From our own correspondent

by Kitty Drake in June 2021
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Current affairs

Dispatches Magazine is a large-scale magazine (about the size of a broadsheet newspaper), and its content is inspired by another, pleasingly retro, journalistic form: the dispatch. Straddling the line between memoir and reportage, “these bulletins [are] looser and more experimental than an essay, written with more purpose than a personal letter”, explain the editors in their opening letter. Subjects tackled inside this issue — which is Dispatches’ debut — include bushfires in Australia, disability provision in California, and violence in Kashmir, but the tone is introspective and reflective: events are recounted from the perspective of one, necessarily partial, narrator.

This makes Dispatches more accessible than your average politics magazine, and makes this first issue’s theme — Empire — feel less forbiddingly huge. Although occasionally the emphasis on the contributor’s personal life can become a little cloying. The editors’ letter, for example, provides an extensive biography of each of Dispatches’ many makers, with artful details, like the fact that the publisher, Johnny Pujol, likes skateboarding, and once wrote a spy novel in verse.

The highlight of this magazine is its design: pieces rarely stretch beyond two pages, creating the pleasing impression of brevity, and the typography is bold. One feature, an interview with the dancer and interdisciplinary artist Luna Izpisua Rodriguez, is printed on violet-pink paper; the title font arranged so that it slices across the page, evoking a wonderful feeling of movement.

Below are some of the most dynamic spreads.

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