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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

Collaborating From a Distance

By Madison Salyer, Editor-in-Chief

The events of 2020 were tumultuous, it’s no surprise that many have been impatiently waiting for the new year to begin. With that being said, we can not expect our troubles to just disappear in 2021. Instead, we must use this past year as a building block as we move forward and learn from the many challenges we have faced. This year, the entire world shared this particular struggle. We must reflect on this within our own minds to try and find the positives.

The effects of 2020 have been different for all of us. From the Australian bushfires and West Coast wildfires, to the increasing amounts of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter response, communities across the world found themselves under duress. Plus, the United States government experienced the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, leaving many women anxious about the security of the laws that grant them the right to bodily autonomy.

As the year neared its end, the entire country anxiously watched the results of the 2020 presidential election unfold and as Joe Biden was named president-elect, the gap between political parties grew. To top it off, all of this happened as the global COVID-19 pandemic claimed the lives of millions. Undoubtedly, this series of events has greatly impacted every individual’s mental state.

For the 2020 fall issue, VARIANT creatives took this theme of the mind and how it responds to societal movements and changes, and ran with it. Our team stepped up to work together to produce an issue in the midst of a completely remote semester, despite not being physically together. Microsoft Teams meetings and socially distanced photoshoots were not how we imagined this semester going, but we took on the challenge and proved what it truly means to be adaptable in this industry.

In “Masked Communication,” web editor Grace Dearing explores how society has also had to adapt its methods of communication as a result of mask mandates across the country. These mandates, and other social justice movements, have sparked deafening dialogue on social media and in “A Year of Unrest,” staff writer Maya Meade dives into celebrities’ stances on these issues as the push for equality moves forward.

Staging photoshoots was the biggest obstacle we faced this year as we wanted to produce high quality content while also ensuring our models’ and photographers’ health and safety. Ultimately, everyone on set wore a mask unless they were modeling.

The creative department also had to find ways to work collaboratively, despite having little access to in-person meetings. In staff writer Jorja Butt’s examination of screen addiction in “The Rabbit Hole,” photo assistant Olivia Gordon shot in the studio for the first time and Macey Elder added unique designs to complement the images, all via Slack and Microsoft Teams.

This year has been unprecedented, for lack of a better word, and the many challenges we have faced both globally and as a student-run publication have greatly impacted our mental spaces. VARIANT writers, photographers, designers and other creatives worked hard all semester long to break down the different elements of our day-to-day lives that contribute to the state of The Mind.

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