Words by Jyoti Mann
Bobby Saunders, a student of BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Publishing, recently created a printed magazine that contains braille, achieved through experimental production techniques, for his final major project.
We got in touch with Bobby to find our more about his experience, inspiration and publishing plans for the future.
What inspired the idea to make your work accessible to the visually impaired?
Coming from a family of disabilities and being a carer from an early age sparked the idea of incorporating disability into my project. The initial idea was to create a magazine around the disabled community to unite them and provide a publication to share stories, but the project moved from this to looking at audiences to which magazines are inaccessible, and visual impairments became the focus.
My biggest inspiration is my mother who has been disabled for her entire life and has always fought through and exceeded any medical time frame. This is my biggest inspiration for pushing through boundaries and pushing my work to a new level, hence the name of the magazine, Dawn. During a family holiday last year, I witnessed my mother connect with someone who suffered from something similar and I saw a wall being broken down, as both individuals were able to empathise with each other. This inspired me to connect both communities and incorporate disability into my project.
What were you hoping to achieve through your work?
I wanted to bring together two worlds: to connect the visually impaired and the sighted through a platform which has yet to be adapted for this. I was hoping to provide a product that all can share, communicate with and bond over.
Are you planning on developing this idea further?
I plan on creating a digital version of Dawn magazine, accessible to all, which I hope to launch in the next few years. By studying a Master’s degree in communication design, I intend to take the research further.
What has been the best part of this project?
Having the opportunity to learn the braille language and being able to discuss this and the entire project with several people from the visually impaired community and learn how they live. Everyone I spoke to was enthused by my idea and knowing my work would benefit a community gave me a feeling of achievement and selflessness. This was the best part.
What is the most important thing you have learned on your course?
To think outside the box, push the boundaries of the industry and discover something new. My time on the course has taught me that breaking into the industry can be difficult as well as the importance of creating something quirky and new.
What have you most enjoyed whilst studying at LCC?
Networking – sometimes it isn’t just what you know it’s who you know, and I met some amazing people with some amazing stories throughout my time at UAL, stories that I will always remember.
Do you have any advice for current or future BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Publishing students?
Apply for as many internships and work experience opportunities as you possibly can – this will help an incredible amount in your final year and when you leave the university.
What is your dream magazine or publication to work for or collaborate with?
Another Escape magazine – this is an independent adventure magazine which has a unique structure and amazing stories. This greatly inspired my final major project, as it is my all-time favourite magazine. Definitely worth a read!