Meet the Team: Liam Caldwell and Amy Shimmin

Liam, 3rd year French and English Literature, Features Co-editor

Amy, 3rd year French and Spanish, Features Co-editor

Who are you?

L: I am a third year studying English literature and French, who enjoys boring people about books and my experiences on my time abroad last year. I enjoy writing and constantly agonise over whether my future should be in journalism or something else that has career prospects and pays well. I also enjoy creative writing and discussing how wonderful Jeremy Corbyn is.

A: I’m Amy, in fourth year studying French and Spanish – our degree is five years long because of fun year abroad times, so I still have this and next year left of being a student parasite. I’m from Liverpool: do let me know if you can’t understand my accent. You wouldn’t be the first! I like quoting Wayne Rooney tweets, owning too much Lush shower gel, and Food Factory macaroni cheese.

What is you role on the team? What do you do?

L: I am the features co-editor with Amy. Basically, the features section deals with in-depth topics that let you sink your teeth into topics you feel passionate about, whether that is mental health issues, student fees or what it would be like to live as a hermit. Our word limit is 750 but you can write as much as you like if it goes online. As editor, my role is to pitch ideas at meetings and also to proofread for mistakes, and to encourage you to write the best article possible. That makes me sound strict and evil. I am not; if anything, I am a teddy bear.

A: What Liam said, basically. I like to be cheeky and ask people and groups for interviews as well – we’ve met up with Aamer Anwar, the university rector, and we have plans to meet some more cool folk this year. Features pitches often open debate at meetings, which is a really good chance to discuss issues and pitches in length. We work together to ensure that pitches are varied each week – of course, if you have an idea that you’d like to write about, let us know and we can support you to do so!

What is your favourite thing about Glasgow? 

L: The nightlife. In particular, the copious amounts of alcohol I can drink without being judged. There is also Sauchiehall Street, the Hogwarts atmosphere of the university, the friends that I have made, the clubs (especially Firewater – I highly recommend). But mostly it is the alcohol. All roads lead to the sesh.

A: It’s home away from home, for me. Almost all of my adulthood (lol) friendships have been made here; almost all of my formative memories took place here. Living in Glasgow has really changed what ‘home’ means for me, because I feel homesick if I’m away for too long, despite it not really being home. That’s a discussion for another features piece, I guess! Glasgow is very similar to Liverpool – its history, people, culture – yet different, of course, which is really important to me.

How did you get involved with [qmunicate]?

L: I did not join until I was in second year and, feeling I had not appreciated the wealth of committees and societies that the university offers, I thought I would give [qmunicate] a go. I was amazed at how laidback and chill the meetings were, I met a lot of people through it and have written about interesting topics I never imagined I would.

A: I got involved in second year – I had been reading the magazine since my own Freshers’ Week  – the zine, and then the regular print magazine – but always had commitments on Wednesday evenings. I came to my first meeting at the start of second year – I remember turning up late and sitting on a box in the corner because all the seats had gone! I continued writing throughout the year, and then I wrote an online column in third year, too.

What is your advice to someone wanting to get involved?

L: Just go for it. We are very easy-going and we don’t oblige you to write anything you don’t want. Just come along on Wednesdays at 5.30pm, take the terrifying QMU lift to the third floor and see where it takes you.

A: Remember that each editor, each writer, had a first meeting. Nobody was born writing on the regular for [qmunicate], so don’t feel intimidated. Everyone has been in the same boat – the number of regular writers and general attendees must think we’re doing something right. And if we’re not, do let us know, so we can work to fix that.


What kind of topics do you like to write about?

L: Hmm…quite a lot really, just whatever takes my fancy, from “why we should talk to strangers” to “if our generation less outgoing than our parents’”. The beauty of [qmunicate] is that we write about a wide range of topics, and we also encourage you to come to us with your own ideas about what you want to write.

A: I like reading about personal experiences and enjoy writing about my own, as well. While it’s not necessary to have experienced what you’re writing about, I find it shows through when people write about their own experience, or topics they relate to. A feature is, effectively, your opinion in 750 words – if you have strong views, it shows!

What’s your favourite feature you’ve read?

L: In The Guardian, Jeanette Winterson (writer of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit) wrote an interesting and insightful piece about why marriage should be more creative and basically tears apart all arguments against gay marriage. She also makes interesting points about the concept of marriage that I either had not realised or had never considered. It is one of those articles I read and almost disliked because I thought: “Damn! I wish I had written that!”

A: I’m going to go with two, with one being from [qmunicate] itself. A former [qmunicate] columnist, Ellen MacAskill, wrote a column called ‘Disruptions’ which you can still read online. Her edition about surviving sexual assault left a profound effect on me, and would urge all who feel able to deal with the subject matter to read it. In mainstream media, Alexis Petridis’s thoughts following the Manchester bombing this year resonated with me as both someone who was devastated by the attack, and someone who found immense joy through pop music as a young teenager.

[Image Credits: Aike Jansen]

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