Founded last year, The Pluralist is “the RCA’s newspaper” and is run as a cross-course collaboration at the Royal College of Art. According to its current editor, Aleks Stanek, the publication’s founder Rachel Yalisove “established an experimental and ever-changing format; issues appeared on receipt rolls or faux safety signs, dispersed throughout the college.”
When Aleks took over earlier this year, she and Rachel discussed how the paper might develop and they both agreed that they wanted it to be more political. “I see the condition of being ‘political’ as not necessarily always directly engaging with politics, but definitely engaging with the college community, engaging with the issues which are important, or in need of highlighting, or not spoken about enough,” Aleks tells It’s Nice That.
She also recognises the need for balance between being politically, or critically engaged, and the need for developing a sense of community at the RCA: “It’s a huge college, which is currently undergoing some rapid structural changes,” she says. “So the paper is really trying to balance the quick turnaround of events with an endeavour to create a community space where there’s also room for light-heartedness.”
The paper is made with both students and staff in mind. “I’d love to see more of the people highest up in the chain of command pick it up from the campus cafes,” says Aleks, explaining that it attempts to provide real insight into the concerns of the student body. The next issue, focused on the theme of “Memory”, will look at both individual experience and institutional memory. “One article is a critique of how the privatisation of the college resonates in ways that are quite harmful to the community and the institution itself, while another considers how difficult it is to sustain romantic relationships during an MA, because art college can be a very self-centred and perception-obsessed experience.”
This breadth of subject matter is partly what makes The Pluralist so unique as a campus publication. “The ideas are as diverse as the students themselves,” says Aleks. “We even have a ‘Who Do You Fancy?’ column in the upcoming issue and for this, we collected romantic confessions in anonymous ‘confession bins’ on the campuses. We do have fun with it.”
While last year, each issue had a new design approach, this year The Pluralist is being treated by its editor more like a traditional newspaper. “We wanted something more, you could say, conventional,” says Aleks. “We want people to be able to grab a copy and read it on the bus.”
About the Author
Billie studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art before completing an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She joined It’s Nice That as a Freelance Editorial Assistant back in January 2015 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis.