The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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In focus: Commonground

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Heatwave is the word to best describe the new student publication, Commonground. Fitting, as this is the name of their upcoming fall issue, it stands as perfect wordplay. At first, the magazine was unknown to the community, but later the members received feedback from students and faculty saying they had wished the issue was longer.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief Eliza Blakemore (’18), said Commonground aspires to continue to be “something raw that really captures our ideas and visions without feeling constrained by something that has been published before,” Blakemore said.

Last year, the club members worked on creating and publishing a 50-page issue of photographs, featuring the work of students involved in the creation of the publication (as well as some of their out-of-school friends) working to capture the essence of London. Each contributor played a different role in tying together the final product. Blakemore explained that she took photos for ‘Kids at Night’, a collection feature in the publication, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief Imogen Hare (’18) created prose to match them. Kian Tadjbakhsh (’18) took pictures and titled the collection ‘Back Garden’ where he styled different friends. Jules Savare de Laitre (’18) paired scripts with stage directions and set descriptions around the images.

For their first issue, Commonground was launched as a club and later received a grant from the PCA to cover the cost of printing. This year the club has become an official school publication, a title which Blakemore is proud to have.

The buzz of creativity around the club is their vital standout feature. For Issue I, Blakemore wanted to create a “tangible piece of work that showcased what [the club members] liked.”

These likings is at the core of their existence and purpose as a club, alongside their motto of being an artefact for the student body to “remember their youth,” Blakemore said.

“Heatwave,” their upcoming fall issue, will be centralized on the emotional phases associated with summer. “It is all of us reminiscing about the summer. Some sections focus on the days right after school gets out and everyone is in London with nothing to do but chill. Other sections focus on venturing to new places or finally returning home,” Blakemore said.

Hare finds that their collective accomplishments last year matched their goals. “I feel as though we achieved what we wanted to, in order to really show people what it is like to be a teenager, in its rarest form,” Hare said.

Nick Anderson (’19), whose photographs were featured in the first issue, said he originally joined the project as it lined up with his extracurricular interests, especially as its focus was on fashion as well as photography.

Moreover, he shares that participating in the club has led him to gain a clearer perspective on what his career aspirations entail, which include working in the business aspect of the fashion industry.

In retrospect, Blakemore touches upon the fear and exhilaration that came with creating Commonground from scratch. “We were given so much freedom to create anything and none of us knew where to start. So I just told people to get out and shoot,” she said.

Although the future of Commonground  is uncertain, members are optimistic to continue the progress and development of the club. Due to Blakemore and Hare being seniors this year, along with a few other members who are greatly involved, the club will be left in the hands of Anderson to expand in following years. “I think it would be cool to see [Anderson] continue Commonground [and] make it his own, however I understand that it is a huge thing to take on. That’s another reason our goal is to attract more underclassmen this year. We really want to represent a wider range of voices at the school,” Blakemore said. “I do hope that this year, now that we have gotten our first issue out, that we get other students to join,” she said.

Unsure about what will become of the magazine, Blakemore believes that regardless it will cause a lasting impact on the community. “Five years from now, you may find Commonground inside the rummage drawer. But, it will not be a lost file on the internet. It will take up space and confront you when found. This magazine will allow you to go back in time and remember your youth,” she said.


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