Meet the 2019 UNSWeetened Team

Each year, UNSWeetened is edited, curated, produced and publicised by student volunteers under the leadership of a student Coordinator.

Jack Poppert

UNSWeetened Coordinator

Bachelor of Fine Arts/ Bachelor of Arts

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

UNSWeetened is great because it gives students from a range of backgrounds and areas of study a chance to have their work read by their peers, teachers and the public. It is a wonderful part of our university community, and I am very pleased to be a part UNSWeetened in 2019.

Are you a writer yourself?

Yes! I write short fiction, critical essays, artist profiles and reviews. I love both fiction and critical writing.

Do you have a favourite author or literary inspiration?

It’s so hard to say… I do love Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus, Zadie Smith is great and our very own Stephanie Bishop is fantastic too.

What are you reading at the moment and what is on your reading list?

‘The Mandarins’ by de Beauvoir and ‘The Fatal Shore’ by Robert Hughes. I am also about to jump into Livy’s Books 21-30 as well!

What are you most looking forward to as 2019 UNSWeetened Coordinator?

Working with writers and the rest of the UNSWeetened team is very exciting. It is a chance to deepen roots in the UNSW literary community and to read the work of my fellow students. I can’t wait!

And finally, tell us a little bit about UNSWeetened’s theme this year! What can we expect from this year’s publication?

This year’s theme is wabi-sabi. We are embracing the beauty and ingenuity of imperfection and impermanence. This year UNSWeetened is all about asymmetry, patch-work and hotch-potch, the unfinished, the spaces between the lines, the rough and austere. As students we are well acquainted with these concepts; let’s embrace them resolutely and with creativity!


Bridget Moyle

Editor

Bachelor of Art Theory / Bachelor of Arts

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

I love that UNSWeetened encourages a cross-disciplinary approach to writing and reading, fostering a love of story telling that transcends the epistemological limitations imposed often by the concept of university faculties and specialisations. It gives students the opportunity to develop and engage their skills in a supportive environment curated by a well acclaimed publication. It’s amazing to be able to celebrate your peers through an easily accessible and well distributed publication - and! - there’s nothing better than curling up with an UNSWeetened and a cup of tea to do so!

Are you a writer yourself?

Yes – I write on little bits of dog-eared receipts, late at night in the notes on my phone and in margins. Often the best thoughts arrive as side notes, and I feel like I write the best in these short little poetic flourishes. I have toyed with the idea of writing longer pieces, but I find it hard not to lose myself in the details of setting - rather than focusing on a strong sense of momentum through plot. I also love when I am able to co-opt an essay for uni to reflect/ discuss a subject area that I am deeply passionate about. As much as it sounds cringe worthy, there’s nothing better than an essay translating a personal feeling of excitement.

Do you have a favourite author?

I love the work of Sri Lankan Canadian author Michael Ondaatje. His novels are a bit like poetry disguised as prose, and make you see the details of the world a little differently. Everything is gifted with a new sort of vibrant energy.

Who are your literary inspirations? 

My literary inspirations are my peers! I absolutely love reading all of the submissions to Framework at UNSW Art & Design, and I am constantly inspired by how curriculum merges into personal interests and flourishes in the diverse rigours of passion, confession, trauma, personal quirks and curiosities.

What are you reading at the moment and what is on your reading list?

Right now I am reading Max Porter’s ‘Grief is a Thing with Feathers’, Lauren Groff’s ‘Fates and Furies’ and Meg Wolitzer’s ‘The Interestings’.

On my reading list is Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’, Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘One Thousand Plateaus’ (although that’s a work in progress), and more of Australian academic, Rosi Braidotti’s essays.

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you? What does wabi-sabi mean to you?

I find a great peace in the idea of the perfectly imperfect, and the productive tensions that can emerge from the broken or infinitely unfinished. It’s always a good reminder of the powerful aesthetics of the subjective and personal, particularly when most of the work produced at uni is marked against an often alienating quantitative scale.

I think when we are articulating it as the theme for this year it’s important to acknowledge that it is a particularly non-Western ideology, and that we should be aware of misconstruing or misappropriating it through our own contextual assumptions/ paradigms. Reflecting upon the fractured and the broken acknowledges the series of contingencies and negotiations innate to living but also should not glorify aggressive acts of destruction, relocation, division and subjugation. Sometimes the broken is equally as imperfect as it seems.


Jack Zhou

Editor

Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Law

What do you love most about UNSWeetened?

I’m deeply impressed by the quality and range of student writing on display. The publication itself is also a visual treat.

Are you a writer yourself?

I’ve been writing, on and off, since early high school. I wrote all sorts of things: stories, poems, essays. I’ve written for Tharunka and am always looking for more opportunities to write.

Do you have a favourite author or literary inspiration?

One of the few writers who I cannot read without walking away trembling is anything by Balzac, who is in need of more modern English translations.

I’ve also found something of a hidden gem with the works of Eileen Chang, a dazzling writer known for her tales of life in Shanghai during Japanese occupation. She has received some fantastic English translations over recent years, making her more accessible than ever.

What are you reading at the moment and what is on your reading list?

I’ve just finished ‘The Idiot’ by Dostoevsky.

I’m about to go through some works by Italo Calvino. In terms of non-fiction, I’m about to read ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ by Hannah Arendt.

What does the wabi-sabi theme mean to you?

A way of describing wabi-sabi is the strange, evocative beauty of the imperfect. Traditional images of the concept include simple straw huts and small, unassuming teacups. It is a beauty tinged with an ounce of melancholy – sabi roughly meaning ‘lonely’. This has given the concept a tangential relationship with Zen Buddhism, a way of thinking that highlights the impermanence of the world around us.

For me, wabi-sabi is a delightfully unique idea of beauty. It’s a beauty, not of an eye for fine colours and forms, but one totally removed from any trace of superficiality.

Read Jack’s piece for Tharunka here.


Chloe McFadden

Editor

Bachelor of Media Arts

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

I love the opportunity and community of UNSWeetened. I think it is so important that students have a place to share their work and have their voices heard. UNSWeetened is a great community of people who want to support young creatives in exploring their passions and ideas.

Are you a writer yourself?

I like to write academic and critical essays as well as articles with a focus on new media and technology. I am also interested in interviewing and reviewing material.

Do you have a favourite author or literary inspiration?

My favourite author/ literary inspiration is author and theorist Bell Hooks. My favourite works are her cultural critiques of current media as well as her work, 'Feminism is for everybody.'

What are you reading at the moment and what is on your reading list?

I just finished reading Marina Benjamin's memoir, 'Insomnia' which was a great read.

Next I really want to get my hands on, 'So sad today' which is a collection of personal essays by Melissa Broder.

What does the wabi-sabi theme mean to you? 

In my eyes wabi-sabi is my favourite teddy bear from when I was young. It's now old and worn but it is still perfect and loveable because of all my memories of it. Wabi-sabi is ice cold coffee on an unbearably hot day and hot chocolate on a freezing cold night. It’s that moment when you realise that nothing is perfect but everything feels right.

Read Chloe’s interview with Marina Benjamin


Eric Qian

Editor

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours): Software Engineering

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

Aside from the always captivating work published ever year, I really enjoy how the vision and direction of each issue can change per issue. It's just enough so that contributors don't feel restricted, but so that each issue has its own distinctive look and feel.

Are you a writer yourself?

I write mainly poetry and reviews. I would love to conduct interviews in the future.

Do you have a favourite author? What have you read recently? 

I don't really have a favourite author, but some works I've liked recently are ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ by Max Porter, and ‘Outline’ by Rachel Cusk.

I also love what Renate Adler did with ‘Speedboat.’

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you?

The idea of wabi-sabi resonates in particular with me as a student. As students, much of what we do is very much at the level of 'amateurs' -- whenever I see a production, publication, or art by students, I always feel like there's that quality of freshness and growth, a tendency to take risks, an imperfection that's exciting rather than disappointing. Students need to keep writing and creating, and student work needs a home that will support and showcase this work.


Michelle Huynh

Editor

Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) / Bachelor of Law

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

I love to be able to read various works of prose and poetry from UNSW students and to spread the love for all things writing!

Are you a writer yourself?

Yes! I usually write short stories but have recently interviewed Bri Lee on her memoir, ‘Eggshell Skull’ for the Sydney Writer’s Festival!

Wow! Tell us a little bit about your interview process:

Book reviews and interviews really come hand in hand. Familiarising yourself with your readings before an interview provides the best experience for me. Reading allowed me to develop my own opinions and interviewing allowed me to discuss these ideas with the creator themselves to gain fresh perspectives!

I love this and am definitely looking forward to more of these opportunities later on!

Do you have a favourite author or literary inspiration? 

Andre Aciman tops the chart right now. His novel, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ became one of my biggest literary inspirations, as Aciman’s prose was able to meticulously worm its way through my heart through discussions of obsessive adolescent love and heartbreak through time.

The novel really did have the power to break my heart in the most beautiful ways.

What are you reading at the moment and what is on your reading list?

Right now, I’m reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Thousand Years of Solitude’ and have ventured past a few pages.

I don’t really keep a tangible reading list somewhere but I’ve been meaning to read Lolita for a while. If a book catches my eye in the bookshop, I’ll just go for it.

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you? What does wabi-sabi mean to you?

Wabi-sabi will almost always resonate with me at some point in my life or another.

To me, wabi-sabi entails a sort of melancholic hum when I sit in by the window of a warm café to look at passerbys scurrying quickly in winter when everything is cold and dark. It’s sad because I just so happen to be the person to always dream of another life no matter where I am, but beautiful because, well, it’s a nice dream to have. I have no intention to give this habit of mine up. It’s wabi-sabi.

Read Michelle’s interview with Bri Lee


Gemma Anderson

Promo Team

Bachelor of Fine Arts / Bachelor of Arts

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

It is such a beautiful publication; I treasure my copy of last year’s journal! It sits proudly on my bookcase. I love reading all the beautiful pieces and then reading about the authors and the crazy diverse things they study – it makes me happy to know there are creative beings everywhere! And of course I also love looking at all the accompanying illustrations.

Tell us a little bit about why you love promoting creative projects such as UNSWeetened? 

As a fine arts student, I understand it can often be hard to promote something of your own or that you have been working closely on, and that is why our job is so important. We are a team separate from the authors, separate from the editors, and separate from the designers, who are solely dedicated to promoting (and celebrating!) the talents of our fellow students! And we will not be shy about it!

I love all things creative and can not wait to see what pieces are selected for this year’s journal and what the design team comes up with in line with this year’s theme! I am thrilled to be able to celebrate and promote the work of my crazy talented peers!

What should we keep an eye out for this term and in the lead up to the launch in T3?

Isabella and I have been working hard to plan lots of exciting things!

This term we have a writing workshop coming up in WK4 to help with submissions, along with another writing competition during Stress Less Week in WK8! We are also planning a podcast with the design team later this term to chat about the design process so far!

Then keep an eye out in T3 for online interviews with the featured authors, along with the production of a zine by the designers, as we count down to the launch of the publication!

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you? What does wabi-sabi mean to you?

As a ceramicist and printmaker, wabi-sabi definitely resonates with me. I predominately create slip-cast ceramics and linocut prints – mediums that allow for reproduction and encompass a structured process of making. However I’ve realized that what makes each print or ceramic vessel special is their little points of difference. When my linocuts didn’t print evenly I used to touch up the prints by hand so that they were exactly the same each time, and likewise, when I created slip-cast ceramics I would smooth any extra lumps and bumps out so that each vessel was exactly the same. Yet it is these imperfections that make each piece of work more beautiful. It’s wabi-sabi.

I first came across the concept of wabi-sabi when I visited ceramicist Lipi Biswas’ studio in West Bengal, India. All her works embraced their imperfections – it didn’t matter if they were cracked, asymmetrical, unevenly glazed etc. – each piece was still beautifully displayed and for sale. For Lipi it was about the process of making each piece, the emotions they triggered, and their uniqueness that mattered. At the time I was with my friend who had recently travelled to Japan and she explained that these pieces were simply ‘wabi-sabi.’ I am reminded of that special time every time I think about this year’s theme.


Isabella Sasvary

Promo Team

Bachelor of Design / Bachelor of Media (PR and Advertising) 

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

I love that UNSWeetened is student run and produced. From year to year you can really see the team’s individual tastes and styles come out in the journal itself. The uniqueness of each edition is really special.

What do you love about promoting UNSWeetened?

It’s a real pleasure to be able to promote the writing talents of our university’s diverse mix of students and faculties. It’s so cool to be able to collaborate on this journal and work as part of this team to promote it.

What should we keep an eye out for this term and in the lead up to the launch in T3?

There are lots of exciting things planned for the coming months! Look forward to writing workshops, competitions and interviews with authors – to name a few! Next term, prepare to see some video and podcast content produced by Gemma and I. We're hoping to have a chat with some of the team members to generate excitement around the upcoming launch. Make sure you're signed up to the UNSWeetened newsletter and be sure to follow Arc’s social channels for more info!

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you? What does wabi-sabi mean to you?

Absolutely! To me, wabi-sabi is finding beauty in the imperfect. This theme calls on us to reflect on what it really means for something to be ‘perfect’ and whether the state of perfection is even attainable (ps it isn't!).


Nikki Farmer

Designer

Bachelor of Design / Bachelor of Media (PR& Advertising)

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

Despite the name, I love how truly sweet UNSWeetened is by supporting creatives on campus.

What medium do you work in/ what materials do you use? 

I primarily work on my laptop using illustrator but I dabble in ceramics and painting.

Is there another medium you’ve always wanted to try?

Dance!

What can we expect for the illustrations/ overall design of UNSWeetened this year?

The illustration style and overall design of the publication is very sweet and whimsical, not to undermine any of the writing - but to be a supportive friend cheering on each word.

Apart from UNSWeetened, are there any other creative projects you are working on at the moment? 

I am currently illustrating a children’s book for my niece and working on branding and packaging design for a local brewery!

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you? What does wabi-sabi mean to you?

Absolutely! To me, wabi-sabi is acceptance in imperfection, which is something we should all embrace. Wabi-sabi feels like a warm hug. The design and illustrations definitely capture that too.


Rabeea Soomro

Designer

Bachelor of Design (Honours)

What do you love most about UNSWeetened? 

The opportunity it provides to young creatives to express themselves and get noticed! And the aesthetic, of course!

What medium do you work in/ what materials do you use? 

Adobe creative suite! I like drawing digitally using my Wacom, but nothing can replace the feeling of drawing on paper.

Is there another medium you’ve always wanted to try? 

I’ve only tried drypoint etching once in my life – but I love it so much and I really want to try it again!

What can we expect for the illustrations/ overall design of UNSWeetened this year?

Imperfection, a surreal take to mundane things, and a juxtaposition of detail and ambiguity.

Apart from UNSWeetened, are there any other creative projects you have been working on?

I recently sold zines at the 2019 Zine Fair at the MCA! I also just had a ceramic work on display in a show called ‘Objects of Influence’ at AD Space.

Does the wabi-sabi theme resonate with you?

Despite landing this role, I’m not very confident in myself when it comes to drawing. Knowing that my creations can be imperfect and still be appreciated takes quite a burden off of me. It allows me to create, indeed solely to create – without judgment.


UNSWeetened Literary Journal