Cultural Appropriation

Right now you might be thinking another article on cultural appropriation? Haven’t there been enough already? Short answer: no.

It’s 2017. I am still serving drinks to “Native Americans” on Halloween at work despite the current ongoing Standing Rock protests. I am still seeing authentic designs of various indigenous ethnicities being crudely rehashed “ethnic” and “tribal” for financial gain. I am still seeing black friends being reprimanded for their “dirty looking” hair whilst designers such as Marc Jacobs are kitting out white models with a near-identical hairstyle and profiting from it.

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Pale Blue Eyes

“You might want to pad that box with tea towels or something, to soften the blows if it gets knocked about a lot in the van.”

            “I know that, do I look like I’m five? I was just about to get to it.”

            “Fuck, Emma, sorry, I was just trying to help. I know you can get a bit absentminded. And that’s the box with your grandparents’ wedding china, right?”

            “Yeah, I know, I know. Shit. Sorry. This is…”

            “Really weird.”

            “Yeah. Super weird.”

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Look on Me a Little Child

I stood in the car port waiting for your hand on the handle. Through the blur of glass, I could see your chair-lift slowly descend knowing your legs couldn’t reciprocate their desire to run and see me. You greeted me with the warmest smile and a loud hello in your Irish accent making all the cold bones that structure me feel heat. I slowly pushed myself up the stairs ensuring you didn’t feel left behind whilst we exchange our recent news. Your home was warm, pleasantly cosy and comfortable. It wasn’t because your love of the heating being on for 12 months of the year but it was because you filled me with heat. Everywhere smelt faintly of your home-cooked meals and as you brushed past me your Lancôme perfume comforted me. As we walk into the living room, the green carpet was lit by your four gold art-deco lamps that were spotted around the room on the mahogany cabinet and desks. I then walked into the kitchen from the living room and made us tea while you ambled your way to your chair. To all the family it resembled a throne, it stood alone and didn’t match any of the rest of your aqua blue settee suite.

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Mist-ery Behind UK’s Failing Air Pollution Efforts

Almost every year the same topic hits the headlines – the serious and pressing issue of air pollution in cities across the UK. Since 2010, the UK has exceeded the EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution limit every year, often or not within the first few weeks. In London, this troubling pattern continued into 2017, this time breaching the limit in just 5 days.

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The Internet and Empathy

Despite the extent to which it has become intertwined with our twenty-first century lives, the Internet is often regarded with caution. The recent election of Donald Trump and the notable rise of the alt right across Europe has only brought criticism against online culture into sharper relief. It is undeniable that the Internet can be a breeding ground for hate. Online chat forums lead angry young men to believe that white masculinity is under threat from those who don’t agree with them – feminists, the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and a space such as the Internet naturally provides an echo chamber in which hateful subcultures fester and churn out trolls. On an individual level people worry that excessive use of social media can have an adverse effect on mental health, that genuine empathy is being replaced by the angry-face react button. Millenials, the world’s first ever Internet generation, are seen as ‘self-obsessed’ and unable to have decent conversations IRL.

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Empathy in Culture

When was the first time you really put yourselves in someone else’s shoes? I mean, really thought about and felt what someone else was feeling? Empathy and sympathy are key skills we tend to learn growing up, and one of the first times we are asked to actually consider a different person’s viewpoint or situation is through the media we consume. Culture does a great job providing a ‘window on the world’; giving us access to places and the lives of people we may have never had the chance to witness before – from nature documentaries showcasing penguins in Antarctica to novels detailing the life of an astronaut. Culture can also show us ideas and life experiences far beyond our comfort zone, forcing us to confront our own preconceptions and build empathy for someone we may never have met, or someone who might not even exist. 

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Empathy in Music

Our editors reveal the albums they have connected with personally. Look out for more album reviews in our upcoming issue!

Mylo Xyloto (2011)

Coldplay

I was tempted to listen to Mylo Xyloto after seeing the beautiful album cover; colourful watercolour designs with graffiti inserts looked rather unique and promising. When I researched the album before listening to it, I knew it was going to be different from what I had heard before, but what I didn’t know was how it would make me feel. This might sound ridiculous but Mylo Xyloto is like a friend to me when I need company in an unpleasant state. The vast majority of songs are relatable, therefore, listening to them makes you feel as though you’re not alone. If someone manages to write songs about the feeling I am experiencing that means that they had to feel the same at some point and they managed to make it into a work of art. Also, the album has a positive vibe while speaking about heart-breaking experiences. For all these reasons, this album helped make me feel understood.

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Sex and the University: One is Not the Loneliest Number

As the sun appears to have emerged for the start of the Easter holidays, everyone is shining up like a new penny. Our white 60s shades can be worn, our wax appointments are booked and it seems we are feeling a little more prone to putting ourselves out there in the search for a mate. Just like this week’s hot topic – the one-pound coin was given a revamp due to its apparently dated appearance – we are also casting off our old shells.

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In defence of the Arts!

When we come across people at University, one of the frequently asked questions that crop up in conversation is “what are you studying? “. When I answer “History of Art” I’ve often received responses like “oh… right” or “must be an easy ride for you” – words which indicate that such a degree has little, if any, relevance. 

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