Our last significant anniversary was our 25th birthday. So special was the special edition we put together in 2016 that it became a set text in school curriculums.
Okay – an optional set text. If you happen to be studying component two of the Eduqas A level Media course you’ll have pored over the pages even more closely than we do before sending to print.
In the Mainstream and Alternative part of the course, The Big Issue’s 25th-anniversary edition is set against an edition of Vogue from July 1965. That has an iconic image of Sophia Loren on the cover (who coincidentally was interviewed in our pages earlier this year).
Students study the use of media language to create meaning, codes and conventions, genre, representation, intertextuality, ideological viewpoints and their construction.
They do this by drawing on Barthes’s research on semiotics, Todorov’s work on narratology, Levi-Strauss’s structuralism theory, Gauntlett’s work on identity and much more besides. All of these things are zipping through our heads as we put together this magazine. Even if we don’t realise it.
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The Big Issue has regularly been studied in schools and colleges. And every year when we run our kids cover competition, many teachers use that as an opportunity to explore the issue of homelessness in their classrooms. But this A-level course became more prominent after lockdown closed schools.