Skip to main content

9th March 2012

Interview: Founder of ‘Spektrast’ Magazine

By Kate Bullivant

‘Is the stress of University worth it?’, ‘Is my degree actually worth anything?’, or ‘Am I doing the right thing in going to University instead of going straight into the workplace?’ These are all questions that Steph Whalley was faced with when she started ‘Spektrast Magazinne’. It’s a website that is designed to prove there is more to life than just your degree, and it gives students a great way to show off their skills and talents. Steph Whalley is a second year Film Studies and Sociology student, and she is passionate to show that a degree is not the be all and end all when it comes to getting your ideal job in that daunting time after leaving university.

  • What is the main thing that you’re trying to achieve through ‘Spektrast’?

Often a student’s capability is defined by their degree title or grade. From this it’s easy for employers or friends to label them success or failures. We aim to defy this narrow-mindedness by exposing and showing off what students have to offer outside of education.  We primarily aim to prove that if higher education is not the right choice for you, then you should not be disillusioned or feel that you will never be successful. We do this by interviewing and chatting to ex-students/non-students/young adults who are building their futures through means other than further education such as hobbies and talent. All too often young adults are forced into higher education because they don’t know the vast number of alternatives. We aim to promote these alternative options so that people can decide what path they want to take whilst knowing what all of their options are.


  • Sometimes Higher Education is promoted as the only way to achieve success. Do you think encouraging talents beyond getting a 1st in your degree will help students with employment after leaving university?

Most definitely! Coming from a creative background myself, I have constantly been told that Art and Film Studies ‘aren’t real subjects’. I have developed strong feelings towards giving students in my position the chance to see this is not the case. As I was leaving Sixth Form College and picking up University course, I went to a talk with the school’s Careers Leader. I was told, ‘anybody who takes an art-based course will end up stacking shelves in Tesco’. It is this medieval notion that Spektrast aims to overthrow.  Obviously there are subjects where a university degree doesn’t just help employment but is actually compulsory in that field of work such as Law and Dentistry. But just because someone is specializing in one area doesn’t mean that they don’t have other talents. Spektrast is a perfect space to showcase these, showing that there is more to students than just a degree. For example, on Spektrast, we have a Tattoo Artist who has risen to success. Just aged 20 she has already opened her own shop and is now starting her own business. Qualifications are insignificant for this career path and for her to have complied with educational norms and gone to Uni would have been a set back to her success and detrimental to her future.

It’s so important to choose the job you love as you’re going to be in the workplace for the next 30 to 40 years. So sticking with what you enjoy and flaunting your talents is surely the best way to get the perfect job?


Do you run the risk of people misinterpreting Spektrast, and thinking that it’s an ‘anit-uni’ website?

No not at all, we are keen to stress that although we advocate alternative routes to success, we are in no way slating University or higher education. Degree level education is a massive qualification to have under your belt and an admirable achievement. We merely aim to showcase a range of young adults who are building careers in other ways, developing their talents into something useful for their futures. Through this we’re trying to prove that success is most definitely attainable without further education.


  • Are you looking for particular talents, because your website seems to be focused around the arts. Or is the website open to anything/any student?

Although the website is set up into categories (Art & Photography, Film, Music, Literature, Fashion), we are extremely open-minded and open to anything that is thrown our way. The categories merely make the website user-friendly and more neat and readable. Any student can showcase their talent, hobby, passion or work on our site, yes, of course and we welcome any ex-students or non-students or successful people who simply want to share alternative ways to success without higher education. So, Alan Sugar if you’re reading this, you know what to do!


If you’re interested in Spektrast contact them via email ([email protected].uk) or alternatively Twitter (@SpektrastMag) and visit the Facebook page ( pages are checked daily, so if your interested get involved!




Ceri Wills

Ceri Wills

Former Societies editor (2011-2012).

More Coverage

In conversation with the Feminist Collective: “It’s about making sure that no one’s voice goes unheard”

The Mancunion sat down with the University of Manchester’s Feminist Collective to talk about their society values, their plans for the year ahead, and intersectional feminism

Review: Tiramisu (UMDS)

Tiramisu, which was performed at the University of Manchester SU, is an excellently existential adaptation of Annie Baker’s The Antipodes

Review: Skies in the Cloud (UMDS)

Skies in the Cloud exhibits intimate and ethereal themes, showcasing the talent of UMDS students

Review: Stump (UMDS)

The Mancunion reviews Stum, performed by the University of Manchester Drama Society at The Brewers in Gay Village