Bachelor of Media Arts (Honours) student Emily Russell has had a busy year to date, alternating between stimulating collaborative interaction and many lone hours at the computer.
Emily’s Honours project includes completing two issues of internet-based publication ‘Riff Raff’, named after the cast bronze sculpture of Richard O’Brian’s ‘Rocky Horror’ character on Victoria Street. The aim is to expose local Hamilton talent and share it with the community. The launch of ‘Riff Raff’ Issue Two is happening at 6pm 26th November 2010, at Ramp Gallery, Collingwood St, Hamilton.
We asked Emily some questions about her project and the inspiration behind it.
Emily: Deciding on what to do for my Honours project wasn’t a hard one as this type of magazine was something that I had felt for a while that Wintec and the Hamilton community was lacking. I am big on sharing so that’s what provoked and inspired me to get started on this project. Having always worked with a hands-on approach I wanted to challenge myself and go where technology is taking us, which is to produce a purely digital online publication. ‘Riff Raff’ e-mag is one that enables Wintec students and the wider community to contribute to it.
The project started by putting up flyers seeking writers and photographers to be a part of the project. Once I had interest I then met up and discussed the project with keen contributors, asking what they enjoyed writing about. Topics were discussed and deadlines were set in place.
After many late nights of designing and gathering content from enthusiastic contributors, the first ever ‘Riff Raff’ issue was launched at W Block gallery, on the 22nd of July, where we shared home-made lemonade and mini lemon cupcakes (all 200 made by my sister and I). The event ran for two hours with the e-publication projected onto the wall of the gallery. The night also showcased artists’ work from the publication, and there were computers set up for closer interaction with the e-mag.
It was important that the night reflected the publication as much as possible. To ensure this, I collected vintage plates and jugs from op shops for the lemonade and cupcakes to go on, which had a nice link to Kerrie Felton’s op shopping story and the recipe section published in the issue. Invite cards were made to advertise the evening event. An event page on Facebook was also set up and sent round, which was a great indicator to how many people would attend and how many cupcakes we needed to make! The night was used for networking and making connections with artists, writers and photographers and the Hamilton community – generally acknowledging the people involved and sharing their work with the public.
DT: What have been the main things you’ve learned during the process?
E: I set a challenge to learn and take on an editing role that I wasn’t familiar with to ensure that my project would work to my expectations. I have learnt how to coordinate and collaborate with Wintec students and Hamilton creatives to produce a visually provoking e-magazine, which I hope is inspiring and appealing to a diverse readership. I’ve been truly impressed with the amount of amazing things that are happening in Hamilton and have enjoyed the process of producing the e-mag to illustrate this.
DT: How did the theoretical aspects of your postgraduate study support the creation of the magazine?
E: The theories studied alongside my practical project have helped me to develop the ability to think critically and apply skills and knowledge to my practical project. This knowledge has provided me with a greater understanding of the way we discuss things beyond my own experience.
DT: What has been the best part so far?
E: I’ve had a lot of fun while making this project, and collaborating with others to put together an e-mag that I can then share with the community has been rewarding. Collaboration plays a big part in making this project possible; without contributors this project wouldn’t be as strong as it is. The e-publication is a team effort and one that gives me extreme pleasure to be a part of.
This project makes me feel satisfied, and makes me feel like I am making a contribution to something that’s bigger than just me. It’s been an exciting project and I am so grateful to the abundance of talented people who have contributed to both Issue One and Two.
DT: What can people expect at the launch?
E: Issue One featured the work of Media Arts students at Wintec; their poems and photography, articles about ‘where and why to op shop’, popular local band Knights of The Dub Table, recipes to share, guides to making cool projects as well as a review on popular Hamilton eateryRiver Kitchen.
‘Riff Raff’ Issue two will be equally full of exciting content as the first and will be launched at Ramp Gallery on the 26th of November with an engaging and interactive experience set up on computers where people will be able to view the e-mag. I am also sharing the space with two other Honours students.
DT: Were you satisfied with the final product being an e-mag rather than hard-copy?
E: I was satisfied with the final product being an e-mag. Having it online meant that people all over the world could interact with it, getting more out of it than if it were to be a hard copy. Having ‘Riff Raff’ based online achieves a higher readership due to the availability, and is nice connection for those who have left Hamilton.
DT: What’s next for you? Do you think you’ll continue the mag beyond Honours?
E: Next year I hope to continue to collaborate with Wintec students and the people of Hamilton to produce the e-mags. This is currently being considered.