shado mag CIC

Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: United Kingdom

Publishing organisation: https://shado-mag.com/

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

shado is a lived-experience led community of artists, activists and journalists united in the fight for social change. We believe those with lived experience of an issue or injustice are best placed to advocate for meaningful change within that space.

shado exists to disrupt, diversify and decolonise the current media landscape through amplifying the voices of people on the frontline of social change. We do this through connecting journalists, activists and artists across borders through collaboration.

We work with a community of over 300 artists, activists and journalists in 56 countries around the world to spotlight necessary and innovative stories – promoting our mission of decolonising and demystifying some of the most important issues of our lifetime.

The topics we cover include: climate justice, class, migration, intersectional feminism, racial justice and LGBTQI+ rights.

The journalists we commission are often misrepresented and excluded from mainstream media newsrooms. They are majority BIPOC and include frontline activists in the Global South, Indigenous land defenders, refugees and people seeking asylum. We believe storytelling is key to changing perspectives, providing education, creating change and confronting injustices within our society.

shado was launched in 2019 by its two co-founders, who were frustrated by the top-down and siloed nature of global reportage and the lack of space for those with lived experience of global issues to tell their own stories. So, they strove to create a grassroots platform which put lived experience storytelling at the helm, and which connected artists, activists, journalists across their separate fields. This community continues to grow and drives shado to continue working to build radical (re)imagination, meaningful action and hope for a better future.

The co-founders have first-hand experience of working with historically minoritised communities to produce creative writing. Examples include: a young person entering university from a family experiencing homelessness who wrote about the role of creativity in aiding her mental health, and a Malawian community organiser and migrants’ rights campaigner who wrote about the importance of healing for refugee communities and how the current hostile environment is re-traumatising people.

shado’s co-founders have significant ongoing experience working with so-called ‘vulnerable’ communities of refugees and people seeking asylum, from grassroots work in Northern France to creative workshops in the UK. This has also most recently included an online shado series for Refugee Week where the co-founders produced and managed a series of articles by first time writers and creatives who were of refugee or asylum seeking status.

shado’s co-founders also have extensive experience working with Indigenous groups and land defenders. They are currently leading a collaboration with the farmer-led food sovereignty advocacy organisation A Growing Culture on a series titled Land Defenders, working with frontline farmers and activists to spotlight the issues facing frontline land defenders and the resistance movements they are building. In the reporting of issues related to the climate crisis, there is a lack of representation of BIPOC and frontline Indigenous communities – shado’s work exists to disrupt this.

Description of portfolio:

shado is a network of creative writers and artists from 56 countries around the world. The makeup of the creatives shado work with and support is 71% BIPOC and 85% female or non-binary identifying; first-time writers from historically underserved communities who write about social justice including:

– Refugees and people seeking asylum
– Youth
– Working class communities
– LGBTQI+ folk
– MAPA communities

All content across shado’s platform and different mediums is overseen, commissioned, edited and published by shado’s co-founders. This is true of the 10 articles within this portfolio.

All the communities we work with are often under- or mis-represented in the mainstream. Our work at shado aims to decolonise and democratise access to and representation of creatives in arts and media spaces and to put money back into the communities who need it the most.

By commissioning those with lived experience and publishing nuanced stories often excluded in the mainstream, we aim to create a “trickle up” process of culture-led system change to disrupt power imbalances in the coverage of global issues.

The reoccuring challenge we find in our work is finding the appropriate journalist to write on social justice topics from a lived experience perspective; someone who is able to include both qualitative and quantitative data. We overcome this through extensive outreach and targeted research to commission appropriate journalists, writers and activists working in relation to the specific topics.

The need for the platform can be seen below in testimonies from writers:

“It was a pleasure to work with shado magazine. I found the shado team to be incredibly supportive. shado is incredible and it gives writers like myself a platform to have our voices heard. For people like myself (a Zimbabwean former asylum seeker), there are very little opportunities for us to do so. I hope to work with them again in the future.”
Refugee activist from Zimbabwe

“Being featured on shado gladdens my heart so much because Queer African kids won’t have to look for representation in the West anymore. We are here, with them, in this struggle.”
Queer Nigerian activist and writer

“Working with the shado team has been an utter pleasure. The team shares a way of working rooted within inclusivity, understanding and knowledge sharing. Editors held a strong understanding of the reader and writers perspective, as well as of a range of social justice issues. shado is undoubtedly one of the best places to develop your editorial skills.”
British South Asian researcher, activist and writer

Evidence of the impact of our content on our readers/wider audience can be seen below:

“shado is the most beautiful and inspiring magazine I’ve ever read.”

‘I’ve learnt more from shado than I have from anything else. Feminism, environmental justice, human rights, cultural justice, mental health and so much more.”

“The content and quality of the work shado creates is exciting, meaningful, and refreshing.”

“I’ve been learning so much about social justice issues across the world since I started reading shado mag regularly.”

“Endlessly in awe of the work, the time, the voices, the creativity, the stories that make up shado.”

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