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Beccy Hill

London based writer and creative Beccy Hill, founder and editor of the feminist Magazine ‘Sister’ caught up with us this week. Beccy gave us some insight into the future of the magazine and how she is combining her work with The Grief Network.

Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with us – we’re such admirers of both your work with Sister Magazine and TGN. With two such important and impactful projects on the go, how do you manage to find the time in the day to work on both?

No problem, it’s a pleasure. I like being busy! And have recently produced a Sister x TGN issue which was a great way to combine both projects.  

“The world won’t change if we keep having conversations in echo chambers..

What’s in store for the next couple of issues of Sister Magazine? What topics are you keen to focus on, or creative voices you’re keen to highlight?

This is a great question! So, as I mentioned, we recently put out a Sister x TGN issue which was produced entirely in lockdown. As a team we had been speaking about this issue pre-corona, so had to adapt what we initially had planned. I’m super happy with how it turned out, all things considered, but I think that we’re all keen to produce a follow up issue (corona situation depending) where we’re able to do shoots and be more hands on with the content.

The world has changed markedly in the last eight years since you founded Sister Magazine – do you look back on that time period and think it’s been one of really positive change, or are you disheartened with what’s going on in the world?

My feelings are split here. On one hand, it’s been amazing to see the rise of independent zines and feminism coming into the mainstream, as this definitely wasn’t the situation when I started Sister eight years ago. I guess it’s always good to know that you were on to something!  But on the other hand, considering the events of 2020 so far, a lot of big print magazines have closed and the future certainly seems more challenging than ever for self publishing, and artists in general. Also the second wave of the BLM movement, and laws/attitudes towards trans people have proved that we certainly still have a long way to go in terms of equality.

We love your ‘Difficult Conversations’ line of products – how did that phrase come about, and how can we encourage people to have more of them?

Thank you! It actually came about shortly after my dad died in 2018. I felt like talking about death and grief so openly was really taboo, and had found myself in some awkward situations where frankly nobody knew what to say to me. It was coming up to Christmas time and myself and Rosie Ellis (who is the other half of Sister) came up with the phrase, hoping to encourage people to open up dialogues with their friends and families that are usually shied away from. The world won’t change if we keep having conversations in echo chambers, and we need to be bold and confront people with different opinions to our own. It’s weird how relevant the phrase still feels in 2020 – I’ve been thinking of doing a reprint of all the merch, so watch this space.

What were your main motivations for producing the Sister x TGN Issue?

After producing the tenth issue of Sister, I felt a bit directionless. Activism has become so embraced by the mainstream, I wondered if there was still a place for Sister and all that that we do. Things are so different to when I first started the mag, on a cultural and personal level, so I knew I wanted to reflect that shift. Meeting Rachel and becoming a part of TGN all came at the perfect time I suppose, and as a lot of us in the network work in creative industries, collaborating on an issue just felt completely natural. I was worried that people might see grief and feminism as a bit of a weird mix, but it’s been so well received, which has been amazing!

“Activism has become so embraced by the mainstream”

Can you talk a little more about TGN’s approaching of under 30’s dealing with bereavement? Did you find that there wasn’t enough of a community for younger people that existed already?

Absolutely. TGN was founded by Rachel Wilson. Rachel reached out to me after seeing a piece that I wrote in Riposte magazine about things not to say to someone who is recently bereaved. I then went to one of the TGN meet ups last year, and we’ve been working together ever since. I remember when Rachel got in touch with me I couldn’t believe it, as I had been searching for something like TGN but to no avail. I had been to several grief support groups, and was always the youngest person there, so ended up feeling totally alienated. It sounds stupid, but I remember feeling like I wish I could meet other people who were bereaved but were also into all the same things as me! I can’t thank Rachel and the TGN team enough for helping me to meet those people, who I’m now lucky enough to call friends. 

In the spirit of our new section ‘Creative Atlas Conundrums’ – what creative tool would you bring if you were stuck a desert island for a year?

Always a pen and notepad so that I could write/doodle. I hope that doesn’t count as two tools…