Branching Out

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In the fall of 1973, a small group of women who had never before met gathered in Susan McMaster’s living room in Edmonton to talk about starting a Canadian magazine by and for women. Their vision tapped into the growing ferment in Canada in two areas, feminism and the arts. The result was Branching Out, a magazine unlike any the country had seen before — a national general interest magazine published on quality stock paper and produced entirely by women. Branching Out featured original fiction, poetry, photography, and artwork, along with articles on topical issues on women’s emerging presence in such areas as politics and sports, and evolving laws on abortion, rape, and women in the workforce.

Branching Out gathered some 2500 subscribers from across the country at its height, with another 1500 copies distributed on newsstands, an exceptional record for the alternative press in Canada at the time. It offered many women their first opportunity to work in publishing. Voluntary and consensual in structure, the project centred on a stable core plus numerous short-term volunteers, with primary guidance from editors McMaster (1973-75) and Sharon Batt (1975-80).  Contributions included early work by many women who have since gone on to successful careers in journalism, literature, the visual arts, law, and politics. Established writers like Margaret Atwood and Dorothy Livesay contributed work, and the magazine profiled women like politician Rosemary Brown, athlete Ann Hall, and filmmaker Anne Wheeler, who were challenging the predominantly male face of the arts and public life i
n Canada. In 1980, the demands of producing a national general interest magazine almost entirely by volunteers forced its closure.

In 2012, University of Alberta doctoral student Tessa Jordan completed aBranching Out Women and Art cover
dissertation in which she examined Branching Out’s place as part of second-wave feminist publishing in Canada, opening up an important conversation between post-millennium feminists and their baby boom predecessors. You can read her dissertation here, and an article published in the journal English Studies in Canada here.

Branching Out is part of the Alberta Women’s Memory Project at Athabasca University.

The issues posted on this website are also available at <http://awmp.athabascau.ca/digitized/branching/>.

Sharon Batt
Susan McMaster

Title Date
Branching Out – Vol. 1, No. 1 – March/April 1974 March 1974
Branching Out – Vol. 1, No. 2 – June/July 1974 Summer 1974
Branching Out – Vol. 1, No. 3 – August 1974 August 1974
Branching Out – Vol. 2, No. 3 – May/June 1975 May 1975
Branching Out – Vol. 2, No. 4 – July/August 1975 Summer 1975
Branching Out -Vol. 2, No. 5, September/October 1975 September 1975
Branching Out Vol. 1, No. 5 – November/December 1974 November 1974
Branching Out Vol. 2, No. 1 – January/February 1975 Winter 1975
Branching Out Vol. 2, No. 2 – March/April-1975 Spring 1975
BranchingOut-02-06-Nov-Dec-1975
BranchingOut-03-01-Feb-March-1976
BranchingOut-03-02-April-June-1976
BranchingOut-03-03-July-Aug-1976
BranchingOut-03-04-Sept-Oct-1976
BranchingOut-04-01-March-April-1977
BranchingOut-04-02-May-June-1977
BranchingOut-04-03-July-Aug-1977
BranchingOut-04-04-Sept-Oct-1977
BranchingOut-04-05-Dec-1977
BranchingOut-05-01-1978
BranchingOut-05-02-1978
BranchingOut-05-04-1978
BranchingOut-06-01-1979
BranchingOut-06-02-1979
BranchingOut-06-03-1979
BranchingOut-06-04-1979
BranchingOut-07-01-1980
BranchingOut-07-02-1980
BranchingOut-Preview-Dec-1973

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