and expanding the current sustainability plan that Building 2 (UTS Central) and its food court operates under.

Though, “JUSTICE” for us also means social justice: We believe in feminist justice, First Nations justice, justice for People of Colour,

Additionally, we will advocate for the re-activation of the UTS food

queer and LGBTQIA+ justice, disability justice, and economic justice.

co-op system, working together with Bluebird Brekky and Night

Members of ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ are feminists, and who stand

Owl Noodles to provide sustainable, nutritious and accessible food

among those who have experienced misogyny in the individual,

to students. The Bluebird Brekky and Night Owl Noodles programs

community and/or systemic forms. Members of the ‘STUDENTS 4

currently offered by the UTSSA are key and integral features of UTS

CLIMATE’ have additionally been engaged with the movement for PoC


and First Nations justice on campus and will continue to advocate for

14 Student Representative Councillors



justice on the SRC when elected. We believe standing up for these causes as either identifying as part of these groups, or in solidarity with communities who experience these marginalisations, is a key part of who we are as candidates for your SRC.

Hi! My name is Cal McKinley (they/he) and I am a fourth year environmental science student. I am running for an SRC position with [REVIVE], and hope to be elected as

All in all, ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE’ is a ticket not just concerned with

Disability Officer, to restart the Disability

the environment, but also with the welfare and care of UTS students,

Collective that has been inactive for a

and the sustainability of the UTS campus. Vote ‘STUDENTS 4 CLIMATE

number of years. In 2021 I was privileged to serve as convener for the Queer Collective, and thus have a wealth of experience in building up


strong, inclusive activist communities on campus. The needs of disabled students have been woefully neglected at UTS, and as a

14 Student Representative Councillors



member of SRC I would campaign for radical access for all students, using my lived experience as a physically disabled, autistic person.

Hey there! My name is Elijah Hollero (he/they), and I’m a fourth-year student running for

Accessibility is a right and should serve as the building block for

Queer Officer for REVIVE 2022. I’m studying

true, fair participation for all students. There are countless physical

for a double degree in Social Political

accessibility barriers at UTS. Lifts are turned off after hours leaving

Science, and International Studies. As a

students stranded. There are heavy, difficult to open doors preventing

trans, gender fluid, Filipino I have firsthand

easy access to lifts, disabled bathrooms and many classrooms. There

representation and intersectional leadership. Additionally, I had the privilege of serving as the 2021

is no widespread, easily accessible captioning for zoom classes almost


experience knowing the importance of diverse

two years into online learning during the pandemic. Innumerable students fall through the cracks of the university’s Accessibility

Convener for the Ethnocultural Collective. I believe that my advocacy

service, not understanding what access needs they have and how the

for autonomous communities at UTS gives me the knowledge needed

university can help accommodate them.

to do this role justice. I believe wholeheartedly in radical activism unfettered by the ableism Queer students have complex experiences that intersect many aspects

of bureaucracy or management, and as Disability Officer I would uplift

of life, often leaving them feeling isolated from cis-heteronormative

the voices of all disabled students, ensuring true justice for all at UTS.

health services. I aspire to advocate for specialised mental health and support resources for all autonomous student groups. I’ve also

14 Student Representative Councillors



had first-hand experiences awkwardly having to clarify in class my pronouns when being misgendered. So, by encouraging disclosing pronouns by staff and students at UTS with an opt-out option for those

Ahlan! My name is Suzy Monzer (she/her) and I'm a first-generation Lebanese migrant

not comfortable sharing pronouns, we can increase gender diversity

student running with [REVIVE] in hopes of

awareness. Safe spaces create strong communities and provide a

being Ethno-Cultural Officer for 2022. I’m

place for autonomous groups to share experiences, but not everyone

currently in my fourth year of a Journalism

is afforded their own physical space. I believe providing accessible

and Law degree and am also the current

spaces online and on-campus for all is important.

President of Students for Humanity UTS and Equity Director for the

Above all else, I’m running with REVIVE because I know the SRC

Journalism Society. The knowledge I’ve acquired

should be a safe, accessible, and genuinely inclusive space for all

from my studies and the above roles, as well as my personal

students to be heard. A place to build community, and work together

experience of racism as a woman of colour, has inspired me to apply

towards a university life that truly represents its students.

for this role. I know what it feels like to be sidelined, invalidated and gas-lit with no true resolve. For this reason, I aim at making UTS a safer and more effective space for POC. As Ethno-Officer I’d advocate for more action on significant social issues. This means extending efforts beyond good marketing


campaigns and focusing efforts towards implementing strategies that

14 Student Representative Councillors



will affect long-term change on campus. Strategies would include better training for all staff and students in regard to anti-discrimination

Hi, i’m Chloe and i’m running for SRC

and the creation of a system that will allow UTS to measure the

representative in the student union with

impacts they have had on campus. I’d also want to see a better and

REVIVE. Our UTSSA should be an activist

more accessible grievance system for dealing with instances of

organisation that stands up for student rights

discrimination on campus.

and social justice.

Making effective change on campus starts with listening to students.

This year i’ve been part of the Education Action

I’ll actively and consistently be an open source for students to share

Group’s campaigns to defend staff jobs and

their reflections and criticisms and will advocate whole-heartedly for


campus to be a safe space for all students.

and the uni management want to turn our degrees into glorified youtube

learning conditions. Hundreds of staff have been sacked

tutorials. It’s up to the UTSSA to fight fee increases, course cuts and 14 Student Representative Councillors


Vanessa LIM

attacks on student learning and to also build movements like the Climate Strikes, Black Lives Matter, and the protests for LGBTI+ rights against

Have you ever felt that people in the

the transphobic so-called ‘Religious Freedom’ bills.

environmental spaces, are often privileged and gatekeep what is right and wrong to

One in three students lives below the poverty line & will graduate with a


lifetime of debt. As a socialist activist i’m committed to rebuilding student activism in 2022 and putting the UTSSA at the centre of campaigns to


Hey, my name is Vanessa Lim (she/he), I’m running for the REVIVE 2022 Environmental Officer role. I’m currently a 4th-year

fight the corporatisation of education. We also need a student union with a social conscience that stands up for refugees, the environment and against the Morrison governments militarism.

Communications and BCii Honours student. Before working with 2021 UTS Enviro Collective as a Creative Director many

14 Student Representative Councillors



environmental spaces felt out of touch with the general population. Coming from a low-SES background in Western Sydney has shown me

Do you feel represented and appreciated at UTS?

that environmental spaces often become inaccessible and overwhelm the average student.

My name is Sara Chaturvedi (she/they), and I’m running with REVIVE as a General

So where do I come in as your potential Environmental Officer?

Councilor. I'm a 1st-year communications

I want to create accessible methods of engaging students in

student majoring in social and political

sustainablity, centre intersectional views and not alienate students

sciences. Being an active member of the UTS

from environmental spaces. We need to centre Indigenous people in climate justice, their voices should be amplified, as we stand on

Ethnocultural collective and a cast member for UTS's upcoming POC Revue, I've always regarded

their land. I also want to fight for secure Enviro Collective funding and

solidarity and representation for marginalised communities as vital in

accessible environmental education.

diverse spaces such as UTS. This experience has actively made me pursue visibility for all students on-campus.

Being an active member of many societies has led me to believe sustainability on campus, can lead to empowered communities. This

It took UTS 3 years to be convinced that a POC revue would be a good

includes working with UTS Sustainability to create fun accessible

idea; this is despite 47% of all students speaking another language other

events, creating food waste initiatives, and importantly listening to

than English at home and 48% of all students being born overseas. In

students about how they want to partake in sustainability.

comparison, USYD has had multiples successful POC revues in the past few years. I want to provide students with sufficient funding to enrich

To keep UTS accountable for its 2019 climate crisis declaration, we

student life on campus, collaborate with societies, and promote community

need to create changes that put our community first. I want to work

events they believe in.

with all UTS students; through our connected goals on the REVIVE ticket we will support sustainable on-campus action.

Since joining autonomous groups like the Ethnocultural and Queer Collectives, I’ve been able to have shared experiences as a 1st-generation queer immigrant. It’s a shame that the Ethnocultural Collective currently has to fight for a shared autonomous space on-campus. I believe


autonomous groups such as the Ethnocultural Collective and the

As an engineering student enrolled in the Professional Engineering

interfaith room should have accessible physical spaces that build our

Practice diploma, having to secure two six-month-long internships

communities at UTS.

is a significant stressor. Searching for internships especially during lockdown is difficult, with thousands of students competing with each

If elected with REVIVE 2022 to strengthen our communities post

other for the few relevant listings on CareerHub. Many cannot settle

lockdown, I will engage with fellow UTS students to ensure they feel

for one that’s unpaid. This experience is even harder for international

seen and heard on-campus.

students in the diploma because many companies do not offer them internships and they also risk visa issues if they do not have one lined

14 Student Representative Councillors


Simashee DE SILVA

up in time. For an opportunity that is supposed to be a benefit for us, the searching process is pretty bleak and stressful, and therefore

Hi, my name is Simashee de Silva (she/her), and I’m running for the General Councillor

I would campaign for increased support to secure well-paying internships for all diploma students.

position with REVIVE 2022. I'm a 3rd-year student in Business Management and

Other policies I would work on are campaigning for the university to

Environmental Biotechnology. I've been

stop performative activism and make more direct actions to support

actively involved with societies and have been the President of Ecosoc UTS for 2 years. I’m passionate about sustainability, which is what

has driven me to pursue my degree and be involved

with Ecosoc. My ambitions if elected would be to improve sustainable

marginalised students, improving mutual aid initiatives on campus and lobbying for relevant change in national legislation. I, a transgender person of colour, along with the rest of REVIVE have our diverse and intersectional perspectives that I believe will be the key for amazing student representation.

initiatives and enrich student campus life, after lockdown. Revive



14 Student Representative Councillors During my study, I’ve become even more conscious and aware of how connected everything is with the environment. Understanding this has

Hello, everyone! My name is Nikhil Prasad

made me want to progress sustainable action at UTS. I would aim to

(he/him) and I’m running for the position

create transparent waste management guides and have reusable

of General Councillor with REVIVE 2022.

menstrual products so students have access to eco-friendly

I am currently a 1st-year nursing student

practices. I would also fight for UTS to have more efficient systems

but previously studied UTS biomedical

in place such as mandating sensor lights to save energy and having

science. Whilst I’ve enjoyed studying here,

campus-wide compost bins. Being part of Ecosoc UTS has also made

I’ve had first-hand experience attending

me aware of how sustainability can foster community. My goals would

unpaid placement, which has interrupted my

be to create a community garden, support the Food Co-op and bring events where students can form connections with others on campus.

financial flow. I’m fortunate enough that I’m personally able to take time off work, but for many nursing students, this is an unaffordable privilege.

These actions would also help students who may be overwhelmed by our current climate situation, to foster a positive space that is

Nursing placements are a full-time commitment for up to a month at

accessible for everyone. I believe by working with the REVIVE 2022

a time, adding up to roughly 800 hours of unpaid labour when finally

team, we create a campus life that centres around students.

completing the course. If elected General Councillor, I would dedicate my time to fighting for paid placements, to compensate all nursing

14 Student Representative Councillors


Shaheen BOAZ

students. The degree is also popular for many international students, who often need to work in order to pay for excessive upfront course

Hi, I’m Shaheen (he/him), a 2nd year mechanical and mechatronic engineering

fees. Additionally, the costs of living and limited access to resources for them only exacerbates the urgency for adequate pay.

student running with REVIVE as a general councillor! During my university life I’ve

We choose our university not just based on the degree, but also

been an active member of many collectives

to experience good campus life. If students aren’t properly funded

such as Queer and Ethnocultural. Seeing

for placements, this limits their ability to participate in UTS events.

how students support each other in these collectives is what made me interested in running for SRC along with my REVIVE mates.

As someone who has been here for 3 years now, participating in societies has an importance on allowing us to make connections, form relationships and further our careers. With REVIVE 2022 we will consistently strive to fight for paid placements, and help cultivate a supportive campus life for all.


Divorced Dads 4 SRC

14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC


14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC


14 Student Representative Councillors

Divorced Dads 4 SRC

Mehmet MUSA



No photo provided

No photo provided

14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Sabrine YASSINE 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Bailey RILEY 14 Student Representative Councillors

Fire Up


14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Gracie ABADEE


14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Mia CAMPBELL 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Zebadiah CRUICKSHANK 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Saihej BHANGU 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Rufus DADD-DAIGLE 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Priscilla SPALDING 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Rianne HAMAD 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Trinity SANTOS 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Aylin CIHAN 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Sandra YOUSSIF 14 Student Representative Councillors Fire Up Jared TURKINGTON Fire Up! your SRC!

What does this look like?

Fire Up! your SRC is a diverse ticket of experienced and passionate

Fighting for more summer subjects

students who care about making sure the UTS Students Association

Increased flexibility and freedom to choose if you take classes on

(UTSSA) is the best it can be. The UTSSA delivers critical student service to students that need it at UTS. We’re the only team that can

or off-campus. •

turn up the heat on UTS and make sure the UTSSA is the hottest in years. We have a broad range of policies that we know will reignite your

Compulsory lecture recordings and slide uploads – letting you study at the pace you need it at.

Pushing for a shift from closed-book exams that require high

studies and burn through all the barriers that have been put in place to

pressure cramming towards something more holistic that will help

your success.

you show off your best work.

Our team has balanced experience with both young guns and


Your Night Owl Noodles and Bluebird Brekkie

experienced student advocates. Our experienced members have •

big wins under their belt. Our UTS student-focused wins include:

Quite unfortunately, the UTSSA had to temporarily suspend Night Owl

Successfully lobbying UTS to divest from fossil fuels!

Noodles and Bluebird Brekky due to COVID-19. However, our team will

Fighting for lesser wait times for e-requests and increased admin

aim to restore both services, as loved by many, next semester. We’re


incredibly aware of how essential this support is for students and how

Advocating for more financial grants available to international

important it is to continue it.

students. Changing student misconduct procedures to reduce unfair wait

Not only do we plan on bringing it back, but we want to advocate for


an expanded service - to ensure its available every single week of the

Ensuring students consent to AI invigilated exams.

semester, while also pushing for increased options and varieties for

Promoting extra practical classes for Traditional Chinese Medicine


students who don’t want to return to campus too early. •

Bringing back Night Owl Noodles and Bluebird Brekky in

Your Mental Health!

Semester 1. •

Making the UTSSA more accountable and transparent.

All of us in Fire Up! understand the devastating effect COVID-19 and

And much more!

lockdowns have had on our mental health. We’re making mental health one of our top priorities. Fire Up! is the only ticket that will set


up a consultative committee with your Welfare Reps to provide more channels for you to reach out for support. We commit to fighting for

The past two years have had unprecedented impacts on our education

UTS to provide more counsellors, including Sexual Assault/Sexual

at UTS. We’ve had to shift to online learning with minimal support and

Harassment and trauma-informed counsellors from ethnically diverse

told to make do with a substandard model of teaching and learning.

backgrounds at UTS. With wait times too long for reaching the support

Even further, quite unfortunately, UTS has sacked hundreds of staff with

students need, our team will be pushing and lobbying to reduce waiting

more jobs under threat. Fire Up! will fight against these attacks and

times - we want to ensure every student can access the help they need

advocate for a high-quality education for all UTS students, even while

when they need it.



Your Welfare!

Collective leadership to ensure a strong working relationship in the future.

Living in recluse throughout the majority of 2021, the importance of social contact and interaction has shown itself. Student welfare is a

Your future with Fire Up!

top priority for our team by balancing the pressures of study, work, and coping with the extended lockdown.

What Fire Up! Brings to the table is experience, unwavering support for student advocacy, a willingness to be bold and make demands. We

How will we respond?

feel ready to offer so much for UTS students that we’re optimistic our experience, history, and previous wins can achieve.

Running regular calls with our Welfare Collective, welcoming all to come along to chat and ask for assistance.

What policies are we pushing?

Pushing for UTS to expand its support to everyone.

Demanding increased flexibilities with the choice of classes. We

Better access to extensions for assessments.

want students to prioritise their welfare and not sacrifice it for

Improving Counselling services to include Sexual Assault/Sexual

studying. •

Harassment and trauma-informed counsellors from ethnically

Improving Counselling services to include Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment and trauma-informed counsellors from ethnically

diverse backgrounds. •

diverse backgrounds.

more summer classes. •

We want to build a fun culture at the Welfare Collective, so bring all the


lollies and the games you’d like!

Demanding increased flexibility with the choice of classes, and Expanding Bluebird Brekky and Night Owl Noodles to be more accessible.

Instilling compulsory lecture recordings and slide uploads.

Pushing for paid student internships.

Your COLLECTIVES There are many more policies that Fire Up! wants to push for the Collectives are an essential part of the UTSSA. Collectives must

betterment of students here at UTS. Keep an eye out for our socials for

be a loud activist voice for the issues they represent. We need bold

more detailed policies.

Collectives that fight for issues that affect everyday students at UTS. Our team members have worked hard on bringing in much-needed


governance and procedures that strengthen Collective longevity and


transparency to UTS Students’. This is necessary for any legitimate


organisation. The Fire Up ticket makes no apologies for being


accountable to UTS students that fund our Association.


We promise to help mobilise Collectives to fight for fairer special


considerations, ending Saturday exams, standardise 11:59 pm


submission times, recorded lectures and much more. We also are


committed to supporting Collectives to decide their fate and support


initiatives they wish to pursue. Collective Autonomy is crucial to this. As a ticket, we are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Autonomous Collectives, advocating their interests to the university, and mobilising with them when necessary. Elected student representative shouldn’t use students’ money to fight for a political agenda that a minority have pushed for in 2021. Student representatives must use student money for students! Fire Up! will ensure that we have solid and accountable Collectives that have access to the funding they need to do their jobs well. Our Collective OfficeBearers will rebuild trust between the membership of the Collectives and the SRC. Our Executive team will have regular meetings with



No photo provided


7 NUS Fire Up Zebadiah CRUICKSHANK 7 NUS Fire Up Sabrine YASSINE 7 NUS Fire Up Nour AL HAMMOURI 7 NUS Fire Up Bailey RILEY 7 NUS Fire Up Will SIMMONS 7 NUS Fire Up Jared TURKINGTON 7 NUS Fire Up Erin DALTON

Alliance for Accountability

7 NUS Alliance for Accountability Adrian LOZANCIC 7 NUS Alliance for Accountability Charlotte WARDELL


Our association is filled with legal jargon and future national politicians.

Revive 7 NUS


That is NOT how it should be. As a student who is uninterested in being a political figure, I promise that in voting for me, you will be Damien NGUYEN

supporting a commitment to a real transparent council. Student council meetings will be accessible to everyone and not on private zoom links

My name is Damien Nguyen [he/him] and I am an international student from Viet Nam.

with motions being passed behind closed doors. I will ensure you know how we are spending Student Fees, from expanding BlueBird Brekkie

I am the current Environmental Collective

& Night Owl Noodles, to supporting Vertigo, to pushing for better

Convenor and the 2021 Science Society

monetary support for Activate clubs and societies and bar tabs in the





GAMES Vote [1] REVIVE for SRC and NUS I want to be given the opportunity to immensely improve students'

Anna Thieben for President

lives. As this year will be the last time I’ll be enrolled as an international

Damien Nguyen for General Secretary

student, I look forward to being able to represent both domestic and

Melissa Sukkarieh for Assistant General Secretary

international students in a candid way. We need to revive our campus

Cat Doherty for Education Officer

and I have the experience to do so. In the last year, I’ve rebuilt the

Holly Hayne for Welfare Officer

Enviro Collective community, quadrupling our active members, and


facilitating student mobilization for the May 21st Climate strike, and




supporting our team’s #StopAdani campaign. Whether it be chatting to you at an event, liaising with the Vice-Chancellors, or advocating for

I’m Holly and I’m running for Welfare Officer

campaigns, I will ensure that our Association is fighting for the student

because we need an activist student union

body, not playing political games.

that will fight to defend our education from cuts and take up important social justice


issues like the campaign for climate justice, LGBTI rights, for refugee rights, and Black

This position is the Secretary, the Vice President, and the Treasurer

Lives Matter.

all at the same time. Most students don’t know the current salary for this position is more than the entire Vertigo team combined. THAT IS

This year has been a travesty for student welfare.

OUR STUDENT MONEY. Being given that platform, I aim to facilitate a

Hundreds of UTS staff have been sacked and whole courses slashed

version of the association that you, the average student, can be a part

as UTS management sit on six-figure salaries and pursue dodgy deals

of. Students should not have QR codes shoved in their faces and be

with fossil fuel companies, weapons manufacturers, and other nasty

demanded to vote blindly.

corporate partners. We need the UTSSA to lead a student fightback to defend staff jobs and student learning conditions, and this year I’ve


organised numerous protests and forums through the Education Action Group.

I’m running to represent the 13,000 international students at UTS. I’m running for the students who have to pay more than $40,000 a year just

As a socialist activist I’ve helped campaign to defend LGBTI rights as

to be at UTS, those who have to skip meals to afford the “Australian

part of Community Action for Rainbow Rights. The UTSSA must take

Dream” and decide between spending the last $8 in their bank account

a stand against the transphobic ‘Religious Freedoms Bill’ and other

on dinner or transportation to university. I intend to make the services

attacks. If passed, the bill would legalise discrimination against LGBTI

at this university such as health and counselling services, CareerHub,

people in schools, workplaces, and clinics. I’ve also campaigned for

plus Vertigo be accessible for all. At the same time, I aim to facilitate

refugee rights, against the deportation of the Biloela family, and for

and prioritize campaigns led by collective actions.

the protection of Tamil’s fleeing genocide. We need a student union which takes up social justice questions and mobilises students to resist



attacks from the government and university management.

The recent ‘code red for humanity’ IPCC report paints a chilling picture

consent materials to other languages as international students

for our planet’s future. Australia’s place as the world's third biggest

“came here to learn English,” ignoring the fact that they are the most

exporter of fossil fuels means our student unions have an important

susceptible to sexual assault. We also cannot stop at consent, once

role to play in resisting the government as they continue to expand the

consent is given students should have the resources to feel safe. This

industry. This year I helped organise the UTS contingent to the Sydney

comes from sex education modules that work on destigmatising all

Climate Strike, and promise to fight to make reviving climate activism


central to what the UTSSA does in 2022. I have also lived in student housing for my entire university career and The current COVID crisis has highlighted the gross inequality in

have seen it steadily deteriorate. When I moved in, we were promised

Australian society as the Liberals refuse to put health before profits.

secure, affordable housing with a safe community and access to

The Berejiklian government’s failure to lockdown properly has seen

university resources. Instead, the three most affordable residences

infection rates spike in poorer, working class areas like Western and

were sold, gym memberships were revoked, and students were forced

South-West Sydney. And now the government is reopening non-

to leave their housing communities. There is also no protection and

essential businesses like restaurants and hairdressers, as well as

education for students in housing. Should [REVIVE] be elected we

schools, to restore profits. As Welfare Officer I’ll campaign to increase

will strive to implement drinking and drug safety education, access

centrelink payments and prioritise health measures over reopening the

to preventative measures such as drug testing kits and Naloxone,


bringing back Indigenous community housing and overall demand that students be put before profit.

Vote me for Welfare Officer if you want a student union that's committed to rebuilding activism on campus. Revive



Chloe RAFFERTY Hi, i’m Chloe and i’m running for SRC




representative in the student union with Hi! I’m Eshna and I’m running with [REVIVE]

REVIVE. Our UTSSA should be an activist

in hopes to be your Women’s Officer

organisation that stands up for student

for 2022! I’m currently studying Law

rights and social justice.

and Communications. I revived the Women’s Collective with the help of

This year i’ve been part of the Education

incredible activists last year. This year, I

Action Group’s campaigns to defend staff

want to cement the legacy of inclusivity

jobs and student learning conditions. Hundreds

and radical activism that we created. My

of staff have been sacked and the uni management want to turn our

platform has always been about safety, community,

degrees into glorified youtube tutorials. It’s up to the UTSSA to fight

and intersectionality. It has been ensuring that students feel that a

fee increases, course cuts and attacks on student learning and to also

university is a place where they feel secure not only in their educational

build movements like the Climate Strikes, Black Lives Matter, and the

pursuits but also in their capacity to seek support. It is also that this

protests for LGBTI+ rights against the transphobic so-called ‘Religious

safety is extended to all students – queer, trans, Indigenous and

Freedom’ bills.

disabled students – we should all have the same access to a university education free of fear. The fear that you may not have housing, that

One in three students lives below the poverty line & will graduate with

you may get assaulted on campus or that you won’t be able to access

a lifetime of debt. As a socialist activist i’m committed to rebuilding

reporting and counselling services are unacceptable and must be

student activism in 2022 and putting the UTSSA at the centre of


campaigns to fight the corporatisation of education. We also need a student union with a social conscience that stands up for refugees, the

My policies are based on the principle that the university must

environment and against the Morrison governments militarism.

pursue action, not admin! In response to sexual assault on campus, the university ran a campaign with fun fruit innuendoes like “Wanna Spoon? Ask first” which does nothing to materially help survivors. I demand consistent consent training, more funding for counselling services and accessible methods of reporting. Furthermore, we must protect the most vulnerable of our peers. UTS refuses to translate





Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Callum MCSULLEA Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Aden URE Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Georgia BROGAN Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Aleena RIZVI Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Abina KIRUBAHARAN Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Grace OLDFIELD Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Olivia GARCIA Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Ruvi RATNAYAKE Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Vanessa LIM Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Deb LOMBARD Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Jenny CHEN Vertigo Editorial Team Evolve Neysha SANTOS


Vertigo Evolve (2022) Manifesto

Aden Ure is a third-year Visual Communications student.

Vertigo Evolve (2022) is a collective of earnest, forward-thinking

Aleena Rizvi is a third-year Media Arts & Production/ Social & Political

individuals seeking to position Vertigo as a platform to honour its

Science student.

students and bring together diverse ideas, perspectives and content. Callum McSullea is a third-year Visual Communications student. We see ourselves as facilitators – intent on foregrounding student voices from all faculties, backgrounds and experiences – shifting the

Deb Lombard is a first-year Media Arts & Production/ Social & Political

publication’s focus to encompass a broader range of written and visual

Science student.

subject matter from across the institution. Driven by our pursuit of truth, integrity, empathy, and innovation, our vision is to explore Vertigo’s

Georgie Brogan is a first-year Media Arts & Production/ Creative

potential as a shared, pluralistic space for students to engage in

Writing student.

meaningful dialogue, find common ground, and ultimately expand their worldview.

Grace Oldfield is a second-year Public Communication/ Creative Writing and Creative Intelligence & Innovation student.

Through expanding Vertigo’s journalistic capacity, we endeavour to make discourse accessible – encouraging critical and ‘out-of-the-

Jenny Chen is a fourth-year Law and Arts in International Studies

box’ thinking across disciplines. Think science meets information


technology, spirituality, love, art, culture, psychology, health, Neysha Santos is a third-year Creative Writing student.

We will strive for a more autonomous, balanced, and inclusive

Olivia Garcia is a fourth-year Creative Writing and International Studies

publication within which all students can identify and feel represented.



Ruvanindu Ratnayake is a fifth-year Law and Media Arts & Production




Vanessa Lim is a fourth-year Journalism/ Digital & Social Media and


environment, ethics, and philosophy.

Creative Intelligence & Innovation (Honours) student. Abina Kirubaharan is a second-year Law and Science in Information Technology student.




Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Rebekah BATSON Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Jessica TEASDALE Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Talia HORWITZ Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Josef FINSTERER Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Isabelle TRUDGIAN Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Sophie WHITEHEAD Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Sofia LOCKE Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Ella HAILEY Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Penelope DAY Vertigo Editorial Team Invertigo Pierce HADJINICOLA

Rebekah Batson

This past couple of years has been inexplicably hard for everyone, but we’ve come out the other side revived and ready to reclaim our

I’m Bek (she/her) and I’m a second year Comms (Creative Writing and

space as creatives and as students. I’m so proud of the team we’ve put

Social and Political Sciences) and International Studies student! I have

together, and can’t wait to turn Vertigo upside down.

a passion for language, but probably read and write more than I speak, and a lust for consistent inversion: Whether warping the parameters of

Find me at @armchairgirl on insta or Vertigo online!

sonnets or slandering the iron fist that is Australian politics. Talia Horwitz I love poetry, and have had four poems published by Vertigo thus far; ‘Ultra’, in Euphoria, ‘Nine Circles’, in Goodbye Analogue, and ‘Soul Ties’,

Hi! My name is Talia (she/her) and I’m ambitious, creative and fuelled

online, all in 2020, as well as ‘our conversations’, in Glitch, earlier this year.

by a hunger for change (and burritos, hold the coriander, duh). I am an emerging writer desperate to pen technicolour goodness into a world

I excel in editing, as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, with years of

increasingly corroding at the callous hands of humanity. My identity is

portfolio proofreading experience, and hope to someday fall into the

a miscellany of my immigrancy and my found home of Australia, and I

world of publishing.

utilise my experiences – some rousing, some heartrending and some that are just plain idiotic – to inspire my authorship.


I am currently in my second year of a Bachelor of Communications

I’ve always been interested in collaborating with other creatives on a

in Creative Writing & Social and Political Science at UTS, which

fun and fulfilling project and Vertigo is the perfect opportunity to do

has allowed me to dive headfirst into the professional realm of

this throughout the entire year. I’m truly honoured to be working with

publishing. In 2021, I was selected to be an editor for the UTS Writer’s

such a talented team, and can guarantee some incredible work being

Anthology, through which I was able to engender manifold meaningful

produced next year.

connections within the editorial field, whilst simultaneously cultivating skills such as proof-reading, editing, copywriting, marketing and

Sophie Whitehead

thematic conceptualisation. My creative non-fiction piece Buczyna will be published within Bloom, the upcoming anthology, later this year.

Hey! My name is Sophie (she/her) and I’m a second year Design in Visual Communications and BCII student! I am an avid multi-

Our Vertigo team are perhaps the grooviest bunch of students you’ll ever

disciplinary designer and creative, with a particular passion for print,

meet, and we can’t wait to invert Vertigo, upside down and inside out.

branding and publication design - so right up Vertigo’s alley. I’m excited to see one of my mixed media artworks titled ‘Whispers’ in

Be my friend! Find me at @talib4by on Instagram or at your nearest

the upcoming issue Autonomy. As a designer prepared to push the

Guzman Y Gomez.

boundaries of the creative realm, you can find me constantly immersed in my sketchbooks, sipping an almond mocha in my home studio. With

Ella Hailey

experience in the professional realm, working as a freelance designer, I am great at liaising with others and working towards complex (and

Hey! I’m Ella (she/her) and I’m a second year student in visual

sometimes tight) briefs. And.. you’ll soon see my merchandise design

communication. I’m a constantly caffeinated creative who’s passions

on TD connect UTS x The Butterfly Foundation’s new merch- and

are illustration and publication design, dappling in motion graphics and

hopefully my designs for Vertigo 2022!

submitting illustrations to their design team and have worked on

Our creative and talented team is fuelled with fresh perspectives, as we

several illustration freelance projects. My dream is to be able to

aim to invert Vertigo Magazine post pandemic!

illustrate and publish children’s books one day! My funky and fresh design can be found on my studio page @studio.s.w I can usually be found doodling on procreate or playing in illustrator.

on Instagram or my portfolio website at https://sophiehkwhitehead.

When I’m not designing you can bet I’ll be outside in the sun, baking a

myportfolio.com !

cake or crocheting. Izzie Trudgian With a family history of art, design and music and an overwhelming drive to be a creative myself, I’m constantly working towards my

Hey hey! I’m Izzie (she/her) – an extremely passionate and ambitious

next project and love to stay busy. I am so unbelievably excited to

second year Visual Communications student who loves explaining BCII

be working alongside such a talented team of designers and editors,

to my single-disciplinary friends. I am a graphic designer by day but

inverting vertigo in 2022!

mainly I’m a graphic designer by night. When I’m not designing, I can be found reorganising my Spotify playlists, chasing my dog around

Check out my stuff @e.haileydesigns on Instagram !!

the park, or perfecting my banana bread - my greatest weakness and my greatest strength. I have a huge number of fonts and I know how

Penelope Day

to use them. I’m committed to social justice and promoting accessible platforms to amplify diverse voices and perspectives. I have a wealth of

Hey! My name is Penelope (she/her) and I’m a second year Journalism/

freelance and agency work experience, dabbling in all realms of social

Creative Writing student. I am passionate about books and literature,

media management and design from publication to gallery spaces to

and have always been the go to friend for any proofreading task. I

web and television, with a particular fondness for motion graphics, web

am inspired by magazines like i-D, Repeller, AnOther Magazine and

design, and digital art.

Dazed, which mostly focus on fashion, culture, and art. I am also drawn to writers like Bianca O’Neill and Sara Radin for their creative takes

With the support of my wonderful teammates, I’m eager to embark on

on pop culture topics. In the future I would love to work in the media

my Vertigo journey. As a team of multiple hit wonders, we guarantee a

industry either publishing, editing or working with a communications

year filled with dazzling designs, compelling content, powerful prose,

team for a brand I love. I am currently working on a non-fiction piece

and much less alliteration.

called ‘Lying in the Living Room’ which I hope to publish when it is finally done!

You can stalk my design nonsense on Insta @designed__it or find me on the dancefloor all over Newtown.



branding. I occasionally work alongside Monster Threads Australia,

Jess Teasdale

Sofia Locke

Hi there, my name is Jess Teasdale (she/her), I’m a second year

Hi I’m Sofia (she/her) and I’m a second year Visual Communications

Visual Communications student! I gravitate towards photography,

and BCII student! Since childhood I’ve been obsessed with creating;

illustration and my favourite- print design. I love playing sports and

from painting, to crocheting, to making award winning quilts, I’d like to

being outdoors. My best projects have evolved from exploring outdoor

think I’ve almost done it all! I love to incorporate aspects of my crafts

environments around Sydney, and through travel.

within my design work to create unique and innovative results. I love fun fonts, collages and like many of my fellow designers, a good cup of

My illustrations have been published in 2021 issue 3, Holocene

(strong) coffee! I’m an avid enjoyer of creative arts and live music, and

alongside a beautiful piece of poetry. I have had previous experience as

from three years of volunteering at the Museum of Contemporary Art as

a social media assistant and photoshoot director, and own an associate

a youth committee member and young tour guide, I’ve gained a wealth

degree of Interior Design from Billy Blue.

of experience in working with and around creatives. In this position and others I’ve assisted with print promotion material and digital content

I am so thankful to be in a team of insanely talented designers and


editors, watch out 2022 cause it’s going to be EPIC ;) You can find me on instagram @jessteasdale_creative, and on Behance.

I’m very lucky to be working with some of the best designers and writers that I know, and feel we can bring a strong cohesive vision to

Pierce Hadjinicola

utterly invert vertigo! You can find my work at @sofialocke.design.

Hello, my name is Pierce Hadjinicola (he/him). I’m a first year Comms

Josef Finsterer


Creative Writing and Masters of Secondary Education (English) student. I am a graduate of AFTT film school in Surry Hills where I

Hey! I’m Joe Finsterer (he/him). I’m a second year Communications

studied directing, screenwriting, along with a vast array of pre/post/

(Media Arts and Production) and International Studies (German)

production faculties involved in filmmaking. In my time at film school I

student. I love to make films and write. With any luck, one day I’ll be a

wrote and directed a number of short films, adverts, and was employed


on a freelance basis to create content for musicians, and reality TV celebrities. Several of my films made their way onto the film festival

I enjoy hearing what other people have to say and reading their work.

circuit, being selected for festivals around the world in cities such as

I have a deep interest in the true stories and events of people’s lives. I

Amsterdam, Wellington, Los Angeles, Calcutta, as well as underground

particularly enjoy stories that reflect our humanity and ridiculousness

festivals in Sydney. “Pretty Boy”, one of my co-produced major short

back onto us. In 2019, my work ‘Selective Permanence’ was published,

films, was invited onto a showcase by Peccadillo Pictures and is

a story about my grandfather and his journey to Australia. Currently, I’m

currently available on Amazon for purchase.

working on a short film script and will soon be starting the challenge of actually making it. I’ve found that UTS has helped me grow my

Aside from film achievements I am a highly proficient writer capable of

director’s vision both on the screen as well as on paper. I enjoy

authoring in a variety of mediums including screen, prose, poetry, and

visualising what a film will look like while I write it.

graphic novel form. I am comfortable writing in any genre, and vastly experienced in these mediums.

In my spare time, you can find me taking photos and consequently wasting my money on getting them developed. I’m super excited to be

I am proud to be a part of this extremely talented team, and believe that

a part of this team and can’t wait to see the perspectives and stories

it has the potential to provide fresh, innovative content that turns heads

we can bring to Vertigo.

and gets audiences talking. Find me on Instagram @joeyfinsterer. LINK to Pretty Boy: https://www.peccapics.com/product/ boysonfilm21/ LINK to projects from Film School: https://www.youtube.com/channel/ UCQ4YDmZl2HgFyDRjhpufYSw


Vertigo Mirror

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Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Joseph CHALITA Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Clara ATKIN


Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Ashley SULLIVAN Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Andy LEE Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Joseph HATHAWAY-WILSON Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Alexander MORTENSEN Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Jessica PROWSE Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Sophia RAMOS Vertigo Editorial Team Vertigo Mirror Siena ZADRO

‘Take a look at yourself’

We promise in 2022 to foster exciting new features for sustained engagement, and to be accessible to whatever your interests may be.

The foundation of power is passion: A passion for people, passion for

Expect regular podcasts on the latest tea of things that affect you, an

things, passion for self-expression and change. For thirty years, the

interactive digital forum, and a more involved era of Vertigo.

passion of UTS students has found a voice in Vertigo. Now more than ever, we cannot afford to lose this.

By attending SRC meetings, reporting on potential cuts to your education, and pushing for student needs, we are committed to

Vertigo Mirror believes that the greatest asset to a student body is

transparency and accountability. UTS serves students, students don’t

reflection. Who are you? What do you want? What are you sick of?

serve UTS, and you deserve a student voice that sees things as they are.

What do you stand for? Our passion is your power. We will work closely with student submissions to ensure that Vertigo Vertigo Mirror isn't just a magazine, it’s a place for new beginnings: a

Mirror resonates with the voices and values of its readers. We welcome

collaboration of passionate students who care deeply for the issues,

the liberation of creative freedom and the elevation of individual

concerns, pressures and anxieties of the people at UTS.

expression: the truths that you deserve to tell and be told.

Expect to immerse yourself in a multifaceted anthology of work

More discussions, more art, more heart, more thrill and more you.

that showcases the originality, imagination and artistry of our diverse student body. Whether it be through reflective pieces,

We will reflect who you are.

recommendations and reviews, visual representations or just plain rants - the ways of seeing yourself in Vertigo Mirror are endless.

- Vertigo Mirror -



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