Permanent Fixture

Variant Archive

…neither an academic journal nor an art magazine. It offers a kind of feral scholarship. The length of the articles and the inclusion of citations and bibliographies do give it some resemblance to conventional academic journals … However, its characteristic style is serious, if at times vituperative journalism. To an extent rare in academic or art magazines, there is an editorial commitment to plain language.

Andrew Brighton, A Review for the Director, Scottish Arts Council, Summer 2002

Variant was a magazine of cultural criticism and long-form non-academic writing from an avowedly left but non-doctrinaire position. It was published in 2 volumes—volume 1 1984-1994 & volume 2 1996-2012. The magazine was a labour of love by all involved produced on a shoestring with an incredible reach way beyond its base in Scotland.

The contribution Variant made to dialogue on the intersections of class, culture and politics was significant, and contributed massively to the vitality of Scottish culture during the period of the magazine’s existence. Likewise, the structural support the magazine offered to a diverse group of writers, all of whom struggled to find a place within mainstream magazines culture during this period was invaluable.

Broadside holds a complete print archive of both volumes of Variant which is accessible to all to consult in Broadside. Additionally there are packs of volume 2 made up and ready to take.

In addition we hold a nearly complete print archive of Mute Magazine and a selection of Variant Editor Leigh French’s personal library.

How to Access

As we work out how to make the archive and related materials more easily accessible it is best to email us at and we can work out a suitable time. Generally there is someone in the space from 9:30 to 2:30 on weekdays.