Student-led academic journal showcases undergraduate research in arts

Crossings is the first to bridge undergrad research across all arts programs

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A new student-led academic journal – peer-reviewed by students – has launched in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts to showcase some of the finest undergraduate work in the social sciences, humanities and fine arts.

Kael Kropp u of a political science student editor Crossings
Kael Kropp

Called Crossings, the annual publication contains perspectives as varied as a Marxist critique of capitalist trends in the theatre, an analysis of Alberta’s health-care system seen through Foucault’s panopticon, and a survey of women’s anger in the media.

While the arts faculty has hosted student journals at the department level, Crossings is the first to bridge undergraduate research across all arts programs, said editor-in-chief Kael Kropp.

Released last June, the first edition contains 12 articles from the humanities, social sciences and cultural studies. Future editions will also include a section dedicated to the fine arts.

“Our overriding goal is to publish a representative sample of the best written and visual media by students in our faculty,” said Kropp, a fourth-year honours political science student, Killam fellow and former editor of the Political Science Undergraduate Review.

“We really welcome content especially focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion – we want to make sure that voices excluded or suppressed in the past are given more stage time. This is a venue to do that.”

Papers submitted for consideration must have received a grade of at least A- in an arts course, said Kropp, and are then reviewed by volunteer student adjudicators.

The process is double-blind, meaning authors and reviewers are unaware of each other’s identities. Reviewers receive training from U of A librarians, said Kropp, “so they have a base knowledge before they approach other students’ work.”

Once articles are selected for publication by section editors, Kropp holds one-on-one meetings with every author to “go through every single revision.”

Run by the arts faculty’s Organization for Arts Students and Interdisciplinary Studies (OASIS) and published through the U of A’s online Open Journal system, Crossings employs about 40 volunteer sections editors, copy editors, distribution and publication managers, in-house artists and guest faculty contributors.

Volunteers are hungry for the hands-on, real-world experience, said Kropp, even if it doesn’t pay.

“I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve got from students in the past few weeks, asking when they can apply to be a volunteer reviewer.”

Crossings is now seeking submissions for its 2022 edition, which will likely include up to 20 articles and multimedia contributions, said Kropp.

“We’re learning how we can jig it in such a way that it accommodates not just written works,” he said. Visual and audio submissions will be embedded on the Crossings website.

The editorial team is also considering a linked podcast series to elaborate on ideas presented in written pieces.

“Some people may not read a given article but might listen to a podcast of between 10 and 15 minutes focusing on the nitty-gritty of that article, perhaps with a discussion between the author and an expert faculty member,” said Kropp.

Arts students can submit work to Crossings through the journal’s website.

“If you are holding a paper and thinking, hey, this is something I want to get out to the world – this is important, darn it, and I want people to read it – consider submitting to Crossings.”

| By Geoff McMaster


This article was submitted by the University of Alberta’s Folio online magazine. The University of Alberta is a Troy Media Editorial Content Provider Partner.

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