Speakers at the 50th anniversary of Vertigo, The University of Technology Sydney’s very own student-based magazine, have lauded student journalism, writing and publishing as being as important now as ever.
With drinks flowing at the reception in building 2 on Broadway, the 50th bash was a merry affair with the team behind Vertigo also stressing the importance of advocating for student-led journalism.
But while an audience of about 100 people was treated to various tributes to the magazine’s past and anecdotes from famous alumni, the topic of the magazine’s future and its funding remained determinedly off the agenda.
Editor-in-chief for the past two years Joe Hathaway-Wilson, who hosted a Q&A with Ross Gittins, Hannah Story, Sunny Adcock and Isabella Brown, only mentioned the matter to say that it wasn’t going to be discussed by the panel.
“The beautiful thing about tonight is that we really got to see what it looks like when you continue to, you know, uphold that legacy and that culture,” Hathaway-Wilson said afterwards.
“There’s so much bureaucracy that has boiled around how Vertigo exists, whether that is through UTSSA, management or leadership.
“It’s a very stifling environment as soon as you step outside the Vertigo team, but within that team, there is no limit as to what you can achieve.”
A budget bidding war in June last year saw Vertigo’s request for increased funding vetoed by the Chancellery, leaving the magazine with some tough decisions about how often it came out and in what format. Since then it has produced one edition in its usual size of close to 130 pages in an A4 format, and two much smaller editions of about 50 pages and in the smaller A5 format.
Hathaway-Wilson admits more is now published online than in the print edition of what he said other university magazines refer to as “the beautiful magazine” for its high spec issue and design quality.
Despite the hurdles, Vertigo has provided a crucial platform in cultivating student creativity, and acting as a publication outlet for students wishing to make their mark in the industry and get their foot in the door.
Vertigo‘s current creative writing editor Axel Connell said: “It is really inspiring to consider myself a part of this 50-year long residency of people who have gone on to spread that kind of creativity.”
When asked about his hopes for the future of Vertigo, Connell said: “At this point, I just really hope to see the same passion and drive, especially with some of the obstacles we have had to face in the recent years with funding cuts and having to go online.”
Recalling one of his favourite moments from this year’s campaign, Connell reminisced about becoming a published writer.
“One of my favourite moments was seeing one of the stories I wrote published in print for the first time. It was a real full circle moment for me. I was so happy to view that as an achievement,” he said. “Vertigo has opened a lot of doors for me.”
“It (Vertigo) is truly driven by people who have something to say, who are passionate about writing, who are passionate about designing, people who want to just put their voice out there.”
Photos by Ella Mullins.