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Spotlight on MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism – LCC Postgraduate Shows 2017

Emi Eleode work
Emi Eleode work
Work by Emi Eleode
Written by
Jake May
Published date
28 November 2018

MA Arts and Lifestyle Journalism students engage with the growing field of journalism, including specialist cultural and travel publications, music magazines, art supplements and niche radio and TV programmes, alongside an ever-expanding landscape of digital lifestyle platforms. They also explore practices of experimentation and creativity within journalism, new forms of storytelling, and unconventional ways of narrating the present.

This year’s display as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows 2017: Show 1 includes photography, magazines and e-books, and a 360-degree video exploring subjects as varied as the Faroe Islands and growth of secular rituals that mirror religious practices amongst others.

We caught up with the students who have work on show to find out more…

Emegha Eleode

Emi Eleode, MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism student

Could you talk us through the work featured as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows?

I will be exhibiting a series of photographs taken at the Paraiso School of Samba’s Halloween event, held at Floripa in London. I will also showcase a small section of an article I wrote on London’s Brazilian population and the carnival. The article is about how they observe Rio carnival, held every year in February, and what it means as a symbol of ‘Brazilianness’, exploring how they view the current economic, political and social changes occurring in Brazil.

It took me a while to reach this stage, as I originally focused on the identity and displacement from the Nigerian diaspora in Afro-Brazilian communities, by looking at the samba culture and its influence in Brazil. As a Nigerian, it was an area I was curious to find out more about as there is a small community of Afro-Brazilians, descendants of Nigerian slaves, who have built a community in Lagos. However, due to some complications, I was unable to travel to Brazil and interview the people I’ve contacted from various samba schools and to take photographs.

I then updated my original plan to now focus on London’s Brazilian community. I already had some connections so I moved on from there and interviewed not only members from the London School of Samba and the Paraiso School of Samba, but also attended group gatherings from organisations like the Anglo Brazilian Society and spoke to locals.

I’ve wanted to cover this subject for a while since completing my undergraduate dissertation. It was titled ‘Ceremonial Rituals: West Africa’s dance traditions and its influence in the contemporary culture of the Americas’. During the research stage I kept coming across findings of West Africa’s impact on the cultural landscape of Brazil. I came to discover Capoeira, which is a martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and led me to find other dance aspects of Brazil. With these findings, I wanted to highlight those themes and cover it through the eyes of Brazilians.

Work by Emi Eleode

Why do you think Journalism is important, or what drives you as a journalist?

Passing on information is an important aspect in the democratic system. It provides a tool for transparency in our society, informing people of everything that is happening in the world. In a world that is going through constant changes and with the threat of fake news, journalists have a responsibility even more now to tell the truth and be a source of information to the public.

What are your hopes and aspirations as a journalist? What impact do you want your writing to have?

I want to continue telling stories that impact our society and to be a source of information that tells the truth. With my other interests lying in film and photography, I want to be able to combine them with writing to highlight and bring forth real stories.

What area of journalism do you hope to work in in the future?

English was one of my favourite subjects back in school and I enjoyed writing about topics I cared about. This is still true today and I’ve also discovered that I like to spend time doing in-depth research, interviewing people and spending time experiencing the area I am writing about. So I guess feature writing is what I see myself doing in the future.

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

I’ve always been interested in storytelling and talking about our society since I was a kid. I didn’t know that I’d end up heading towards a career in journalism, but I guess there was always this part in the back of my mind that wanted to further explore it in the future. I first looked at studying media back in secondary school as part of my GCSE’s but due to lack of numbers, they had to scrap the course. I finished school at 16 then went on to study a diploma in creative media at college. The course covered photography, broadcasting, web design and film making. It was intense but I learned a lot.

After college, I looked at applying for fashion journalism at UAL as I was interested in fashion at the time but then realised that I didn’t want to head into journalism straight away. From my background in creative media at college, I wanted to do something that had a multimedia focus to further hone my skills. Choosing to study Contemporary Media Practice, I then realised how much I still wanted to study journalism after the internship I did in the second year of my undergraduate degree.

Since my interests changed slightly, when I saw the MA Arts and Lifestyle program at LCC, I was immediately drawn to it as it had many of my interests put together in one course. I’m glad I decided to do an MA here as it not only sharpened and made me think outside the box as a writer but it encouraged and expanded my creative skills.

Hazel Tang

Hazel Tang, MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism student

Could you talk us through the work which you are featuring as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows?

I remember one of the very first assignments at the start of this course was to write a 400-word people profile. At that time, I happened to meet this Syrian refugee at a cultural event. I was particularly moved by his story and asked if I could interview him for my assignment. It was only after he agreed that I began to realise how little I know about Aleppo and the Syrian civil war, even though they are often mentioned on the news.

Later on, I found myself at the same cornerstone when I was writing a piece about North Koreans living in the UK for Artefact Magazine. Once again, I found myself not having enough content knowledge, even though there are many news reports about North Korea. Initially, I thought this was personal, but when I embarked on my final major project and started speaking with more people, I couldn’t help but notice that there are others, like me, who have very ambiguous understanding over certain topics or terminologies which are constantly reiterated by mainstream media.

Coincidentally, in the midst of all these, I was writing an e-book with photographer Yingmin God, which predominantly talks about street names – while we live on a particular street for ages, we seldom make an effort to find out the meaning behind the name or why the street is named the way it is. Likewise, we also do not have the power to change the name of the street we live on.

That was when I thought it will be interesting to play around the idea of “name” for my postgraduate show. While authorities know us by numbers (i.e. ID or passport numbers), we know ourselves by names. It is natural for us to first introduce ourselves by our names. Therefore, I thought it will be worthwhile if we approach a subject matter in a similar manner. Instead of referring to collective groups of people in terms such as refugees or North Korean exiles, perhaps following a name to unfold a story, will surrender us more opportunities to look at the same thing in different ways; hopefully in a way which challenges our previous notion and perception and shed light on something which never occurred to us before.

Why do you think Journalism is important?

To be honest, I have never thought of this before. I am the only humanities student in my family and sometimes, listening to how a patient is being saved or the progress in cancer science research over the dining table, makes me feel that what I am doing now, is extremely minute and humble.

I walk with the knowledge that journalism is one of the many pillars making up of this society. I believe journalism is important only if people are willing to believe in it and acknowledge its existence. Unfortunately, traditional or serious journalism is facing immense challenges from non-journalism channels these days. We already witnessed some of them, like local newspapers, losing the battle. This means that some people had already stopped thinking journalism is important and it is disheartening.

What drives you as a journalist?

It is truly motivational to know that despite the enormous challenge coming from the internet and social media platforms, there are still many people who are willing to devote their energy and lives into doing serious journalism. These people are my driving force; their actions tell me that what I am doing now, is not wrong.

What are your hopes and aspirations as a journalist?

I hope to see more Asians in the field or journalists from a minority background in British media. If we hope our audience to absorb information from various sources, then we should have a diverse group of people providing diverse voices. I remember one of the very first lessons I learnt from this course was; don’t be afraid to write the same topic as other writers. Because all of us are different, so if there are 17 of us in class writing about Donald Trump, there will be 17 Donald Trump stories.

What impact do you want your writing to have?

I see myself as a simple person so I never dreamt of writing impactful stories. I will be very happy if one day, out of the blue, someone just walk up to me and say, “hey, I like what you wrote”. I believe writing something meaningful is a lot more significant than writing something with an impact.

What is your preferred style of journalism and what area of journalism do you hope to work in in the future?

I often joke that I am “the other end of the spectrum” arts and lifestyle journalism student because I love to write about science, technology, the environment and people and these topics usually appear at the finale of a lifestyle section. I am Python and statistic trained so sometimes I do help in “looking after the numbers”.

Eventually, I hope I can stay in London. To write in this beautiful city is nothing more I can ask for at the moment but I know it is going to be tricky, even trickier than battling against fake news, because I need a newsroom who is willing to sponsor my Tier 2 working visa. But we shall see.

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

I love to write and have been writing avidly since my undergraduate days. However, as I grew up in a country which ranks 151 in the World in terms of media freedom, I thought I ought to find myself a wider and more open platform to grow, that’s why I am here.

I chose LCC because UAL is the largest arts university in Europe, this means I will have a relatively higher chance of meeting more people. I believe meeting people and making connection are important parts of journalism too.

Irina Pshipii

Irina Pshipii, MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism student

Could you talk us through the work are you featuring as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows?

My project is called Small Charities in London. The main aim of this project is to create a discussion about the life of small charity organisations in London and across the UK through sharing their real stories, trials and tribulations. I chose this subject mainly to acknowledge the importance of their contributions to the national life.

The process itself was a rather interesting experience. I got to meet a lot of people, visit charities, got involved in their events. It truly felt like I was learning from them as an insider, as a part of a team, which definitely helped in understanding the current state of small charities. I hope it’s something I’ve successfully transferred in my work.

Why do you think Journalism is important, or what drives you as a journalist?

I think journalism takes a special place in our society as a communication board across different topics, social groups, events and so on. It is vital in spreading the information, raising awareness, and establishing opinions. Being such a powerful tool, it can change a lot and bring a different perspective, and to be a part of this is something that drives me.

What are you hopes and aspirations as a journalist? What impact do you want your writing to have?

I think one of the most substantial things you can do as a journalist is to inform society on the importance of certain issues, while being a reliable source. To me, it’s about sharing stories that are interesting, current and that can bring more knowledge to broaden one’s perspective.

What is your preferred style of journalism or what area of journalism do you hope to work in in the future?

I’m really trying to expand my horizons by testing out different styles of journalism as I progress in establishing my journalistic journey. I would definitely say though that editorial is something that I feel particularly interested in, especially when producing content about art, culture, social issues and so on. Having a natural interest in that, I hope to keep on pursuing my interest in this direction and in the future work in a related area.

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

I first started to learn more about journalism when I was actually doing my undergraduate degree in International Politics and decided to join a student society that was run by a journalism course. That’s when I fell in love with it. It just felt like the right thing for me to do. LCC and UAL in general was a natural choice as a leading arts university, and a place where I could get everything; from a profound set of knowledge to practice opportunities. Not to mention the incredible support of tutors.

Kristina Ivanona

Kristina Ivanova, MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism

Could you talk us through the work are you featuring as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows?

The work I am featuring at the LCC Postgraduate Show is my Final Major Project, which is the biggest piece of journalism I have produced. I went through so many different ideas when I was thinking about my project, but in the end I decided to write about something close to me, but also very different to what I usually do.

I went to the countryside in Bulgaria, which is my home country. I grew up in the capital, Sofia, before moving to London, so I had never actually experienced life in the countryside. I went to a little village called Mugla in the Rhodope mountains and lived with the locals, helped out with the daily work and explored the area and its traditions.

I want the readers of my piece to learn something new about Bulgaria, to see it’s not just Sunny Beach and parties, to see how beautiful it is and consider a different form of tourism. The pictures I have chosen for the show tell the story of an almost forgotten village, where the people are not so different to the ones who live in the big city, but their fates are.

What are you hopes and aspirations as a journalist or what impact do you want your writing to have?

I have always loved reading, and then I discovered writing and loved it. Journalism is a way to show the world to others the way you see it, learn things you never knew you needed to know, explore them and have fun. I love experiencing new things myself, and enjoy writing about them, sharing my thoughts and I love it when I can tell my readers something new and exciting.

What area of journalism do you hope to work in in the future?

I am working towards a career in editorial, I would love to work for a women’s lifestyle magazine and in particular in beauty, because I find it so interesting. I love discovering new products, discovering how they work, finding out the best way to combine textures, colours and styles. It’s such a fun industry, always changing, there’s always something new to try and I am super excited to get into it!

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

Journalism was never on the top of my list of things I wanted to do, until a few years ago, when I realised journalism didn’t always have to be super serious and there’s a lot more to it than investigations and hard news, which were never of interest for me. I found out about our course from a student on the course last year and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. I had attended a short course in Fashion Journalism before and really liked the vibe of the university, and I remember when I first went to LCC for my interview I thought this is where I want to be. I think I made a good choice, because in the year since I started the course I have achieved so much that I don’t think would have been possible without it. It has been fun, I have learned so much and made great friends.

Vilma Paasivaara

Could you talk us through the work are you featuring as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows?

In the Postgraduate Show I will be showing part of my Final Major Project which is about the Faroe Islands. There will be a selection of photographs to see as well as an excerpt from the article to read. Since the beginning of the course I knew I wanted to cover the Nordic countries for my Final Major Project and after learning more about the Faroe Islands I became really intrigued with this small, remote island nation that is at the same time very rural and traditional, as well as modern and progressive.

I decided to focus my research on the traditional trades, sheep farming and fishing, as they have always played a big part in the society and continue to do so today. In a world where industrialised agriculture and fishing are coming under increasing scrutiny I wanted to find out how they saw their current situation and their future. I ended up spending three weeks in the Faroe Islands in August, getting to know sheep farmers and fishermen, interviewing and photographing them, as well as discovering the incredible local nature.

Why do you think Journalism is important or what drives you as a journalist?

I would say the obvious answer to why journalism is important now is because we are living in a post-truth era, although I don’t necessarily like that label, and people have an increasing need for truthful, unbiased information. At the same time, I think that journalism can bring much joy and beauty into peoples lives and I think those subjects, outside of the news cycle, can be just as important. What drives me as a journalist is curiosity though, I just want to keep discovering new places, people, and phenomena around the world.

What are you hopes and aspirations as a journalist? What impact do you want your writing to have?

As a journalist I do hope that I will get to cover subjects and tell stories that might not otherwise get coverage. That might sound like a cliché but I think especially now it is important to keep learning about the world and people around us – not shut them out and turn inwards. I’ve always read a lot, fiction and non-fiction alike, and I think that a great piece of writing can have a very profound effect on people. I’d say that if there is even one person who reads something I’ve written and is encouraged, intrigued, moved, or it makes them think about something differently then I’d already be far along.

What is your preferred style of journalism?

I chose to do the MA Arts and Lifestyle Journalism course because I think that the area is increasingly influential in people’s lives. Many of the big decisions people make today, for example regarding the environment, are informed by lifestyle rather than traditional news journalism. Lifestyle journalism can also encompass many different types of journalism, such as investigative, which is why I’d say it is hard to choose a favourite. One of my absolute favourites is longform journalism, as it gives an opportunity to tell complex stories.

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

The MA Arts and Lifestyle Journalism course has a unique approach to journalism which I couldn’t really see happening anywhere else in Europe. I also liked the idea of it being in London where there is a big journalism scene from small independent magazines to major news organisations. It is a good place to start out as a journalist.

Sabrina Faramarzi

Sabrina Faramarzi, MA Arts & Lifestyle Journalism student

Could you talk us through the work are you featuring as part of LCC Postgraduate Shows, and could you tell us a little about it (what’s it about, what was the process of making it, why you are covering it etc)?

In the UK, US and Australia, we are beginning to cross the tipping point for the religiously unaffiliated. Nearly 70% of people under 30 in these countries identify as non-religious, but anxiety, depression and loneliness rates are on the rise. My piece is called ‘Building Community in a Godless World’. It is a longform, narrative piece of journalism that looks at secular congregations and rituals to imagine them as a framework for a future. Using the format of Christianity and other organised religions, we can rethink the value of religion and community to help people live better – only without the god part.

Why do you think Journalism is important / what drives you as a journalist?

Journalism is important on many levels and for many different types of journalism. For me my interest lies with the narrative longform, which has started to become more popular – think Guardian Long Read. This type of journalism is important because it tells stories about ordinary people that say something bigger on a socio-cultural level.

What are you hopes and aspirations as a journalist? What impact do you want your writing to have?

To be able to explain complex phenomena of the human condition and society through the eyes and lives of real people.

What is your preferred style of journalism (e.g. investigative, editorial, news, data etc) / what area of journalism do you hope to work in in the future?

Narrative longform.

Why did you decide to study journalism, and why at LCC?

I wanted to stop writing stories that were short lived in the news cycle – but rather write thoughtful ones that allowed me to meet and tell the stories of incredible people.