Blogs and News - St George's School, Edinburgh

25 Jun 2020
Will there also be singing? …Independent Women in Lockdown

IW SummerWhen Mrs O’Fee got in touch with me at the beginning of April with a newsletter from the National Poetry Society, I was intrigued by the lines they had used to head their page. It was a translation from Brecht ‘When the times darken’ by Edwin Morgan, one of my favourite Scottish poets, and it talked about the ‘dark times’ and how there would still be singing. The singing would be about the dark times. The virus was peaking and the mood was sombre as we all accepted a bleak reality over the Easter break that there would be no speedy return to school, no seeing our loved ones and no exams. It got me thinking that although we were at that point tired and anxious about the way forward, not to recognise and respond to it would be a mistake that we would regret. Tentatively, we asked our student editor if she would be interested in creating a lockdown issue of IW.

Georgia has always been 110% committed to her role as Editor, and it was not a surprise to me that she was willing to dig deep and find some creativity in the void. We gathered together a new team for our lockdown issue from all parts of the school, and as Mr Leask and I called into the ether, we began making preparations. We wanted not only to reflect what it felt like as a teenager to be isolated but also to respond to some of the more inspirational and wonderful news that was coming out of our shared humanity and global experience. We wanted it to be more than just about COVID! Naomi, who had campaigned for climate change last year was keen to look at the way green issues have been impacted; Mr Leask who had started two new societies in lockdown phoned willing respondents to talk about what they had been sharing. Isobel and Georgia looked at both the personal and global cost of shutting people in and then Tilly decided to focus on the light in the dark places - the good news that got lost amongst the thousands of hours focussed on the pandemic. Over the next few weeks, articles came trickling in and the joy of seeing our very young writers produce fun and entertaining stories amid the more thoughtful and provocative from our older girls was fantastic. New designers emerged from Lower 6 to help pull it together. The last part and always an important debate for the team was to think about was what the front cover might look like. Very quickly, we decided that the teams’ meeting set up - which had characterised our discussions and seemed symbolic for so many of us - became the front cover of the magazine: a lovely reflection of the ages and stages of our team, their willingness to come together and the collaborative effort which had seen it through.

The Edwin Morgan extract finished by answering the question:

In the dark times,

Will there also be singing?

Yes, there will also be singing

About the dark times.

Our ‘songs’ of lockdown have been crafted together carefully and honestly – we hope they are an uplifting read. Mr Leask and I are very proud of our IW team and a special thank you to Helena Cassels, our senior correspondent and Georgia Bedlow, our Editor for leading the way. On the morning I excitedly sent the team the link so that they could see their online issue at last, I received the fantastic news that we had been nominated for an award at The Shine School Magazine of the Year in London. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate our team’s exceptional work this session.  

We look forward to a new team evolving for 2020-21, but this has been a very special year for Independent Women and an issue which will become part of school’s history, I am sure.

Carol Magee (Department of English)


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