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October 2, 2017 | by  | in Editorial | [ssba]

Editors’ Letter

What does it mean to represent?

This is the question we put to lecturer James Meffan, and the long and, at times, complicated interview we had with him attempts to answer this question — as well as some of the ethical problems it contains.

In thinking about representation in pop culture and literature, Jasmine reflects on the persistent narratives about Polynesian culture and people, and the problems of overwriting:  “By speaking for us, the writers of what we have been taught to call ‘our history’ wrote over us, and our voices continue to be overwritten in favour of theirs.”

Ali looks at how independent (often student) radio stations provide space for the transmission of alternative narratives, and the communities that grew out of them.

Lauren’s piece surveys the history of Riot Grrrl, their innovative music and the “radical political, philosophical, and socio-cultural movement” that asserted the rightful place of those who felt unsafe or unwelcome by patriarchal society and subcultures.

Part of this movement involved members speaking for themselves, in opposition to the stories from the media that would profit off them without giving anything back: “It was quite communist in its aims — seizing the means of production for themselves and giving voice to the traditionally voiceless. Zines were a great way of doing this, to project voices on a wider scale and connect various communities.”

Representation is a multi-faceted word, and the VUW Council voted to raise domestic and international fees by 2% again — a continuing trend. Given that the twelve person council has only two student members, and all non-student members voted for the increase, can we say that this representative body represents our interests?

As usual, this is an issue that raises a lot of questions — something that we’re good at, while answers less so…

But in further representational news, nominations for the VUWSA Executive closed on Friday and we’ll be covering the candidates happenings in the next issue… stay tuned!


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