The Graticule, the resident student geography publication, once decked the student’s union and the hallways of Queen’s University. Now over a decade since it was last seen on campus, this February QUB Geography Society members have resurrected the title for a new online platform focused on investigating all things geography and environment related.
Julia Anusiak, President of the QUB Geography Society and Amy Oke, The Graticule‘s Lead Editor, tells The Gown on what they have planned for the months and years ahead for their new project which holds the name of such an esteemed publication title.
The Graticule is a student-led undergraduate geography journal here at Queen’s University Belfast. It aims to cover everything from climate to social change, outer space to gender place, delivered to you in the form of essays, poems, stories, and interviews. After a long hiatus we are back to create a space for students and academics to express their enthusiasm for geography, and to challenge the perception of what geography can offer as a discipline. By raising issues important to us and highlighting the vitality of a world in flux, we aim to increase appreciation for our environment.
Fundamentally, we aim to challenge the view that Geography is an irrelevant, dusty subject concerned with only maps and naming capital cities. Realistically, geography is everything and is just as dynamic as the earth we study; tackling issues such as gender, LQBTQ+ spaces, morality, deprivation, mental health, past and present climates, energy, geomorphology…the list really is exhaustive. Below is a more extensive list of our interests, but even this can be expanded; if the world is what you want to make of it, geography is the same. So, in reviving the journal we hope to make these issues (and many others!) accessible to our readers and reveal how vibrant our world really is.
We have started our launch with four brilliant articles covering racial identity and gender space in Assassins Creed, America’s uncertain climate future, segregation and mental health in Belfast, and the blurring of private and public place in a Covid-19 world. We hope to continue to provide diverse, interesting content in partnership with QUB’s student population.
The idea of re-establishing ‘The Graticule’ was first brought to the attention of the current QUB GeogSoc committee in September 2020. In collaboration with Dr T Sturm and Dr O Dunnett, we began canvasing interest and received back a healthy response. As a team we’ve been supporting each other to make sure the journal comes back with as big of an impact as possible. Still, we all knew it would not be an easy task and we’ve experienced some bumps along the way.
Originally, we had planned a launch date in January, however with other commitments taking precedent, we decided to postpone. We’re all students, and appreciate that deadlines get in the way, family schedule calls at difficult times, and sometimes you just need time to yourself. This has become more important during the pandemic as our homes become a workplace. We never wanted the journal to be a stressful experience, so ultimately, we postponed. However, we are all incredibly excited and finally unveiling months of hard work and trial and error.
Even without the added demands that working remotely under the current lockdown, it has no doubt been a challenge to piece together the history of ‘The Graticule.’ Established in 1956, the journal enjoyed a continuous run up to the 1980’s. Interest waned during the 90s before publishing came to a halt for much of the 2000’s and 2010’s. However, with our revival we are aiming to continue our strong tradition of producing high quality articles authored by students. We are also keen to replicate our history and culture of staff submission and publication. ‘The Graticule’ has published a range of articles, including dissertation essays, student stories of field trips (edited of course!), conversational pieces, interviews, and many more. Our modern take seeks to continue these styles, while also introducing other forms of expression such as short stories and poetry.
Sadly, in the age of Covid-19 (as well as trying to reduce our carbon footprint!), we are unable to provide physical copies en masse. However, at the end of the year we intend to publish a ‘keepsake’ edition of our best articles. Further, we opted for a digital relaunch with our website going live on 3rd February 2021. While we are enthusiastic to keep our traditions and heritage alive, we recognised the need to adapt into a digital form. Of course, we are eager to explore the opportunities an online exclusive (mostly!) format brings.
We are incredibly excited to see where this journey takes us; it almost feels like we have all contributed to making this wonderful geography baby and we cannot wait to show it off to the world. Yet as with all great ventures, with the excitement comes trepidation; we have a lot to live up to and we hope we can fulfil expectations and restart a legacy in our department.
We are all certainly ready for this new challenge; after all, with all the talk of mountains, tornadoes, and volcanoes, isn’t geography also about heading onto the next adventure?
You can follow The Graticule on their website, social media handles or contact Julia and Amy if you are interested in submitting something for The Graticule.
Peter Donnelly, Editor
The Graticule has proud, well-established roots, having been launched the year following the inauguration of The Gown, in 1956. Queen’s University, Belfast has a long history of specialised student journalism and writing and that is no different in 2021.
In the age of the ‘new normal,’ courtesy of Covid-19, managing an online student publication has been a challenge. However, with all the uncertainty there is something very rewarding about publishing the thoughts and issues, with which students are concerned. The world of disinformation which we all inhabit can be a challenge for reliable facts and information to be conveyed. Yet with willing, dedicated and determined student Editors, the task is made much easier.
The discourse of the young people, particularly on the pressing future of the environment, must be encouraged and fostered and no doubt, The Graticule will significanctly contribute to continuing its esteemed reputation, under a new generation of enthusiasts. The Gown wishes Julia and Amy every success with The Graticule in 2021 and beyond.