50 objects 16: Student newspapers and magazines

A post by Library Assistant (and former Brunel student) Oliver Thompson.

Fascinating snapshots of the history of Brunel over the past thirty odd years from the perspective of students themselves can be found within the pages of Brunel University student newspapers and magazines, which Special Collections hosts an archive of, with the oldest available issues dating back to February 1984.

Frequently candid and uncensored in scope and tone, Le Nurb has provided a platform for students to openly express their points of view on student life and the world at large, and each issue in the collection offers the curious reader glimpses of the student experience of the time, as well as a unique insight into the developing history of Brunel through the years. For Alumni they offer a warm feeling of nostalgia as one may recognise the names and faces contained within.

academyThe articles tell the history of many different aspects of the student experience, and often sought to encourage students to fully engage with the myriad of opportunities available to them during their time at Brunel, including coverage of various groups and societies, student union activities, the radio station, and guides to campus facilities such as the athletics centre and various bars.

The earliest issue in the collection is dated Thursday 2rd February 1984, containing articles on a2 feb 1984 Student Union Presidential candidate being disqualified for overspending on his promotional materials, features on important topics of the day such as animal experimentation and human rights, and reports on sports results from local fixtures (including Brunel beating Old Isleworthians 5 : 0 at hockey and Brunel 1st X1 beating Reading 1st X1 5 : 3 at football).

Some key moments for Brunel covered in later issues of Le Nurb include the one day strike that occurred on 15th January 1986, protesting the Government’s cuts in funding for Higher Education, the theft of £25,000 from the Midland Bank on campus that occurred in March 1986, and a 1988 visit by Labour’s then Education Equality 13th Nov 1986spokesperson Jack Straw, and the opening of the Athletics Centre in 2005. Other content in the magazines includes photo montages of students celebrating nights out at the Academy, lists of degree results for graduating students, reviews of concerts that occurred at Brunel, and letters from students debating topics such as politics, Student Union policies and tuition fees. Adverts for Brunel events evoke a sense of nostalgia, such as the 1984 Christmas Ball boasting music from reggae group Aswad and impressions from Rory Bremner.

Le Nurb was rebranded as Route 66 magazine between 1997 and 2005, and these issues are also in the collection. Since reverting back to the title Le Nurb, in recent years the student newspaper has expanded and established its own website which hosts more recent issues of the printed newspaper, and also maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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