An interview with Dalia Dawood, editor of Oppose

 

Oppose is a student run zine that discusses gentrification in London and further afield. Fresh from showcasing their publication at the Camberwell Zine Fair, I spoke to editor Dalia to find out more about Oppose.

What course are you on? How did the magazine come about and why did you decide to create a magazine on this topic?

We are MA students studying Arts and Lifestyle Journalism at LCC. The zine came about as a class project — our teacher set us a task of making a zine together over the Christmas break. We are a group of 12 people from all over the world studying in London so we wanted to come up with a theme that affects us all and would be interesting to people like us — young, diverse and aware. We thought gentrification was the best reflection of that, and it’s happening not just in London but in our respective cities where we live, so we gave an international focus to the issue – from Singapore to South America to Italy.

We felt that millennials and students would relate to this and they’d appreciate a satirical as well as serious approach to it, so that’s the tone we chose to take – both looking more seriously at how gentrification affects people globally and also making fun of it through quizzes, comics and interviews (mostly taking the piss out of hipsters)!

 Spreads from Oppose, issue 1.

Spreads from Oppose, issue 1.

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Gentrification is a massive issue in London at the moment. Studying at LCC, we’re seeing it first hand in Elephant and Castle — what are your thoughts on gentrification?

As our name suggests, we oppose gentrification. We don’t have an issue with redeveloping areas that could use an injection of funds and a lick of paint, but that’s unfortunately not the pattern we’ve seen in our cities. Instead, gentrification in London and beyond seems to be closer to social cleansing — building luxury flats and developments that make house and rent prices soar, and force existing, usually working-class communities to either be priced out or pay more to live there.

As you say, we’re seeing it happen on our doorstep in Elephant and Castle… ethnic minorities and local communities who rely on the shopping centre for their livelihoods are suddenly having to fight to keep their homes and businesses. LCC is part of that issue, and we tackled it head-on in our first issue because we don’t think it’s right that we negatively impact the community this university has been part of for more than 50 years.

What is the future for Oppose?

More issues, hopefully! We’ve been so overwhelmed by the amazing response our first issue has had, not just from sales but people telling us how important this issue is and they’re happy someone is talking about it in a refreshing way. We’re already working on our second issue, hopefully it’ll be out in the next few months/before summer. We want to keep fighting back against regeneration that disadvantages poorer people, and give them a voice.

Want to hear more about the process behind making Oppose? Meet the team at the alumni talk on Thursday 8th March at the Voices in Publishing event.

Leia Robertson-Dunbar