Roundtable Journal is “a magazine dedicated to representation, starting (often difficult) conversations and celebrating women in all our complexity and nuance.”
Through an assortment of features and photo essays, Roundtable explores the self, art and womanism. Highlights of issue two include an article that looks at Jewish women pursuing blonde beauty standards; a profile of South African visual artist Tony Gum; NORIENTAL, a series of photographs that challenge the submissive stereotype of Asian women; and an in-depth deconstruction of Black Twitter. The magazine prides itself on its “bold, no-bullshit voice,” and lives up to its promise. The introductory paragraph to an interview with an artist simply reads “Monica Garza’s women are sturdy, brown, naked and thick as fuck.”v
The magazine’s design is crisp, and the photography excels in particular. Each article is accompanied by original imagery and in doing so presents its subject in an intimate light. This does not mean that illustration falls by the wayside. It is always a treat to see magazines commission work that spans multiple disciplines and approaches.
It is also worth noting that the second Roundtable is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Crowdfunding is by no means unusual in the world of independent publishing, but it is interesting that the magazine’s team sought financial support for the second issue; perhaps a hint at the earnest way in which the team approaches the magazine’s longer-term vision. “Putting this issue together wasn’t easy – it never is,” reads the editor’s letter. “However, it was easier than putting together Issue 01. Perhaps it’s because we now have a clearer idea of what we want Roundtable Journal to be, what we feel it needs to be”.
Also significant is the stripped back approach to the crowdfunding campaign. Typically Kickstarter videos are ultra slick productions in which the project’s founder speaks directly to camera providing an in-depth dissection of the project and where your money will go. Instead, on Roundtable’s campaign page, cover star Tony Gum gives her interpretation of what it takes to be strong. It’s not quite the hard sell. This is indicative of two things: there is a demand for representation without the bullshit, and after just one issue, Roundtable has plenty of fans.
Editor-in-chief: Wase Aguele
Design: Zoe Alakija