Cantab (magazine)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
University of Cambridge
Type Monthly
Format Magazine
Owner(s) Independent
Founded 1981
Headquarters Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Cantab was a magazine produced by students at the University of Cambridge for nearly a decade between 1981 and 1990. It was unique[citation needed] among British student magazines in being completely independent of student unions. Cantab operations were self-financed, initially through copy sales and advertising, later through advertising alone. The magazine's name, Cantab, is derived from the Latin name for Cambridge and is also short for Cantabrigiensis, the post nominal suffix indicating a degree from the University of Cambridge.

The magazine was relaunched many times but it ultimately ended production in 1990 when its new free distribution model, introduced in 1985, proved to be no longer feasible.

The University of Cambridge (1984)


The magazine was launched in 1981 by a group of ambitious students at the University of Cambridge who wanted to start a magazine which was completely independent and unaffiliated with the student union. By 1985, the Cambridge magazine continued to grow and had 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 subsidize the main title.

Pioneer in Publishing[edit]

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 the first months of 1984.

Free Distribution[edit]

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 but ultimately ended production in 1990 when its business model proved to be no longer possible. Cantab is often seen as a forerunner to The Tab, a modern-day, multi-national student paper which features students and campuses from across the UK, United States, and Canada.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable Cantab staff members include:[2]

See also[edit]