The editorial team are proud to welcome you to Volume 2 Number 1 of Estro – the first issue of the 2009/10 academic year. Continuing the standards set by the first issue, we believe that the work presented herein is among the best at the University. Estro seeks to promote the work of undergraduate and postgraduate students at Essex: to this end, Vol. 2 No. 1 offers a varied selection of articles that are not only of a high quality but also represent some of the specialist areas that are unique to the University.To open the issue we have an article that fits the journal’s mandate perfectly, exploring an issue that crosses many disciplines. ‘The History of Intersexuality’ considers the binary notion of gender and the origins of the social and medical attitudes toward intersexed individuals. In doing so, the author bridges biology, psychology, philosophy and sociology. Following this we have ‘Four Versions of Xanadu’. As an example of “Oulipo” – a specialist area at Essex and the subject of both undergraduate and postgraduate modules – it showcases a genre of creative writing that is similarly interdisciplinary in spirit, using mathematical principles to place constraints and conditions upon the writing process.

While Oulipo plays with language, our next article analyses it. ‘The “Fingerprint” of Vox Pop Interviews’ looks at conversation analysis and examines the nature of vox pop interviews in terms of the concept of “institutional talk”. In ‘A reading of the “ox-‘ahaal” (3-conquest) stairs of Yaxchilan’ we continue to expand the scope of subjects covered in Estro with an article examining Mayan hieroglyphic stairways, and the significance of one particular panel. This article will be especially interesting to students and staff engaged in the study of myth – another specialist area at Essex.

Moving from the ancient to the modern, ‘Carer or Career’ explores the current debate surrounding the professionalisation of nursing. This debate was brought into sharp focus recently due to an announcement by health minister Ann Keen, in which it was confirmed that degree-level qualifications will be a requirement for new nurses from 2013. The editorial team at Estro were keen to include this article as an introduction to this debate as it explores many of the theoretical and practical issues that affect the future of nursing. ‘Lost in discussion: Subjectivity and its organisational implications’, continues the focus on professional contexts, delving into the effects of subjective perception upon decision making.

As the second part of a study that featured in the first issue, ‘Identifying Dyslexic Students’ looks at another contemporary issue and argues for change in the testing methods currently used to identify dyslexia in academic institutions. Finally, we have a second statistical study in ‘Social Capital and Marine Resource Management in Kaledupa, Wakatobi Marine National Park’. This article focuses on how the social interactions between communities in and around the WMNP have an impact on conservation efforts, and what might be done to improve these relations. Again, this is a topical issue, with the potential destruction of coral reefs being a serious problem in relation to environmental protection.

We hope you enjoy the issue. As Estro develops, we aim to bring you more articles of the standard found within, and to present distinctly Essex-flavoured work that deals with contemporary and emerging issues. This would not be possible without the authors and the reviewers, and we would like to thank everyone who at some point over the last year has either submitted or reviewed an article – you are the lifeblood of the journal; we continue to rely on your involvement at every level of the publication process, and would like to pass on our appreciation.

© Pete Fitzgerald, Katy Dillon, Kimberley Marwood. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY).