This summer CBS student Sofie Olesen felt the winds of change sweep over her.
An inferno of wildfires was consuming forests and villages in Greece and Turkey, while houses and communities were drowning and disappearing in rain masses the like of which had not been seen for more than a century in Germany.
“I thought to myself that this was different. I felt this urge to use my voice and express my opinions and concerns about what I was seeing out in the world. And that was when I knew I had to create a space where I could do exactly that,” says Sofie Olesen.
She is the initiator behind À-Propos Magazine. An online media outlet created for students and people from her generation who want to write articles, essays, blog posts, poems and so on about what they have on their minds, she explains.
“I want to know what young adults have on their minds. What interests them? What intrigues them? What provokes them? What are they up to? What ideas do they have? What are they passionate about?” she points out and continues:
“There’s a lot of talk about my generation in the public debate, but very few people are using their voices. I miss hearing what people from my generation have on their minds.”
The new magazine launched on Friday October 29 features various types of content. Guides, blog posts, features and a call to arms – or pens to be precise.
“For years, I have wanted to express myself through a written medium, but I have never felt capable of doing so. I have no journalistic background, but I enjoy writing a lot. I can’t count how many times I have written something but ended up throwing it away because I didn’t think it was good enough,” she says and continues:
“À-Propos is a safe space where I and others can express themselves and just try it out. We can inspire each other and express opinions and thoughts that we wouldn’t normally and, through that, create a sense of community.”
An open space
The magazine is all in English and is continuously updated with new content from the more than 25 contributors and writers engaged, explains Sofie Olesen, adding that anyone can sign up for the À-Propos’ newsletter and access the magazine online for free.
She has been looking for a media outlet like À-Propos for some time, and she is curious to see which direction the media will take, as it is very much shaped by the people delivering content to it.
“As much as it is a safe space for people to express themselves in writing, it is also an open space for trying out formats and styles of expression,” she says.
First of all, it’s a nice name, but it really encapsulates the purpose of the mediaSofie Olesen
To her, it is crucial that the voice of her generation is heard, and that the ideas, opinions, hopes and thoughts are not simply shared among peers.
“We are the voice of the future. We have so many wishes and hopes for it, so if we don’t voice those, what will they matter? They are valuable, and I miss hearing them,” says Sofie Olesen and continues:
“And somehow, I hope that other people have felt the same way as I have and want to join in with À-Propos Magazine or at least read the content and get inspiration or new perspectives.”
But what is it about the name?
Sofie Olesen explains that she was in France with a friend when the idea for the name appeared.
“First of all, it’s a nice name, but it really encapsulates the purpose of the media. Often conversations start because you saw, heard or listened to something you want to share or relate to another conversation. Then you’ll say ‘apropos’. And that’s how À-Propos should work,” she says.
For Sofie Olesen, what gave her the final push to start À-Propos Magazine was attending a lecture by an activist who, according to Sofie Olesen, said that if you get a thought or idea but cannot relate it to something that already exists, it does not mean the thought or idea is illegitimate.
“Rather the opposite, that idea or thought has just never been said aloud. And it does not mean that the idea or thought does not hold any value or is wrong. You can say the same about À-Propos. Just because it didn’t exist, it does not mean it should not be here,” says Sofie Olesen.