0

The Problem With Universities In The U.K 2017

I just published an article on MCXV which discusses some of the issues surrounding university tuition fees, graduate jobs and the hardships facing millennials in the U.K.

This article was inspired by last night’s BBC Newsnight debate. This debate was all about the ‘generation gap’ between under 30’s and over 60’s in the UK. They inevitably discussed tuition fees (they used to be free, now they cost £9,000 a year) and job shortages (you used to have loads of offers, now you have unpaid internships). I wrote

I wrote this article because it felt like everyone was going around in circles. They were talking about how unfair it is that things are so different now, but barely anyone tried to explain why things are different. People talk about free tuition fees as if they are the answer to all our problems, but university tuition fees are not the only issue.

How are more graduates going to improve an already overcrowded graduate job market? How is it surprising that it is so much harder to get a job now there is 1: so much more competition and 2: it is so much easier to find and apply for these jobs in the first place. Should we be encouraging more people to go to university? Why should degrees like events management or social care exist? And how can we realistically make things better for the future if we are still stuck in the past? These are the questions I am asking in this article, so if you have a moment it would be great if you could read it and let me know your thoughts!

https://mcxv.com/problem-universities-2017/ 

Advertisements
0

Should Fake News Be Banned?

https://mcxv.com/fake-news-made-illegal/

I recently attended a debate which focused on whether or not ‘fake news’ is covered by free speech.  This topic is very relevant for bloggers because if you tend to focus on news and current events, you are contributing to the discourse and you are presenting your own view of the truth, a view which may or may not be widely accepted.

Would fake news laws shut down blogs just because the powers that be don’t agree with them? Who decides what is and is not fake? And what would that mean for political commentators, Youtubers, bloggers and keyboard warriors? Before you decide whether or not fake news should be banned you first need to think about what fake news is and who defines and decides what fake news is.

Donald Trump believes that the mainstream media deliberately lies about him and his fans. The public has, to some extent, always been dubious of the mainstream media but the rise of independent news outlets seems to be fuelling this distrust. Facebook and Google are clamping down on fake news. People are being implored to actually research the facts before they share a meme. Fake news is very relevant to a world where basically anyone can be a journalist and users alone decide what will go viral, but is fake news detrimental to or in fact supported by free speech?

I have written an article about whether fake news should be banned, the definition of fake news, the difference between interpretation and facts, and whether or not fake news should be banned. The article was published on MCXV, an independent news website which allows contributors to make a small profit based on a number of views they get. Is this the kind of website which would be targeted by anti-fake news legislation? Take a look and let me know what you think!

0

Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Have any of you seen Pedigree Dogs Exposed? For anyone who doesn’t know this was a 2008 documentary that looked at the many health problems that plague pedigree dogs as a result of years of selective breeding for dog shows and a disturbing amount of incest. After reading a recent Guardian article about the health of pugs I was inspired to write something I’ve been meaning to write for over a year, which is an article on pedigree dogs and the issues brought up by the Exposed documentaries. You can read my full article by going here: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/the-truth-about-pedigree-dogs/

Dogs 100 years ago vs dogs today

All images were taken from https://dogbehaviorscience.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/100-years-of-breed-improvement/. To find out more about Pedigree Dogs Exposed and its aftermath refer to Jemima’s blog http://pedigreedogsexposed.blogspot.co.uk/

0

Book reviews

You might be wondering what the Book Club and Cheap Book banners are doing on my blog. I write book reviews on a novel blog platform, and these blogs are affiliated with Book Club and the Cheap Book listings. If an author has published a book but they aren’t getting enough recognition, they can pay a small fee to Book Club and in return Book Club will feature their book on The Book Club Reading List. Reviewers like me will then look through the reading lists and select the books we want to review.

Becoming a successful author is one of the hardest things you can try to do. You may have written the greatest book ever, but if it’s not discovered by the right people, it doesn’t get enough publicity and it’s not featured on any ‘best seller’ lists, you still might not get anywhere. It’s a shame because there are some fantastic books out there that people are missing out on simply because they will never see them, but that’s the sad reality of the industry. Book Club probably won’t make these authors into best-sellers, but it will try and find them a larger audience.

I just finished reviewing Leah, a well-written and engaging mystery/horror/romance novel that really should be more popular than it is. I read Leah in a few long sittings because I just couldn’t put it down, and I really wanted to know what happens at the end. The author of Leah is a very talented writer, and I really hope this book gets the recognition it deserves someday. In the mean time all I can do is shameless promote it on my blog, which is precisely what I’m going to do. So please take a look at my review of Leah by going to my book review blog: http://sophestry.novelblogs.com/book-review-leah-by-dana-k-haffar/, and if you’re looking for a new book to fall in love with why not buy Leah on Amazon?

Book Club Reading List

0

Interviewing artists: Bryony May Mind Strays

Brighton

Brighton, for those of you who don’t know, is a fabulous seaside city about an hour out of London which is famous for its excellent vegan food (it has more than one vegan pub!), its acceptance of weed, vape shops and harem pants, and its status as one of the most (if not the most) LGBTQ friendly cities in the U.K.

A few weeks ago, I went to Brighton for a beach party in celebration of Trans Pride Day. I met loads of vibrant and colorful characters that day, and one such character was the delectable Bryony May, a Brighton based freelance artist who kindly agreed to be the first interviewee for my new blog series ‘Interviewing Artists’.

Interviewing Artists

This is a new blog series I am starting which will focus on local artists and their work. I’ve always loved art, and  I’ve always known and appreciated people who are artists and who want to make art a full-time career.

It is very hard to live off your art (in the same way it’s very hard to be a full-time actor or writer), and building a reputation and constantly marketing your work can be a full-time job in itself. I want to introduce lesser-known but no less talented artists to a wider audience, and I want to help promote them in any way I can.

Interviewing artists will start with a brief description of the artist and their work, followed by an interview with the artist which explores their inspiration and themes, and finally the artist will explain the thought, themes and inspiration behind some of their work.

Artist profile: Bryony May

young dude
Image: Young Dude by Bryony May

Bryony May is a full-time freelance artist who uses their art to explore the themes of relationships, abuse, and mental illness.  You can find Bryony on Facebook and Etsy as Bryony May Mind Strays.

Bryony is a self-employed full-time artist. They run every aspect of their art business themselves, from the marketing to postage and packaging. Every piece of art they make is unique and one-of-a-kind. If you want to buy any of the art featured in this post, please go to Bryony’s Etsy account to find out more.

Bryony is agender and prefers gender neutral pronouns, hence why I am referring to them as ‘they’, ‘them’ or ‘their’.

Interview 

You say on your Facebook page that your art is influenced by mental illness, relationships, and abuse. If possible could you expand on that and on what you are hoping to achieve with your art?

fAs someone who is affected by mental illness (currently depression and anxiety, in my past, borderline personality disorder) and someone who has lived through multiple abusive relationships and who is always exploring how to create new healthier connections with people, I feel these are the subjects I can portray most knowledgably that I am passionate about in my own life. I hope to provide an insight into how it feels to be affected by these issues,and to show solidarity with those who’ve been affected similarly, to help those feeling isolated by their emotions to feel understood and respected.

How do you think art can be used in the fight for equality?

Soon I will be producing more work alongside my current collection addressing mental illness and abuse, that addresses sexism, homophobia,and transphobia, as these are also issues I feel confident commenting on as I am an agender pansexual, and sexism affects everyone. I want my work to be worn on walls as a badge of honour for a person proud to be surviving in this world as a member of an oppressed group, or as a badge of empathy for a person or company who wishes to show solidarity with oppressed groups.

Are you having much success working as an independent artist? What kind of advice would you give to fellow artists in regards to making money and promoting yourself?

It’s hard work, I look forward to the day I make enough to live off, I am currently living off a finite supply of savings, some months I’ll sell 4 or 5 works, some I won’t sell any. I keep with it because I’m passionate about it, its what I’m good at, its what I enjoy and Its really important to me.
 
painMy advice is if your aim is to make money, do something else, if you feel how I do, and you are passionate about your work, get to it! make and make and make and once you have a body of work you feel says what you want it to get an Etsy account, if you’re lucky enough to have or know someone who has web development skills get your own website made and advertise the heck outa it! I have no budget for advertisement so most people find out about my work through me shouting about it on social media, I run so many accounts its hard to keep track of them all myself, I have Facebook as my main one where I share everything then I post my art with links on Instagram and tumblr and pinterest and I might be setting up a twitter account soon, its a lot, but its important to have a big web presence when you can’t afford a physical venue or advertisement.

And make sure you take care of yourself, its not going to pick up straight away, it takes time, it took me well over a year of trying this to sell my first piece and that was to a friend, don’t be disheartened and keep going, and remember to take time off, when you’re in charge of when you work it can be really hard to remember you deserve and need a break from time to time, so don’t forget to let yourself relax now and then, if you’re stressed out your work will suffer anyway so if not for yourself do it for that.

What do you hope to have achieved in 10 years time?

il_570xN.1024502466_k1ayI’d really like to be living off my art by then, I’d like my work to be better known, but I’d also not want to be famous myself ever, I’m not the important bit of what I do.
I’d like to collaborate with artists who are familiar with other important subjects that I feel need addressing but that don’t directly affect me, such as racism, and mental illnesses and disorders I’ve never had.
I have an idea for a performance piece I’d like to create, but it involves a venue and a lot of paint, these things cost money I don’t have, but perhaps sometime in the next 10 years I will, fingers crossed.

Analysis

I tore

I Tore Myself Open to Smile for You

All my work is open to the interpretation of the viewer, the meaning I intended to illustrate when I created it is not necessarily the “right” way to view it, I’ll provide it here for context but I encourage you to make up your own mind before reading what I think about it. one of my favourite parts of being an artist is hearing how all the differing perspectives people have effect what they see in my work, I love how it can mean so many different things to so many different people and I never want to tell anyone how it “should” be viewed, so here I simply offer just another perspective.

To create this piece I first drew a rough outline of what the face should look like in pencil then with fine liner I picked out details like the teeth nose and eyes, then I used Ink pencils to add a light skin tone to the face and colour to the eyes, then to illustrate the effect of it being tear stained I dripped water onto the light skin tone areas of ink pencil to cause it to bleed and pool. Then with candle wax I traced the rough outline of the face with a manic sort of line to express the instability of the figure, then letting the wax resist the black ink I filled in the background, using an old toothbrush to scratch more depth into the face with the same ink. Then I dripped red ink around the mouth cavity to emphasise the ripping open of the figure and dripped diluted blue ink from the left eye subtly dripping down through the whole image all the way to the bottom signifying further the pain the figure is in. then finally, I literally tore at the figure splitting the face in half and tearing into the pained creases of the eyes.

Then with candle wax I traced the rough outline of the face with a manic sort of line to express the instability of the figure, then letting the wax resist the black ink I filled in the background, using an old toothbrush to scratch more depth into the face with the same ink. Then I dripped red ink around the mouth cavity to emphasise the ripping open of the figure and dripped diluted blue ink from the left eye subtly dripping down through the whole image all the way to the bottom signifying further the pain the figure is in. then finally, I literally tore at the figure splitting the face in half and tearing into the pained creases of the eyes.

This piece aims to illustrate the pain in concealing my true emotions in previous relationships where I was afraid they would leave me or be over burdened should I express my troubles to them so I would force a fake smile and pretend everything was ok for their benefit resulting only in my own pain growing and a feeling of irrational bitterness towards them as if they had forced me to act this way to appease them when the whole time it was my choice, we would have both benefited from me being more open, but I was still recoiling from having offered up too much of myself in the past, still trying to find the mid ground where I could be open without handing over responsibility, and over shooting.

falling

Falling

This piece was created by hand drawing the figures in pencil, colouring the bottom figure in with black ink and cutting them out together and placing them on a tea stained ground.

This piece was created with the intention of illustrating how I’ve experienced the feeling of falling in love when suffering from depression and a feeling of dependence, an uneasy almost literal falling into the other person, letting them engulf me and using them as a distraction from and protection against the incoming ground, placing myself and all my insecurities in their arms to protect, leaving my responsibility to take care of myself with them, without the headspace to consider how that might effect them as they eventually, inevitably, impact with the ground and disperse from my life, my self worth with them, until I learn to love myself again.

what

What Do I Do With This

This piece was created by painting the paper with a blood red ink ground then painting over that with layers of white wall paint, drawing the hands in black fine liner once the right shade of pink is accomplished and then painting further layers of the white wall paint around the hands, then I carved through the layers with a scalpel to create the heart, and painted further blood red ink on the back to let it bleed through the now weakened area where I carved the heart.

I intended this work to Illustrate how I felt when I was in a relationship where my partner was dependant on me and had carved themselves into my life, they cut away at me, carved their heart into me, attached themselves, I couldn’t escape for fear they would commit suicide if they found themselves without me, I felt trapped by this overwhelming responsibility over this other person who I did care deeply about but could not help, it was like their heart bled through me, they were very unwell and I put them before myself very often as I felt my struggles were lesser than theirs and as such I felt they should have my priority, they kept handing me more and more of their struggles and I just, didn’t know what to do with them, it hurt to hold them, it hurt not to be able to help as they thought I could, and it cut into me, so much so that this person become the only partner I’ve ever dumped, it still hurts that I had to do that, but it was apparent that at best I wasn’t helping and at worst, no matter how they thought otherwise, I was hurting them, and myself, by staying.

If you want to learn more about Bryony or you would like to buy any of the pieces featured in this article, please go to Bryony’s Etsy account or their Facebok page.

Check back soon for more art, recipes, news and general musings about life. Also remember to take a look at my book review website and the cover reveal for the next book on my reading list, Leah by Dana Haffar.

3

Let’s talk about sexual harassment​

Hello,

I am currently working on a new article which is going to focus on an upsetting but important subject. My article is going to be about the sexual harassment experienced by teenage girls on public transport (buses, tubes, trains etc).

I am writing about this because it is really horribly common, and yet no one wants to talk about it. Sexual harassment isn’t pleasant at any time, but it can be a lot scarier as a teenager. These guys are typically twice your age, and somehow they think that even though they may well have children at home it’s nevertheless totally acceptable to come onto a 14-17-year-old girl.

Note: This article is going to focus on girls but if you’re a male who has experienced unwanted sexual attention as a teenager on public transport by either sex I also want to hear from you. The same goes for girls who were harassed by women.

These encounters can be terrifying. They can keep people living in fear for years. And yet somehow even though this has happened to many, many young girls at one time or another still whenever I hear about public sexual harassment it always refers to adult women, perhaps because they know that they can talk about it. Sexual harassment is an important issue full stop, but I want to bring the experiences of younger women out into the open.

The stats ignore younger people

London, United Kingdom: In a poll conducted by the Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition in London, 43 percent of young women ages 18-34 had experienced street harassment just during the past year alone. The total sample size was 1047 adults and the poll was conducted in early March 2012.”

This is an important poll, but the youngest age to participate is 18. From my experience and from talking to other people, I’ve found that a large number of girls aged 13-17 have also experienced these things. This is vitally important because teenage girls are more vulnerable, less confident and even less likely to want to report it.

My aims

I want to show how disgusting  these harassers really are. To show adults it is not okay to treat children like that. To show that it’s not a 14-year-olds fault that they have somehow become catnip to creeps. To show that young girls are not alone in this experience, that people will understand, and that they don’t have to just put up with it because it’s something that ‘just happens’.

How you can help

I need your help to write this article because I want to show how widespread this thing is. I understand this is a sensitive topic, and all contributions will remain anonymous in the article itself, but if you don’t want your identity known at all that is absolutely fine. I believe you can leave an anonymous comment in the section below, or if you would prefer you can send me an email at Sophialb1993@gmail.com. No need to give your name or say anything you don’t want to.

I just the age you were at the time, a brief description of what happened, and what you think we can do to make young people safer on public transport going forward.

Thank you

 

1

Why being a vegetarian is easier than eating meat

lazyvegetarianmealideas

Over the years I have heard so many people say that being a vegetarian is harder, more expensive and more time consuming than eating meat. “I would be vegetarian, but I can’t afford it.” Or “I’ve thought about it, but I just don’t have the time.”. I’ve never understood what the hell these people were talking about, personally. Just to be clear, I don’t care if you eat meat or not. No one is obliged to cut it out, and if you see my post on vegan ethics and the environment you will see I don’t want the world to turn vegan. However, you should get your facts straight and if you do want to make the change you shouldn’t be scared off because of misinformation, so I’ve compiled a list that will hopefully clear some things up.

1: Being vegetarian is cheaper than eating meat.

My average weekly shop…

View original post 1,567 more words