Liv Little of gal-dem talks to thandiekay

Meet Liv Little, editor-in-chief and editor of gal-dem magazine. She’s a 22 year old final year Politics and Sociology student at the University of Bristol, interested in women’s rights.

Dynamo Liv has worked on campaigns for NGOs including the Dublin Simon Community, Women for Refugee Women and Restless Development. Addicted to documentaries and clothes, she hopes to create both one day.

Welcome to thandiekay Liv! KayX

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gal-dem is all about showcasing the work of young women of colour.

We are free to write about anything we like, it doesn’t have to be race and gender specific. It fills a gap which doesn’t currently exist, we are beating essentialist notions around what a woman of colour is or should be.

Growing up

I was born and raised in South East London. My dad was born and raised in Jamaica but came here when he married my mum. He’s literally just retired back to Jamaica! My Mum was born in Stockwell, her parents are Guyanese.

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I grew up in a diverse family environment – we have people from all over the shop – Jamaica, Guyana, Scotland and Israel. But my schooling definitely didn’t reflect that. My mum didn’t get a great education when she was younger, so made it her determination to send me to good schools.

We lived a bit out of town to start with and it was quite a white working class area but I commuted into the wealthier part of town for school.

I went to Blackheath High, which was a rather posh private girls school and continued on to a grammar school in sixth form. I wasn’t one of many but diversity wasn’t as bad as it would have been at, say, a boarding school. I had micro aggressions to deal with, but never had to face overt forms of racism. I guess these underlying forms of racism which I’ve internalised are in some ways more difficult to come to terms with because for a long time they were so deeply ingrained in my being, it’s been an interesting process recognising these and trying to counter them.

Identity and Heritage

I’d say my ‘British’ identity has always been much stronger than my Jamaican identity. My mum was born here and I grew up living with her, I’m sure my schooling and the people I’ve been around have influenced that too.

But I think whether or not I feel British has a lot to do with how other people perceive me. I mean when people constantly question where you are from and people ask you to pull out your family history down the pub, you start to realise that being British isn’t just about how you feel.

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Media influences

Malorie Blackman

I absolutely loved everything written by Malorie Blackman – Noughts and Crosses was a very important series of books. My favourite TV shows were definitely Sister SisterTia and TamaraSmart GuyThat’s so Raven, Tracy Beaker – I actually watched quite a breadth of shows starring black characters but they were all soooo American.

My first cinema trip and favourite film growing up was Spice World the Movie – I was in love with Gerri Halliwell and girrrrl power and then next came Harry Potter. Going to see these was like a religious event right up until the last one which was released when I was 18!

Influential people

My Mum was a massive inspiration growing up. So cheesy but she’s such a go-getter and always comes out well in the face of adversity. She tells me it’s down to her Buddhist practice, something that I’ve dipped in and out of from time to time.

At the moment, of course, the magical women that make up gal-dem inspire me endlessly, they are all incredible and have such a diverse body of talents. We literally have it all, from illustrators, to film makers and DJs – the fact that everyone juggles so many things and are making things happen is a massive inspiration.

Young goals

I actually just found my year six year book – in which I stated that I wanted to be a fashion designer, before that I loved playing Animal Hospital and wanted to be a vet. I’m at University now studying Politics and Sociology trying to figure out what I’m going to do in life! I’m just finishing my dissertation-it’s  on credibility assessments in women’s claims for asylum.

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Feminism, gender, research and race are definitely my areas of interest.


Jobs which I’ve loved have included doing research at Women for Refugee Women last summer and The Simon Community in Dublin the summer before. Just before I came to uni I did the typical gap year finding myself in India on the International Citizenship Service. Growing up I had many terrible catering jobs but alongside that I’ve always done internships/ work placements throughout school.

I’m currently a nanny a few days a week too, to generate a bit of extra income alongside my studies. I really hope that post-uni someone will give me a real job, I’ve had enough of interning on little money for now!


I actually find it pretty hard to switch off (which is definitely the fault of social media), though there is nothing better than sitting in the bath having a soak. Add a good documentary and I’m sorted.

A talking head on gal-dem

Academia = motivation for gal-dem

Throughout university, there have been instances and specific academics (symptomatic of wider institutional issues) that have made me want to scream, and if not scream, cry. Honestly I have met some incredible female academics that have been truly inspirational – but for everyone one of them there have been about five difficulties to contend with. Whether this is the blatant exclusion of people of colour from academic texts or being targeted by tutors when race related issues come up, operating in white spaces can be so alienating. And of course, these are issues that can be translated anywhere – in politics, in the creative world, etc. I needed something that would bring me some happiness, I needed to meet some WoC who had shared some of my experiences and learn from those who hadn’t.

Finding the team

It’s crazy actually at first it was just me putting calls out on Facebook groups for contributors and as we’ve grown we get more an more people applying and sending in pitches which is a wonderful things. Not all 60 contributors are regular but we do have specific set of women on whom we can rely, they are bloody brilliant!

Sometimes we post in our groups asking people to pick up stories, or if we’ve seen people share interesting opinions elsewhere we recruit them. Our inspiration comes from all over but I’m sure you’ve noticed a fair amount does come from our lived experience. Once I’ve graduated I hope to expand on all of the sections and churn out even more content!

At the moment we are looking for advertisers for our website so that we can grow it into a business.

I would love to have offices which we can all work out of and build a community of talented WoC in an environment where we can share our ideas and expand the reach of gal-dem.

Dream gal-dems!

My five dream gal-dem guest contributors with no limits are: Bim Adewunmi, Shami Chakrabati, Solange Knowles, Amandla Stenberg and Adwoa Aboah

In the future I’d love to start making documentaries around social issues and just interesting and unusual issues that do not get the coverage they should and maybe presenting.I’d also love to design clothes – I really want to get some sketches done over summer and knock up some prototypes.

I’m both excited and nervous for what graduation will bring.