K-POP x Fandom Society’s Lockdown Activities – Society Showcase

By Jannah Campbell-Williams – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the K-POP and Fandom societies have been doing all that they can to keep their activities running smoothly…

By Jannah Campbell-Williams – K-POP & Fandom Society

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the K-POP and Fandom societies have been doing all that they can to keep their activities running smoothly. In times like these, we feel that it is more important than ever to stay engaged with the outside world, even if it has to be done through a screen due to our current circumstances. We also believe that it is important to give people something to do through an activity schedule – it helps cure the inevitable bouts of lockdown boredom, it keeps your brain active, and it helps you to remember what day it is.

Weekly Kahoot Quizzes

To that end, the society has been hosting our regular Kahoot quizzes online. The K-POP Society Kahoot takes place every Wednesday at 3 PM, with questions based on K-POP (obviously), and the winner receives a £20 Amazon Gift Voucher each week! Alternatively, the Fandom Society Kahoot takes place every Saturday at 5 PM with questions based on a variety of topics such as movies, TV series, books, comics, and even games!

Both events are hosted live on Instagram, though if you can’t make it, don’t worry, both societies have set-up a number of interactive games to play on their respective Instagram stories as well – be it a game of Guess Who, or Drop One, Save One!

Follow @arukpopcam and @fandomsociety_aru on Instagram to get involved! Everyone’s welcome to join in, so we hope to see you there!

Images: Jannah Campbell-Williams & Joel Muniz on Unsplash


Dermot Kennedy & Lilla Vargen (UEA, 2019) – Concert Review

By Ciéra Cree – On Friday 6th of December, I made my way back to the UEA LCR to go see Dermot Kennedy perform as part of his ‘Without Fear’ tour…

By Ciéra Cree

On Friday the 6th of December, I made my way back to the UEA LCR to see Dermot Kennedy perform as part of his ‘Without Fear’ tour. I started off that morning bright and early, though I had stayed up a little later than intended the night before so, although the day was going to be a long one, I’d soon discover that it was going to be one made memorable for many reasons.


The first thing that stood out to me was the queues, which despite the fact that I had arrived early, were huge. It was a rather cold night out, so we were all eager to make our way into the relative warmth of the venue, which was filling up rapidly. I knew that the tour tickets had sold out fast, but I seemed to have underestimated just how many people could fit into the LCR – by the time everyone bustled their way to a spot, there was barely room to move.

This was the first time I had attended a gig by myself, so it felt a bit overwhelming initially. But after I had managed to settle into a place where I could see the stage, I had started to become accustomed to the excitable atmosphere. I ended up in a position with a very good view of the stage, although there were a couple of taller people in front of me throughout most of the opening act. As the night progressed, I had managed to slowly make my way to somewhere else, still five or so rows from the front.


At 8 PM, the lights shifted, and the remaining noise of the crowd began to dwindle. We were then greeted by Lilla Vargen, a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, accompanied by two band members. The stage set-up consisted of simplistic lighting, mics, a piano and a guitar which complimented her opening act beautifully.

Her voice echoed through the room, weaving its tales of love, strength and solidarity in the purest and most touching of ways. Her lyrics provided this indescribable sense of connection as if for those fleeting minutes you were alone with her and seeing the world from only her perspective. My favourite song was one called ‘Blueprints’ which I currently can’t find online to listen to, but in a way that makes the fact that I had the chance to hear it in person all the more special. I hope to be able to hear it again one day, but some of the tracks she performed will be available from her new EP ‘We Were Thunder’.


After Lilla’s opening came to an end, the audience waited with anticipation for Dermot Kennedy to take to the stage. And when he first appeared at 9 PM, he received more than just a warm reception. The crowd cheered and clapped incessantly, so much so that it moved the soloist, as we later found out that this was his debut trip to the LCR venue.

He started off with ‘An Evening I Will Not Forget’ which I’d thought was such a fitting choice considering it was his first time there with us. One thing about Dermot’s music that really stood out to me as a poet was the quality of his words. He’s such a talented lyricist who pays close attention to every detail and creating worlds of meaning for our hearts to explore with him. Though my favourite part of this particular song goes:

Island smiles and cardigans,

The nights that we’ve been drinking in,

We’re here to help you kill all of this hurt that you’ve been harbouring,

Confessions should be better planned,

Alone, that night, I’m surely damned,

Runaway, I’ll understand.

There’s something so beautiful about the way he phrases things, and the mixture of vocals and rap takes it to another level.


Two other tracks Dermot’s well-known for are ‘Young and Free’ and ‘Outnumbered’. Although he didn’t perform the former, the latter went down well with the crowd who sang along to every word. ‘Outnumbered’ is probably my favourite song of his, again largely because of the lyrics:

I could have shown you all the scars at the start,

But that was always the most difficult part,

See, I’m in love with how your soul’s a mix of chaos and art,

And how you never try to keep ’em apart.

 I wrote some words and then I stared at my feet,

Became a coward when I needed to speak,

I guess love took on a different kind of meaning for me,

So, when I go just know it kills me to leave.

There’s something about this song, in particular, that occupies a special place in my heart. It’s a feeling that I struggle to put into words, but I am none-the-less grateful for feeling it. And listening back to it again now after seeing him live makes me love it even more. It’s amazing to have been just a few rows away from the front and having made eye contact with the artist responsible for these touching lyrics.


The screens on stage matched the vibe of the songs being played. There were silhouettes of birds and trees, and stars followed by raindrops as he performed ‘After Rain’. Lights that flashed in time to the beat of the songs and matched the intensity of the drums. Overall the night felt very open and down-to-earth, echoed by the way Dermot performed his set in casual attire.

I would say to anyone that if you get a chance to see either of these artists live, grasp the opportunity with both hands. Their lyrics transform you for the duration of the concert. They lift you up and transport you to another place entirely, and that’s rare to find in music today. Highly recommended.

Images: Ciéra Cree

The Ruskin Journal ft. Creative Writing Society Open Mic Night

By Ciéra Cree & Joshua Dowding – On Friday 21st February, both The Ruskin Journal and the Creative Writing Society co-hosted an open mic event as part of LGBTQ+ History Month…

By Ciéra Cree & Joshua Dowding

On Friday 21st February, both The Ruskin Journal and the Creative Writing Society co-hosted an open mic event as part of LGBTQ+ History Month. For those of you that couldn’t attend, the event took place between 7 o’clock and 10 o’clock in The Academy hall on Cambridge campus.

The theme for this year’s LGBTQ+ History Month was ‘poetry, prose and playwrights’ – something that both of our societies know something about and saw as an opportunity to work together to bring an event to life.

“The open mic was open to all, it felt really inclusive to the diverse students that were able to showcase their talent in a safe space with safe people.”

Gabs Bennington, The Ruskin Journal & Attendee

Creating a space where people could share their passions, and feel accepted for who they are, was very important to us. The Students’ Union had decorated The Academy with various flags and accoutrements baring the symbols of the movement we sought to represent. And all throughout the planning stages of the event, something about this night felt special to us.

Each table a copy of The Ruskin Journal’s latest annual, as well as an assortment of snacks, and a variety of sexual health packs put together by Amanda Campbell, AHSS Vice President, as part of her ‘Best Night Out’ campaign. We’re told at least a few of them went!

“It’s a safe space, a small nook in Cambridge which attracted vibrant diverse people and reminded them that they have a place in the world.”

Shania Perera, Performer

At 7 o’clock, people started to fill the room. While some mingled, others took their seats. It was exciting to watch the event slowly come to life as more and more people turned up at the doors, poking their heads in first before their bodies joined them shortly after. And before too long, The Academy was nearly full – incredible, we thought. If only we’d started on time!

It took until around quarter to 8 before the flow of people began to ease and the audience took their seats. But eventually, Merika and Ciera took to the stage to kick off the night in earnest with a short speech that went like this:

Thank you for coming along to our event, since planning for this started, we’ve all been very excited to see it unfold. We’re proud to be showing a unity not only between our two societies tonight but also one between us here together, supporting and accepting each other.

We hope that you leave this room feeling happy, comfortable and most importantly like you belong. No one should be made to feel that they aren’t accepted or allowed to be who they are.

We, first before anything, would like to thank you for taking the time to be here in support of your fellow friends and students. Our university holds such a beautiful diversity of cultures, ideas and beliefs, some of which we’re here to celebrate right now.

The night saw a total of 19 performances take place ranging from beautiful spoken word to poetry, from music to rap, and even some acapella performances to boot. Pieces like Shania Perera’s ‘A Distracted Physicist’, to Freddy’s infamous bars that got everyone joining in, to a glorious rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ by Ronnie to cap off the evening in style.

For the record, we have included a complete list of the night’s performances below:

  1. Merika – 19:49 PM – Poem
  2. Pavlov & Antony – 19:53 PM – Music (‘Heart-Shaped Box’ – Nirvana)
  3. Pavlov & Antony – 19:58 PM – Music (‘Come As You Are’ – Nirvana)
  4. Bee – 20:06 PM – Poem (featured at Desperate Fleas)
  5. Ciera – 20:17 PM – Poem
  6. Ciera – 20:18 PM – Poem
  7. Gabs – 20:25 PM – Poem
  8. Shania – 20:29 PM – Poem
  9. Georgie & Greg – 20:38 PM – Music (‘Vienna’ – Billy Joel)
  10. Georgie & Greg – 20:42 PM – Music (‘Toss a Coin to Your Witcher’)
  11. Greg (Solo) – 20:45 PM – Music (‘Bleeding Sky’ – upcoming album)
  12. Daryl – 20:55 PM – Poem (‘Gaps’)
  13. Daryl – 21:01 PM – Poem
  14. Daryl – 21:11 PM – Poem
  15. Freddy – 21:14 PM – Music (“hell yeah!”)
  16. Pavlov & Antony – 21:22 PM – Music (‘Creep’ – Radiohead)
  17. Shania – 21:33 PM – Poem
  18. (we’re sorry, we didn’t catch your name!) – 21:45 PM – Poem
  19. Ronnie – 21:54 PM – Music (‘Hallelujah’ – Jeff Buckley)

After all was said and done, Merika Tencati took to the stage once again to thank everyone for making the event a night to remember. Sentiment was expressed, events were plugged, and the night drew neatly to a close – and what an incredible night it was.

“It was a great collaboration between Creative Writing, Ruskin Journal and the Students Union. I had a lot of fun and was happy to see so many students and staff supporting the LGBTQ+ community.”

Merika Tencati, Creative Writing Society & Co-Host

We would like to thank everyone who came to this, our inaugural open mic event, and thank you to the people who helped us make it all possible. We’ll see you at the next one!

Cardiology & Cardiothoracics – Society Showcase

By George Liu & Ankesh Gandhi – Are you interested in Cardiology and Cardiothoracics? Are you a student at the university’s Chelmsford Campus? Then our aptly named society is the one for you!…

By George Liu & Ankesh Gandhi – Cardiology & Cardiothoracics Society (Chelmsford)

Are you interested in Cardiology and Cardiothoracics? Are you a student at the university’s Chelmsford Campus? Then maybe our aptly named society is the one for you!

We, the CCTS committee, are dedicated and determined to bring you the best opportunities and assistance to enhance your portfolio, network with relevant contacts, and broaden your knowledge of the subject and its surrounding areas.

Cardiology and Cardiothoracics are both highly competitive medical specialities. Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders relating to the heart and blood vessels. Whereas Cardiothoracic surgery is the field of medicine involved in the surgical treatment of organs inside the thorax – the chest – as well as the treatment of conditions relating to the heart and lungs.

According to credible sources, the majority of patients in the UK suffer from a cardiovascular condition, and heart conditions are one of the world’s leading causes of death and long-term illness. We, as a society, feel it is both insightful and incredibly important to look further into these areas of study.

Both Cardiology and Cardiothoracics are highly dynamic and involving fields to become engaged with, and both are fascinating to discuss. So much has been explored, yet so much more has yet to be discovered. What better place is there to discuss these topics than a student society like ours?

As a society, we’ve outlined a number of goals we’d like to attain over the coming year:

  1. To widen people’s interests and understanding through talks and workshops.
  2. To host a ‘Journal Club’ every two weeks providing members with the opportunity to analyse and critique papers as an aspiring healthcare professional. We aim to open this up for guest speakers and attendees to present their own papers as part of the SSC (Student Selected Component) of the Medicine MBChB course.
  3. To network members with industry professionals working in the field.
  4. To assist with portfolio building since CT surgery is one of the most difficult specialities to get into out of most medical professions.

This year, our focus has been to host the bi-weekly Journal Club sessions and we hope, in the forthcoming weeks, to begin publicising papers in small groups. Having a safe space for serious discussions is crucial in cultivating the necessary skills for the sector, as well as allowing everyone present the comfort of being able to voice their thoughts and opinions.

Regardless of whether you are a medical student or not, you are more than welcome to visit us as a prospective member, or as a taster to learn something new. Visit our Students’ Union webpage for more information.

Image: Hush NaidooUnsplash

Cambridge to Host Upcoming Global Health Conference

By Joshua Dowding – On 19th March, Cambridge Global Health Partnerships – known as the CGHP – will be hosting their second Global Health Conference since it’s debut back in 2018. This year’s event…

By Joshua Dowding

On 19th March, Cambridge Global Health Partnerships will be hosting their second Global Health Conference since it’s debut back in 2018. This year’s event has been touted to be larger and more featureful than the previous event, with more guest speakers, panels and exhibitors attending at Hughes Hall, Cambridge University.

In a program sent to us from CGHP, the conference will be split into three distinct sessions: the first focuses on ‘primary care and public health’, the second focuses on ‘global health’, while the third ‘evening session’ focuses on networking. Each session features a variety of keynote speeches from industry veterans and academics, as well as a number of panels, presentations and receptions for guests to mingle with the speakers. All-in-all, the day will go on from 8 AM to 8 PM, with registration starting from 8:30 AM and the first talk scheduled for 9 AM.

The conference aims to connect global health professionals across disciplines, counties and countries. The conference will also consider the future of global health activity across the region” – CGHP press release

According to the press release, the conference will also see the launch of a new ‘database’ that aims to ‘map the global health network across the East of England’ and ‘facilitate cross-country, interdisciplinary collaboration’ between institutions. With this new database, the CGHP and its sponsors hope to ‘enable the East of England to maximise it’s potential to make further contributions to global health causes.’ An apt mission statement given the current circumstances in Wuhan, China and beyond.

This year’s event will be themed around ‘how can Cambridge be a transformative player in global health.’ Again, an apt statement given that we have so many local pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies present in and around the city.

The Journal understands that the event will be sponsored by such entities as NHS Health Education England and the National Institute of Health Research. Several branches of the NHS will also be helping to organise the event alongside Hughes Hall, Public Health at Cambridge, Cambridge Africa and the Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma.

We’ve been told that such high-profile speakers as Professor Dame Sally Davis, former Chief Medical Officer to the British Government and Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, will be in attendance. Alongside such other speakers as Professor Amanda Howe of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Norwich Medical School, Professor Nigel Unwin of Research in Global Public Health at the MRC Epidemiology, Doctor Atiya Kamal of the University of Derby, and many other confirmed guests – totalling fifteen so far. Plenty of names to network with!

Opportunities & Competitions

Our students have been invited to submit a poster relating to ‘global health research, education or practice’ to be shown at the conference. Should yours be selected, you will be invited to attend the conference free-of-charge and given the opportunity to present your poster to the guests and attendees. You will also be with a chance to win a £50 book voucher, all for a poster!

The deadline for submissions is the 4th of March. Submissions can be forwarded to CGHP at the following address: lucy.gilder@act4addenbrookes.org.uk. It could be something for your CV!

Our PhD students have also been invited to act as ‘Assistant Rapporteurs’ at the event, tasked to report on each of the items taking place at the conference and taking note of the main discussion points at the various keynotes, workshops and panels. You will then have the opportunity to publish a report summarising your findings. This could be something for your portfolio!

For more information regarding the competition and how to enter, follow this link to the flyer provided by the CGHP Press Office. Details of how to attend the event can be found on the Eventbrite listing.


Image: The Climate Reality ProjectUnsplash

Media Exhibitions in London – Trip Report

By Ciéra Cree – On Wednesday 4th of December, first-year students taking the Media Studies course were invited on their first university field trip – a day that played out to be both exciting and memorable for many reasons…

By Ciéra Cree

On Wednesday 4th of December, first-year students taking the Media Studies course were invited on their first university field trip – a day that played out to be both exciting and memorable for many reasons.

During class when the trip was announced, we were told where to collect our train tickets and what the trip would entail. The plan was to visit two exhibitions in London – one by Nam June Paik held at the Tate Modern, and the other being a ‘multimedia show’ taking place at the Store in Temple. We agreed to meet-up by the train station’s Christmas Tree before setting off on our journey.

The fact that it was the festive season made this little adventure all the more enticing to me – who wouldn’t want to see the pretty lights adorning London streets? I was excited to see the exhibitions too! ‘Media’ covers such a wide spectrum of topics, so it’s difficult to gauge what to expect from an exhibition about a subject so broad. Because of this, I was very interested to see what was yet to unfold.

At 10:15 AM, our train started up and we were on our way to London. Our journey there was relatively quiet and the train itself wasn’t too busy, at least not around where I was sitting. There was a low hum of chatter, some people reading, others on their laptops working, and the occasional person addictively looking down at their phone. Coming from a small village without public transport meant I hadn’t actually been on that many trains before. This was something rather amusing to think about while looking out of the window. I don’t mind trains, not particularly, but the ones that go really fast can be a bit…disconcerting.

Our first stop was Kings Cross to meet with Neil, Deputy Head for Film and Media, so he could join us on the final leg of the ride. After that, we all boarded another train bound for central London. The journey from Cambridge wasn’t excessively long – it’s a doable trip that’s definitely worth taking for students who want to go exploring in the city.

Nam June Paik Exhibition

At 12:30 PM, we arrived in London and made our way over to the Tate together to have a look around. It was exciting to see the doorway into the exhibition without knowing what was next. We could see a bit through the entrance while we waited, but there was so much more to follow.

The walls of the exhibition space were both a pale cream and white partnered with wooden flooring. It really helped to enhance the space of the room – the minimalistic choice ensured that the pieces remained a viewer’s undistracted focus throughout their stay.

Something I quickly noticed and appreciated, was the range of exhibits on show – evident due to Media’s broad nature. There were metaphorical pieces, symbolic pieces and literal pieces. Pieces that worked on their own and others that worked collectively. Pieces which were physically there in front of us and others that were both digital and interactive. Some rooms had screens with the lights out, while others were standing out in the open. There was something here to cater to everyone’s tastes.

One of the more popular exhibits in the Nam June Paik exhibition was the silhouette screen which projected coloured images of the subject in front of it onto the adjacent wall. It was fun to move around, experiment with the projection, layer colours on top of one another, and to see how the projections changed depending on the proximity of the screen to the subject.

In the same room, there were some other thought-provoking exhibits: the first of which being two life-sized humanoid figures made out of old radios and TVs. Visually they were appealing regardless of further inferences, they were well-produced and very innovative, but it’s always interesting to delve into the thoughts of what something could symbolise beyond the surface. Could they be representative of how television or the media, in general, infiltrate people’s minds and become an inescapable part of them? Could they be a way of showing how people’s thoughts and lives, similarly to that of a TV or radio show, are something that others can “tune into” at their leisure? Or perhaps it may be a metaphorical way of showing how we broadcast certain aspects of ourselves – only the aspects that we want others to see.

When I looked closer at the expressions of the two characters, on the female figure I noticed some marks that looked like tears under their eye, and that the mouth is notably sadder than that of it’s smug, male looking counterpart. Perhaps this signifies something deeper about gender disparity within the media industry?

A few paces away from the figures was a rather peculiar table. On the table was an egg sat under a lamp and by this egg were two projections of the egg. What could this be saying to us about life? How could this be applied to Media? My initial interpretation of it was that it could be displaying the simplicity of life in its beginning. The world is stagnant when nothing has occurred. We aren’t aware of others or our surroundings, and for all that we know, we could be alone. That feeling, in relation to the projected eggs, is illusionary.

As for my thoughts on this in regards to Media, the lamp was the key to deciphering my meaning. Media so often puts people under the spotlight, presenting them to us as being “real” and “perfect” (what Richard Dyer would deem as “stars”). We idolise them and put them under our own spotlights, causing ourselves to feel faded and unable to shine as bright, like the projections, in comparison. We forget that these people aren’t real, they themselves may forget that the persona they show isn’t who they are, so the projected illusionary eggs around them could also be interpreted as versions of their former selves, to whom they have grown detached.

My favourite piece from Nam June Paik, however, had to be the Television Garden which, as the title suggests, was a garden filled with TVs. The television screens were synchronised, sat in a dark room, showing the same images simultaneously in a loop among the leaves. It was one of the first things I approached when walking into the exhibition as it immediately intrigued me and appealed to my love of metaphors.

‘The Nam June Paik exhibition was an interesting walk through another person’s view on TV, audio and Media. His artwork maybe didn’t make sense at times, but it was more about our interpretation of his thoughts, work and presentation. My favourite was the TV garden.’ – Elizabete Sipko

What could a garden filled with televisions mean? Well, it can mean a number of things, whatever your heart desires in fact. Off the bat it serves as a great juxtaposition between nature and technology – it could be showing how the natural world today has become less appealing to people, and how instead of being surrounded by greenery that people would rather be immersed in a TV show. Or perhaps it could be illustrating how media sources demand our attention regardless of where we are, making it difficult to disconnect and be present in the real world. Or maybe there’s a more ecological message being pushed, and it’s a cry out for the environment. Some food for thought – does the garden have to mean a literal garden, or could it be representative of something else?

Nam June Paik, as I’ve mentioned, was presented to us in a minimal style. Artefacts were well spaced out under their natural lighting for us to see or from within their darkroom. The second exhibition we attended however carried an entirely different, more modernised vibe.

‘I thought the trip was really fun and I liked that we were shown different exhibitions. I was able to learn about different artists that I’ll definitely look more into. The Nam June Paik exhibition especially made me think about the ways you can mix different mediums as an artist, and I think this is something that could inspire my work in the future.’ – Sara Roberto

Store in Temple Exhibition

After a lunch break on the South Bank, we made our way to the multimedia show at the Store in Temple. This exhibition was divided by corridors and curtains which not only helped to build up a sort of anticipation for each exhibit, but to also give our minds a moment to clear before heading on to see what was next.

Each room seemed to have a predominant colour theme that starkly contrasted with the ones immediately before it. There were lots of coloured lights and screens flickering through montages of images. My favourite place inside this exhibition was in a room where the walls were made up entirely of mirrors and screens playing videos. These videos varied: some were just patterns whereas others had narrators speaking profound messages. One of these profound messages was spoken while a man was shown on a beach looking out to the sea, which, to me, really stood out among the rest of the exhibition.

The multimedia show was a colourful and fun experience, but to me, it wasn’t as impactful or thought-provoking as Nam June Paik. The artwork was appealing and trendy, which I appreciated, but as someone who likes to think, the first exhibition was preferred. However, I would still definitely go back to this exhibition again given the chance – it was visually spectacular.

‘I really enjoyed the trip and thought that the artwork was really interesting and unique. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting! I liked the second exhibition especially as it seemed the most experimental and abstract.’ – Lorenzo Barba

Marian Goodwin Gallery

To our surprise, we ended up going to a third exhibition – Nan Goldin at the Marian Goodwin Gallery – which was free and not too far away. This third one seemed to be very ‘people focused’ and often over-sexualising, though I feel it was trying to communicate something about femininity or the concept of beauty itself. Wall displays showed photos of people in drag attire, people attending pageants, and others that were entirely naked. There were also some rooms showing videos, one of which I remember was rather vivacious, and another where a woman was shown celebrating her birthday and reflecting on her younger years. The link between age and beauty can be made here, as well as the fact that women are often sexualised within the media.

Among all this upstairs was a room made up of pastel landscape paintings which I thought were beautiful despite seeming out of place. The room was so calm and spacious, and the paintings held an enormity of depth to them. They were by far my favourite part of the exhibition.

As we made our way out of the building, down Oxford Street and back to the packed train station where we struggled back on board our train, I sat and thought about the day gone by. It had been lovely, not just as an experience, but as an opportunity to spend time with people from the course without being in a classroom environment.

‘The trip to London was not only great fun but also a great insight into different types of art that is shown within multiple galleries. Also, who could forget about the guy on the tannoy in the underground during rush hour – that man deserves his own sold-out show.’ – Johnny Knoll

Overall it was fun, interesting, and a day that I am grateful for.

Take Little Steps Towards Your Bright Future! – Society Showcase

By Ekaterina Zenina – Law has always been the most important part of a functioning society. It is also known as being the most mysterious and complicated area that people are not ready to venture in to understand…

By Ekaterina Zenina – Law Society (Cambridge)

This is the first post in a new series covering some of the different societies at Anglia Ruskin University. Would you like to showcase your society? Get in touch with The Ruskin Journal!

“Expand your knowledge and understanding of law, develop professionally and enhance your skills! – with the Anglia Law Society, Cambridge”

Law has always been the most important part of a functioning society. It is also known as being one of the most mysterious and complicated areas that ordinary people still struggle to understand – that is why lawyers are known for making money from people’s problems!

However, the law is far from witchcraft. It involves the same essential skills that are applicable and appreciated in other professions. Lawyers need to be focused, punctual, capable of networking and negotiating professionally and arguing their position (which is also known as “mooting”). Of course, they also need to know their law.

If you are looking to develop any of these skills – and to learn a bit more about the law – Law Society’s events will be a perfect place to go.

We are building our annual to help and support you in developing your skills and expanding your knowledge of the different areas of law. We also aim to help you build your CV and network with professionals from the legal industry, which can be helpful regardless of whether you are studying HR, Marketing, Business, Medicine or, of course, Law and Criminology. All areas of our lives are regulated by the law and it wouldn’t hurt to know a bit more about how it applies to your area of study.

One of the brightest examples of a society event, which gave us all an opportunity to network and build our CVs, was the Law Panel and Networking event which took place in October 2019. Our panellists included a recruitment professional from a well-known recruitment firm, Nelson Chambers (Andrew Fragnito-Day), a Head of Fenners Chambers (Meryl Hughes), a solicitor and recruitment specialist from Tees (Helen Midgley) and a barrister and recruitment professional from Fenners Chambers (Joshua Walters). They talked about their career journeys, shared some tips and then spent time networking with our attendees over some wine, cheese and grapes. It was a wonderful evening which received fabulous feedback from both our guests and guest speakers.

Our guest speakers shared some invaluable advice on how to write the best CV and a covering letter, and how to let your personality shine through during your interview. Here is a sample of things we learnt:

  • You are all unique: there is something special about every one of you, whether it is a hobby, extracurricular activity or something you do for the community. Tell us about this in your CV, explain how it makes you a better person in an interview, and you will stand out! Go to your interview smiling, saying “Look at me!” – and we will (Meryl Hughes).
  • Find time to do something beyond your lectures: coming to the events, getting involved with the Law Clinic, immersing yourself in the world of a profession you want to have in the future by reading. These all count towards your future career and make you stand out (Andrew Fragnito-Day).
  • Ask questions, network, show interest and learn more about what you do and about other disciplines: develop yourself constantly. No recruiter is working FOR you – instead, YOU are trying to showcase yourself, and all the extra things you do will give you bonus marks when compared with others (Helen Midgley).
  • Be honest: in interviews, during internships and vacation schemes, in your CV. Don’t make up your “unique selling point” – be genuine with yourself and find out what it actually is. If in doubt – look at point One, made by Meryl. Lies will always be uncovered (Joshua Walters).
Guest speakers visiting the society

Last semester, we concentrated on our negotiation skills and building professional relationships, and held a Professional Negotiation Skills workshop in collaboration with the HR and Management Society. We worked hard to ensure that our members, mostly Law students, had a chance to network with those who may become their closest friends in future – HR, Business, Management students and also Entrepreneurs and peer Law students. That is why we closely collaborated (and will continue to do so!) with Entrepreneurship, HRM and Business Societies, Faculty of Business and Law and Anglia Law Clinic. We also introduced a Commercial Awareness Bulletin and Weekly Newsletter, which are sent to our members-only, to boost their commercial awareness and inform them about some amazing events happening on and off-campus.

As a recognition of our hard work, we were awarded the SU “Society of the Month” award in October due to the “huge difference [we made] to students by running events to support and encourage them in their career journeys”. In December, our president was commended as the SU “Committee member of the Month”, and in January 2020, for all the amazing things we have done, we received the SU Gold Accreditation from the SU.

‘Society of the Month’ award photo

But this was only the beginning. At the start of next semester, we are announcing our new agenda, full of exciting and useful events. Some of these are listed below:

  • Mooting Workshop and Demonstration – 20th January. Do you want to argue your point in court, workplace or personal life? Learn from lawyers! The Head of Law, Richard Mallett, will give you the best tips, and the ARU mooting team will demonstrate these in practice – all in Anglia School’s very own courtroom!
  • Refreshers with the Societies with HR and Entrepreneurship Societies – 22nd January. The evening of networking, games and refreshments, meeting new people from your faculty and beyond!
  • Surgery on trial: Legal Pitfalls of being a surgeon with a consultant surgeon and a Chair of Norfolk Law Society, Alexander Hardy – 11th February. This will be a talk about how medicine and law work together, and how well do they do so. Medical, Law and Criminology students should be the first in line, with everyone who has ever had any medical treatment to follow – this is definitely an area of law you need to know about!
  • Using LinkedIn for professional purposes with Emma Jennings – 25th February. Have you heard about LinkedIn and a massive boost it gave to e-hireability? The tips shared by Emma will be equally great for all students, and all online recruitment platforms!
  • Employment law talk and case study with Claire Sleep – 10th March. This talk, given by a highly commended employment lawyer and a partner in a large firm, Ashtons Legal, will provide a lot of information about how employment conflicts are solved, and about some aspects of employment law that can be affected by Brexit.

There are even more events planned, and more information about those already described, on the SU events calendar, the Law Society webpage and our social media. Follow us and stay tuned!

Instagram: @arulawcamb
Twitter: @AngliaLawSoc
Facebook: Anglia Ruskin Law Society Cambridge Campus
SU Website: angliastudent.com/societies/lawsociety

What’s On: Cambridge – Competitive Escape Room League

By Joshua Dowding – This is the first post in a new series covering some of the interesting events happening in each of the cities hosting an ARU campus – Cambridge, Chelmsford, Peterborough and London…

By Joshua Dowding

This is the first post in a new series covering some of the interesting events happening in each of the cities hosting an ARU campus – Cambridge, Chelmsford, Peterborough and London. Know of any interesting events happening in your area? Get in touch with The Ruskin Journal!

Between January 13th and July 12th, Lockhouse Games are hosting their inaugural Escape Room League. Throughout the second semester, each of the universities of Cambridge will compete against each other to see who can complete Lockhouse’s three escape rooms the quickest. Anglia Ruskin University has been invited to compete alongside Cambridge University, and it’s associated colleges, in a bout that is sure to stir up competition between the two institutions.

According to Lockhouse’s website, each escape room has its own scoreboard and league table. Each team that declares itself to represent a particular university will be automatically inducted into the competition. The top three fastest times will contribute to the university’s overall average time for that given room, and this average will appear on the scoreboard should it be within the top three averages set by each of the universities. The faster you complete the room, the lower the average gets.

Lockhouse offers a ‘beginner-friendly’ experience for those who haven’t tried an escape room before. Their ‘Egyptian Tomb’ room boasts over 400 customer reviews granting it a five-star score on their website. Other rooms include the ‘Armageddon’ room and the ‘Secret Agent’ room, both featuring unique escape scenarios.

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While Lockhouse have yet to formally announce the prizes for the winners of the competition, the company has hinted that they are working with local businesses to facilitate these prizes and that an announcement is forthcoming.

To participate in the league, Lockhouse encourages students to let them know that their team represents a given university when they book one of their escape rooms. This can be done in-person, or through the online booking form. And while there isn’t a minimum number of players for each team, their escape rooms do have a maximum capacity of either 6 or 7 players at a time.

Last bookings are at 9:40 PM on both weekdays and weekends, and Lockhouse also offers a number of student discounts when booking on certain days. Discounts are subject to the validation of a Student ID.

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It sounds like a lot of fun, and we’ll be keeping an eye on the university’s progress over the coming weeks and months. Good luck to all the students who have already participated in the league, and to those who get involved throughout the remaining semester(s).

Thank you to Lockhouse Games for bringing this event to our attention.
This content was not sponsored. Images courtesy of Lockhouse Games’ Press team.

Kodaline (UEA, 2019) – Concert Review

By Ciéra Cree – On Sunday 10th of November, I made my first trip to UEA LCR to see Kodaline on their tour. I’ve always been a person with a huge passion for music but I had never been to a smaller venue like that place before so I was curious to find out…

By Ciéra Cree

On Sunday 10th of November, I made my first trip to UEA LCR to see Kodaline on their tour. I’ve always been a person with a huge passion for music but I had never been to a smaller venue like that place before so I was curious to find out how it would feel.

Upon arrival, I was surprised to see just how small the venue was – a good kind of surprised. The doors opened at 7 PM, I got in line relatively early and so when I actually entered the place there were very few people inside.

As time went by the crowds began to flood in and I realized getting in line early was a great decision. Especially as a shorter person, being nearer the stage would later work out in my favour as the view was incredible.


It was around 8 PM when the main lights went down and the one’s on stage lit up. When I bought the event ticket it didn’t mention who the opening act was going to be but a man called Patrick Martin walked out, warmly greeting us all.

I had never heard of him before but after that night, one thing is for certain – I won’t be forgetting him any time soon. His vocals, accompanied by live piano and guitar, were amazing and the way he kept the audience engaged really highlighted his abilities as a performer. He told us the meanings behind his songs so we could relate and become sutured into his lyrical worlds, and he came down into the crowd after his set finished to enjoy the rest of the show with us.

‘Do you believe in cinema love?’ is a line that will be stuck in all of our heads for quite some time, as well as many others from his upcoming EP ‘Wonder Years’.


9 PM was when the stage turned red and a piano tune I knew like the back of my hand kicked in. I had been listening to Kodaline for years so to be there a few rows from the front with my favourite song as the night’s first was rather surreal.

The crowd broke out into claps and cheers as the gentlemen entered before us, singing along to every word. Kodaline’s music definitely has a high sing-a-long factor to it which made being in a more intimate venue feel all the more special.

The stage set up combined with the mixture of beautiful ballads and old favourites was undeniably captivating and intelligent. As a viewer, you could clearly see how much thought and attention to detail had been displayed throughout the entire night.


‘Follow Your Fire’, the band’s first song, was such a clever starting point. As a group who sings ballads, for the most part, this song stands out as more upbeat and served as a great way to kick things off.

The stage lights were bold and fun yet faded into more delicate hues seamlessly. They didn’t overpower the songs nor performance space, or the performers themselves. They came to put on a show and they definitely more than succeeded.

Songs from their latest album ‘Politics Of Living’ were mixed in with those old and loved such as ‘All I Want’, offering a little something for everyone.


At the end of the performance, the group departed before shortly returning for an encore, which again was deliberately planned out. This group is most known for two songs – ‘All I Want’ and ‘High Hopes’ – which were what most people would have come for, and they hadn’t played either before this point. It couldn’t do anything except make people want more, and of course, it was delivered.

We ended the night with ‘High Hopes’ to which the crowd knew every word. It’s lyrically beautiful and the group’s quality live vocals more than did it justice. How their voices could be so crystal clear and their harmonies be so on point was simultaneously baffling and astounding.

This is a night I won’t forget and a memory I’m grateful to be able to hold.


Miz Cracker Comes to Cambridge

By Brontë Taylor – Miz Cracker is a well known drag queen from New York, most known from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On February 12th she came to Cambridge and gave a talk at Emmanuel College Chapel and then later in the evening…

By Brontë Taylor

Miz Cracker is a well known drag queen from New York, most known from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On February 12th she came to Cambridge and gave a talk at Emmanuel College Chapel and then later in the evening (much later in the evening) performed at Cambridge’s Vinyl nightclub.

The ‘In Discussion with Miz Cracker’ talk was hosted by Emmanuel College Chapel but wasn’t largely promoted as it was booked very last minute. But if you happened to find it as an event on Facebook like I did and had ZERO plans for the day, then you would have turned up to a really insightful and educated talk by a drag queen. On entrance to Emmanuel College Chapel, Miz Cracker was standing at the centre, all attention on her. She was wearing an elegant, figure hugging dress with a powerful working woman vibe and elbow length leather gloves and started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.


She started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.

She stated that drag is currently reaching a tipping point, where drag was previously hidden in the shadows but now is most definitely in the spotlight. After the success of RuPauls Drag Race, attracting 4 million viewers in its last season, drag carries a lot of potential to make money and a lot of people are trying to exploit this. As a result, Miz Cracker suggested that the core values of what Drag is, is being lost. She later spoke about how new drag queens, who are just starting out, aren’t aware of the history of drag but stated that she did not care because young queens should be able to create in any way they want but the history is forgotten by most queens. For those not performing drag, there is nobody studying the current stage of drag, there are no academic essays that are current, most previous academic essays are 30 to 40 years old and so people aren’t being given a well rounded education of what drag truly is.


Miz Cracker spoke about the history of drag and how there is a broad misconception that Drag is age old, however she believes that drag is only about 100 years old.  Cracker mentioned that she believes that drag truly came from New York (although she may be a little biased) during what she called ’the pansy craze’ where straight people would go out to see people dressed in drag at speak-easys.

Her overall narrative stated that drag is a way of empowerment and it is okay for gay men to share drag so that women can feel empowered, strong and be able to be anything that they want to be as well! Miz Cracker spoke very eloquently throughout her talk and tackled every question that was asked with great insight and care for what she was saying.

Miz Cracker later performed at Vinyl and I was privileged enough to meet her. Although our meeting was short, she was very humbled and grateful to her fans while, of course, maintaining her witty banter. Miz Cracker was enthusiastically received by everyone in the club as she took to the stage (if you can call it a stage, it’s more like a step) and lip synced to Rehab by Amy Winehouse. To get the crowd going she then invited people on stage to take part in a dance battle.

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I was very privileged to be able to not only see Miz Cracker perform but also hear her speak about what she does. Miz Cracker opened my eyes to what drag truly is and the power it has for people. The main message I took away from it is exactly what she wanted me to, empowerment! Whether it’s through being dressed in drag or just watching it, drag can be empowering to everyone to show them that they can be whoever they want to be.

Monthly Gig Listings: December (2018)

By Josh Robins – 16th December – The Trials of Cato Album Launch Party. The Portland Arms, doors open @ 7:30pm…

By Josh Robins

16th December – The Trials of Cato Album Launch Party 


The Portland Arms, doors open @ 7:30pm

You may see them on Saturdays in town busking and think- what in god’s name are they doing on the street? They shouldn’t be buskers. They should be fully a touring band with golden reviews from the BBC and have an almost sold out EP launch at the Portland in Cambridge.  Well, they’re that too.

16th December – Christmas Carols with Kahuna Karols

6 bells, @ 7pm

Come get festive in the cosiest music venue in Cambridge, drink something mulled, and don’t mess with their harmonies. Kahuna Karols are serious and dedicated professionals. You can’t just join in, don’t even think about it.

20th December – Skindred


Cambridge Junction @ 7.30pm

The unstoppable Skindred have released yet another fantastic headbanger of an album and are touring round the country for everyone to hit their mates to.  No new musical developments to note, they are still awesome, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

21st December – He knows When You Are Sleeping,

Blue moon @ 6pm

If you’re in the mood for a weird Christmas.. One massive, wacky event with multiple artists to celebrate the festive season, their own promotion piece says it better than I ever could-

Gracie Casey – Singer song writer from Cambridge. Expect low fi beats, sultry vocals and a hell loada of sass.

The Junkoactive Wasteman and his Tinphonia – An ex binman who drowned in a barrel of toxic waste and was saved by tin cans which fused to his body. No longer a binman, but part Man, part Tin Can. Playing chopped up samples and live breaks.

Acid Tea – One man mega band! Loads of wires, pedals, guitars, keyboards, synths, drum machines, wires….did i mention wires? and pedals? yeh loads of them!!! Playing groovy funked out squishy future music from another planet . . . DID SOMEONE SAY GUITAR SOLO!?

22nd December – José Son Comes Home for Christmas

Earl of Beaconsfield @ 7:30pm

Local legend Tom Petie leads one of Cambridge’s musical darlings- José Son. The name born from a joke told at the very venue they are playing in. Every fan is a best friend, and you can guarantee the place will be packed. Go and ask them where they got their name from, it’s a long story.

28th December – Flint Moore (support form Oscar Corney)


Portland Arms, doors open @ 7pm

Grungy Rockers Flint Moore have won all the rock competitions East Anglia has, sold out the Portland before and are by far Cambridge’s biggest unsigned rock band. They are going from strength to strength at an alarming rate. Go and see them before they get to Wembley.

K-Pop Society: Karaoke Night Takeover

By Blessing Raimi – Running the K-Pop Society alongside the other committee members has been a great and rewarding experience so far. Initial planning for the karaoke night event began over the summer, which involved taking over one of the…

By Blessing Raimi

Running the K-Pop Society alongside the other committee members has been a great and rewarding experience so far. Initial planning for the karaoke night event began over the summer, which involved taking over one of the Chill Out Tuesday events that is a regular feature on The Academy calendar.  This then led to the event taking place at the end of October.

The society was founded in autumn of last year and since then, has grown in popularity with our involvement in wider university events such as Global Week. Our presence at Fresher’s Fair gave us more visibility to new and returning students who attended.  An Erasmus student studying Sociology said that she joined after: “Seeing the society at Fresher’s Fair and attending the taster sessions with my roommate”, proving that the opportunity of the society being at Fresher’s Fair raised more awareness about it and the trial period assured students of what they could look forward to if they became an official member.

At the start of the semester, taster sessions were offered for students in order for them to gain an idea of the sort of activities that would be taking place over the forthcoming year. Events such as:

  • Korean traditional games
  • Snacks
  • K-Pop dance workshops.

An MSc student studying Biomedical Sciences stated: “It’s a very friendly environment and I joined because I enjoy K-Pop and wanted friends with the same interests.” It was encouraging to see new and returning students interested in signing up and getting involved with the society and our taster sessions. These sessions were very successful with members.

When the event finally took place, there was a great turn out and everyone had a great time. There were a  mix of society members and those who were just interested in having a go at karaoke. There were different Korean snacks available to try and a variety of performances in different languages – Portuguese, Spanish, English and Korean to name a few. What made the night great was the encouragement from students during the performances. It didn’t matter how people sung  or if the song was well known or not, the focus was on having a good time in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

One of the attendees gave a review of the night:

“I think the karaoke night was a success. It was a perfect opportunity to belt out our favourite songs among the people who really appreciate the true value of the music. Not to mention the fan chants for Fake Love. It was truly a moment of pure happiness, bliss and fun.”

Find out more about the K-Pop Society, their events and what activities they get up to at https://www.angliastudent.com/socs/kpop

Coasts Farewell Tour at Cambridge Junction

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the…

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make but we ultimately feel that it is a positive one.”

The members of Coasts, Chris Caines (Vocals), Liam Willford (Guitar), James Gamage (Bass), David Goulbourn (Keyboards) and Ben Street (Drums), met at University in Bath. Shortly after they moved to Bristol where they formed their band. They achieved two UK  Top 40 albums as well as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record’ in October 2014.

Coasts performed at Cambridge Junction on Wednesday 24th October, alongside Only The Poets as support. I feel as if I have been late to the party with this band, having only discovered them this summer, but their show certainly did not disappoint. They performed singles such as “Stay” and “Oceans” and despite being their smallest audience so far, the atmosphere was incredible.

In their announcement post, the members concluded it by saying, “We started this band as five best friends and we’ll finish it as five best friends. Coasts has been our lives for the past 10 years and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”.

A Band to Keep Your Eye On – 

only poets

Only the Poets joined the stage to support Coasts on their farewell tour. Although the venue wasn’t necessarily packed out, the crowd filled out the empty space with double the noise which created an exciting atmosphere.

The indie pop band from Reading made this their first major tour and they filled the room with their catchy tunes and had everyone moving. Their set included songs from their EP such as ‘Even Hell’ and ‘CeaseFire’. As someone who has never heard of them before, I’ve found myself listening to their EP on repeat since the gig and they are definitely a band to watch out for. You can find them on Spotify and they have some upcoming tour dates available for sale now. 

Photo Credit: Tyla Brine

Written By: Tyla Brine

‘Monsters and Men’ (2018) – Cambridge Film Festival Review

By Niamh Edmonds – Thursday 1st November and the closing night of the Cambridge Film Festival I attended a UK Premiere of the amazing film “Monsters and Men.” The 96 minute feature is due to come out in UK cinemas 11th January 2019 with an…

By Niamh Edmonds

Thursday 1st November and the closing night of the Cambridge Film Festival I attended a UK Premiere of the amazing film “Monsters and Men.” The 96 minute feature is due to come out in UK cinemas 11th January 2019 with an age rating of 15+.

The film is written and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, known for “Stop” (2015) and “Stone Cars” (2014). The film features stars such as John David Washington, the up and coming Kelvin Harrison Jr, Chanté Adams and Hamilton’s (broadway) Anthony Ramos.

The film is both engaging and exciting from the beginning to the end. The film is shot and located in Brooklyn, New York State. The films plot begins when a white armed police officer shoots an unarmed black civilian, named Darius Larson. The event of the shooting was filmed by bystander Manny (Anthony Ramos) who then proceeds to upload his recording of the shooting off his phone and onto the internet. The uploading of the video sparked protests and activism in the local area against racism and police brutality.

What I liked about this film was that it had a clear message regarding police brutality against black Americans/ black communities in the United States. The film was clearly produced to spread awareness to its audience regarding this issue of policing and racism in the United States. Additionally, what I really liked was that the film had a good balance coming from both the point of view of the victims, protesters and police officers.

I would highly recommend this film because it clearly highlights police brutality and racism against black communities in the United States. The film is a really big eye-opener as to what happens everyday in the U.S; it gives a clear and shocking visual insight into how it feels to be both the oppressed and the oppressor.

‘The Archive and the Contested Landscape’ – Festival of Ideas

“This project exploring the dynamic material interplay between archives and contested landscapes was initiated by Kelcy Davenport and Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab as part of their ongoing art-geology research collaboration…

By Hannah Cox

“This project exploring the dynamic material interplay between archives and contested landscapes was initiated by Kelcy Davenport and Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab as part of their ongoing art-geology research collaboration.  The project was introduced via a symposium event in Cambridge on 22nd March 2018.  A related exhibition comprising of creative responses to the theme, by artists and non-artists inclusively, will take place in Cambridge and Basra from 22nd – 28th October 2018, as part of the Festival of Ideas.”

The first part of this exhibit took place in Cambridge whilst the second will be taking place in Basra, Iraq in 2019. The project looked interesting, an exhibit across three buildings beginning at Gallery 9 on Norfolk Street. Immediately upon entering, there were 26 copper figurines on the floor, Elizabeth’s Eade’s Net Realisable Value. After being told we could hold one, my son chose a pregnant figurine and she was placed carefully into his hands whilst I read about the piece. The 26 copper figurines have been ‘corrupted with sea water to produce startling green crystals’. Eerily reminiscent of Egyptian Shabti dolls found in the Pharaohs’ tombs, they are themselves symbols of slaves. The title relates to the calculation regarding the worth of water damaged goods, the figurines to a real life event:

“On the 3rd of November 2017, the bodies of 26 girls aged 14-18 were pulled from the sea off the South Coast of Italy. They were all of Nigerian origin. One wore a t-shirt with the words “I’m super happy”. It is believed that they were destined for the vociferous sex slave trade in Italy. The only two identified were named as Marian Shaka, who was married, and Osato Osaro. Both were pregnant.”

The power of this piece builds on you slowly. Drawing us unexpectedly into confronting the horrors of the sex slave trade still happening today. Tragedy, beauty and horror all rolled into 26 little figures, some slightly broken, and others slightly less human due to the crystal growth. We stand to move on, placing the pregnant figurine back on the floor where she longs.

The Gallery echoed with the sounds of Rosanna Greave’s film The Flaming Rage of the Sea (2018). Choreographed stilt performers represent the fens people whilst oral histories and the poem ‘The Powtes Complaint’ protest the draining of the fens and discuss the histories of the Cambridgeshire Fenland.


The harsh landscape contrasts with the images of the traditional folk festivals and the whole piece functions as a visual poem. A very stark piece highlighting the struggle and ‘precariousness of a landscape below sea level’.

Sarah Strachan spent the weeks prior to the exhibit preparing an incredible clay water filtering vessel in the fashion of the place where the clay was sourced: the Al-Hammar Marshes in Southern Iraq. The piece, Shared Water, Contested Water, provides an artefact linking the ‘paleoclimate archive and the future demand for water’. The quality of the vessel is proof of the time, care and skill of Strachan in preparing a complex material as a part of a series of clay objects.

Many of the pieces focus on war. My first impression of Artists Activists’ T.H. Elderton and Walter Yeo was of two beautiful sculptures. They are the ‘men with the Broken Faces’, a term which the artist disagrees with as ‘these men must not have their identities transformed and grouped into a terminology to be forgotten as individuals’. By the time we came to leave I knew not to consider them beautiful, only to leave understanding and knowing that individuals went through an unimaginable hell when they lost their faces.

The next part of the exhibit was on ARU’s main campus. Ian Moffat’s Lunette: A Deep History of Australian Climate shows us the ‘stark, craggy forms’ of the crescent shaped dunes attached to Salt Lakes are layered, ‘recording thousands of years of climate change driven by the natural wobbles in the Earth’s transit around the sun’. Not only do these images open our eyes to the beauty of lunettes, but they also show the deep history Australia has and stand as a testimony to man and other creature’s abilities to change and adapt to climate change.

The third building of the exhibit was the Zion Baptist Church Crypt. Walking into the crypt was a slightly unsettling experience. Most noticeable, perhaps because the crypt walls were reverberating with the sound, was William Crosby’s WHAILES. Speakers faced the centre of the unlit room, playing whale song, and whilst it is incredibly loud, it serves to educate us about noise pollution in the world’s oceans. This piece discusses the effects of human activity on the ocean – a contested landscape that not too long ago, existed without human interference.

Events were also arranged by Kelcy Davenport to further discuss and explore the theme of the contested landscape, such as the mid-week symposium. Here, contributors to the exhibit gave talks on their work. One piece which benefitted from the symposium was Sally Stenton’s and Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab’s If the Cloud Allows.They arranged for people in Cambridge and Basra to walk in a circle and look at the moon simultaneously. The pictures in the exhibit and the story were made more powerful after seeing the short film which shows the events as they happen at the same time on 26/10/18. I doubt one could truly view this piece, as it is an experience. The two acts explore a feeling of connectivity and the significance of the cyclical movement of the groups in line with the moon and the earth.

This exhibition was a huge undertaking and an even bigger success. Thank you to Kelcy Davenport and Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab for arranging this exhibit and curating these works and to all who contributed to the exhibit. I sincerely recommend visiting the website and social media pages, and if you can see any of the pieces, I entreat you to. This exhibit not only explored contested landscapes, but through them brought out the importance of human connections. Through these works we are linked to cultures, war zones and people who we are led to believe are ‘them’ or ‘other’. In exploring our connections, we experience the humanity of people we often dehumanise and challenge the ideas which can lead to contested landscapes.

All quotes taken from the exhibition catalogue.