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contributing / writers guidelines

Variant welcomes contributions in the form of news, previews, articles, interviews, polemical pieces and artists pages. If you would like to contribute to Variant we advise you to contact the editors with a brief synopsis of your proposal. What follows are the writers' guidelines for contributions to Variant.

Writers' Guidelines:

Editorial Stance

Variant is a magazine of cross-currents in culture; this includes subjects as diverse as video, television & film, avant-garde music, new art initiatives, performance, cultural & media studies, philosophy, critical thinking, popular culture and social movements. In its broadest sense, Variant aims to look at the function of art and ideas in contemporary society. Variant attempts to make lateral links across media in both a local and international context and examines how this manifests itself in visual, intellectual and social cultures. It is our understanding that the arts do not exist in a vacuum. As such, we attempt to investigate areas of cultural production and ask political and social questions. We aim to include writing which is constructive and thought provoking.

Also see the editorial of Variant issue 21:

The co-editors are
Daniel Jewesbury and Leigh French. The co-editors draw on a number of sources in soliciting articles and developing content for the magazine. This does not constitute a fixed group of people, it is something more dynamic that allows for advice and input from a shifting range of individuals who embody any number of areas of concern.
The editors reserve the right to edit all items. Please state if this is not appropriate to your submission. The editors reserve the right to withdraw any item that is deemed unsuitable even if this item has been commissioned.


Variant is currently a 36 page, black & white, tabloid format magazine with no cover-price. We see each successive issue of Variant as providing an opportunity for development. Variant may contain feature articles/ reviews, reports, insights, interviews, letters/ comments and artist's pages - though the magazine might not be rigidly or visibly divided into such categories. Variant is professionally designed and contains visual reproductions.


Variant commissions articles and interviews and welcomes unsolicited material. We are more receptive to articles written specifically for Variant, though consider reprints of articles that may be otherwise unavailable to our readership. Subject matter varies considerably and writers are advised to assess previous issues prior to commencing on pieces. We do not adhere to a notion that the readership base is fixed and that we should pander to a fixed notion of audience, we welcome pieces that challenge readership assumptions. Writers are asked to contact the editors four months in advance of publication to discuss possible articles or interviews.

Due to the lack of platforms for intelligent analysis and debate, throughout the UK and Scotland specifically, reviews are also treated as extended articles. It is our intention to incorporate reviews into broader cultural discussions and/ or in-depth examinations. However, shorter reviews are included, increasing the scope of representation in any one issue. Variant publishes reviews grouped into 4 separate sections: Projects, Print, Media and Audio. Reviews are not promotional and there is a strict division between editorial and advertising.

Project reviews should take into account elements of description, interpretation and evaluation. Writers should be able to develop a context for the work and relate the subject under review to a wider set of issues. The focus is on the 'innovative', the 'challenging' and the 'contemporary'. Reviews should also be written with a quarterly schedule in mind but also retain a pertinence well after the event. They should be discussed in the past tense; reviews should be credited with the following: artist, title, place/ venue, dates.

Media reviews include film (experimental & low-budget, expanded cinema), video (packages, new productions, video installations), TV (critiques, analyses, public access, cable, satellite), plus festivals and conferences on the above and on New Technologies. These should be credited with director/ producer, place, date and release date if applicable.

Audio reviews include experimental and avant-garde music festivals and events, audio art projects, plus new CD, record and tape releases. Events should be credited as in the projects section. Disc releases should include a copy of the cover, artist/s, title, distributor, date and other relevant information, plus a recording of the work.

Print reviews include comics, books and pamphlets on subjects within the scope of the editorial, which includes cultural studies, critical theory and philosophy classified publications. Book and pamphlet reviews should note the publisher, distributor, number of pages, number of reproductions, price and ISSN/ ISBN numbers.

Features must include photographs and visual material. Writers are asked to contact the editors if assistance is required. We will not accept articles which have or will be published elsewhere except in collaboration, through mutual agreement where it may be of historical pertinence or of contemporary feel but has had limited or discreet distribution. Some issues of Variant may be thematic.

Articles / interviews
may be held back due to space restrictions or in the development of a future themed issue which the withdrawn item may be more appropriate to. In this instance and only if funds permit, writers will be paid* on publication of the issue it was originally intended for.
(* see 'Fees' section).

Articles/ Reviews 2,000 words / 4,000 words
Shorter Reviews 750 words / 1,000 words
Interviews 2,000 words / 4,000 words

Comments and Reports
These sections are self-explanatory but wide ranging. Of particular interest are polemical and topical views points which are contentious in issue and might deal with political issues relating to cultural activity: artists rights or their infringement, campaigns, access to resources, arts funding, and local, national and international issues on similar themes. Pseudonyms may be adopted where recrimination may be suspected in any way, but the editors must be aware of the writer's true identity and reasons for incognito. Comments and reports are not platforms for personal grievances, for slanderous or unjustified personal attacks, nor are they outlets for the jaundiced viewpoints of individuals or interest groups. All opinions should be well-informed and rely on actual facts where applicable.

Pieces may be withdrawn due to developing or changed circumstances at any stage in the production.

Length: 750 words / 1000 words

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This section is similar to comments & reports but is aimed at;
a) observations from outwith the UK,
b) and/ or obscure/ unusual documentation.
Length: 750 words / 1000 words

Artists Pages

Each issue commissions or uses the work of one artist on the cover, inside front and/ or outside back cover, with other visual contributions within the magazine. We are keen to see unsolicited visual contributions.

Manuscript Submissions:
a) CD ROM (please include a hard print out)
b) email to (please also post a hard print out)
c) 3/half inch floppy disc (please include a hard print out)
d) clean typed (finished copy) in single or double spacing
e) legibly handwritten

Additional Article Format Guidelines available here.

Copies must be retained by the sender. Variant cannot accept responsibility for loss of manuscripts. All photographs should be clearly labeled - do not write directly onto the backs of photos, use labels and a waterproof pen. Always send them in a hard-backed envelope and preferably by Registered Post. Please state if you want your photos returned, otherwise they will be retained by us for our files. All photographs must credit the photographer. Variant and its editors cannot be held responsible for copyright infringement where reasonable efforts have been made to inform writers of our policy stated here. A signed letter must be sent with the photographs granting us permission for their use.

Payment to contributors is presently reliant upon the Scottish Arts Council, Magazines Exhibition and Projects fund. When possible, we will seek to remunerate all contribution to Variant magazine. Payment is a fee for publication in Variant magazine and inclusion in the Variant archive.

View points are those of the writers.
Writers will receive a copy of the magazine on publication.
Published articles in the magazine will also be archived and made freely available electronically.
[These guidelines are for the information of potential writers. They are subject to alteration due to financial priorities but do not form a contract from the time of commission. 9/12/05]

Contact the edtiors

Daniel Jewesbury, Leigh French
1/2 189b Maryhill Road
Glasgow G20 7XJ
Scotland, UK

email to:

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