Hear how Journal Safar is beating the odds in Beirut

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by Steve Watson in June 2020
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Art & design Current affairs

The Stack podcast has been a bit erratic lately. When the lockdown started I knew I was going to have trouble balancing work with childcare so we shifted from weekly to fortnightly episodes. But as the weeks went on and the work piled up I realised the podcast was a luxury we just couldn’t afford, so it’s now been a month since we uploaded our last one.

My eldest son started back at school this week, though, which has made a huge difference to my workload, so I’m really pleased to be back with a new episode at last. I’m not sure exactly how long we’ll be able to keep this going (the summer holidays seem to be just around the corner) but I’m pretty confident that for the next few weeks at least we’ll be able to keep on sharing conversations with some of our favourite independent magazine makers.

First up is Safar, the visual culture magazine that’s based in Beirut, and which we delivered to Stack subscribers last month, May 2020. It’s a totally fascinating magazine, because while it begins from visual culture and design, it pushes out far beyond that to tackle big, difficult stories based in politics and social justice, with a particular focus on Lebanon and the wider Arab world.

I caught up with editors and creative directors Maya Moumne and Hatem Imam to speak about their motivations in making this magazine, and also about the particularly difficult conditions they’ve had to endure: the political upheaval that started with last year’s October Revolution; the economic disaster that has accompanied it; and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an extremely harsh lockdown across Lebanon.

It was wonderful to hear that we helped them press ahead with this new issue, and I know lots of Stack subscribers particularly enjoyed reading this magazine they hadn’t come across before, so I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation with Maya and Hatem from Safar.

If you’d like to hear more of this sort of thing please follow us on Soundcloud, or iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts, and we’ll be able to deliver our next episodes to you as soon as they’re ready.


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