Cantab (magazine)

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Cantab was a magazine produced by students at the University of Cambridge between 1981 and 1990. It was unusual among British student magazines in being independent of student unions. Operations were self-financed, initially through copy sales and advertising, later through advertising alone.

The title's second claim to fame was its production via an extremely early form of desktop publishing, involving a typesetting program specially written for its BBC Micro computer and Juki daisy wheel printer by Martin Tod and introduced as early as 1984.

In 1985 the magazine launched a spin-off summer title, Cantab's What's On and Where to Go in Cambridge, which gained success in that year's Student Media Awards, run by The Guardian newspaper.[1] Other less successful spin-offs, including Business Matters and Cantab's version of Energy Matters, were produced occasionally as revenue generating vehicles to subsidise the main title.

In 1985/6 the magazine was relaunched, switching from a paid-for circulation to free distribution. Relying solely on advertising sales was an unusual and potentially risky move, but allowed for a massively increased print run, increased pagination and higher production quality. While maintaining a focus on arts coverage, the magazine took an increased interest in politics and current affairs, with a noticeably more left-wing stance.

The magazine was relaunched again in 1987/88.

Notable Cantab staff members include:[2]


  1. ^ The Guardian, 5 November 1984.
  2. ^ See mastheads, collection of Cantab issues at Cambridge University Library, classmark Cam.a.41.5
  3. ^, accessed 8 December 2008.
  4. ^ The Times, 1 December 2007.
  5. ^ The Guardian, 13 July 2003.
  6. ^, accessed 8 December 2008.