Um…Magazine: A Student-Run Publication Providing a Platform for Minorities

Image Courtesy of Um Magazine Team

Vanessa Su
Arts & Entertainment Editor

A poetry and art-filled publication for many of the minorities on campus, Um…Magazine prides itself on being a unique platform for LGBTQ+ and minority students. When readers first glance at the magazine, their eyes are immediately drawn to the artistic doodles and typography that adorn the cover, expressing the magazine’s mission to serve as an “intersectional space where people from various identities can come together,” as described by Frances Woo, editor-in-chief of Um…Magazine in an interview with The Bottom Line (TBL). 

Currently on its third volume of publication, Um…Magazine started after Woo was told by her former professor that “women get published less than men because the publication process prioritizes the male perspective.” With the help of that professor, Woo came to the realization that “not only is the industry dominated by white men, but it holds the white male perspective as the bar to judge all other works against.”

The magazine’s name bears a lot of weight to the purpose behind it as well according to Woo, who explained that “the name Um… stems from the overwhelming white/cis/straight/able-bodied society that invalidates the experiences of marginalized identities who exist outside of these categories.”    

The message behind the magazine resonates with a big portion of the student population here at U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB), which draws many students to submit their beloved artwork and story-filled poetry and writings. Woo powerfully stated, “I want this publication to help us regain that voice and remind us that our experiences are ours, and we have the right to speak up for what we believe in and who we are. No longer will we second-guess our words, because they are powerful, valid, and deserve to be heard.” 

In fact, Volume 3’s theme of “Body” was purposefully chosen by the team after being inspired by abortion bans. “Society controls our bodies by racializing, sexualizing, and dehumanizing us, and we wanted to see how artists would interact with this theme,” said Woo when asked about why this volume’s theme was chosen. 

Today, Um…Magazine has grown to include a full executive board and regularly holds general meetings on Thursdays, where members gather and help decide the upcoming volume’s theme. The open and welcoming atmosphere helps underrepresented students work together to develop the magazine, just like how the upcoming volume was chosen to have the theme “body.” 

The heartwarming and supportive energy that presides in Um…Magazine’s mission as a publication is what drives artists to submit their various mediums of art and word. The magazine possesses a creative space where writers, poets, and artists won’t feel frightened by their identity and will feel encouraged to “find themselves and find others who will love and support [them] along the way,” as Woo so passionately said. 

When asked if she had anything to share with the student body, Woo stated: “At the launch party on Dec. 3, Um…Magazine will be distributed freely during the launch party event and an open mic will be hosted. The team would love for you [to] come through and sing a song, perform some spoken word, make a new friend, or just pick up a copy of the magazine to put on your coffee table during the winter season!”  

Event Page for Launch of Volume III: