Chelsea writes about her experience of her first ever event with RARE Youth Revolution, Magazine Street.
On the 29th September, I had the privilege to attend Magazine Street. It was an event created by the International Magazine Centre, hosted by Nikki Simpson. There, I got to listen to several inspirational speakers talking about how they made it in publishing, their journey to creating their own magazines and a variety of concepts that have turned into businesses.
One thing that fascinated me was the range of ideas everyone had. The very first four speakers of the day were all from different backgrounds, where not all had a background in publishing. Their individual journeys helped shape their magazines for what they are today. Sandrae Lawrence and her husband created a magazine about their love of cocktails called The Cocktail Lovers. Alex Longson and his partner designed Command+i, a clean and aesthetic magazine idea solely based on the eyedropper tool. It was developed by a joke the two hiker buddies had with each other, where they would go on a hike and after setting their eyes on pretty scenery, they would ask each other to ‘command + i that’. Laura Bartlett founded her lifestyle and travel magazine House of Coco after experiencing bankruptcy. House of Coco was a rebranding for her, a new beginning that became successful. Joanna Briggers made a beautiful print and digital food journal called Dulcify Journal, which she created during lockdown when she found a love for making food and decided to share it with others.
Magazine Street was not just about the magazines, but also the story of how people got there. Kilian Schalk spoke about the possibility of experimentation. It was an important talk, showcasing people he had worked with and how a simple change to their strategy (such as shifting the day and time a newsletter would be sent out) could boost readership engagement. Arusa Qureshi had a love-hate relationship with publishing, but found her way back to it in the end. She spoke about the societal issue of being a woman of colour in publishing, hardships she had faced and trying to prove herself worthy of being in the publishing industry. As a woman of colour myself, it was a rather relatable talk. Although I’m new in the magazine world, the issues she spoke about were always worries of mine and knowing people like her were trying to make it safer for us, was a big deal to me.
One of my favourite speakers of the day had to be Fiona Hayes. Her talk was titled ‘You have a voice. Now What do You want to Say?’. She is an art director, she knew how to tell a story, especially visually. Her point of view was fascinating, where she was well-travelled and worked in massive publications such as Vogue and GQ. And it got me thinking—I have a voice. Now what do I want to say? I feel I will use that from now on, as every individual person can use their voice for something and as she repeatedly stated in her talk, we also have the capacity to change the world.
I felt this talk was going to be hard to go after, but Chris Opoku proved me wrong with talking about the magazine she founded, called The Chritical. It is explained as a ‘place for different thoughts and experiences where social and political issues are brought forward from an atypical stand’. Currently a fourth year student at university, it was amazing to see a younger speaker included into the mix of talent where she had her first digital and print edition within five months of starting it.
An important theme for the next three speakers was community and how it paved the way for their respective magazines. Mark Alker found a community of bikers through Single Track World. He spoke about trust within his community where they ended up coming to his aid during what he called ‘The Great Hack’, where hackers took down their entire website and years of work was lost. This made him realise how amazing his community was and that they loved what he had brought for them.
Kate and Jack Lennie found community in fellow crafters with their magazine, We are Makers. They have been able to speak to a variety of people all with the same passion, sharing their stories through their magazine. Rhiannon Davies found a sense of community locally, creating Greater Govanhill Community Magazine for the people who live near her. She brought a multitude of cultures that co-exist in Govanhill together, shedding light on people who live and work there. Now, they have grown to also do workshops, training and events with the hope to empower people to tell their own stories.
The publishing world wouldn’t be the same without talking about the younger audience. Anna Bassi is the editorial director at The Week Junior. It’s a weekly magazine designed to explain current events, science, sport, art, nature and technology to 8-14 year olds. With the general love for reading going down for the younger generation, which Anna Bassi described as ‘The Decline at 9’ (years old), this magazine aims to encourage them to explore their world and be able to create their own opinions. As someone who loved reading when they were young, I can’t imagine a world without reading, so it was reassuring to see magazines aimed for younger people so they too could fall in love with reading.
Overall, I loved attending Magazine Street. The event kept me on my toes with a range of inspiring talks, each sharing insight in the publishing world. It amazed me how there was no right or wrong answer when it came to creating concepts for their magazines. I was deeply fascinated by all the individual journeys of how people came to have an idea, implement it and how they now share their creation with others. It was a truly amazing event to attend and I already can’t wait for the next!