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Summer 2020, Dr Matt Davies sends me an email. I’d recently graduated and was preparing to start an MA in Creative Writing at Chester, so it struck me as odd; why would an English Language lecturer need to speak with me? The email stated that he wanted to set up an online call to discuss an idea he had had but he was being oddly secretive and I was automatically curious as to what he was hiding up his sleeves.

We arranged a call and after a brief catch up of what measly lockdown shenanigans we’d been up to, with me explaining my lockdown hair experimentation which, though my mum said otherwise, I still consider cool, he finally shared his idea with me.

Matt wanted to create a magazine for the English department that would publish student work and be completely student led. He told me he wanted to give students a place to share their academic work with a wider audience. What’s even more surprising and humbling, is that he asked me for my help in the initial creation. My face lit up. Of course, my answer was yes.

Prior to being asked to take part in the C.E.L.L.MATES project, I’d been an editor for the University of Chester's Pandora’s Inbox and Box, and I’d also not long launched my own literary magazine, Burnt Breakfast, with a fellow University of Chester MA student. So, I was more than happy to offer my help and advice where needed.

Within a month of first speaking, I’d designed a logo and website for the magazine ready to begin showcasing University of Chester’s English students’ work. We quickly established a team of confident student editors and writers all ready to lend a hand reading and editing, eager to make C.E.L.L.MATES an inclusive space for debate and discussion.

Today, the magazine has over fifty published pieces and is readily accepting more! We’re always on the look-out for exciting debates, articles, blog posts or thought pieces to arrive in our inbox as well as new student editors to come join our dedicated team. If you’d like to find out more and get involved, visit our website or follow us on social media @c.e.l.l.mates on Instagram and @cellmates3 on Twitter. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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