Let’s stop pretending students are a threat to free speech

Originally published by the Guardian on 26th July 2018 When students at Manchester University recently painted over a mural featuring Rudyard Kipling’s poem If, backlash was swift. Commentators branded the students “snowflakes”, their actions akin to “vandalism” and their motives “asinine”, part of a broader movement to “erase controversial figures from campuses”. Others balked at the notionContinue reading “Let’s stop pretending students are a threat to free speech”

Cambridge must do more to address its BME access problem

Originally published by Varsity on 20th June 2018 Earlier this month, Cambridge released an open letter responding to a Financial Times article which accused the University of having a “dearth of black students”. Rather than addressing the article’s claims directly, however, the letter diverted towards the University’s broader ‘diversity’ strategy, a vague, bloated term that encompasses not only raceContinue reading “Cambridge must do more to address its BME access problem”

Zoetrope: Five groundbreaking animated short films you can watch online

Originally written 22nd November 2017 for Varsity, but not published Animated short film is not an easy thing to get into. Although lists of the greatest feature films of all time abound online, and you can see most buzzed-about films, no matter how obscure, if you’ve got a decent indie cinema nearby. For shorts, however,Continue reading “Zoetrope: Five groundbreaking animated short films you can watch online”

After Juliet preview: ‘sensitivity and complexity’

Originally published by Varsity on March 4th 2018 Once upon a time in fair Verona, Romeo and Juliet lived, loved and died, leaving in their wake two grieving families and a violent feud only tentatively resolved. So what happened next? This is the central question posed by After Juliet, which follows the young Capulets and MontaguesContinue reading “After Juliet preview: ‘sensitivity and complexity’”

What meme culture means for the future of politics

Originally written 27th February 2017 for Varsity, but not published One of the strangest moments of the 2016 US presidential election (if it’s possible to pick just one) was when Pepe, the anthropomorphic green frog popular as an internet meme, was branded a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish civil rights organisation.Continue reading “What meme culture means for the future of politics”

Taking care of yourself in the face of a Trump presidency

Originally written 14th November 2016 for Varsity, but not published For many of us, waking up last Wednesday to the news that Donald Trump had been elected President of the US was devastating. Somehow, an openly bigoted, science-denying accused rapist with authoritarian ambitions had become the leader of the most powerful country in the world.Continue reading “Taking care of yourself in the face of a Trump presidency”

Review: A Fool to His Folly

Originally written 15th February 2017 for Varsity, but not published In A Fool to his Folly, the ominous, existential new play by first-year Victor Rees, Charlie Smallways (Ellie Gaunt), a young woman unable to find purpose in life, is rejuvenated by the realisation that, actually, she’s not a real person at all, but a fictionalContinue reading “Review: A Fool to His Folly”

Zoetrope: Diasporic voices

Originally published by Varsity on 12th February 2018 Disney and Pixar are known for a lot of things, but one thing they are decidedly not known for is diversity. Both companies have racked up considerable criticism over the years for the underrepresentation of marginalised groups in their work – Pixar, for example, did not have a femaleContinue reading “Zoetrope: Diasporic voices”

Zoetrope: Adventures in the beginning

Originally published by Varsity on 12th February 2018 When thinking about the history of the animated feature film, it is easy to imagine Walt Disney as the pioneer. The legendary animation magnate produced his first feature in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Disney films completely dominated the animated feature market for decadesContinue reading “Zoetrope: Adventures in the beginning”

Meet the animation director who inspired Inception

Originally published by Sayre on 15th February 2018 In 2006, Satoshi Kon released what would be his final film, Paprika, a disorienting sci-fi extravaganza about an experimental technology that allows the wearer to enter into someone else’s dreams and influence their thoughts – sound familiar? Although the conceptually similar Inception is undoubtedly better known, ChristopherContinue reading “Meet the animation director who inspired Inception”