Student journal a voice for undergrads

Crossings showcases top U of W arts essays

A new University of Winnipeg (U of W) publication has successfully released their first edition.

Crossings is an interdisciplinary arts, humanities and social sciences journal that showcases the work of U of W students. The first edition was made up largely of undergrads, with a total of 17 pieces, while two pieces from master’s students were selected.

Contributor Adrienne Tessier says being published as an undergrad is a valuable experience.

“The entire impetus to the project was allowing students to have academic experience for their CV,” Tessier says. She is a fourth-year political science student and the current UWSA arts director, as well as a member of the Crossings editorial board.

“We learned how to receive academic critique, what the process for publication looks like and why someone would go through that,” Tessier says. “It’s also really important that the U of W is (primarily) an undergrad institution, and because of that, we were able to have opportunities that normally would only be open to graduate students.”

The journal’s chief editor Jane Barter, associate professor in religion and culture, says it also gives students the opportunity to get familiar with a process that professors are continuously expected to take part in.

“Only one-third of our job is teaching,” Barter says. “Another third is research, so the process of connecting teaching with research is really important to faculty members, and I think sometimes students aren’t as familiar with that process.

“Secondly, for students who are going on to grad studies, this gives them the opportunity to get their foot in the door for publication. When they’re applying for grad schools, it looks good to have their name in print in a peer-reviewed journal.”

With no theme for its first issue, Crossings essays range a variety of topics in the arts, such as subjects ranging from the ethics of using research done by Nazi doctors during the Holocaust to Arab rap music. Tessier says it was great to read things her peers from other departments have written.

“It was cool to share that research interest with my fellow students,” she says. “It’s a unique experience. Going forward, this is something we would be doing if wanted to advance … and it gives us an opportunity to engage with our fellow students about what we’re passionate about.”

Barter and Tessier agree it’s also important to highlight students’ work and essays from classes, giving them a life and audience beyond that final mark.

Crossings is currently accepting submissions for its second issue on the theme of Canada 150.

“It will be reflections upon Canada as a nation and also as a concept,” Barter says. “We really invite critical kinds of conversations about the Canadian project, so this would be a great place for decolonizing kinds of essays or Indigenous essays about violence in our history.”

Students must be enrolled at the U of W to submit, and research papers must be written from an arts, humanities or social science perspective, though majoring in these faculties currently is not required.

For more information, visit uwinnipeg.ca/arts/news/2015/11/celebrating-student-research-excellence-crossings.html.

Published in Volume 71, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 16, 2017)

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