Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Dear Reader, 

Media is everywhere. It’s your favourite bedtime story that your mother read to you as a child. It’s the photo you took with your first camera. It’s the sunrise you painted, the poem you breathed, the medium that carries and processes information, and a place of social change. It is filled with narratives and allows for a powerful expression of what it means to be human. 

It is an absolute honour and joy to welcome you to the inaugural issue of Beacon: Journal of Media Studies, Volume I, 2020. Originating from the Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS) program at the University of British Columbia (UBC), an innovative and fairly new program officially launched in 2015 that offers multidisciplinary courses about the impact of technological innovation on our interactions in society, Beacon is the first peer and faculty reviewed journal that will showcase the most creative and ambitious works produced by UBC undergraduate students who create works related to Media Studies.  

We are called Beacon, because we seek to be an inclusive platform that celebrates the creativity of students with exuberant, and quieter voices who see Media as a beacon to illuminate the unique stories within them and illuminate the stories that need to be told. 

As well, housed online as a digital multimedia journal, we are open-access and eager to contribute to the ongoing work that is being done in digitizing scholarly communication to change how knowledge is shared and created. This allows our undergraduate students’ scholarly research and projects to be disseminated more widely and quickly, supporting our mission of guiding students to make the largest possible impact with their scholarly works. We are also collaborating with UBC cIRcle, a digital open access repository on campus  to preserve and showcase the students’ intellectual work. 

It is an unprecedented time in the world right now at the time of publication, but it is also in this time that we see the ability of media and digital technologies to connect, tell truths, and bring people together. We hope this first issue, filled with the students’ inquisitive, timely, and moving multimedia work will enlighten, and be a beacon in your life. The range of work – original piano compositions, public service announcement, dismantling imperial archives, study of the Anthropocene, digital photography, and questioning mainstream ways of knowing is a testament to the quality of work produced by undergraduate students at UBC, and demonstrates how media teaches and inspires, but is also a place of transformation, activism and resistance. To the authors, thank you and congratulations for sharing such thought-provoking works. 

I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude and thanks to the unwavering support and dedication of so many people who made the successful publication of Beacon this year possible. To Beacon’s first amazing team – editors and makers, your hard work, dedication, and passion in taking the time to review and share your peers’ works is so appreciated – you’ve ensured that all the works are published at their full potential, this is your legacy too. To our generous Faculty Reviewers who took the time out of their extremely busy schedules to partake in our blind editorial review of the students’ work because they believed in highlighting student scholarship, thank you so much. To the Bachelor of Media Studies program – Program Chair Christine D’Onofrio, Academic Program Manager Jessica Lam, Mia Faircloth who was previously Senior Program Assistant, thank you so much for believing in Beacon’s mission since the beginning, and all your kind support along the way.  I’d also like to thank Beacon’s Faculty Sponsor Dr. Richard Arias-Hernandez for his dedicated mentorship and teachings during every step of establishing the journal. Thank you to the UBC Media Studies Student Association for their continued support, and UBC Arts IT for their technical support. Thank you to creative writing adjunct professor Jennifer Moss, Carolina Ortiz, Elif Kayali, and Sara Sanabria from the Journal of Political Studies, and Christine Xiong from The Garden Statuary for imparting their wisdom. My sincere thanks also go out to Stephanie Savage from UBC Library who taught us about digital scholarship and copyright, Rebecca Dickson from UBC cIRcle who taught us about digital archives – thank you for nurturing undergraduate scholarship. Special thank you also, to all the students who submitted to the 2020 edition, we received over 20 submissions for this first issue. 

As you can see, this journal was made possible only by the kindness of so many people. Without it, Beacon may still be just an idea.  

And finally, to the students, and future students, I sincerely hope this journal will continue to be a platform for all of you to shine to a greater audience and be a launch pad for all the things you’ll accomplish next. I can’t wait to see where you will take this journal next. 


Catherine Zhu
Editor-in-Chief, Founder