Our Journal

Common Ground Journal is a student-run, peer-reviewed journal based in the University of Oxford. We publish insightful and innovative non-fiction pieces and scholarly research that expose and challenge legacies of empire in universities, classist structures and institutionalised forms of discrimination. We are part of the wider ‘Common Ground’ movement that sets out to examine Oxford’s colonial past in the context of its present-day inequalities.

In Trinity term 2017, Myah Popat and Joe Higton Durrant, along with their editorial, written and creative team published the first issue of Common Ground Journal. Today, we are committed to making issues of race, class, and colonialism a central part of the discourse, discussion and action within the University of Oxford and the wider city.

Current Co-Editors:

Lucy Tirahan, BA student in English at Lincoln.
Samanwita Sen, BA student in English at Oriel.

Read our first issue here.
Read our second issue here.
Read our fourth issue here.
Read our fifth edition here.


Pieces from our third issue, published in June 2019, can be found in the article posts below.

hair being braided

The mixed-race household: a transnational project

By Sophia Staffiero The metamorphosing space of the mixed-race household (referring, here, to both residents with dual heritage and migrants) has always been a locus of hybridity and innovation. It is a ‘third space,’ characterised by questions of ‘authenticity’ and ‘otherness.’ Though traditionally, the movement of mixed-race/migrant bodies have been a point of interest in …

Who are ‘we’?

By William Golden The 2016 EU referendum has unleashed a deluge of soundbites about Britain’s place in the world. The self-delusions of the country’s elite have been put on show, revealing the anachronistic assumptions they rest on. In October 2017, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said of Brexit: “This is Magna Carta … it’s the bill …

“How the Other Half Lives”: The ethics and politics of social documentary photography, from Riis to the present

By Cara Turner. In a New York tenement at the end of the nineteenth century, men sleep crowded together on the floor and on a ramshackle bunk bed, alongside their trunks and work boots. I was shocked when I first saw Jacob Riis’s photograph of lodgers in a crowded Bayard Street tenement, the reaction Riis …

Merantau to the pluriversity

By Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar The concept of merantau in Malay cosmology denotes the act of movement—sailing, walking, or adventuring—to other lands away from home, in search of a different life. After gaining independence from the British, the young nation state that evolved to become Malaysia looked to education as a means for attaining economic development. …

“Be a passenger”: An interview with ACS Access Officer Mary Bonsu

Common Ground Journal Co-Editor Neetu Singh speaks with ACS Access Officer Mary Bonsu about BLM, the ‘BAME’ acronym, and what Oxford University should do to support Black students. Neetu Singh: What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you? Mary Bonsu: I think that the Black Lives Matter movement is multifaceted, but at its …

Dual Lives

By Abigail Allan. When I first found out that I had been offered an interview at the University of Oxford, I bought my train ticket immediately. Doing so emptied my bank account by spending one month’s wages from my Saturday job on a single train ticket – and sacrificing my ability to have some semblance …


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