We are a quarterly woman’s magazine that focuses on critical discussions of society, politics and the arts. We publish a wide variety of content, including journalistic investigations, philosophical essays, erotic stories, poetry, photography and fiction, alongside many reflective pieces. Through this, we encourage thoughtful dialogues and critical perspectives while showcasing the voices of young artists and writers. We think that media should be cross-generational and appeal to people of different gender identities, a belief reflected in the magazine’s editorial staff.
We call ourselves a woman’s magazine, not because we want to appeal exclusively to women, but because we aim for a feminine voice.
Alongside our magazine, we want to create various spaces in which people can discuss important issues, promote important campaigns and express themselves. To do this we will host events (including talks, exhibitions and panel discussions) and run a website, which publishes short form content and responds to time sensitive issues.
Our contributor Irma Kurtz answered this best:
“Printed publications are so wonderful because you develop a personal relationship with them: you become addicted. When you’re without it, when you go away, you have your friends mail it to you, or save it, because you can’t do without it. When you read it, you’re alone with yourself and someone else’s words, meeting someone. This doesn’t happen when you read something online, you lose the physical connection, and the price is too high.”
We agree completely; moreover, we feel beautiful objects, that you can touch with your hands, are the perfect antidote to our hectic technology based lives.
What’s the plan?
In terms of our first issue, all we need to do is raise the money for sending our first issue to print. We need your support to do this: so that we can fund out printing costs, reward our contributors and ensure that LYRA remains sustainable.
But this isn’t all: alongside this we want to foster a community of people interested in critical debates by hosting talks, panel discussions and exhibitions, as well as a blog where we will publish time sensitive news and short form reflections.
Of course, we can’t and don’t want to stop there. We have begun planning issue two (its looking fantastic) and are ensuring that we can produce four issues of LYRA every year. To do this, we are growing our team of volunteers, and making contacts with many people who are interested in being part of our future events. We are so committed to growing LYRA because we want to reach, well, everyone. And we know that everyone who joins our community, whether by reading the magazine, coming to one of our events or writing for us, brings energy with them that is necessary for keeping our mission going.
You can do your bit in helping us build this community, by spreading the word about LYRA, telling us what you think and getting the magazine out there. Give one to your best friend, your favourite café, someone you want to inspire and, of course, yourself.
Why LYRA and Kickstarter?
Because we believe that independent voices can be stifled by the interests of advertisers and investors, especially if they have not had time to establish a recognisable voice. Just as importantly, Kickstarter allows us to receive funding and feedback from the people that matter: our readers. It keeps us close to those who we want to be involved.
Where will the funds go?
The funds will be split between the print of the first issue of LYRA and rewarding our talented artists and contributors (80/20%). We think that paying our contributors is incredibly important, and that when contributors are not paid, bad content follows.
The editorial team will not be profiting from this campaign.
More about Issue 1
Every quarter the magazine will focus on a specific issue, which influences our content and the topics we address. Naturally, we begin with lust.
Issue 1 features articles by exceptional artists and writers, including the poet and activist Joumana Haddad, writing about the sexualisation of women in Lebanon; the philosophers Federico Campagna and Simon Blackburn with two discussions of lust; the academic Nikki van der Gaag on men and feminism; the poet Trisha Low on Chantal Akerman; interviews with Molly Parkin, Irma Kurtz and the founder of Sh! Woman’s Store Ky Holden; erotica by Anais Nin; and photography by Spencer Tunick, Sasha Kurmaz and Lukasz Wierzbowski.
Meet our Contributors
Nikki van der Gaag is the principal author of six of Plan International’s State of the World’s Girls reports, her book Feminism and men was released by Zed Press in 2014 and she is the co-author of the first State of the World’s Fathers report, published by MenCare in 2015. She is a Senior Fellow at Instituto Promundo, and a member of the International Advisory Board of Young Lives, a research study on child poverty based at Oxford University. She is currently writing the No-nonsense Guide to Feminism.
Philippa Snow is a writer and essayist, living in London; she is the Features Editor of Modern Matter and Kilimanjaro magazines, as well as the Co-Editor of Hexus, an occasional journal of experimental horror fiction. Her first essay collection, The Diseases of the Era: Body Horror in Modern Celebrity, is due for publication next year.
Simon Blackburn was, before retirement, the Bertrand Russell Professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He remains a Fellow of Trinity College, and is a guest professor at the New College of the Humanities. His book Lust is published by Oxford University Press.
Spencer Tunick is an American photographer best known for organizing large-scale nude shoots. Since 1994 he has photographed over 75 human installations around the world. The most recent books of his work are Reaction Zone and Participant, both of which were published by Naked Pavement Books in 2015.
Trisha Low is a poet and performer. She is the author of The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions, 2013) and sometimes plays in the mixed genre collaboration vacua//pura with tooth. She lives in Oakland.
Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese writer, journalist, and women’s rights activist, author of many books, among which are “I Killed Scheherazade”, “Superman is an Arab” and “The Third Sex”.
Constance Watson is a journalist who has contributed to The Spectator, Standpoint, The Gentleman's Journal, Spear's and Reuters, and has worked for the Oldie and the Literary Review.
Federico Campagna is a philosopher living in London; his first book, The Last Night: Anti-Work, Atheism, Adventure was published in 2013 by Zero Books.
James David Fox is a journalist based in London.
Jacob Dreyer is a Shanghai-based writer and editor. His novella The Nocturnal Wanderer was published in 2015. Currently he is researching a book about urban space and the creative economy in China.
Jessica Worden is an artist and academic; she recently finished a PhD on breathlessness
Sivan Lavie is an artist based in London who focuses on painting and installation work.
Laura Tennant is a journalist based in London and a former editor for titles including the Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday and the Daily Mail. She is also a contributing editor to harper’s Bazar and Culture Whisper.
Felix Conran is a London based designer; he is opening a multi-disciplinary studio in Hackney this Spring.
Richard McDonald is studying MSc Gender at the London School of Economics and Political Science, focusing on sexual risk. He is also a member of the 'Green Party 30Under30'
Jerry Barnett is a technologist, author and campaigner, and founder of the Sex & Censorship campaign (sexandcensorship.org). His book, Porn Panic!, has been recently published by Zero Books.
Lukasz Wierzbowski is a film photographer from the Polish town of Wrocław. He is drawn to the interaction between his subject and the surroundings and his slightly eccentric, often colorful images an inspiration to aspiring and professional photographers alike.
He published the following books: Lukasz Wierzbowski", Pogo Books, Berlin 2010 and “Sequin Covered Swans”, Éditions du LIC (2013)
Photographer Beso Uznadze mostly works on photo reports and series. He takes his inspiration from daily life, ordinary feelings and from the occurrences such as: melancholy, happiness, love, separation, sex, death, fear… from all those things that is going in and around of his life. His work is dominated by a variety of portraits, which are connected to different kinds of stories, and facts.
Beso was awarded the British Journal of Photography's International Photography Award in 2008.
Anthony Lycett is a London based photographer.
Anthony is interested in human behaviour through an anthropological prospective, however he foci on the creative mind and the relationship between identity and memory, in a time when identity is more on show.
As an artist he attempts to show what was deep inside a person rather than their surface appearance, capturing the movement of a personality without freezing it. He won several AOP Awards
Our team has been assembled over the last year. At its core are Georgina (editor in chief) and Jago (deputy editor) who met in May 2015 after a panel discussion on the future of feminism, on which Jago was representing the HYSTERIA Collective. They met for coffee the following week, and ended up discussing the idea for a magazine for hours and hours: LYRA was born.
LYRA is made up of a small but passionate team: editor in chief Georgina Gray, deputy editor Jago Rackham, online editor Luisa Blandon and art director Sami Jalili.
Georgina Gray is LYRA’s editor in chief and founder. She’s something of an idealist, and believes magazine’s can change the world. Her main interests are in activism, feminism, European cinema and print media. She has a gigantic collection of magazines, which she reads in her free time. She previously worked as a journalist for daily newspapers and a commercial director for major corporations, before setting up two successful businesses. She’s an entrepreneur who seizes the day and denies the possibility of defeat.
Jago Rackham is LYRA’s deputy editor, and commissions anything from philosophy to pornography. Something of a dilettante, his main areas of interest are the politics of the Middle East, contemporary feminism and 20th century literature. In his free time he likes taking photographs of windows, cooking and collecting objects. Before LYRA, he was an editor at E.R.O.S. Journal and HYSTERIA Magazine. He studied the politics of the Middle East at SOAS.
Throughout the duration of the issue, our website www.lyramagazine.co.uk will offer previews of the content offered in printed magazine, along with new, topical news and inspiration.
It will act as a platform showcasing the finest in contemporary thinking, writing, design, illustration and photography and a host for talks and events that further the conversation we start on our printed pages.
Risks and challenges
There is no risk that this project will not be completed, as we finalised issue 1 before launching our Kickstarter campaign.
The only thing we have left to do is raise money to cover our printing and distribution costs. If you order a magazine or take out an annual subscription, issue 1 will be delivered to your door within a few weeks of the project being funded.
After this, a combination of the demand for print media, the quality of our content and the commitment of our team will ensure LYRA continues to be sustainable.
A ticket to any class of your choice held at Sh! Women’s Erotic London store. The classes are fun, educational and inspirational... Full of practical advice and tips and delivered in a relaxed atmosphere. Plus a copy of LYRA Issue 1
Two tickets for a personal cultural walk around East London with Jago Rackham, deputy editor of LYRA Magazine
Secret rendez-vous, 3 hours, date tbc.
The walk will last 3 hours and is for two people.
Plus a ticket to the LYRA Luanch Party on 19 May and a copy of LYRA Issue 1