Working with Zines: A Volunteer’s Experience

The archives and special collections are happy to be hosting volunteers doing work experience as part of their Photography degree. Becky Dann has been working with zines and pamphlets from the personal library of Stefan Szczelkun, co-founder of the Working Press, books by and about working class artists.

Hi my name is Becky Dann and I am currently a 2nd year BA Hons Photography student. I have been volunteering in the Archives as part of my Professional Futures unit, which requires us to look for work experience to prepare ourselves for when we leave University and have to face ‘the real world’ as they say.

During my time in the Archives I have been working with different zines and pamphlets that are part of the special collections.

My role during this time was to look at the zines and pamphlets and note down things such as date of publication, if there is any copyright and any other interesting details, for example if there are any handwritten elements to them or just any little interesting factors to them.

There were a few zines that I found interesting when going through them. The first one being a German zine by Smile Magazin. For me it was my favourite for the aesthetics more than the information inside. The front cover uses Riso Printing and I love the gradients from the yellow through to green ending in blues. I also really like the fact that inside there is a small piece that has been hand stuck in with some hand writing on, and also the piece that has the yellow banner on and ‘art strike’ both have been stuck on by hand.

Smile magazine

The second zine that I liked was ‘The Face Of the Congress’ – with its bright pink cover it was instantly eye-catching. Throughout my time looking at zine’s something that was re-occurring was mail art, where people would send their work through and it would get published. I like that the work was collaborative and also the zine was posted and has a hand written address on the back along with stamps too. I just really liked this as it was unusual to see.

I just wanted to say thank you to Rebekah and Hannah for letting me work along side them for the week- I have enjoyed my time.

Becky Dann, Photography Student at University for the Creative Arts.

The Working Press Archive catalogue entry is available to view via the Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue. For access to the collection, please email

All images are used for educational purposes only.


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