• Unite our Disparate Voices

  • Unite Our Disparate Voices

    Like a splash in the ocean, one voice is often lost in the immensity of public opinion. But at The New School, where disparate voices unite, students commit themselves to making change together.

    In 2014, four MFA Creative Writing students discovered the power of diverse perspectives through a combination of workshops and seminars, like Writing and Publishing Lab, a course on storytelling across platforms. Inspired by emerging media and literature, Brett Rawson, Zeina Abi Assy, Joyce Chen, and Krista Gampper found themselves questioning both traditional modes of publishing and one another’s opinions, values, and political leanings.

    “We were having conversations with one another about the things we were most interested in — in terms of media, but also our own writing and all that's happening around us in the world,” says Abi Assy.

    These frank, wide-ranging conversations among classmates would eventually spark the genesis of The Seventh Wave, an online publication and arts organization that invites thinkers, artists, athletes, and others to take part in conversations on a single social issue. With their intense discussions acting as a template for future issues, the co-founders wanted The Seventh Wave to function as an amplified think tank of disparate voices.

    “We found that our conversations were changing our own perspectives on things,” says Chen. “So we started with the idea of opposition being at the heart of The Seventh Wave. We thought, ‘If opposing ideas existed in a tight or small space — what would happen?’”

    The result was an interdisciplinary, topical, and flexible platform that dares to tackle a range of topics and perspectives. Publishing issues with headlines like “Artificial Realities” and engaging in conversations with titles like “On Public Health, Perception, and the Interconnectedness of Things” and “On Raptivism and Hip-Hop as a Tool for Social Change,” The Seventh Wave’s co-founders hope to spark discussions about critical issues, with a range of writerly and non-writerly voices—to consistently and holistically broaden their readers’ views of the world’s most pressing issues.

    "We try to ask, ‘What are we not seeing?’ and from there, we each craft our own essays and then have them talk to each other to set the tone for the issue,” says Chen of the process.

    Today The Seventh Wave continues to evolve, accepting submissions from artists working across media, facilitating readings and events on a range of topics, and even offering fullyfunded artist residencies to creatives who have something to say. This fall, the organization will also be rolling out programming through its educational wing, with the aim of bringing social issues into the classroom.

    And just like its namesake (according to nautical myth, the seventh wave in a series is larger and more powerful than the others), The Seventh Wave is committed to making the biggest possible impact by pulling in voices and opinions that, collectively, will crash loudly onto the world’s shore.

    The New School, with its commitment to digital media, discourse, and dissent, is a profound force of change in the world. Be a Force of New. 

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