Hannah Robathan and Isabella Pierce have always shared a passion for change. This led the pair to create shado Magazine, shado is an online and print publication working at the intersection of arts, activism and academia to spotlight those at the frontline of social change. Most importantly, shado is built upon a commitment to self-representation. shado believes that those with lived experience of an issue or injustice are best placed to discuss and advocate for meaningful change in that space. shado is a platform for such people. The magazine's second edition is "Global Womxnhood." Below is a glimpse at how Hannah and Isabella started building the shado platform and vision for the future.
I AM A WOMXN: SHADO MAGAZINE
You're both so young and already achieving so much with this project - how did that happen?
It’s funny we’re constantly looking around us and seeing others our age already steps ahead. We’re so excited by how quickly shado has grown in the last 7 months but are equally so excited to watch it grow and in watching our projects and ideas grow into reality over the next year. There’s lots more projects and ideas in the pipeline and were really excited to watch then unfurl.
We were really lucky in the fact that shado was born out of a joint passion, motivation and desire for change and we are totally equal in our goals and ideals for shado. This has meant that from the beginning we have had an energy and drive to see shado grow and succeed and have been willing to put all hours in the day, all weekends into making sure it happens. With this, we’ve had the liberating but also scary awareness that if e don’t make this happen there’s no one who will do it for us.
We would also say, Aim Big - when you start something out you are in the privileged position that there is no one above you saying no or whose permission you need so take your ideas and push yourself to make them happen because it is rare that you have these chances in life where the only person stopping you is you.
"Aim Big - when you start something out you are in the privileged position that there is no one above you saying no or whose permission you need so take your ideas and push yourself to make them happen."
What is the genesis story behind your partnership and the magazine?
The two of us have been best friends since secondary school and, growing up together, our interests have always aligned. We’re both from creative backgrounds – Izzy is a photographer and did an art foundation before university, and Hannah is a musician – and we’ve been heavily involved with refugee and asylum-seeking advocacy since going to Calais together for the first time in 2016. Both of us did Masters degrees in Development (Izzy did International Conflict Studies at KCL and Hannah did Music in Development at SOAS) and it was actually while we were studying that we became frustrated at the fact that, while there is brilliant work being done in the realms of arts, activism and academia, these groups are working in isolation. We decided to create shado as a platform which brings these three, seemingly disparate, fields together, in order that they create greater impact and inspire a new generation of changemakers.
What do you seek to achieve with shado in general? And why is your approach a mix of print, digital, and events? What do you seek to achieve with this particular issue, Global Womxnhood?
Our aim for shado is to be a platform for self-representation. We believe that those with lived experience of an issue or injustice are best placed to discuss and advocate for meaningful change in that space. shado is a platform for such people. We believe in the power of creativity and freedom of expression as a means of transcending language barriers and encouraging people to engage with subjects they may otherwise never have considered. Through learning from and amplifying the voices of those with lived experience, we believe that we can create a culture-led system change.
In our second issue, Global Womxnhood, we are uniting and celebrating the work and voices of womxn from across the globe, interrogating what it means to identify as a woman for individuals and groups around the world. The aim of this issue is not only to broaden definitions of womanhood but also to raise the profile of the work of different global women’s movements which are working to highlight injustices and human rights violations which pertain specifically to women and girls.
While the print publication is the cornerstone of everything we do at shado and a tangible way of bringing together voices from across arts, activism and academia, we also strongly believe in the importance of bringing the features in print to life. Events are a crucial way in which we have been opening up discussion around each of our issues and, most importantly, how shado has been bringing people together to forge connections, conversations and meaningful change.
"We believe in the power of creativity and freedom of expression as a means of transcending language barriers and encouraging people to engage with subjects they may otherwise never have considered."
What do you think is the recipe for success? If you were to choose three key ingredients? And to what extent do you think luck plays a role in life - how do you define luck?
Perseverance and passion – you’re going to come up against a lot of people saying ‘no’ – or, worse still, no reply. But you need to keep on asking and keep on trying, because ultimately no-one else is going to do it for you and if you believe in your project enough then you will find the people that believe it in too! Passion and energy is infectious, so ride on that and you will find your people.
Also, look around you, find the people who inspire you and whose work excites you and reach out. We really believe in the importance of collaboration and support and in reaching out to people and seeing how you can complement the work being done and uplift others. Through making these connections and partnerships we can create a louder voice and ultimately help contribute to a uniting of voices seeking change.
Defining luck is a difficult one. We’re blown away by the global support we have managed to garner in such a short time, so we suppose we feel very lucky in that respect – having people believe in shado and our idea is amazing for us.
"Through learning from and amplifying the voices of those with lived experience, we believe that we can create a culture-led system change."