Publish, Don't Perish: A student’s guide to creative undergraduate journals at UBC

It’s 4 a.m., you’re on your fourth cup of coffee and you’ve officially embraced the tortured artist stereotype. Your wrist feels like it's about to break off from working on that one ProCreate illustration for the past seven hours. But I’m totally not speaking from experience...

Here at The Ubyssey, we can’t quite demand financial compensation for your creative trauma on your behalf but we can give you the next best thing: an opportunity to have your art judged by someone other than your mom!

I’m kidding. Kind of.

Getting your work published in a journal is a great way for you to get recognition for your work. Your friends at The Ubyssey have taken it upon themselves to help you with this process by compiling a near-comprehensive guide to all the journals affiliated with UBC that are willing to accept undergraduate work.

How this Guide Works

All these publications were found by Googling “UBC Journal” and browsing department websites for mentions of in-house journals. The descriptions for each publication are based on information from their websites, social media, and email statements requested by The Ubyssey.

If you are aware of any active creative journals affiliated with UBC but not included here, please let us know! Please note that all the journals in this guide are listed in alphabetical order. Some of these journals accept both academic and creative work. We’ll also have a companion guide for strictly academic journals that you can check out soon!

If you want to start your own journal, check out this guide from the UBC Library. Starting your own journal would be a great way to contribute to the creative world at UBC.

Pre-Submission Checklist

Before we get into the good stuff, let’s cover some basics. If you find a journal you’re interested in, make sure that you read their “About us” or guidelines page to make sure that your work is within the scope of that journal. Your manuscript or submission should also be carefully formatted according to their submission guidelines. Keep in mind that most journals require some sort of additional documentation along with your submission, such as a cover letter, author biography, etc.

Make sure to keep track of their submission policies as well! Some journals will not accept work that has also been submitted to another journal for review. Note down the deadlines in your calendar or reminders app to make sure you don’t forget. It’s also handy to jot down the contact info for their editorial board to shoot them any questions.

The range of acceptable submissions will vary according to the journal of interest so make sure to do your own due diligence to understand the different types.

Now, for what you’re actually here for: the publications. Let’s get into it!

Journals that Publish Both Academic and Creative Works

Beacon: Journal of Media Studies

Beacon is an annual peer- and faculty-reviewed multimedia journal that publishes the “works of current undergraduate UBC students who explore and study the subject of Media.”

The Editor-in-Chief of Beacon, Matthew Asunción, in an email statement to The Ubyssey, explained that “As a media studies journal, [they] cover a broad range of media, including media theory, media analysis (film analysis, new media analysis, art critiques, information policy research, journalism research), as well as creative works (art, prose, photography and new media/blended media).” Asunción frequently writes for The Ubyssey’s news and features sections.

Asunción also stated that the journal is in touch with The Garden Statuary and the Undergraduate Journal of Art History and Visual Culture “to ensure that students are connected with the journal that can best support their works and their own growth as scholars and creators.”

You do not need to be in the media studies program to submit your work. All undergraduate students from both the Vancouver and Okanagan campus are welcome. Preference is not given to any single faculty but rather towards pieces that fall within the scope of the journal.

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript, make sure to check out their submission guidelines first. The next call for submissions runs from Friday, October 19 to January 7, 2022. Beacon’s latest volume, Volume II, is also available on their website along with their first volume.

Similarly, if you are interested in joining the volunteer writing or editorial staff, the usual recruitment period for new staff is during mid-September to late October.

The Garden Statuary: UBC's Undergraduate English Journal

Per their website, “The Garden Statuary (TGS) is UBC’s Undergraduate Literary Journal, operated and peer-reviewed by [their editorial board composed of] UBC undergraduate students.” They publish both creative and academic work including essays on literature and language studies, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, stage/screen play, visual art, photography, musical recordings, and short films.

They are part of the English Students’ Association and receive support and feedback from the English Faculty Advisory Board.

They accept submissions twice a year for their Winter and Spring issues, which are published online in December and April respectively. They also publish an end-of-year print issue during April that includes all the literary works from both the Winter and Spring issues of that school year.

All UBC undergraduate students across both campuses are eligible to submit their work. TGS particularly encourages submissions from “traditionally underrepresented voices, including those from Indigenous people, people of colour, LGBTQIA+ people, people from low-income backgrounds, neurodiverse people, and people with disabilities.”

If you are interested in submitting your work, make sure to check out their submission guidelines and browse their previous issues for inspiration.

Please note that the deadline for their upcoming Winter issue has already passed. Via a statement emailed to The Ubyssey, Editors-in-Chief Colby Payne and Avani Dhunna encouraged students who are interested in contributing to the journal to submit their work by Friday, February 25, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

If you would like to join their team, they “generally hire executives at some point over the summer, and then hire illustrators and editors in September.” Regular updates are posted on their social media.

Undergraduate Journal of Art History and Visual Culture

Per their website, “The Undergraduate Journal of Art History & Visual Culture (UJAH) is an annual student journal published by the [UBC] Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory (AHVA).” They specifically focus on publishing “undergraduate research, artwork, and writing in the field of art history and visual culture.”

They welcome applications from all undergraduate students, regardless of major, for their editorial team annually during late September.

Their standard submission period for academic papers, reviews and artwork for their annual print journal is in November. Their print publication is published in early April alongside the annual Art History Undergraduate Symposium.

If you are interested in submitting your work to UJAH, make sure to check out their submission guidelines, past symposium papers and previous issues. The deadline for this year’s submission period was November 28, 2021.

Exclusively Creative Journals

PRISM International

According to their website, “PRISM International is a quarterly magazine [whose] mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world.” They publish a variety of literary works including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama and translation.

PRISM accepts submissions on a rolling basis. As their Executive Editor Promotions Alison Barnett confirmed in an email statement to The Ubyssey, “[they] do not discriminate based on educational credentials.” In other words, undergraduate students are welcome to submit their work and the readers at PRISM will not be informed of the identity of the authors during the review process.

An important exception to this is that they do not accept submissions from current and incoming students and faculty of UBC’s Creative Writing Program (this includes the UBC Optional-Residency MFA Program). This is likely because they receive support from the UBC Creative Writing department. Please check their submission guidelines for more details.

If you are interested in joining their staff, they are accepting applications for paid editorial or writing staff from UBC CRWR graduate students until December 15, 2021.

Decomp Journal

Per their website, “decomp journal is a literary and multimedia journal grounded in social justice that is committed to curating art from marginalized communities. [They] are an in-house journal for the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.”

They publish works of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, art and media. Decomp publishes several issues a year and welcomes submissions from UBC undergraduate students. Preference is not given depending on one’s program or educational credentials.

If you are interested in submitting your work, make sure to check out their submission guidelines and their past issues on their website. They are accepting submissions for their upcoming zine, Action as Art, until December 15, 2021. Unfortunately, the deadline for submissions this year has passed.

They do not have a formal recruitment or application process for their editorial staff. If you are interested in joining the decomp team, please contact them directly via email.

Note: The author is, at the time of writing, an editor at decomp journal.

Matthew Asuncion and Colby Payne are staff writers at The Ubyssey. They were not involved in the writing or editing of this piece.