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Accessibility, diversity and inclusion set the tone for Ryerson Art and Design Magazine’s (RADmag) launch party of their eighth issue. Their launch was held at Coldstream Fine Art gallery at the corner of King and Spadina, and it was filled with creative enthusiasts in the Ryerson community. Free entry and beer – courtesy of sponsor Ace Hill – kept the venue full and the mood festive at the Feb. 9 event.
RADmag is a student-run, student-produced magazine that is published biannually. It features curated work from interior design, fashion and image arts students at Ryerson.
The team of 20 students started planning the launch party as early as September of last year while putting together the magazine.Their long days and nights made it worth the hours of preparation as guests networked and socialized in the open gallery space. Guests could also purchase the issue for $10.
We caught up with this year’s editor-in-chief, fourth-year fashion communication student Nabra Badr, and talked about how the RADmag team put together the launch party and what we should expect for the upcoming issue.
In your own words, tell us what RADmag is and what it does for students.
“RADmag is a magazine made specifically for students on campus. It came out of a need for students to showcase their work in a publishing setting. It includes showcasing work from multiple different disciplines, from fashion and image arts to interior design. So it’s a student-run production, but it’s also student-curated work. We work with students on campus to show off their work so they have a portfolio piece when they go off and graduate. We do two issues a year − one’s in the fall and one in the wintertime.”
How did you get involved with RADmag?
“I got introduced to RADmag through the art director Sara Man; (we) were really close friends. She’s the one who asked me to submit (for issue six), so I did. And then I went to the launch and I was like, ‘Woah, this is really cool, I really like this magazine,’ but I had never really known about it. Then I applied for fashion editor and I really didn’t think I was going to even get fashion editor. Then they talked to me and were like, ‘We really like your work, do you want to be editor-in-chief?’ and I was like ‘What? OK!’ and then I took it up.”
What was the piece you submitted?
“I submitted a piece that was called ‘Bold and Bright,’ it was piece that I had for one of my art-direction classes. It was just a fashion photography shoot.”
When you became editor-in-chief what did you want to for RADmag?
“When I first joined RADmag, my biggest issue with RADmag was it was really (whitewashed). Like I felt it was lacking a lot of diversity. When I came on the team I kind of felt like we needed to switch it up, we needed to do something new.”
Tell me about issue eight — what was the theme?
“It’s kind of difficult to have a theme every year for RADmag because it’s curated work from students from all over. So usually the issue doesn’t have an overall theme, but this issue in specific was centred around making sure that we represent the people that are in our school, in our community and in our city. Showing off the present day generation of students who are coming and joining the workforce (and how they are) progressive and want to see action in the industries that we’re working in.”
Why was this theme significant?
“A big part of this issue was (that) we should concentrate on work that supports those themes. Whether (it’s) supporting diversity in people we see in the magazine or if we’re like choosing certain topics that are important, like sustainability or environmental issues, (that) we have a topic in there about that. So that was like a huge part of it, and I think even the content we picked (for) the magazine … kind of supported those issues. We got a ton of submissions from fashion, specifically centering around like different systemic issues. Some on diversity, some on inclusion, some on mental health, and these were all kind of wrapped up into the whole issue of the magazine.”
In what ways would you like to see RADmag grow?
“A huge thing that I’ve heard from other people who’ve viewed RADmag from an outside perspective was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t really feel included, or I didn’t really feel like this (is) my area of expertise or that I could be a part of this community.’ I really hope that RADmag can kind of be this central hub where students on campus can kind of be like, ‘I want to be a part of that, I want to go to these events, I want to submit because I care about the products they are producing and they are aligned with the values I care about.’ So I want to continue that and invest in it so the magazine can grow beyond just a school community.”
Why did you choose to emphasize the photos in this gallery space?
“Every launch is different. Each launch we try to figure out what are we gonna put in there, how do we want it to look like. Our last launch, we got people to bring the actual pieces that they put in the (issue). Lets say a designer submitted a piece from fashion, we got the (physical) submission to be there. This one was kind of different because we are in gallery space, so it centres more around photos, like putting the photography up. If we put any other stuff here I think it would be a lot of more cluttered. So we decided to just focus on the images, really blown up images, so people can see all the detail that goes into it.”
What made you decide to go with Coldstream Fine Art gallery as your venue?
“A lot of it is just about … welcoming energy, so having open doors and making sure that it’s accessible to all. A huge thing for me this time around was in the past launches I had noticed that a lot of them were not accessible for people with mobility devices. We had a launch two events before, and it was stairs all the way up. The last launch was accessible, but it wasn’t even something that came to mind. It just so happened to be accessible. So that’s something I kind of implemented in this time around. It did make it harder for our team members to find venues. Really (it’s) a testament to (how) Toronto needs to fix up and be more accessible and be better at modifying its community and stop making accessibility an afterthought. But also for us to make sure that if we’re going to be preaching inclusivity, to actually put that into work and make it happen.”
Did this launch have a specific theme?
“Each launch is a little bit different and issue eight definitely didn’t have like a specific theme. But you can tell these issues that are rising in terms of inclusivity and diversity keep popping up, and I think that was more the focus. Finding a venue that was accessible and finding a place that was accessible in proximity to campus. And making sure the space is inviting enough for people to feel comfortable, even if you’re not a part of the art community or any of these programs. You see it on Facebook and you’re like, ‘OK, I want to go just to support Ryerson talent.’
What do you hope for RADmag in the future?
“I feel like for RADmag, honestly I’m going to like graduate and move on and not be completely connected to the magazine anymore.
I really just want to see that progress and hopefully I can help foster whoever is going into the magazine later on (so they can) carry these kind of ideals and bring it forth and just kind of (have) more collaboration.”