For the last 34 years, the University of Indianapolis’s literary magazine, Etchings, has published student, faculty and alumni inspired pieces, both online and in print. According to Assistant Professor of English Liz Whiteacre, Etchings hosted its 34th issue launch party on Dec. 7. Whiteacre said that the launch party consisted of performances and readings of pieces that were published in the current issue, which was published on Dec. 7.
According to Whiteacre, the magazine consists of pieces made by anyone in the Greyhound community, including poems, short stories and essays, musical compositions and digital art. She said that there have also been scenes from movies and plays, as well as some spoken word.
“Sometimes you’ll see sheet music or you’ll see the lyrics for a piece published, along with the audio on the website,” Whiteacre said. “Then, [there’s] pretty much any kind of visual art that can be photographed and included in the magazine. Things that are 3-D, really big pieces, as long as we can get a nice photograph to be able share with the community. Artists of all mediums are encouraged to participate.”
Etchings is a part of the ENG 379 course that’s offered in the fall and winter terms with no prior prerequisite classes required, according to Whiteacre. Once enrolled in the course, a student becomes a part of the editorial team for the current issue and helps to create the magazine, Whiteacre stated. As part of the magazine’s policy, all submissions are anonymous and are selected by a single submissions editor, which for this semester, is senior English and secondary education major Danielle Shaw. In order for the magazine to get submissions, the Etchings staff posts through social media, class visits, fliers and other connections around campus, according to Whiteacre.
“This semester, I am the submissions editor, so basically, people would submit things through our website, etchings.submittable.com,” Shaw said. “I was in charge of collecting the submissions and putting them in folders and organizing the titles and the type for our other staff to read and vote on. I control pretty much all of the submissions and make sure that no identical information is in the documents that people submit, that way we have a blind submission process.”
This was Shaw’s first in-person launch party in the three years that she had been on the Etchings staff, to which she said she felt excited and a little overwhelmed. She said that there were over 20 performers at this year’s launch party, so it made it hard for the staff to fit everyone in during their small time slot of an hour. For this current issue, the staff decided to try some new and exciting things, namely the inclusion of pieces of content that are accompanied by warnings, according to Shaw.
“I don’t think this is the first semester that we’ve had content warnings, but we have several pieces with content warnings and we basically, as a staff, decided that this was the direction that we wanted to take our magazine in,” Shaw said. “Because we do want to show [that] there are things that happen in people’s lives and that have happened to people on campus … that are actually impactful and could be traumatic and it’s nice… we can show students that they’re not alone. On top of that, we also have some musical compositions, which are great. We have a lot of digital art… It’s a fun magazine. It will provide something to anybody who reads it and I’m really looking forward to people being able to read it and see what we have to offer.”
Whiteacre said she sees Etchings as a huge learning opportunity for everyone who reads it because of all of the content that the magazine provides. She also said that the magazine not only shows the creativity in the UIndy community, but it also provides some insight into the world of publication.
“I think Etchings magazine highlights the creative work that UIndy is producing and engages students, alumni, faculty and staff in a meaningful community. In addition to that, it offers an opportunity for contributors and editors and readers to participate in meaningful professional development,” Whiteacre said. “… The campus community produces a publication that’s shared, not just with UIndy, but [with] a much wider audience and people get to experience publication and they get to promote their work.”