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What’s on with the Essex Student Journal in 2024

Posted by Tom O'Toole-Mills & Kimia Aghasoleimani on 2024-01-29

Intro to the ESJ 

Looking to get your work published? Want to boost your writing or reviewing skills? Find out more in this blog post introducing the Essex Student Journal, sharing what we got up to last term, and inviting you to the first Essex Student Journal Conference! 

The Essex Student Journal (ESJ) is an open access journal that gives Undergraduate and Masters students here at Essex the opportunity to publish their work in an official journal, improve their writing skills, and gain experience of the publishing process in a supportive environment.

PGR students can share their expertise through peer reviewing submissions, honing a vital skill for future careers in and out of academia. Our Student Journal Editor – this year, Kimia Aghasoleimani – is hired each year from our PGRs too. 

Not all universities have a student journal, so this is a rare opportunity for students to get involved in publishing in a supportive environment. Let’s take a look over what we’ve achieved so far this academic year. 

Successes in the Autumn Term 

We had a busy Autumn Term! On top of welcoming our new editor, receiving 10 submissions, and publishing the work of two authors, we launched two initiatives at the Journal to give more students, more opportunities. 


The first was opening a Special Issue on sustainability. Sustainability is a key initiative at the University and of vital global importance, and so we wanted to get involved by giving a platform to student voices. It’s about much more than the environment, so anything students submit that fits within the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be considered for inclusion. 


And the second initiative was launching our creative writing pilot scheme. This helps expand publishing opportunities to whole new groups of students for whom academic writing may not be their focus.  


The ESJ has a long history with creative writing with its predecessor journal, ESTRO, being founded by students in the Literature Department for the purpose of publishing their work. Over the years, students submitted more academic writing, shifting the Journal’s focus, so we are pleased to reconnect with our roots and be gradually reopening different types of creative writing over this academic year.  


We currently accept short fiction and poetry submissions up to 3,000 words and are hoping to open to scripts and other types later in the year. 


Any undergraduate or Masters student can submit their writing (you don’t need to be studying creative writing). If you are interested in submitting to the Journal, register your interest so we can send you information when it’s available. 


And if you are a postgraduate student who is or has studied creative writing, we welcome you to volunteer as a peer reviewer to develop your skills and help support our new community. 


And lots has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for the rest of the year, most notably, the first ever Essex Student Journal Conference. 

An exciting year ahead – the first Essex Student Journal Conference 

The Essex Student Journal has been growing steadily for the past few years and more and more students have been able to take advantage of the opportunities we offer. To celebrate our student authors, peer reviewers, and editors, we will be hosting the first Essex Student Journal Conference on Wednesday 1 May 2024, 12 – 2 pm! 


This will be an opportunity for the whole community to come together and recognise the great work of our students, without whom, the Journal wouldn’t exist. 


Our editors, past and present, will host the conference, sharing their experiences and giving us an opportunity to see how the Journal has grown over the years. Our authors will also explain their own work, giving them a platform to speak about the topics they are passionate about.  


And last but not least, the second half will have a free lunch where attendees are encouraged to meet and explore the stories of our authors and reviewers in more detail. The exact programme timings will be confirmed closer to the time so be sure to stay tuned for more information. 


You can book your place now and be a part of this piece of ESJ history! 

Kimia’s reflections

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of being the Student Journal Editor for the ESJ and have enjoyed every moment. We have very talented students at the University of Essex, and their hard work deserves to be in the spotlight! Overseeing the journal and supporting students in publishing their work and gaining recognition from their peers has been an honour, and I look forward to seeing more incredible submissions during the Spring and Summer terms. 

The ESJ’s motto is that it is run “by students, for students”. This means that the student community can grow together; undergraduates and PGT students can grow as authors, and PGR students can gain peer review experience that will boost their academic portfolios. The ESJ is essentially a meeting point for our student community to collaborate and network with the broader academic community whilst showcasing their creativity. Getting involved with professional publications can be intimidating, but through the ESJ, students can boost their confidence in their work and share their expertise with their peers. 

This year has already been successful with the initiation of the Sustainability special issue, launch of the Creative Writing pilot, the incredible submissions we’ve been receiving, and plans for the upcoming ESJ Conference, but none of this could have been possible without the support from the University’s community. I am looking forward to very successful Spring and Summer Terms and seeing our students and journal continue to flourish.

What to do next


If you have any questions about the Journal, submitting your work, becoming a reviewer, or the Essex Student Journal Conference, you can contact the Team via 


We’re excited to be able to work with such a wide variety of people through the Essex Student Journal, and to provide a unique opportunity that is rarely available to students. We look forward to seeing you at the Essex Student Journal Conference, and throughout the year! 


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