Christy Dickman ’22 cultivates artistic community as new Colonnades editor-in-chief

With years of creative writing experience and a vision, Dickman’s position as editor-in-chief fell perfectly into place.

Christy Dickman ‘22 picked up a piece of paper and a pen as a child with a mission to write a book. Reading fantasy novels in the fifth grade inspired a passion for creative writing that never left her.

“Writing gives me a chance to develop and express ideas that shape the way I think about myself and others,” Dickman said. “My favorite part of the writing process is when a piece seems to take on a life of its own and reveal things that I didn’t anticipate.”

Dickman arrived at Elon as an Honors Fellow undecided on what she wanted to study. But her curiosity and passion led her to sign up for an Introduction to Creative Writing course.

The encouragement she received from Drew Perry, associate professor of English, in her first writing class and subsequent classes led her to pursue a position as a reader for Colonnades Literary and Art Journal, saying she wanted to bring together the artistic community on campus and find a role that fit with her choice to be an English major.

After her entry-level staff position during sophomore year, Dickman jumped fully in and landed the managing editor position.

“The managing editor usually runs day-to-day operations of the organization, while the editor-in-chief is the long-term visionary role,” Dickman said. “At Colonnades, the two roles are similar to each other, as they work hand-in-hand to keep the organization forging ahead.”

With years of writing and leadership experience, Dickman was a perfect fit as the new editor-in-chief. Her passion for writing made her task of assembling the magazine fulfilling, she said.

This isn’t Dickman’s only foray into publishing, though. She puts her political science double major to good use as an editor for Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics, an academic research journal.

Colonnades is a literary and art journal that publishes student literary and visual art, while PSA is an undergraduate research journal that publishes original research papers in political science. Although the publication features a different kind of content, the editorial processes are similar.

With the upcoming 73rd edition of Colonnades set to be released late in 2022 spring semester, Dickman speculated that submissions would still include pandemic and political themes. But she was ultimately unsure what trends would emerge.

Dickman said that her goal is to let the submissions shape the vision and aesthetic of the magazine.

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“Seeing the final product come together is very exciting, not just for the staff but for the artists and writers,” Dickman said. “It can represent the next step in their writing journeys.”

She said she also hopes to bring organization and structure to Colonnades by creating more open communication channels among the entire staff.

Dickman said she’s excited to see the submissions and work with the newly hired staff, which harbors a lot of experience and talent.

“Colonnades has handed on a legacy to the next staff every year. It is special because it represents a snapshot of the present and a vision for the future,” Dickman said. “Colonnades truly creates a sense of community among artistic students on campus.”