Illustration by Caspar Bhalerao; design byZinnia Warde-Aldam and Zoë Matt-Williams

An international focus is rare for a Cambridge based zine, but Panoramic masterfully balances the intricacies of specific localities with its far-reaching global lens. Featuring a range of media forms from photojournalism to op-eds, and authors from across six continents, the magazine curates a consistent voice despite its diverse content.

"Retaining individual voices and local perspectives is essential to nuance within global issues"

Founded in September 2020, Panoramic has already published five online issues themed around topics from climate to queer culture, and this month returns with its first ever print edition on ‘Futures’, which you can purchase here for £5.75. The plurality of these ‘Futures’ is an essential feature of the zine. Closing its glossy pages, the reader comes away with no singular image of what the future looks like. Futures, Panoramic suggests, are not just utopian imaginings of an improved world, but involve a critical reflection on the present, or more precisely, the multiple presents which look different in every region of the world. 

Founders Maddie Anstruther and Anya Gera describe how, in creating the magazine, “what we wanted to do was explore global issues from local perspectives. We decided to tackle overarching themes – themes that had endless possibilities for exploration – and ask our writers to take these and apply them to their local context.”

Every contribution to Panoramic upholds this vital interplay between global and local. Through featuring authors from around the globe, the magazine forges a unique conception of the future that deconstructs the Westernisation of journalism. It is far too easy, living in the UK, to reflect on issues both local and international through a Western lens, but Panoramic reveals the shortcomings of this approach. Its global range of authors provide specific critical analyses of their individual environments, crafting more nuanced reflections on local and national issues than British news correspondents offer.

Photo by Isis Briones

Anders Blosmo and Isis Briones’s collaborative photojournalistic piece ‘Trapping Taiwan: The Effects of Western Alarmism’ epitomises the importance of decentring the Western lens. Combining Isis’ black and white photos of Taiwan’s 2021 National Day with Anders’ deftly handled dissection of Western coverage of Taiwan, the piece exposes deficiencies in the narrative of Taiwan constructed by Western media. Through presenting war in Taiwan as inevitable, Anders suggests, alarmist journalism actually increases the likelihood of the conflict. It both encourages the US to assume a more aggressive position towards China and removes Taiwan’s role in constructing its national identity. 

"Every contribution to Panoramic upholds this vital interplay between global and local"

Identity is central to the futures that Panoramic explores. In its second collaborative piece, ‘Tomorrow’s Sovereignty in the Caribbean: What Comes After the Nation-State?’, Mahlea Archer and Ethan Knowles explore the possibility of a united Caribbean identity. Initially, the piece is clearly divided between the two authors. Named headings separate Mahlea and Ethan’s contributions, but on its penultimate page their voices merge and their dialogue transforms into a joint avowal of shared sovereignty. This thematic and structural union speaks to the wider concept of Panoramic. Retaining individual voices and local perspectives is essential to nuance within global issues, but by putting these together and creating a cohesive narrative, building towards a shared future becomes possible.

Illustration by Maya Templer

The blending of forms and journalistic content developed in the Caribbean piece is another feature which makes Panoramic such a pleasure to consume. Its high-quality illustrations take key ideas from each article and develop them as images, establishing a dialogue where the illustrator’s visual perspective repositions the voice of the author. In Eva Van Wyk de Vries’s piece ‘Our Next Meal: The Future of Food’, the three different possibilities she imagines for food are accompanied by a colourful image that refracts her argument through the illustrator’s tone. Her third vision of ‘A future without meals’ is followed by a drawing of three bottles of pills labelled ‘Roast dinner’, ‘Ramen noodles’ and ‘Fruit salad’. 

"Closing its glossy pages, the reader comes away with no singular image of what the future looks like"

The illustrator represents the loss that Eva imagines through a much more satirical visual tone. They contrast the richly colourful images of the meals themselves on the bottle labels with the clinically identical blue and red pills that Eva fears could replace mealtimes. While Eva’s tone is mournfully reflective, the illustrator is satirical, employing the bright colours of capitalist marketing to mock that very medium. The commercialisation of the meal is implicitly satirised through the failure of substitution the illustration highlights: it re-emphasises Eva’s argument through a strikingly different tone.

Another medium which contributes to the contrasting forms central to Panoramic is the QR codes dotted through the zine, which invite the reader to further explore issues through recommended podcasts and documentaries. Panoramic is aware that it is, in many ways, just a starting point for the conversations it wishes to inspire. This nuance, the zine suggests, is central to the futures it gestures to, which move away from a journalism of big headlines and little substance to a detailed local understanding of global issues. 


Mountain View

The metamorphosis of Sentire

Panoramic is holding a launch event at Vegan café Thrive on March 15th, 8-10:30 pm. Entry is £2 but free with a purchase of the magazine, and will feature a fascinating range of speakers: confirmed are Mahlea Archer (co-author of the Caribbean piece) and the Russian anti-war activist Arshak Makichyan. Tickets for the event and copies of the magazine are available here, while you can check out the Panoramic website here.