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Artefact magazine

  1. 1. FREE MAGAZINEThe Liberty Issue ISSN 2056-919X
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  3. 3. 3 Editorʼs letter 2015 got off to a shit start with traumatising effects on the Western psyche. The notion of our rights to freedom of expression suddenly came to the fore- front of our minds and sparked a debate which highlighted issues far beyond the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo: what is liberty? Whose freedom is truly free? What is offensive and when do we have the right to be offended? In this latest edition of Artefact, we explore some of the many interpreta- tions of the concept of liberty, and ask some very clever people to share their thoughts. Iconic news anchor Jon Snow and politically engaged graphic design- er Jonathan Barnbrook (who also did our center piece – thanks Jonathan!) spoke freely in conversations with us. We dive into the blood red waters of the Faroe Islands and consider the inhab- itants rights to their own culture and an arguably more sustainable way to feed themselves. We also celebrate our freedom to vote by looking into the possible outcome of the General Election in May – can anyone predict it? I’m taking a right liberty here to say, this is a wicked magazine – enjoy! Contents 04 IN BRIEF 08 FREEDOM, FATWAS AND THE MOB Luke O’Driscoll 09 WHAT MAKES SOMEONE ‘SUSPICIOUS’? Arij Limam 10 THE ANCHORMAN: IN CONVERSATION WITH JON SNOW Josh de Souza Crook 14 CARL BIGMORE Olivia Broome 18 THE RED SEA OF THE FAROE ISLANDS Bryndis Hjartardottir 24 THE CHANGING FACE OF HIP HOP James Childs 26 GRAPHIC MATERIAL: JONATHAN BARNBROOK Katrina Schollenberger 30 MATTHEW BOVAN Diana Tleuilyeva 34 LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY Fraser Thorne 38 THE UNPREDICTABLE ELECTION Max Schwerdtfeger 40 IT’S FOMO YOU MOFO Luke O’Driscoll 41 CLAPTON FC ULTRAS Oliver Woodbridge 42 THE LIBERTY OF AFGHAN WOMEN Yasaman Ahmadzai 43 TOUR DE FORCE Sean Coppack 44 A YEAR OF LIBERATION AND SETBACKS Hallam Tweddell 45 FOOD PORN Stephanie Shaw 46 REVIEWS 48 SEEN ON CAMPUS 49 CHEAPNESS 50 LAST WORD Isabella Smith Contributors Editorial Managing editor: Paula Wik Deputy managing editor: Danielle Agtani Print output editor: Louise Bonner Print production manager: Amy Kirby Chief sub-editor: Sebastian Moss Sub-editors: Hasham Cheema, Andrew Postlethwaite Layout sub-editors: Arak Zagata, Dominic Brown, Jacqueline Owusu, Fraser Thorne Features editor: Storm Simpson News editor: Aurora Bosotti Deputy news editor: Yasaman Ahmadzai Lifestyle editor: Rose Stoker Deputy lifestyle editor: Rachel Willcocks Entertainment editor: Ria Sajit Deputy entertainment editor: Lucia Campolucci-Bordi Culture editor: Astrid Madberg Deputy culture editor: Max Schwerdtfeger Opinions editor: Fleur de Boer Deputy opinions editor: Molly Turnley Social media editor: Holly Oxley Multimedia editor: Arij Limam Online output editor: Ed Oliver Online production manager: Bianca Pascall Online producers: Katherine Carruthers, James Wood Sports Editor: Sean Coppack Journalists/photographers/illustrators Thalia Aboutaleb, Joseph Ackerman, Raya Bargh- outi, Tom Beastland, Divya Bhavani, Olivia Broome, Tom Buttrick, Nelson Campos, Sean Car- penter, Martin Cervenansky, Vicki Cheng, James Childs, Mary Clarke, conorwithonen/flickr, Josh De Souza Crook, Rune Hellestad/Corbis, MS_imageSPACE/Splash News/Corbis, Arran O’Don- nell, Luke O’Driscoll, Jennelyn Estacio, Thu- vika Ganeshalingham, Yordan Georgiev, Sophie Hadley, Bryndis Hjartardottir, Corali Houlton, Antonella Huka, Ella Jukwey, Yeasin Khan, Otto Linder, Guy Longbottom, Elena McDonough, Pie- teke Marsden, Dóra Maurer/Whitechapel Gallery, Emma Morrison, Shannei Morrison-Brown, Nadiyah Naidoo, Elvira Nuriakhmetova, Ebi Osuobeni, Jasmine Perkins, Carlotta Righi, Zanna Roll- ins, David Rothwell, Katrina Schollenberg- er, Stephanie Shaw, Isabella Smith, Charlotte Somerville, Diana Tleuilyeva, Hallam Tweddell, Sam Walker, Oliver Woodbridge, Supermundane Design Oswin Tickler, Smallfury Designs Publishing information Published by the London College of Communication, London SE1 6SB #4. February 2015 Cover image Freedom, Super- mundane, 2015. Website: Facebook: artefactmagazine Twitter: artefactlcc Instagram: artefactmag Feedback to:
  4. 4. 4 IN BRIEF Auschwitz liberation remembered at Imperial War Museum The Holocaust is still a painful mem- ory for many. Survivors of the Holo- caust spoke on January 27 about their experience in concentration camps, at a commemorative ceremony held at the Imperial War Musuem. The day marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camp – Auschwitz- Birkenau. The ser- vice was held with the theme “keep the memory alive”. Avram Schaufeld, 88, and his wife Vera, 85, were speakers at the event. Vera recounted how her parents had decided to move from their hometown in Czechoslovakia to Prague in 1939. Straight away she was placed on the Kindertransport (special trains cre- ated to evacuate children from areas threatened by Nazism during WWII) and left in Liverpool Street, all alone. “We leaned out the window, our parents waved white handkerchiefs and that is the last time I saw any of my family”. At the time, Avram lived in a small town near the German border and did not manage to escape. He was sent to Auschwitz and later on to Blechhammer. He remembers the prisoners seeing Rus- sian airplanes flying over the camp: “People who had been in the [armed] forces knew that they were Russian, so we knew that the Russians were not far away. But that’s when the Germans started us on the death march”. The ceremony was hosted by the Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Sunil Chopra, and was attended by several distin- guished guests including Southwark MP Simon Hughes, and Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador in the UK for the Russian Federation. In his speech just before the wreath laying, Simon Hughes thanked Mr and Mrs Schaufeld for their testimony. “It reminded us that you have been able to forgive an unconscionable evil but you want us not to forget said Hughes. The ceremony concluded with a memo- rial prayer performed by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman followed by the wreath laying, two minutes of silence and a reveille by the The Standard Bearers. Words: Otto Linder SUPERMUNDANE Supermundane’s use of playful, poppy colours in optical drawings were per- fect for Artefact’s latest cover. The illustrator behind the pseudonym, Rob Lowe, joyfully interprets our liberty theme as freedom of expression. A Tamworth man, who lives and works in London, Lowe has had an impressive 20 years experience in the creative in- dustry. His distinctive work has been published and exhibited worldwide. With magazines such as Sleazenation, Anorak and Fire Knives under his belt, Lowe has worked on many ground- breaking and independent publications. The front cover follows Lowe’s ongo- ing project You Made Me; a collection of mesmerising, God-like faces, drawn with spewing mouths. Lowe said: “the idea behind it is - I think we make our own Gods and demons. Only we have the ability to create freedom. “I think the idea of liberty isn't about us all loving each other (which is an unattainable goal and frankly ridiculous), it’s rather about being decent to each other, allowing others to have views that counter your own. “A quote I do like is ‘Please – a lit- tle less love and a little more common decency’ by Kurt Vonnegut”. Words: Louise Bonner
  5. 5. 5 In conversation with Fran Krause Fran Krause, an animator and part of the Character Anima- tion Program at CalArts, is asking for your weirdest secret fears to be submitted to his Deep Dark Fears Tumblr and he will turn them into short comic strips. Anyone can contribute, with the only rule being they must be “original stories, fears or ideas”. How did you come up with the concept of Deep Dark Fears? I’ve always had a lot of little irrational fears popping into my head throughout the day. They used to strike me as odd. For instance, when I’d stand on a street corner when I lived in Brooklyn, and a van would zip around the corner, the thought would always cross my mind that the van would cut the corner too close and its bumper would scoop off my kneecap. One day I wrote down as many fears as I could think of, out of curiosity. I think I had about twenty, and the thought occurred to me that I could make them into a series of illustrations. Are there any submissions to the blog that have real- ly stuck with you? Yes. Sometimes people send me messag- es where they open up to me in very personal ways. I keep their secrets, though. Have you ever thought “I can relate to that”. when people send you their fears? Absolutely. I think I can relate to all the fears that I’ve drawn. Maybe I don’t have all the fears personally, but I’ve thought a lot about them and I can see where most of them come from. How do you feel about the response that the project has received? I’ve been very lucky to have a positive response from people who have found my comic. It’s very encouraging and it’s one of the reasons I’ve continued to draw the com- ic for a few years now. I’m also happy that I have a chance to interact with my readers and draw their stories. People have been very generous. Why the style of the comic strip rather than a simple il- lustration? I like a sense of timing, I am an animator by training. A single illustration usually feels like a time- less moment, where a comic has movement through time. You don’t have to say everything all at once with a comic. You can slowly reveal your thoughts. How long does it take to produce each comic? Sometimes they take an hour, but usually they take 3-8 hours. What is one tip you can give to those that want to break into illustration? It’s very important to do something that interests you strongly. You are currently working on a Deep Dark Fears book, what can you tell us about that? It’ll have 50 comics from my website, and 50 that I’ve made just for the book. It will be out this September from Ten Speed Press. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished book, it will be my first one. It’s allowed me to spend more time on each of my comics than I would be able to normally. What else should we be looking out for from yourself? I’m also working on an animated version of another comic, skip- Words: Hallam Tweddell
  6. 6. 6 Oh Heck! Cobain biopic due out in April Described by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic as ‘terrific’, Cobain: Montage of Heck, enjoyed a rapturous reception dur- ing its January premiere at Sundance 2015. Just as well, considering director Brett Morgen spent seven whole years painstakingly piecing together material re- leased to him by Courtney Love, whose attitude to the doc- umentarist was apparently “Go through all my shit, make a fucking movie and Iʼll see it when itʼs done”. The documentary contains a composite of Kurtʼs journal en- tries (Cobain was a prolific diarist), unheard songs, home movies from his childhood, show footage, rare photographs, personal recordings, drawings, collages and demos; as well as animation and interviews with family members, ex lovers and bandmates. The film takes its name from two trippy mix-tapes Cobain compiled in 1987 on a two-track cassette recorder featuring tracks from Frank Zappa, The Beatles and Butthole Surfers, as well as miscellaneous sonic recordings and verbal ex- cerpts. Kurt’s daughter, 22 year-old visual artist Frances Bean is credited as an executive producer on the movie. In his introduction to the biopic at Sundance, Morgen said, ‘I just wanted to give Frances a few more hours with her dad’. He’s since called her reaction after watching it the best achievement of his career. Fans are assured they will learn things about the legend that they never knew, but it sounds like impartial viewers are in for a fascinating and moving watch regardless, when it hits the UK in spring. Words: Isabella Smith IN BRIEF Zero tolerance, zero cutting 2015 brings great revolutions against female genital mu- tilation (FGM) practises in the UK, an agonising and life-threatening infringement upon freedom. Close to 500 FGM-related cases are being reported each month by hospi- tals in the United Kingdom. International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM commemorates worldwide efforts made by campaigners to eventually extin- guish these numbers. “We see FGM as an extreme form of violence and a seri- ous human rights violation. Zero Tolerance Day is a great opportunity to keep raising the issue on the international agenda” says Mary Wandia, Program Manager at Equality Now. The artistic community is also instrumental in bringing about FGM awareness. We spoke to filmmakers Flora Berkeley and Richard King, along with Girl Effect who created the documentary, FGM: A Change Has Begun. “Richard and I went through a whole range of emotions. We were shocked that such a brutal practice is the norm for so many children in the world today; we were appalled at the injustice that FGM manifests; and we were inspired by the strength of the women we talked to, and their commitment to changing what they see as an unacceptable violence against women, even when faced with being threatened and ostracized from their communities” explains Berkeley. Anti-FGM is unlike any other sexual health movement as it challenges decades of tradition to create a cutting-free future for everyone. Words: Divya Bhavani X-Files to make a TV comeback ʻSeekers of the truthʼ will be happy to hear that popular ʻ90s series X-Files is set to return to our TV screens. Fox TV have confirmed a comeback for the iconic cult show. The famous sci-fi series ran from 1993 to 2002 and followed FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, investigating unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Talks of re-opening the X-Files are still in early stages as the producers are struggling to find a free window for Duchovny, Anderson and creator of the show, Chris Carter. As for the comeback of X-Files, I remain sceptic. In the last episode, the alien-fighting duo were waiting for an extra-terrestrial colonisation which would happen on Decem- ber 22, 2012 - the predicted end of the world. 2012 has now past and no Armageddon. Will agent Mulder and Scully pick up where they left off and figure out what hap- pened with the alien colonisation? That would be a very predictable move. Just a quick look at the two feature films made by the series, show that thereʼs nothing new to bring to the table. Words: Bryndis Hjartardottir
  7. 7. 7 Adventures of the Black Square A new exhibition at Whitechapel Gal- lery explores the history of abstract art over the century, showcasing works of more than 100 contemporary artists. Arranged chronologically, the exhi- bition is divided into four themes: Utopia, exploring Malevichʼs and oth- er artists’ visions; architectonics, looking at geometric abstraction in architecture; communication, showing ideas in magazines and other media, and the Everyday, exploring how ab- straction is part of our daily lives. Paintings, photos, sculptures, films and magazines look at the emergence of abstract art in Europe and development in Asia, the US and Latin America. Kazimir Malevich’s painting, Black Quadrilateral, is the starting point of the exhibition; representing the birth of the new movement and remains a symbol of abstract art. The exhibition is more than a lega- cy of Malevich’s Black Square, it’s a journey through the evolution of ge- ometric abstraction and its link with society and politics. Malevich’s icon- ic artwork was created in turbulent times- after World War I and two years before the Russian Revolution in 1917. Malevich’s Suprematism, using geomet- ric shapes, texture and pure colour, can be seen throughout the exhibition, for example, Lyubov Popova’s Painterly Architectonic (1916). Highlights of this period are Gustav Klutsisʼ Design for Loudspeaker No.5 (1922) and Aleksandr Rodchenkoʼs pho- tograph of Radio Station Tower (1929) which became a symbol of “the communi- cation of a new social order”. An interesting part of the exhibition is the ʻNeoconcretistʼ movement in Latin America, after the Second World War, with geometric sculptures by Oit- icica and Lygia Pape. A strong history of art exhibition, it can feel overwhelming for those un- interested in abstract art, but is a must-see for fans of the genre. Adventures of the Black Square: Ab- stract Art and Society 1915-2015 runs until April 6, 2015. Words: Diana Tleuliyeva Magna Carta 800th anniversary 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and the United King- dom will celebrate the occasion with numerous events and exhibitions throughout the country over the coming months. What was initially an attempt for the unpopular King John to avoid civil war in 1215, the Great Charter has become the foundation of the British legal system still used today. It estab- lished the principle that absolutely no-one was above the law, and most famously it gave all “free men” the right to a fair trial and justice. The term “free man” was however loosely used in the early years of the Magna Carta, as it excluded the peasants, who had to seek justice through the Lords. Even though only three of the original 63 clauses are still in force today, the main principles of the document have filtered through the ages. The anniversary will be marked with much fanfare. For the first time in history, the four remaining copies will be united on display at the Brit- ish Library. The institution will host a Magna Carta exhibition opening March 13, exploring the history and signifi- cance of the document. Artist Cornelia Parker has been commissioned to create artwork to mark the 800th anniversary. In the 800 years since the signing of the Great Charter, the document has become a symbol of liberty and the rule of law. Itʼs widely recognised as one of the most important legal documents in de- veloping modern democracy and inspired well known documents including the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite the fact that the original documentʼs purpose was to control a problematic king, its reinterpretation over the years has helped maintain its importance and its influence on the liberty debate today. Words: Bryndis Hjartardottir Dóra Maurer / Whitechapel Gallery
  8. 8. 8 Freedom, fatwas and the mob Words: Luke OʼDriscoll Image: Mr OH THE FATWA In September 1988 the world was a different place: Phil Collins was at the top of the charts, poll tax was but a distant nightmare and Salman Rushdie had just re- leased his fourth novel, The Sa- tanic Verses. By February of 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, had issued a fatwa declaring a death sentence against Mr Rush- die for blaspheming Islam in his book. The writer would spend the next ten years in hiding, protect- ed by the British security servic- es at an estimated cost of £11M to the UK taxpayer. Many, including fellow writers, have repeatedly criticised Rush- die for what they saw as a blatant exercise in self-promotion, if a very hazardous one. The consequence of his right to free speech has perhaps been most damning for those he never knew. In 1993, Aziz Nesin, a Turkish left-wing intellectual, was tar- geted by angry Sunni Muslims for translating and publishing ex- tracts from Rushdie’s novel. The hotel at which he was staying dur- ing a literary festival was set alight by the mob, and although Nesin managed to escape unharmed, 35 others weren’t so lucky and burnt to death in the blaze. The incident was not isolated. The threat to Rushdie's life is still very real with a current bounty of $3.3M. In 2010 he was placed on an al-Qaeda hit list, the same list that included the now deceased Stéphane “Charb” Char- bonnier, murdered in the Charlie Hebdo killings of January 2015. THE MOB Having the wrath of the larg- est religion in the world is one thing. Having the rage of Neapol- itan mobsters is another wholly different affair. In 2006 Roberto Saviano published Gomorrah, a culmination of five years worth of investigations into the Camorra: “Italy’s other Mafia”. The book shifted a million copies within its first year. That fig- ure’s now in excess of 10M, trans- lated in 51 countries. The attention Saviano brought to one of the world nastiest crimi- nal organisations did not go unno- ticed. In particular by the Casal- esi clan, whose exploits the book details in great lengths; running construction rackets, being heav- ily involved in not only the drug trade but also the hugely profita- ble dairy business and, of course, murder. By 2008, his life had been threatened numerous times and he was living under constant police protection, moving from safe house to safe house. Saviano has spoken damningly of his forced exile and the solitude it’s brought. He told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, “What is my crime? Why must I live like a recluse, a leper?” Is the expense one pays for the right to free speech sometimes greater than the reward? As Sa- viano himself aptly puts it: “The fuck with success”. THE OPERA Stewart Lee’s The Jerry Springer Opera: a satirical look at the ex- ploitative nature of American chat shows through the canon of Chris- tianity. The musical was written in 2001 and ran for over 700 per- formances throughout England and the US before succumbing to the pressures of Christian right-wing groups. At the height of its run hundreds of protesters could be found out- side theatres across the country, with the Archbishop of Wales, Bar- ry Morgan, calling the show “gra- tuitously offensive”. In 2005 BBC General Director Mark Thompson made the decision to tel- evise the musical. This became the single most complained about show in British history (to be knocked off only by Big Brother) receiv- ing 55,000 complaints to the BBC prior to airing, whilst regulator Ofcom recorded 9,000 after trans- mission. Christian Voice, however, did not stop there. They attempted to sue Thompson for blasphemy but the case was thrown out by judges. Hounded by years of blasphemy al- legations and campaigning, the show came to an end. When asked, more recently, if Lee had been disheartened by the process he an- swered “It did make me feel there was not much point ever trying to reach a mass audience with any- thing interesting and provoca- tive”. THE GURDWARA Another show swamped with contro- versy despite only running for two nights before being cancelled was Behzti, a play by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti. A black comedy, the the- atrical work was set in a Gurd- wara, a Sikh temple, and included scenes of rape, physical abuse and murder. The play's premiere, at the Bir- mingham Rep in 2004, saw hundreds of members of the Sikh communi- ty turning out to protest against the production. The demonstra- tion soon turned violent when the building was stormed. 85 police officers, including 30 in riot gear were required to bring peace upon the theatre. Bhatti said she created the play from her “fury at injustice and hypocrisy” she saw within the Sikh community. Prominent figures with- in the Birmingham Sikh community were quick to attack the play. Lo- cal MP Khalid Mahmood stated the performance aimed to cause max- imum offence, while chairman of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras Sewa Singh Mandha said that “it will not help race relations in the city”. Following threats of abduction and violence, the playwright was placed under temporary police pro- tection and her flat fitted with window bars and CCTV. Ten years on Bhatti told the Guardian: “My experience showed me that freedom of expression is precious, both as a gift and a right. When it is taken away, there is nothing left but abject, depressing silence”. THE HUMAN ZOO Last year the Barbican centre held an exhibition by South African Brett Bailey, where black actors were displayed in a ‘human zoo’, following showings in 12 cities. A commentary on racism or racism itself was the question asked as an online petition, started by jour- nalist Sara Myers, advocating the cancellation of the show reached 22,987 signatures at Following protests and support from around the country includ- ing Lord Boateng, Britain’s first black cabinet minister, the per- formance was cancelled. Many commentators called the pro- test a product of ‘viral hysteria’ following the petition. Bailey himself queried how many people protesting had actually seen the show. Questioning, “Do any of us really want to live in a soci- ety in which expression is sup- pressed, banned, silenced, denied a platform? My work has been shut down today, whose will be closed down tomorrow?” THE PROPHET AND THE FUTURE In January 2015 what happened at the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo will stay with many forever. A turning point in the argument for free speech and civil liberties. Is there ever a step too far? An offence that is too grave to forgive? Or are we living in an overtly extremist, too eas- ily offended world? There’s no black and white an- swer to it but what must be held up is a personʼs right to pro- duce and create freely, without fear, intimidation or death. As Oscar Wilde put it more succinctly than I ever could “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself”. From religious upsets to Italian gansters - here’s some defining moments in the debate on free speech
  9. 9. 9 Theresa Mayʼs proposed Coun- ter-Terrorism and Security Bill to make universities legally re- sponsible for extremism on campus is still causing anger. The Bill has passed the second reading stage in the House of Lords and is now being fiercely debated at the committee stage. Although the actual name of the programme was omitted in the Bill, it is said to be an extension of the governmentʼs controversial ʻPreventʼ strategy to crack down on terrorism in the rise of IS; particularly since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris this Jan- uary. Prevent has caused wide backlash, especially within the Muslim com- munity, who say the strategy in- fringes on the privacy and free- doms of all Muslims. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, the former head of the MI5, Baroness Manningham Buller, criticises Prevent for its failure to stop the spread of Jihadism in Britain, saying it is “clearly not working”. ** What do all these measures and proposed laws actually mean to an average Muslim like me? I wear the headscarf, pray five times a day, attend university dressed like an average person, and try to avoid dodgy IS Twitter accounts. However if this proposed law is passed then it means I can have my passport taken away without any solid proof, just because my uni- versity lecturers and peers might think that I am acting suspicious- ly. Part Five of the Bill sets out guidelines for the specific au- thorities which are to intervene in the ‘prevention of people being drawn into terrorism’. These authorities include local government, criminal justice,the education and child care system, health and social care and the po- lice. This means that anyone from the local council as well as uni- versity tutors, nursery school teachers, the family doctor and dentist; essentially, the whole community will have a legal obli- gation to spy on me! What the Bill doesnʼt explain is what makes someone suspicious in the first place. How would my GP tell that Iʼve been radicalised? Are there symptoms associated with being a terrorist? Could more fa- cial hair for men be a symptom? Or perhaps a Vitamin C deficiency is down to the fact I suspiciously cover my hair? Where will the line be drawn to prevent a Big Brother-type regime that follows anyone with a head- scarf or a long beard? ** Speaking about the surveillance of Muslims on campus, Ibrahim Ali, the vice president of student af- fairs at the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) said: “In an environment where Muslim students already feel like they are under increased surveillance, the measures outlined in this Bill will only serve to reinforce these concerns”. FOSIS is an umbrella organisation of student groups in colleges and universities across the UK and Ireland, representing the inter- ests of more than 115,000 Muslim students. Its president, Bashir Osman, said in a statement recently: “The bill proposes intrusive measures that threaten the civil liberties of students and runs the risk of cur- tailing the freedom of speech that is so fundamental to campus life”. Since the rise of IS, the spot- light has been on university cam- puses as potent breeding grounds for fundamentalism. In recent months the pressure has mounted on universities to stop some Islamic speakers from attending universi- ties and lectures at events. The National Union of Students (NUS), have spoken out against parts of the Bill which they say infringe on the freedom of speech of all students. “Placing a vague statutory re- sponsibility on universities to ‘prevent people being drawn into terrorism’, and giving the Gov- ernment undefined powers to or- der that ‘extremist’ speakers be and search without suspicion and tempered aspects of the draconian control order regime,” said poli- cy officer Rachel Robinson. This debate is not about the need to tackle the issue of terrorism. We all believe that our government has a duty to protect us from such attacks. The issue is with the knee-jerk reaction of hurrying important Bills through Parliament without proper considerations and ignor- ing the lesson of the previous failed attempts to halt Jihadism. The Counter-Terrorism and Secu- rity Bill which is garnering in- creasing support within Westmin- ster has raised red flags among members of the public. As a Muslim and a student, I feel that amendments to the Bill should be made with greater clarity as to the meaning of terms such as ‘sus- picious’ and ‘fundamentalist’. I do agree that something needs to be done to stop British-born fighters traveling to Syria for the wrong reasons, but it should be tackled in a way that doesn’t turn everyone into a suspect. A good place to start would be to educate young minds to effective- ly root out the initial causes of anti-social behaviour. After all, universities and schools are a place for education, not surveillance. Big-brother style plans to tackle extremism on campus could turn students and lecturers into spies What makes some- one ʻsuspicious’? Words: Arij Limam Image: AIGA banned risks further developing a culture of suspicion and surveil- lance on campuses,” the NUS says. The Bill is currently being pushed through Parliament with little objection from peers; some saying the its quick passing is neces- sary to ensure the security of the British public as the threat of IS rises. A closer look at the Bill,shows that new powers will be given to the police and border-security to seize passports - as well as the issuing of temporary exclusion orders to suspected persons. It is a good thing to not al- low known IS fighters to return to Britain after committing heinous crimes. But the increasing pow- ers of border-security to seize passports means that if I travel alone to Turkey, the removal of my passport by suspicious author- ities could effectively render me stateless and strip me of my basic human rights. ** Liberty is one of the UK’s leading civil liberties and human rights organisations and has raised ques- tions and concerns about the Bill since its creation. “The Counter-Terrorism and Se- curity Bill is full of the kind of unsafe, unfair policies which the Coalition appeared to reject when it reduced pre-charged de- tention, curtailed powers to stop
  10. 10. 10 1989 was a big year for journalism and free- dom. Hundreds were massacred in a pro-de- mocracy, student-led protest in Tiananmen Square. 1989 created freedom inside Germany, as the Berlin Wall fell and opened up the East to the West. It was also the year that Jon Snow became the lead anchorman on the 7pm Channel 4 News. A passionate journalist and advocate for press freedom and freedom of speech, Jon's one of the most respected presenters in news media, although he says he’s actually a reporter and a rather poor presenter. We caught up with him shortly after the mur- der of ten Charlie Hebdo journalists to dis- cuss liberty and press freedom. Jon's been the face of Channel 4 News for over 25 years. He’s a tall, towering man at 6ft 4in, but never daunting. With a laidback attitude and probably the best tie collection on British television, Jon's also previously rejected an OBE because he doesn’t believe working journalists should accept honours from the government. He’s a human rights campaigner and a po- litical activist, famously kicked out of Liverpool University in 1967 for being an anti-apartheid protester. Jon is a nation- al treasure in terms of news media and free speech. Beginning the interview, I ask Jon how he would define a free press, and why is it im- portant for countries to have press freedom? “A free press is really the core of any human existence, if you can't talk to each other, if you can't transmit information to each other, then the one thing that distinguish- es us from all other animal life is absent. And what's the point of that? So I think it’s a structural thing, it's something that you understand when you see it, but perhaps it’s quite difficult to define,” he says. “Of course, the events in Paris were at the whole essence of freedom of speech. I didn't much like the content of Charlie Hebdo but I abso- lutely defend their right to publish”. The world turned its cameras towards Paris on January 7. Religious extremists attacked the French capital and murdered ten journalists at the Charlie Hebdo office in the process. Will these kinds of attacks intimidate jour- nalists? “I think journalists are intimidated by the sensitivities of some religions, and it’s not exclusive to Islam. You know very often we have no idea what offence involves. “It’s very difficult to know what is, and is not, offence. For example, I have worked a lot in Iran where the image of the Prophet is not as guarded as it’s in Sunni Islam. In Iran, the Shia does have images of the Proph- et so it can be confusing for someone who knows very little about Islamic practice and beliefs. “Yeah, I think we are intimidated a bit by it, intimidated by the unknown, but not, I think, by the threat of death - I think that’s extreme and unlikely,” Jon continues. “You're more likely to be run over in front of your own house just crossing the street than you are to be destroyed by a fanatic. But it's less than that. You do feel a sensi- tivity partly because you know it, but that’s not intimidation. But you feel a little bit of sensitivity about it yes”, he explains. It’s easy to hear Jon say things like this, tucked up in the comfort of his ITN studios on Grays Inn Road, but even at 67 years old, he regularly reports from conflict zones that many would deem dangerous. What does 'Je suis Charlie' mean to you? “I tweeted 'I am Charlie, I am the Jewish shop- pers, I am the Muslim policemen' because I felt more comfortable with that. I’m probably not Charlie - in literal sense, I’m Jon! I don't think Jon would have done what Char- lie did but I defend the right of Charlie to do it. So that’s why I'm prepared to tweet and support for sure that I am Charlie. It means to me that I'm in complete solidarity with those who defend a free press and that I think is the core of it”. Jon wasn’t alone in showing support for press freedom and those who lost their lives in the attack. The hash tag went viral online, with millions joining the unity march in the French capital and other cities. The Turkish prime minister and Egyptian min- ister both condemned the attacks, joining other world leaders in support of freedom of expression. This ignited anger globally, as THEANCHORMANINCONVERSATIONWITHJONSNOW Josh de Souza Crook caught up with Jon Snow shortly after the Paris attacks to discuss liberty, free speech and press freedom.
  11. 11. 11 Words: Josh de Souza Crook Images: Via Channel 4
  12. 12. 12 Has the coverage of Paris differed from the Taliban massacre on Pakistan school in the Western media? “Of course there has been much more access - access does have a big impact”, says Jon. “If the Pakistani school had hap- pened in a European country then it would have been a bigger event than it was. But I think both were pretty well treated. “We've got greater reason to be critical of ourselves for not doing more on Boko Har- am in Nigeria, who may have killed up to two thousand people whilst this Paris event was going on. But that was about access, the fact is that you can't get into Northern Nigeria. There are no pictures coming out and televi- sion is about pictures. So to some extent the weight of the story is actually about access, rather than overall importance”. Access does play a vital role in coverage. Some news organisations get scrutinised for only ever covering internal and European af- fairs. Perhaps some solely choose to focus on those matters? Others don’t have the abili- ty or resources to cover incidents further afield like the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan, or Boko Haram kidnapping children in remote corners of Nigeria and Cameroon. Trying to cover stories further afield nor- mally comes at a price. Reporting on the Taliban or Boko Haram could have huge impli- cations on a journalist’s life if they are captured or caught in conflict. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 60 journalists were killed worldwide in 2014, and 70 in 2013. The group says the past three years have been the worst since records began in 1992. Is the increasing death toll damaging the freedom of the press? “I think there is no question whatsoever, and you feel it your- self when you're in the field. Journalists have now become an acceptable target”, Jon asserts. “When I started 40 or so years ago, the idea of shooting journalists was not frankly main- stream. There was little of it - very, very little of it. You might die in an accidental spin-off from a bomb explosion or something, but the idea that you'd be targeted was not really there. both Turkey and Egypt have some of the high- est numbers of journalists currently incar- cerated. Do you think this was all part of a PR stunt from countries with notorious reputations for press freedom? “There is no way that anyone can regard President Sisi of Egypt a defender of a free press. I mean it’s absolutely out- rageous. He is actually one of the few world leaders who have locked up large numbers of journalists for doing no more than their job. “It’s completely scandalous that he should in any way regard himself as somebody who can speak out about the events in Paris. As for Mr Erdogan, the Turkish president, well he's on some transit of some description, from a pretty good prime minister to a fairly dread- ful president and he seems to have got ‘reli- gion’ in a rather big and potential 'marcap' [market capitalisation] way”. Reporters Without Borders last month urged Turkey’s judicial system to reverse an Anka- ra court’s decision to ban media coverage of the questioning of four former ministers by a parliamentary commission investigating major corruption allegations. A reported 70 jour- nalists are held in Turkish prisons. According to the World Press Freedom Index 2014, there were 180 countries across the world ranked on press freedom, with Finland ranked first. The United Kingdom was ranked 33rd and France 39th. The press freedom campaigners condemned the presence of certain world leaders with poor track records of a free press. This includ- ed Turkey, who came in at 154 and Egypt who ranked 159. Saudi Arabia appear further down - in 2014 they ranked 164 out of a possible 180 in the index, making them easily one of the worst offenders. Do journalists feel uncomfortable with Sau- di officials and other governments joining the unity march in Paris? “I think certainly what’s happened after Paris is that hypocrisy has been the flavour of the day for many of these world leaders,” Jon says. “We've men- tioned Egypt but Saudi Arabia really takes the biscuit. This is the country that ex- ports radical Wahhabi preachers, and then is in some way startled when their teachings to vulnerable and mixed up kids is in the terri- ble events in Paris. “No, the Saudi sympathy and understanding for what happened in Paris is unacceptable. They have to put their own house in order before the rest of the world is prepared to listen to them expressing any kind of sorrow for what happened in Paris. What happened in Par- is, ultimately, at least to some extent, can be tracked back to states like Saudi Arabia that foster this kind of extremist believe”, Jon explains. Around 40 world leaders joined the unity rally in Paris following the attacks. Imag- es spread of leaders walking arm in arm with each other in a more secure, separate section of the march. This included the French presi- dent, François Hollande, British Prime Min- ister, David Cameron, alongside leaders with records for poor internal press freedom. What occurred in the French capital will no doubt be one of the biggest headlines this year, but what about events from 2014? “But now with the spread of media penetration across the world, those tyrannical forces that wanted to extinguish information will kill journalists. So I'm sorry to have to say, but I think the figures illustrate a truth”. The past 12 months have certainly put the vulnerability of journalists in the head- lines. The beheading of American journalist James Foley was a pinnacle event that high- lighted the dangerous climate foreign corre- spondents face in conflict zones. The United Nations reported that on average two report- ers a week are killed while trying to bring news to the public. The target and murder of journalists and re- porters is the worst-case scenario in their line of work. While many escape death, they often end up captured or imprisoned for try- ing to report to the public. NSA whistler- blower Edward Snowden is wanted by the United States for espionage after leaking many of the National Security Agency’s most guarded secrets. If Snowden returns to his homeland, it’s likely he’ll face a sizeable sentence behind bars. Jon previously interviewed Carl Bern- stein (one of the whistleblowers behind the unravelling of the Watergate Scandal) about Snowden. I ask when does journalism turn into breaking the law? Should governments be taking greater measures to protect or imprison people like Snowden? “Snowden is a very interesting and intriguing case. I think quite a lot of gov- ernments have been grateful for what they've learned,” Jon replies. “Unquestionably the Germans were absolutely horrified to discov- er that their own chancellorʼs telephone was being bugged by the United States. I would argue that governments have an obligation to protect people like Snowden - there is a huge contrast between him and Assange for example. “I think Assange is a much less clear-cut situation, but Snowden will go down as one of history's great whistleblowers. His whistle- blowing was extremely responsible, there is no evidence that anybody has died as a result of what Snowden disclosed,” Jon says. “The idea that in some way security was so compromised that individuals in the field were all going to get killed just does not seem to be true. There is a lot of phooey about it all. Iʼd like to see Germany ac- cord some sort of diplomatic protection to Snowden”. How has journalism changed since your first 7pm show, and what citizen journalists can add to press freedom? “It's been a revolution since then, and we're still in the middle of the revolution. You know, we're still trying to balance online activity with what we put out on television and people consume it in such varied ways. “Nobody knows really how people consume the information that we are putting out every night. Is it on an iPad? Is it simply down- loading the odd item or what? We have no idea. Certainly not that many are sitting in front of the television and watching a whole hour of news at any one moment,” Jon says. “As far as citizen journalists are concerned, I think they can add an absolutely amazing “Afreepressis reallythecoreof humanexistance”
  13. 13. 13 amount, but they won't get paid for it, so that's the problem. It's monetising what you can do - if you can write, if you can film, if you can edit, then you have a terrific future. “The problem is, can you earn money from it? Well the answer is yes if you’re good enough and clever enough in placing it. I actually think there are more opportunities through citizen journalism than there has ever been from full-blown acts,” Jon explains. We’re still in the middle of a media revolu- tion, as experts continue to predict what the future holds for newspapers, radio, televi- sion and news media. It’s difficult to pre- dict trends and there are new formats for picking up news and information appearing all the time. What do you believe is the clever way to consume news in a world of social media? “I suppose to be honest, pick and mix, kind of a bit here and a bit there. I think all of us now pick up stuff now from Twitter, from Facebook, from telly, from the radio so I think the main thing is to use every possi- ble methodology of receiving information,” he says. “We keep talking about a free press, free- dom of speech and the rest of it. The freedom to pick and mix from these assorted sources - masses of sources of information - it's a great blessing and also a bit of a curse, as you might miss something”. In a world of mass information, it can be a dilemma picking what news you listen to. Thereʼs plenty of high-quality journalism available from both media organisations and citizen journalists, but there are also sites that flourish by publishing false informa- tion. The rise of spoof and satire sites has created an era of false news. Free speech and expression has risen to the top of global agendas following the massacre in Paris. These are principles we should be fighting for everyday, not just because ex- tremist attacks have made the evening news.
  14. 14. 14 CARLBIGMOREDocumentary photographer Carl Bigmore talks about the American Dream, the Pacific Northwest, and being a whale. Words: Olivia Broome Images: Carl Bigmore The Sol Duc Rainforest in the Olympic National Park in Washington. Classed as an international biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. Also home to sasquatch sightings and used as a filming location for the Twilight movie franchise.
  15. 15. 15 Eric and his horse Hollywood by the Snoqualmie River, Washington. Whether he finds himself in forests, parking lots or walking down mountain roads, documentary pho- tographer Carl Bigmore has an eye for beauty and an ability to tell stories through his images. Explor- ing the way humans interact with their environment, he leads us through communities and landscapes where fauna meets flora, observing and recording the essence of life in the most unexpected places. Carl recently graduated from the London College of Communication with an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography and is busy setting up an exhibition in Toronto. Artefact stole a few minutes of his time to discuss the American Dream and the Pacific Northwest. The portraits you’ve taken show really interesting free-spirited people, how do you find your sub- jects? Well it’s the Pacific Northwest of America, which is pretty countercultural, so a lot of those people youʼll see daily if you look for them. For this project I had a very strong idea of the type of people I wanted to photograph – free spir- ited is a good way of describing that – so it was really just a case of driving around for a month and being open to chance meetings. Luckily people in the Pacific Northwest are very open and willing to share their lives. The picture of Wegatha (the pink haired girl) for example was made when I started talking to her on the street in Portland, Oregon. Then the longer I was there the more I got connected – so the por- trait of Mike (the bearded guy in the Rolling Stones t-shirt) came about through meeting his grandson who then introduced us. What side of people do you try to portray? Iʼm really interested in trying to capture a moment where the subject fleetingly forgets theyʼre being photographed and gives over a little bit of vulner- ability. Itʼs a lot about feeling the moment when it occurs. I guess thereʼs always a little sense of melancholy in these portraits, which I like. My camera also helps because itʼs an old Rolleiflex which has a waist-level viewfinder. I find people are more comfortable around it as Iʼm not holding it up to my eye, thereʼs no barrier between me and the subject. It allows for a more natural portrait. There’s a lot of nature in your work and an in- teresting balance of humans vs. fauna and flora. What’s your relation to society and the natural world? It probably informs everything I do in my photographic practice. Iʼm fascinated about our re- lationship with the natural world. As we get closer and closer to whatever is coming our way in terms of climate change, I feel a sadness about how weʼve lost some of those connections to nature. I think people want to reconnect more and more, and the Pacific Northwest has a lot of those people, which is partly why Iʼm drawn to create work there. So what does the idea of the ‘land of the free’ and the American Dream mean to you? The US is a complex and contradictory place. I struggle to know what to make of those ideas. I
  16. 16. 16 like the naïve optimism that anyone can achieve what they wish as long as theyʼre willing to work hard. I met a lot of people whoʼd fallen between the cracks of that idea. Thereʼs a healthy cynicism amongst the Americans I met about the land of the free. Late comedian George Carlin said: “itʼs called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it”. I really enjoyed looking at your Between Two Mys- teries work – could you tell me more about the story behind it and about the poetry and quotes that accompany the photos? The project is an ex- ploration of the real and unreal in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of America through its filmic and musical hinterland. I first visited the PNW almost ten years to the day that I started this project. It left an impression on me and Iʼd been wanting to do a photo project there ever since. Over time I realised a lot of my associations with the area were through the prism of popular culture. Be that the music of Nirvana and the grunge move- ment of the 90s, or film and television locations such as The Shining or Twin Peaks. I set out guided by these places known to me through popular culture, and used them to find the real people and places of the PNW. The project became me creating my own interpretation of the region through a collection of images that mixed elements of fact and fiction. To echo this idea I wanted the photographs to feel like film stills, that dealt with themes of the American Dream, myth, history and popular culture. The quotes accompanying the work are mainly from lyrics and film scripts that were produced in the PNW. Often the text will have a direct correlation to the image. For example thereʼs a Nirvana lyric placed next to a photo of a river, taken in Kurt Cobainʼs hometown. Other texts have no direct rela- tion but convey a mood or atmosphere. Tell me about your past and how you discovered photography. I grew up just outside London in the countryside. My grandad worked for Kodak and I remember him always having cameras and shooting on Kodachrome. I think that was where the seed of be- ing a photographer was planted. He passed away when I was a teenager before I really started taking pictures so itʼs bitter sweet. I would love to talk to him about photography now, but at the same time I like to think he would be really happy I’m taking pictures. I’m currently archiving all his old photos so that feels like a creative collaboration with him. What are your plans for life after LCC? Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Right now I’m in Toronto where I have an exhibition opening this week at the Harbourfront Arts Centre. I hope to split my time between North America and the UK so that I can car- ry on producing work here. I find the vastness of the landscape really inspiring. What are your feelings on deforestation and aban- doned building spaces? As someone who loves being outdoors, deforestation is obviously something I find disheartening. But I think there are ways we can exist harmoniously with nature. The optimist in me likes to think we could make it happen. However the pessimist thinks we’re headed straight for something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I like abandoned buildings, especially when you begin seeing nature reclaim them. Winta is originally from Eritrea but moved with her family to the US when she was a child. She had lived in several states before moving to Portland to study.
  17. 17. 17 Mike is a Vietnam veteran and 28 years clean. He became heavily addicted to herion after returning from war. It was his way of dealing with the painful flashbacks. The Painted Hills form part of the John Day Fossil Beds located in Eastern Oregon.
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  19. 19. 19 Words: Bryndis Hjartardottir Images: Bjartur Vest J.Helgi THEREDSEA OFTHE FAROEISLANDSAn insider’s perspective on the controversial topic of whaling in the Faroe Islands. Should the islands have the liberty to stop by evolution or give in to outside pressure?
  20. 20. 20 The atmosphere is tense. The men on the beach are in deep concentration. Adrenaline is running high and the whale killers are in a trance state of mind. Emotions are heightened. Someone whispers a silent prayer; a prayer for it to be over as quickly as possible. On the horizon the boats are coming closer, nar- rowing in a school of Pilot whales. The whale killers are waiting, in seconds the shores of the Faroe Islands will turn red once again. What follows next is a social media frenzy. All over Facebook and Twitter misleading headlines read ‘Stop the dolphin massacre in Denmark’ and ‘The annual blood festival in the Faroe Islands’. This ‘blood festival’ is reported as a ‘rite of passage’ for the islanders. Rumors spread of the killers being ‘young teenagers’, with the whale corpses supposedly left on the beach to rot. And so in people’s minds, these myth becomes a fact. Back on the beach, the school of whales have been killed and are ready for butchering. Soon they will be distributed throughout the community. The whale killers are happy. Once again they have provided food for their families. Just like their ancestors have done for centuries before them. Bloody and dramatic photographs of the hunt leave the international community horrified. And it’s understandable. Modern society is not used to seeing animals killed so openly. Now they see ‘normal look- ing’ people slaughtering these majestic animals. They’re covered in blood, with their wives and children watching. It’s hard not to classify this as barbaric. The Internet fills with photographs of children sitting on whale carcasses and people performing their national dance, expressing joy. It’s easy to jump to conclusions when you don’t understand the context of these photos. The Faroe Islands, a self-governed nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, are situated in the North Atlantic, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. Settled by Vikings in the ninth century, the country is made up of 18 islands. This small archipelago is home to a population of around 48,000 people that are outnumbered by sheep (Faroe Islands translates to Sheep Islands in old Norse). The weather still pretty much sets the agenda for this small group of islands. The harsh and shifting weather conditions often makes it difficult to plan any outdoor activities in advance, and the country has often been named “the land of maybe” by travellers trying to plan their trips on the islands. But what most people might have heard about the Faroe Islands is their tradition of killing Pi- lot whales; known locally as Grindadráp or more commonly as ‘The Grind’. It’s a dramatic scene by its very nature, as the killing of any animal is. Despite this, the Faroese whale hunt is different from other methods of slaughter, because of its honesty. Contrary to the modern ‘civilised’ pro- duction of meat (which is hidden away in slaugh- ter houses and neatly packaged for urban society to buy at the supermarket), this is, and has to be done, in the open. This drastic scenery pictures men with big knives, a bloody ocean and large beautiful ani- mals, and speaks to our strongest emotions. It’s because of these dramatic images that inter- national organisations have rushed to the islands to interfere with these cruel acts. Many of them arrive ill-equipped and with no willingness to understand the culture. The most visible organisation fighting to save the whales of the Faroe Islands has been the Sea Shephard Conservation Society (SSCS). Since the 80s, the SSCS have been actively trying to stop this practice which they describe as “a mass slaughter” and “the Taiji of the North”. SSCS’s view is that the whales don’t belong to the Faroe Islands: “They do not belong to any nation. The Pilot whales and other cetaceans slaughtered in the Grind hunts are wild, migrat- ing animals who are simply swimming past the deadly killing shores of the Faroese when they are driven in with boats and hauled onto the beach”. Last summer they launched their biggest campaign yet: Operation Grindstop, following on from their earlier Operation Ferocious Isles in 2011. Hun- dreds of activists patrolled the islands by air, land and sea with the agenda of stopping any Grind killings taking place. This also resulted in 14 arrests for breaking whaling regulations after a Grind took place on the island of Sandur in August. The organisation is non-profitable and heavily rely on donations for their campaigns. SSCS are known to use direct action to pro- tect marine life, which has made them unpopu- lar in many circles and are often referred to as ‘eco-terrorists’. Yet, they seem to be quite pop- ular in the celebrity world: Operation Grindstop is supported by celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson and Brigitte Bardot. Contrary to popular belief, Pilot whales are not hunted by blood-thirsty men going out with their boats to satisfy their greed. In fact, Pilot whales and other species swim in Faroese waters all year round. The Pilot whale drive only takes place when a school is sighted close to land and when it’s in accordance with Faroese whaling reg- ulations. Annual records of drives and counts of Pilot whales and other small cetaceans date back to 1598. These statistics provide over 400 years of documentation, making it one of the most thorough records of wildlife exploitation in the world. The Grind is strongly regulated with rules in- cluding when a drive is allowed, including who can participate and the methods of killing and butchering. The drive of the whales is regulat- ed by national authorities under the Ministry of Fishery and national whaling association Grinda- mannafelagið. Along with the district adminis- trator, they have authority over the drive. Four whaling foremen are elected for each bay used. “Modernsocietyisnotusedtoseeinganimals killedsoopenly”.
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  22. 22. 22 The district administrator will decide after a sighting whether or not the legal requirements for a drive are being met. Legal requirements include; weather conditions, if there’s enough participants on boat and on land for an efficient drive and kill, and if a shore or shallow of a bay is near which is authorised for the drive. There are 23 whaling bays in the Faroe Islands which meet the requirements – no other location may be used. When the administrator has decided to proceed, he and the local whaling foremen determine which bay is suitable to drive the whales ashore. The boats then slowly and quietly drive the whales to the allocated beach in a big semicircle, where they become stranded. If the whales can’t be beached then they are driven out again, according to regulations. A swift mobilisation of manpower is required on the beach to conduct the killing of this group of large animals. A blow-hole hook is used to secure the whale and a spinal lance is used to sever the spinal cord. This severs the major blood supply to the brain and ensures both loss of conscious- ness and death within seconds. The spinal lance has improved accuracy and safety in the kill and is arguably the most humane way to kill these big animals. The catch is then divided between the partici- pants and local residents, in accordance with the traditional community sharing system. These catches are shared without the exchange of money. They’re a few exceptions, some small parts might be sold for the purpose of cleaning and for com- pensation of damages made in the Grind. Since 1994, members of the Faroese national whale association, Grindamannafelagõ, have been the representatives to the outside world. Hans Jakob Hermasen, a member of their committee, explains that “Grindamannafelagið has two main aims: to improve the slaughter or make the changes neces- sary for it to be as humane as possible, and to inform about the Grind as we see it”. Hermasen, like many others in the Faroe Islands, believes that the media hype around the dramatic and spectacular sights are contributing to the aggressive campaigns aiming to stop it. He understands the pictures are not easy to watch: “There’s a big difference between when I watch something on the TV screen, and when I’m a part of it. I like less what I see on the TV, but my job is to kill the whale as quickly as possi- ble. And this is what’s being served into peo- ple’s homes by the media”. Many of the locals feel angry with what they perceive is a misrepresentation to the outside world. They feel they are being denied the oppor- tunity to narrate their side of the story. SSCS has been accused of deleting Faroese com- ments on social media when trying to show a dif- ferent perspective. Some of those who do comment say there are myths surrounding the subject that many people believe to be solid facts, but debat- ing in a public forum has proven useless. “People will rather believe an incredible lie than a simple truth” Hermansen says. He believes the deep emotions that people have for whales are blinding them. Nearly wiped out by the whaling industry in the last few centuries, these creatures have gained an almost sacred status in modern society. Yet the Faroese aren’t just blindly killing every Pilot whale that comes near the islands. They carefully plan their hunts. According to the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) the Pilot whale population “Peoplewillratherbelieveanincredibleliethan asimpletruth”
  23. 23. 23 around Iceland and the Faroe Islands is estimat- ed to be around 128,000. Proving the Pilot whale species is not close to extinction. Based on documented catch figures from the is- lands, the annual average number of whales killed is around 800, though these widely range from 0 to 1,107 in the catch figures of 2000-2014, representing less than one per cent of the total estimated Pilot whale stock. “It’s a question about [the] environment and how to live where you are. We have adapted by tak- ing what we need from the nature to live of; from what grows and what lives here. On the islands, our duty is to make sure that it’s not an endan- gered population that is being hunted. The meth- od of slaughter needs to be humane and taken for food consumption – so that nothing dies unneces- sarily,” says Hermansen. But the presence and interference of the many activists has taken a toll on the locals, who otherwise are known for their tolerance and hos- pitality. Hermansen believes this to be the most damaging result of Operation Grindstop. A Gallup poll from earlier this year showed that 77 per cent of the Faroese population, especially young people, believe that the Grind should con- tinue, while 12 per cent wants it to stop. Hermansen believes the 77 per cent aren’t nec- cessarily in favour of the practice but they’re against the ignorant, aggressive campaigns. “Peo- ple from London, Paris, New York etc. are decid- ing how we are supposed to live here in the Faroe Islands”. “We are the only society in the world where there’s a connection between modern society and remains of the old. The new civilisation doesn’t have that connection. There are slaughterhouses where professional people slaughter and you don’t see what’s going on and you accept that. But then don’t accept other people living this way”. Many in the Faroe Islands like to be part of the food process. A Faroese fulmar hunter told Vice’s Munchies that he liked the honesty behind get- ting your own food, because he knew how it lived and how it was killed: “There are slaughterhouses where professional people slaughter and you don’t see what’s going on and you accept that”. However, there’s another reason why the Grind tradition is at risk. Studies have shown that Pilot whale meat and blubber contains high levels of heavy metals and PCBs. The Faroese Food and Veterinary Authority has advised the islanders to stop eating Grind meat or to limit their intake. Many believe that these evidence-based reports are more likely to end the tradition of Grind, as opposed to the pressure that comes from foreign cultures. Some organisa- tions, like Earthrace Conservation have started an open dialogue about the risk of eating whale, instead of using aggressive campaigning. The hunting culture in the Faroe Islands isn’t a “rite of passage” for the people, or to quench their thirst for blood. In spite of being a high- ly modern society, the Faroese rely on food to be imported as vegetation on the island is sparse. The liberty to provide their own fare from the limited resources available (in a sustainable way), is what’s important to the inhabitants. They live close to nature because in a place like the Faroe Islands you can’t escape it. The Faroese have great respect for the animals around them, but they also know that for one an- imal to eat, another has to die. The Grind means a lot to the Faorese. They sing ballads about the Grind, wear jewellery symbolising it, and are grateful for the food provided by the whales. Grindamannafelagið recognises the Grind may stop in the near future if young people lose inter- est in the practice, but they say that could take time: “The question remaining is if it should be by evolution or revolution”.
  24. 24. 24 THECHANGINGFACE OFHIPHOP Are white artists such as Macklemore and Iggy Azalea pushing hip hop to the verge of cultural appropriation?
  25. 25. 25 Leading white rapper Eminem has faced vast amounts of criticism from the hip hop commu- nity and even politicians, but the authen- ticity of his artistry has seldom been ques- tioned. The fear of hip hop becoming another white musical genre, bares similarities to past black ones such as rock ʻn’ roll and jazz, which have both been impacted by cultural appropriation. In the late 1800s, jazz be- gan as a by-product of the mass migration of African-Americans following the abolition of slavery. Whilst black musicians lacked the econom- ic resources to make and sell records, their music grew in popularity and major labels saw this as an opportunity to market their music under the term ‘race records’. But the first original jazz recordings in 1917 were by the ʻOriginal Dixieland Jass Bandʼ, an all-white ensemble who claimed to be “The Creators of Jazz”. During the 1920s, more jazz musicians start- ed to make a name for themselves, including black artists such as Duke Ellington and Lou- is Armstrong. But dubbed the ‘King of Jazz’, white star Paul Whiteman was one of the most financially successful. His music was de- scribed as “jazz in name only” and lacking the genreʼs improvisational and emotional depth. London College of Communication senior lec- turer and author of the The Soul Book, Ian Hoare explains that the creation of black music during this period was “displaced Af- ricans picking up on a lot of European and African traditions and making a completely new music. “What you see then is that the music being consumed on a mass scale was increasingly based on the music made by black Americans”. he says. “So although there is a white commercial mainstream based largely on European tradi- tions, it's appropriating music that black Americans have invented and manipulating, di- luting or changing it to make it more acces- sible to the white mainstream”. When most people think of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis is the name that comes to mind. His legacy as the genreʼs ʻKingʼ is undisputed Words: James Childs Image: Rune Hellestad/Corbis and MS_imageSPACE/Splash News/Corbis because of his massive cultural impact among both white and black audiences. Dr Henry points out the influence black art- ists had on Elvis such as “people like Otis Blackwood, whoʼd write Elvisʼ songs and teach him how to dance”. In the 1950s, rock ‘n’ roll began to perme- ate the cultural mainstream and became pop- ular among young white Americans due to its youth-oriented style and subject matter, its energy, and its often defiant attitude to- wards authority. Rock ‘n’ roll was the term used to describe music of white musicians who sang rhythm and blues (RB), originally called “race music”. “RB was created by Billboard magazine to market black music to a white audience”, ex- plains Dr. Henry. Black records such as Jimmy Prestonʼs Rock the Joint and Fats Dominoʼs The Fat Man are cited as some of rock ‘n’ rollʼs earliest hits, but record labels began to re-record songs by black musicians, using white artists to appeal to a white audience and sell more records. Hip hop separates itself from its predeces- sors because its performers and producers have developed a degree of financial inde- pendence and can exercise a level of influ- ence on mass media. Its roots are described by rapper Q-Tip as an “artistic and socio-political movement/cul- ture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early ʼ70s coming off the heels of the Civil Rights Movement and approaching the end of the Vietnam War”. It has since developed into a billion-dol- lar industry, and the line that separates its culture from the industry itself has increas- ingly become blurred. Hip hop being appropriated by white peo- ple comes from the idea that artists such as Macklemore and Iggy Azalea will spark a shift, where white rappers become the face of hip hop. But we also have to understand many white rappers including Macklemore, Action Bronson, Mac Miller and Eminem have been key figures in cultural appreciation, promoting and up- holding hip hop culture, constantly referring to their African-American influences. Hip hop culture is essentially about strug- gle, and that idea is a universal one which crosses racial boundaries. Hip hop has become so big it can give artists from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds a voice. When Macklemore won three out of the four Rap Grammys, it not only shocked hip hop but also the music community as a whole. Whether or not Iggy Azaleaʼs stance equates to cultural appropriation, the success of a few white artists cannot overshadow the vast amount of rappers, of all races, who continue to promote hip hop culture globally and rec- ognise it as a powerful black art form. Hip hop has always been considered a rep- resentation of black culture, but an increas- ing number of artists, DJs, fans and other key players in the genre have voiced concerns that it's on the verge of cultural appropri- ation. There's a growing debate about whether the success of white rappers is having a detri- mental impact on hip hopʼs core values. With the power of globalisation, cultures can be absorbed with the click of a button. In recent years, signs of hip hopʼs cultural ap- propriation have become increasingly apparent within mainstream media across music, fash- ion, art, TV and film. Recently, US rapper Macklemore spoke to hip hop radio station Hot 97 in New York about hip hopʼs future. In the interview, he touched on cultural appropriation, white privilege and the heated feud between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks. In a previous interview with Hot 97, Azealia Banks broke down in tears, explaining to lis- teners: “Huge corporations are still caking off slave money. So until they want to start talking about what they owe us, at the very least you owe me the right to my identity and to not exploit that. Thatʼs all weʼre holding on to in hip hop and rap”. Macklemore gave his opinion on the interview saying: “there is a lot of truth in [it]” adding: “The privilege that exists in the mu- sic industry is just a symptom of the [white] privilege that exists in America; itʼs a by-product”. There are numerous examples of cultural appropriation ranging from Rihanna wear- ing a hijab in Abu Dhabi to the Miley Cyrus twerking craze, a dance movement that can be traced back to Josephine Bakerʼs Banana Dance in the 1920s and beyond. Dr William Lez Henry, a social anthropologist and lecturer in Criminology at University of West London, explains: “Africans have been doing movements like that forever, and even in certain parts of Asia, women have been belly dancing but maybe not as elaborately as Africans. “In a contemporary context that dance style comes from Jamaican dancehall in the 1980s, that was the first time I ever saw it”. But can outsiders really participate and engage in a culture without there being ap- propriation and displacement of certain val- ues? Cultural appropriation and cultural inter- action are two separate things. The former implies exploitation, with there often being little knowledge of the culture's history. “Cultural participation is when people em- brace, respect and promote the culture. For instance a friend of mine, David Rodigan, knows that because he is white he will get more opportunities to play reggae music. But he is also one of the biggest promoters of reggae,” says Dr Henry. “Ashift,wherewhite rappersbecomethe faceofhiphop”
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. 27 The Little Fellow, Jonathan Barnbrook, 2004.
  28. 28. 28 I arrived early at Jonathan Barn- brook's studio, a large baby-blue building sticking out of the bor- ing brown-and-white street row, reminiscent of old French archi- tecture. “Come in,” he says after I press the buzzer, ushering me past the gate and into his pristine hard- wood floored studio space, com- plete with three design associ- ates huddled over Mac computers. I can’t keep my eyes from dart- ing around the place, expecting to find some intricate pictures, type fonts or secret design pro- jects I wasn’t supposed to see. No luck. The Barnbrook studio space reflects much of the man himself: collected, calm and un- assuming. Barnbrook is unlike your standard graphic designer. With a career expanding over a decade in the industry, he seems to have main- tained firm values, even with the tempting lure of large corpo- rate pay packets most of us would probably sell our souls for. Noted for selecting commissions – and turning them down – on the basis of these values, Barnbro- ok has demonstrated that graphic design and typography are a lot more than pretty fonts and pic- tures – they are vehicles for social awareness. Barnbrook graduated from Central Saint Martins and the Royal Col- lege of Art, and now heads one of the most renowned graphic design studios in London, Barnbrook De- sign. A part of his most noted work includes designing the cover art for David Bowie’s comeback album The Next Day. Barnbrook has also collaborated with British artist Damien Hirst on the typography, layout and design of his monograph I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Every- where, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now. He says that Hirst was “not an arrogant shit, but one of the easiest art- ists to work with”. Alongside graphic design, indus- trial design and motion graph- ics, Barnbrook is an established typographist. He has his own font company VirusFonts, which has re- leased typefaces such as Tourette and Bastard. He puts name choices down to lan- guage and the ability to marry abstract forms, saying language is about extremes, and that words wield power. Barnbrook has been using graphic design for positive social impact since signing the First Things First design manifesto 15 years ago. The document, backed by a multitude of designers, vows to use design as a cultural inter- vention in pursuit of social, cultural, environmental and po- litical responsibility. Graphic designers have a so- cial accountability in what they choose to work on, as they are helping corporations ‘feed’ us - the consumers. Because how free are we in society, really, when corporations and politicians are subtly but surely tapping into our stream of consciousness with the help of graphic design? ** As a widely recognised social ac- tivist, you’ve stated that you’d like to use design as a “weapon GRAPHICMATERIAL: JONATHANBARNBROOK Words: Katrina Schollenberger Images: Jonathan Barnbrook Artefact sits down with graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook to discuss his values and the social and political themes in his work. for social change”. What pro- gress do you feel you’ve made? My first reaction is none at all. You can’t quantify that kind of thing. You can’t quantify how society changes. The way opinions form and affect society is in- credibly complex and it's not to do with one or two people – it's to do with the history, the cul- ture, what people find out about other peoples own prejudices and who their parents are. You can't put it down to one thing. All you can do is hope to communicate the truth and affect things in some way. I’d never claim that anything I did directly changed the world. What I was saying is that graph- ic design has a potential to do something worthwhile. Often when people look at design histo- ry there has been a tendency to separate political design from commercial design – it is thought that political design is some- thing that happens 'over there' in totalitarian regimes, a com- mercial design is supposedly de- void of politics. Actually, commercial design is full of politics. To be a com- mercial designer is a political decision. To ignore the issues around sweatshops, to ignore the “Don’tseparateyourselfandyour beliefs,fromwhatyoudoinyourwork” fact that you're consenting to relentlessly push a market econ- omy is a political decision. So I think [saying that] was more to tell students that as graph- ic designers we have a powerful weapon. Let’s confine it to a very narrow definition of what it does, and let's actually use it. You designed the Occupy London logo for free. What role does graphic design play in movements like this? How is it beneficial to the cause? I think one of the most annoying criticisms about that was that it was “turning it into a brand”. What people are doing there is confusing a brand with a unifying identity. Brands do have unifying identities, but what for? It’s to sell you stuff. Whereas a unifying identity for a political movement, like Occupy London, is something that people can see as symbolic and repre- senting of worthwhile political values. So that’s not the case at all. The point of doing Occupy London was, firstly, that it was something I believed in. Second, they needed a focus so people quickly understood what they were about. That was the energy, that was the reason for it. You said it was done for free- that’s not an issue at all, you shouldn’t expect people who have no funding to pay. Although Barnbrook is a commercial com- pany, we don’t necessarily turn down non-commercial work if it's something we believe in. Is there a freedom of speech concern in your work? How im- portant is that in your social consciousness? It’s important to tell the truth. I think the issue with freedom of speech is that it’s much more difficult to say what you want to say nowadays than it was a few years ago. If you're going to comment make it an intelligent comment. It does surprise me nowadays that you can be prosecuted for downloading terrorist material. What that as- sumes is that you could be ready to commit a crime, when in actual fact you're just trying to figure out just why people do what they do. I find that kind of thing re- ally distressing. So freedom of speech doesn't necessarily show itself in your Violence Is a Cycle. 2004.
  29. 29. 29 Suis Charlie’ on your Facebook page makes any difference. Who influences you? It's not just one thing. If you’re talking on political terms, it doesn’t just come directly from political writing, it comes from walking around the streets and seeing something happen. Watching a TV program or a piece of poet- ry, which can stimulate you and crystallise something. The first thing I think about as a designer isn’t actually about the polit- ical message, it's about making the world a nicer place with your work, and politics falls in line with that. Sometimes it's about something that’s purely about beauty. sometimes it's about do- ing a good job. Sometimes it's about telling the truth. What do you say to those graphic designers who reject values as a priority in their profession? They aren’t rejecting values, they just don’t think political values are a part of it. Whether they like it or not, they are. I find it quite disgusting that some designers don’t acknowl- edge the harm that the expanding manufacturing does to the world, work, would you agree? In my work directly, what it does do, in maybe a more abstract way, is talk about the duality of lan- guage. For instance Why are these words like Peace, Free- dom... was about how I’m inter- ested in the way politicians say the absolute opposite of what they mean when they use certain words. Peace is a completely abused word, terrorist is a com- pletely abused word. Right after September 11 we thought we knew who terrorists are but just weeks afterwards the definition of the word terrorist became relative to which side you were on. Will you be creating anything in response to the Charlie Hebdo at- tacks? It’s more complicated than that. I didn’t find the satire they did particularly funny, but that’s in no way saying the ac- tions against them were deserved. I find politicians jumping on this freedom of speech thing cringeworthy. Suddenly they are for freedom of speech when they spend all their time trying to limit it. And the public’s reac- tion, I think the best way to re- spond is to not not self-censor. I don't think putting up a ‘Je or the fact that the brands use sweatshops. I mean, how can you as a human not think about these things? And if you don’t talk about them, you’re a liar. Do we really want a world which is dom- inated by Western brands that are exploiting the East through it? The problem is the level of dis- cussion. People can get away with it too easy. I do find whenever I'm in a lecture the questions are generally quite, not nasty… but I have to justify myself. Whereas, you see a lot of top designers, fashion designers, graphic designers, industrial designers…they are not questioned in any way about their capitalist motives for doing something which should be addressed a little more. I understand you’ve turned down commissions on an ethical basis, such as Absolut Vodka, and 15 years ago you signed the First Things First design manifesto. In doing this, have you damaged your reputation among potential cli- ents in the industry? To be hon- est, I do it less now than when I was younger. We’ve taken some commercial jobs that if you probably went through the spon- sors, you wouldn’t necessarily say they were good. I'm not going to sit here and say everything we do is spotless. I think, espe- cially in graphic design, clients don’t want designers with opin- ions. They want designers who can show them how, not question why. It probably does deter a lot of people from working with us, but then they probably aren’t the right people anyway. As a graphic designer, and this is specifically for students, you find your own place. You don’t have to worry that you're not going to get the work because stuff isn’t commercial enough or because you're being a bit too honest. Have you also missed out on decent pay by doing this? Yes of course. It's about what you represent to people as well. For instance, turning down Coca Cola, so much of what they rep- resent is an icon of capitalism, that to work with them would be totally the opposite of what we do. The worst argument is how can I afford to turn down these jobs when I'm starving? You have to be realistic, obviously if you're starving on the street you do the work. Thankfully, I think graphic designers aren’t in that position, they can afford to turn down work, they just won’t take on the discussion. What do you see yourself doing in the future? We are working on ArtBasel and a major person- al project, a project on North- ern Ireland. It partly involves education, but also photographing the [Northern Irish] murals. They were a primary form of communica- tion there – redrawing the let- ters, releasing them and seeing how people react. Now it's still an ongoing situation, so we don’t know if people will do something horrible or insulting with them, we want them to be valued as wor- thy cultural British things. It’s a project we’ve been working on for three or four years that will go live in four weeks. What advice would you give to other aspiring graphic designers? Don’t separate yourself and your beliefs from what you do in your work. You’ll make yourself ill. Why Are Words like Peace, Freedom, Truth, Democracy Always Used by Warmongers, Oppressors, Liars, Bullies. 2003
  30. 30. 30 We talk personal expression with a celebrated Central Saint Martins MA Fashion knitwear student Words: Diana Tleuliyeva Images: Gabriela Antunes At 24, heʼs already had placements with Diane von Fürstenberg, John Galliano and Louise Gray. Heʼs also worked with sportswear brand Gola and customised trainers for auction, Art Against Knives. This talented MA Fashion Knitwear student is one of the select students from Central Saint Martins to show his graduate collection at London Fashion Week, the end-of-year goal for all post-grads. Growing up in York, Matthew Bovan knew he wanted to become a fashion designer. From quite a young age – inspired by his mumʼs creativity – he began making his own clothes. MATTHEWBOVAN “Iʼm still surprised I was focused that young,” he recalls. After Leeds College of Art Design, he ap- plied to Central Saint Martins in 2009 to study Knitwear. “Being able to create your own fabrics gives you more scope. [Knitwear] is the foundation of a lot of textiles. [It] also gives more creative room to the design process,” says Matthew on why he chose this path. For Matthew, fashion is about personal ex- pression, creativity and energy, which he finds liberating. Having a personal viewpoint is very important. “Sometimes it takes months
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  32. 32. 32 for something to fully form itself and some- times it can happen in 10 minutes – it canʼt be theorised or explained. Itʼs like a per- sonal barometer – only I can see when some- thing is finished”. Matthew explains how his time spent in the big fashion houses helped him realise his own unique style. “You quickly find out whatʼs good for you, and whatʼs bad for you”. Working for Galliano is a big deal to most aspiring designers, yet Matthew has a differ- ent perspective on this. “It was a hard time to be at the house [due to the designerʼs well-chronicled personal problems] and it made me appreciate being able to work on my own projects”. Matthew describes his own style as “clashes of texture”. Indeed, mixed materials form a core component of his collections. Tradition- al wools, plastics, rubber, resin, clay and even plastic sheets are all incorpoated in his designs. The starting point for all of them is an “in- itial feeling” followed by inspiration from books, films and simple things around him: “My research is very personal and it reflects me and my taste”. Matthewʼs BA graduate collection - featured - was inspired by gore movies. Jelly-like yarns and plastics were colourfully interwoven. “Everything was hand-drawn with hidden sym- bols and meanings, very personal to myself, then translated into hand-sewn pony beads or computerised knitwear,” he explains. His boundary-pushing vision is central to his current collection. Matthew is going to use a lot of colours and textures in his final-year collection for London Fashion Week: “Thereʼs a huge mix [of materials]: lurex, cashmere, plastic and foam”. This time heʼll also be experimenting with shapes and incorporating jewellery into the garments. “I feel itʼs really sincere to my style and feels evenmore personal this time.’
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  34. 34. 34 LIBERTYEQUALITYFRATERNITY Words: Fraser Thorne Images: Ben Palmer Fraser Thorne We are in the midst of volatile times. We persistently contest whether our democracy pertains to a true freedom of speech, there is global unrest and a recurrent battle of ideologies. While postured politicians fill our newspapers and T.V stations, there are those who express their con- victions on ground level. From the streets of Paris and London, to coverage of the clashes between opposing political groups, the following photographs are from the forefront of our struggle for liberty...
  35. 35. 35 11.01.15 - Millions of people congregated in Paris to show solidarity with those killed in the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Across the world similar rallies were held in shows of unity with the Parisian people.
  36. 36. 36 05.11.14 - Thousands of protesters descend on Parliament as part of the Million Mask March, protesting against Government corruption, mass surveillance, austerity. The march was attended by revolutionary comic Russell Brand and Dame Vivienne Westwood. 29.10.14 - Protesters outside the Thai Embassy in Kensington, pushing for the release of investigative Human Rights campaigner Andy Hall. He was imprisoned by the Thai Government for exposing the working conditions of Thai labourers under Natural Food Ltd. He faces ten years in jail, coupled with eight million in fines.
  37. 37. 37 25.01.15 - Far Right Nationalists clashed with Anti-Fascists in Dover, during a march in which the Nationalists called for tougher immi- gration security. Three arrests were made during the protests. 11.01.15 - Je Suis Charlie was written over the paving slabs of Paris
  38. 38. 38 Increasing dissatisfaction with politicians and politics make it harder for pundits to predict the outcome of voting in May. In May this year, voters in the UK will go to the polls to decide the outcome of possibly the most unpredictable general election in years – and one that could decide the course of this country for the foreseeable future. Support for both Labour and the Conserva- tive parties is dwindling amid perceptions of elitism, arrogance and perhaps most impor- tantly, a lack in ideological fortitude. The vast majority agree that Britain’s poli- tics has changed to the point where it can no longer be described as a two party system. The number by which we now list the parties in Britain’s political system is also conten- tious – the increase in popularity of small- er parties have made commentating on how the country ought to be governed markedly more complicated and interesting than it once was. The two biggest parties have to contemplate how far they are willing to appease those who claim to hold the traditional Conservative and Labour values, and at the same time hold onto the decisive vote of middle England – a spectrum of the population both parties will claim ownership of. The factors influencing Britain’s election are numerous – a fragile, if growing, econ- omy, a potential referendum on the Europe- an Union and a failed recent attempt by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to break the country up are just three of them. The sheer number of parties vying for our votes, as well as the fact that Parliament is coming to the end of a fixed term, means this will be an election without precedent. 2015 will be Joe Twyman’s fourth gener- al election as head of political and social research at YouGov. The previous three, he says, were relatively simple. The last election in 2010 was, as Twyman says, an easy one to comment on – the only question being whether or not David Cameron THEUNPREDICTABLEELECTION had reformed the Conservatives enough to win a majority, but considering how far behind they were in the Commons, a coalition with the Liberal Democrats was, in hindsight, quite likely. Whereas in 2010 the Conservatives easily won the most votes, and subsequently almost 50 more seats than Labour, this year the polls are considerably closer, and the result will probably be another hung parliament. The past 18 months have seen Conservatives fluctuate between 30 and 32 per cent, Labour between 32 and 34 per cent and UKIP is currently in third place with 15 per cent. “There are a lot of great uncertainties sur- rounding this election,” Twyman continues, but says he is fairly certain there will be another hung parliament. Beyond that, the result gets a lot more complicated to antic- ipate. “Any pollster or political scientist will tell you it is not a good idea to look at the gap between the Conservatives and La-