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gal-dem editors reveal their New Year’s Resolutions

31 Dec 2016
Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at gal-dem, and what we’re looking forward to next year? The gal-dem editors reveal all…
Liv Little – Editor-in-Chief
When I think about the whirlwind year which we’ve had I could cry, and I often do. 2017 brings with it an unbelievable amount of possibility as to what gal-dem can and will achieve. If people think we’ve been working hard this year, 2017 is going to be a go hard or go home kind of situation. We’re going to have more events and probably more meltdowns than ever – but I honestly cannot wait. My life has come somewhere close to feeling complete since meeting all of these beautiful, talented and non-nonsense women and I cannot wait for the team to expand in 2017. I’m constantly in awe of everything that we’re achieving in our own lives as well as inside of gal-dem – what madness is it that we can be holding down full-time jobs, freelancing and still manage to win two awards in the space of a year?! gal-dem isn’t an exclusive club, it’s all about uplifting the women around us as we are definitely stronger together – 2017 will certainly be a year of collaboration. I don’t want to give anything away yet – but you might catch us partying on the beach, cackling in a comedy theatre near you and continuing our work with historic institutions next year. Watch this space.

Suyin Haynes – Assistant Politics Editor

While 2016 has been a very much up and down (mainly down, one might argue) year in politics, it’s been a phenomenal year for gal-dem! My role has changed from sub-editor to assistant politics editor, and it’s been really inspiring to work with our amazing writers and illustrators to produce thought-provoking, beautiful content. I’ve learnt so much from developing pieces for our site on topics as varied as reactions to the U.S. elections and the politics of blackface in the Netherlands, and I’m proud that we are a space devoted to such diverse issues, ideas and perspectives. On a personal level, I’m so happy to say I’m in a much better place now than a year ago – I feel like I’ve got much more belief in myself and I’ve learnt so much from my experiences of graduating and interning at TIME magazine. I would never have had the confidence before to write something as intimate as my recent article on masculinity and male mental health, but I finally feel strong enough to do so. Looking forward to 2017, I really want to continue throwing myself into gal-dem‘s work. We undoubtedly face some turbulent political times ahead, with the triggering of the Brexit process and a Trump presidency on the horizon, and it will be more important than ever for us to provide a positive platform for those whose voices are in danger of being silenced. I’m not sure exactly what the next year has planned for me or where it might take me. But if 2016 has shown me anything, it’s to not give up or lose hope, no matter how bad you think things may be.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff – Opinions Editor

There have been a few moments in 2016 that have left me scared for the progressive future of our country. The way forward is going to be difficult because the identities we have forged for ourselves as part of gal-dem, and beyond, are being challenged. Diversity is something the collective mainstream media are concerned about today, but in 2017? If Theresa May has her way the false homogenisation that occurs every time someone says that they “don’t see colour” will take over everything, leaving us in a hate-crime filled dust. So next year I want focus on how to bring people into the nest. Not like that recently axed documentary from A&E, which saw activists try to take on the KKK, just in small, gentle acts of education that might mean that someone reconsiders their views on something. Apart from that, in the new year I’m really excited about getting started on issue two of gal-dem’s print magazine, and a whole host of other events that everyone should look out for! I’m so proud of all we’ve achieved so far. 2016 was one of the most exciting, full-on years of my life, but I reckon 2017 will top it.

Varaidzo – Arts and Culture Editor

With Brexit negotiations set to come to an end and Donald Trump making himself at home in the White House, 2017 is looking to be a scary and unpredictable place. It’s hard to make resolutions for a future that looks so uncertain. No doubt we’ll all still be turning to memes and viral content for small moments of respite from the horror of reality on our social media. Like previous years, this content will probably be produced to the widest extent by teens of colour, and next year I hope to see more of them getting adequately compensated for their content, instead of having their work simultaneously devalued and ripped off by brands. Let’s leave that in 2016. Alongside the usual resolves: go to bed earlier, treat others how you wish to be treated, etc, I’ll be trying to stay off social media and focus more on what’s local. It seems neither helpful or productive to have a never-ending scroll of worldwide trauma at my fingertips, and I’m trying to learn that we don’t always have to bare witness to all things. Sometimes, it’s perfectly okay to switch off.

Hannah Gooding – Fashion Editor

2016 has had its fair share of sad events, iconic deaths and political disasters, but on a positive note, it has also been the year gal-dem launched our first print issue, brought over 6,000 people to our V&A Friday Late takeover, celebrated our first birthday, won two awards, and gained nearly 29,000 followers on social media. So yeah, NBD. My personal high was being recognised as the Fashion Editor of gal-dem at London Fashion Week. Never been so gassed in my life. For all we’ve achieved, we deserve to be really proud of ourselves. But looking forward into the unknown abyss of 2017, we have big things planned. Let’s call them New Year’s Resolutions – but ones we’ll actually stick to…

We want to keep producing content that resonates deeply with our WoC readers. We want to keep educating through giving our contributors a voice, even if education isn’t our primary aim. We want to go “viral” again and again because this is the time to tell stories that haven’t had the platform to be told before. We want to become so big that no one will ever spell “gal-dem” incorrectly ever again (for the record there is a hyphen, there are no capital letters and there is only one ‘e’ – this has been a PSA). I want to be recognised at LFW again for the personal ego boost. So watch this space.

Heather Barrett – Assistant Opinions Editor

Mentally I am already in 2017. This year has been really great gal-dem wise but it’s wreaked absolute havoc elsewhere, so now that all the personal drama has settled down a bit I look forward to really getting focussed on what I want to achieve next year. I have to say my absolute highlight of 2016 was the gal-dem takeover of the V&A. I’m not even gonna gas about it but if you weren’t there you well and truly missed out so don’t miss the next events we have planned. I’m looking forward to running a workshop at Southbank Centre for their Women of the World festival in March, alongside Suyin. I also can’t wait to start reaching out to the next generation of gal-dem squads to find youngers who want to get involved. We are clearly an unstoppable force (two awards in our first year, big up) so who knows what we’ll do next. And the next print issue will obviously be as live as the first, if not more, so make sure you’re not broke when it comes out.

Leyla Reynolds – House Illustrator

Mostly I want a brief and heightened level of fame enough to warrant me a Who Do You Think You Are? episode and to discover something more juicy in my family tree than the generations of farm labourers has provided me with. Jokes aside, in all honesty, in 2017 I really just want to find out about so many more young British WoC artists and get us all getting to know each other. gal-dem is hopefully holding an art fair next year and some really fab WoC artists will be showing and selling their work. This year I’ve been caught in a bit of a rut, not really feeling much progress, but the recent recruit of so many talented young WoC artists to the gal-dem illustration team has actually galvanised me. I basically just want everyone to see their work everywhere.

I’ve also decided that 2017 is Leyla’s vegan year. It’s been said before but this time it’s in writing and therefore basically semi-legal. I’ve been attempting off and on for about three years now but reading Heather’s article this week has convinced me to finally pull my finger out, watch Cowspiracy and don a plastic Doc Martin or two.

Antonia – Music Editor

Brexit, bigotry and bereavement have all been running themes of 2016 and often it has felt like a serious grapple to keep our heads above water. The government haven’t been a huge source of inspiration and it feels as though a lot of doors are slamming faster than we’re adapting to cope without them.  However amidst all of this, gal-dem has gone from strength-to-strength, raising the bar for ourselves at every hurdle and surpassing our own expectations. Despite the uncertainty which 2017 holds, we will continue with business as usual, reporting on and giving a voice to music-makers and documenters who you probably won’t find at all in your average publications. This has been a big year for sticky faux pas and we will continue to steer clear by upholding the sense of pride and authenticity in everything we do.

Also still sitting high on our agenda is continuing to be a space where women of colour feel affirmed, valued and at home. If you thought you’ve seen and heard enough of us this year, you haven’t seen nothing. The V&A was just a teaser. More tun-ups, more growth and more life to gal-dem.

ifama – Video Editor

2016 has been the biggest madting. The amount of recognition gal-dem has received, from our videos, events and the incredible contributors’ writing (particular faves of mine are Top Girl, The Very Black Body and every single fashion throwback piece #ilovehalimahsdad) has been sooo affirming and beautiful. The trust and support amongst women of colour across the world and in particular from other PoC DIY projects in the UK is proof of how much we have all be crying out for each other and these spaces, sometimes without even realising it.

So, here are my resolutions to make sure this dreamy experience continues. I’ve never written New Year’s plans, so here’s to hoping I stick to them…

  1. gal-dem video content will pop off. Expect regular gal-dem chat, interviews and maybe a couple of baby documentaries by Spring
  2. Expand and elevate more marginalised voices. Let’s challenge the definition of “womanhood”, be critical and learn from the ting
  3. Start those chats I’ve been apprehensive about having
  4. Or write it into a gal-dem article, make a fake email and @ them