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New edition of Scarborough Fair arts journal released

Scarborough Fair features creative work from students, including poetry, prose, sketches and photos.

by Aurora Herrera

Dazzling prose, provocative verse, luminous photographs and sassy sketches created by students at U of T Scarborough are all part of the newest edition of Scarborough Fair.

The 124-page book, an anthology of literary and artistic works, was released at a launch party on May 1. It is available in bins and drop boxes across campus. With handwritten text, sketches and photos from a team of talented artists, Scarborough Fair is a lively and edgy publication in which every page can stand alone, according to its creators.

Established in 1968, just four years after the birth of U of T Scarborough, Scarborough Fair is a longstanding ode to creativity on this campus. It began as a literary journal and students were able to express their thoughts and feelings through this text-based medium.

In 1999, after a 39-year run, it stopped publishing. Then, in 2004, fourth-year New Media student Amy Barnes was brainstorming for her senior project and hit upon the idea of reviving the same publication that had been conceived so many years before. After five years of absence, the journal was revitalized by Barnes, who wanted to recreate an artistic memoir for students.

At first, Barnes had never heard of Scarborough Fair. Around the time that she was trying to come up with a project topic, Drew Dudley, coordinator of leadership development from the Student Affairs office, had been digging in the archives and came across an old box of Scarborough Fair booklets. Serendipity then occurred. Barnes approached Dudley about ideas for her project, and he told her about Scarborough Fair. Barnes chose to restart an old brand rather than creating a new one.

Fast forward to 2008, and Scarborough Fair has been growing fast and furious. The print run has been steadily increasing each year, changes have been made to the format, and more different styles of writing are contained in it. This year’s cover portrays a man behind bars with the words "Free Thought" stamped on the outside. More daring and artistic themes have emerged, according to editor-in-chief Philip Cox.

A momentum of creative evolution has marked the past four years, he said. “Last year, we were trying to break all of the moulds,” said Cox, a third-year philosophy student. “We found that the previous format was very rigid and the writing just faded into the page. This year we tried to make people want to keep turning the pages. We were aiming to make every page stand alone as a work of art.”

The publication this year includes photos, drawings, paintings, new media art, poetry, essays, musings and spoken word. It also includes pieces written in several different languages, including Urdu, Italian and French. Cox says that his dream is to include at least one submission in every language spoken on campus.

“The organization’s mission statement is simple: make it easy to share ideas without discrimination, censorship or rigid guidelines across an open medium,” Cox said. “We’re all surrounded constantly by ideas in the form of advertising, textbooks and newspapers, but other than the internet there’s very little opportunity to publicly express how we feel about the world around us. Scarborough Fair provides the campus with a hub for earnest creativity that isn’t financially driven or politically motivated.” Cox said that the idea is to get people thinking creatively, transform these thoughts onto paper, and share the results with the rest of us.

“It’s a good creative outlet for students,” said student Novelette Munroe, a longtime contributor to Scarborough Fair. “It shows that the campus community encourages you to develop yourself creatively. It feels good to have something published.”

The pieces that go into the publication are chosen via blind review. Personal information is removed from the submissions before they are passed on to the editors. “I’m confident that the content of the submissions really stands alone in the judging process,” Cox said. “We’ve had a lot of our own staff submissions refused using this method.”

The student team that puts the book together is comprised of: three editors, Uriel Mendoza, Laura Cok, and Josee Joseph; four designers, Arslan Shabbir, Clarissa Encisa, Boeun Kim and Andrea Chau; and Philip Cox, who is both an editor and a designer.

Cox said that in the past academic year, Scarborough Fair received a lot of support, both moral and financial, from Student Affairs, the Humanities department, Cultural Affairs and the SCSU. Cox is working towards securing permanent financial support for the Scarborough Fair as well as having it endorsed as an official U of T Scarborough publication.

“We don’t want it to fall out of publication ever again,” Cox said. “We’ve come very far, and moving from highbrow literary merit to everyday honest expression is an achievement. Now we just have to keep it going.”

Approximately 3,500 copies of Scarborough Fair have been printed. You can pick up the free publication on campus. To link to a pdf version, visit: http://www.yourwords.org/sf/SF200809.pdf

For more information on how to get involved, visit www.yourwords.ca/sf or send an e-mail to scarfair@gmail.com.

Aurora Herrera is a fourth-year student in the joint journalism program offered by U of T Scarborough and Centennial College and currently working as an intern in the office of marketing and communications.



 




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