Students on our MA Magazine Journalism have the chance to create their own magazine title as the final submission for their degree.

It often produces work of a high standard but – and despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic – this year’s group have surpassed all expectations.

Passion for the subject

They have devised and presented a stunning range of ideas for new mags, imaginatively conceived, beautifully designed and displaying exactly the passion for their subject that every successful magazine depends on and inspires.

Every year in this project, students tell us something fresh about the world, where it’s at and where it’s headed. They spot trends emerging in music, culture, sport, food, fashion and society as a whole, as a great specialist journalist can, before anyone else.

And this year has been especially eye-opening.

Psychedelia to drag to activism

From new psychedelia, k-pop and music for the LGBTQ+ community to drag, political activism and bohemian society, they embrace subjects, interests and trends that capture and reflect the times we’re living in

Below, you can see the taster magazines for all 12 projects and read why each student chose to pursue the idea.

And here you can see Magazine Squared and Dice Tower the other magazines that this year’s students produced in magnificent style while under lockdown.

We are very, very proud of them all.


Off Key

The brainchild of Jacob Chamberlain Off Key is a celebration of queer talent in the music world. “Essentially, I wanted to create Off Key because it’s the kind of thing I wish existed when I was growing up,” Jacob says. “As a young, queer person, I would often just listen to music to distract myself from any internal conflict regarding my identity, when what I should have been doing was listening to music that engaged with that part of me. Sure, queer magazines exist and most of them do cover music, but these magazines have a tendency to a) only be written for gay men and b) only cover pop music, often made by artists who aren’t part of the community. I wanted to make a music magazine that was different than others on the market, but that also had a greater purpose, and I feel like I achieved that.”


Fringe

With a kaleidoscopic swirl of colour, a whiff of bergamot and the flip-flop of crystal-encrusted sandals, Laura PhillipsZine bursts on to the scene to keep alive the spirit of psychedelia. While tuning into music both old and new – everyone from Elephant Stone to Magick Mountain – Fringe also turns on to the movers and hippie-hippie shakers of the neo-psych movement and even drops out with a few heavy talking points including conspiracy theories, feminism and international politics.


The Tuck

The art of drag and the drag community is the focus of The Tuck by Charlie Vogelsang. “I was passionate about The Tuck, because drag is a subject that has always fascinated me and there is such a gap in the market,” she says. “There is no mainstream drag magazine and I wanted to change that. The mag brings all fans of drag together to celebrate the art and pay tribute to drag artists who deserve more recognition. Drag is fun but drag is also serious and I wanted to show that; to focus on exciting parts such as makeovers and gossip, but then serious topics in the community to bring awareness that drag artists are normal people. The Tuck is a magazine I wish I could have read when I first found drag as I think it would’ve helped fill in a lot of the missing knowledge and rich folklore.”


Dilettante

Dilettante is aimed at life’s outsiders, rebels and renegades, the sort of ladies and gents who don’t live by the rules. Sophie Gargett‘s magazine is for people who set their own agendas and that’s what gives these free spirits, artists and rogues some very different perspectives on life, curious history and sensible nonsense.


Be More

Radka Feichtingerova‘s magazine is inspired by a desire to see more positivity in the world, especially for women. “I have always been interested in healthy lifestyle and body positivity. In the world where there an emphasis on perfection in the media makes many women uncomfortable, I wanted to create something that did the opposite. Self-confidence and positive mindset is so important but so hard to achieve. Be More is a magazine that should help its readers to love themselves no matter the shape, no matter the size, no matter the number on the scale. I hope sooner or later there could be more magazines like it.”


Company

Polly Harrison knew from the very beginning of the course that she wanted to do a mag about theatre for her final project.
“I’ve been passionate about theatre and acting since I was a kid so it just made sense to me. For Company, I knew I’d need to write articles about theatre and talk to people about theatre and plays and all other wonderful stuff which for me is a treat. Somehow I managed to bag an interview with a theatre company that I am a huge fan of and look up to so much, Mischief Theatre. I couldn’t believe that they’d want to speak to a baby journalist as I was, and I got to spend an hour talking about a theatre company to my favourite actor from said theatre company, Dave Hearn. That was an excellent day and a highlight of the experience.”

Unalome

Taking a title drawn from Buddhism, Shannon Mountford’s magazine aims to offer young people guidance on how to look after their own mental health and wellbeing. In a busy world where life online and off is being lived at a ferocious pace, Unalome invites readers to take time out and breathe with tips on relaxation, dealing with stress and building personal resilience plus personal stories from people who have faced up to mental health challenges.

Blush

Taking a different approach from that of her fellow students, Chloe Weaver produced Blush, intended as a potential customer magazine for a leading make-up brand and dedicated to all things beauty. One of its key selling points is a focus on diversity with an aim to represent and serve the widest possible range of customers, offering education on industry topics and helping to challenge the prevailing norms of the beauty industry. “I’ve always been passionate about makeup and the beauty industry and creating a brand magazine allowed me to design creative, exciting content,” she says. “From setting up photoshoots, interviewing professional MUAs [makeup artists] to producing fun designs, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this project.”


Activist

“One of the things I love about magazines is that they can package important information into an entertaining format, which is what I aimed to do with Activist,” says its creator, George White. “Political publications such as Private Eye and New Statesman contribute to vital conversations while remaining interesting for the reader. I wanted to contribute to the political conversations of young people in this country, but also make sure my readers weren’t completely bored by the end of each article.”


Sori

Dedicated fans desperate to copy the sounds and styles of their pop music favourites have been around for decades. But K-pop devotees are a different breed entirely. And now they have a magazine of their own, in Helen RodgersSori. “I always felt that it wasn’t something I could write about in the UK until [Korean boy band] BTS became internationally famous a few years ago and they started cropping up in media outlets everywhere,” says Helen. “But, there’s still no good K-pop focused magazines in the UK which is a shame; it’s a massive gap in the market because, when it comes to K-pop, you can make a lot of money! Designing a K-pop magazine gave me a lot of creative freedom because there are so many different facets to the industry and it’s such a visual world that I could really play around with giving my magazine personality and flair. I’m thrilled with how it turned out and I hope to do something more with the brand in the future.”

HitPoint

Nathan Warby‘s passion for gaming inspired HitPoint, his mag devoted to its history. “I’ve been a gamer all my life, and it was reading the likes of IGN, Eurogamer and Official PlayStation magazine that really inspired me to pursue journalism,” he says. “Being a 90s baby, and all-round cool kid, playing games like Timesplitters and Bioshock were my introduction into what would become a lifelong obsession. I wanted to make something that would appeal to people who shared the same nostalgia for the PlayStation 2 to Xbox 360 era of video games, so making HitPoint was an easy decision.”

Random Encounter

Chris King‘s specialist mag had a different take on gaming altogether.
Random Encounter, came from my love of tabletop rpgs [role-playing games] and the fact that they’re currently poorly catered for in the magazine world. Gaming magazines, like Xbox Magazine, were the first mags I fell in love with so it was great fun to create something new along the same lines. Also it was really fun to be able to play D&D for university!”

Zodiac

Dedicated to astrology and extending into all things spiritual, Chloe Weldon‘s Zodiac taps into the worldwide interest in the subject, aiming to lead its readers on a personal journey. It offers insight into the history and modern practice of astrology, alongside related topics such as palmistry and Tarot, and features interviews with leading astrologers as well as individuals’ stories.