D.I.Y Cultures

Blog post by volunteer, Lorna Harrington

On Saturday 29th June I volunteered at D.I.Y Cultures as part of the Feminist Library. The event was a zine fair which included talks and workshops as well as stalls held at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. While at the event I purchased a number of zines as well acquiring two issues of ‘Cuntry Living’ a feminist zine for the UCA Archives.

Going to the event was a great way to get to know people who create and sell zines. I was able to talk to Laura Chapman who is part of ‘Cuntry Living’ who was really enthusiastic about archives and the importance of them when creating your own zine.

The zine is produced by English and Art students in the Oxford area but is open to contributors from any subject area or location. Themes covered include gender, street harassment and body image through text and collage printed on pastel newsprint.

For those new to zines especially in the context of feminism it included an article giving an introduction to zines and their role in the fight for gender equality.

Having visited the fair, I came away with a lot of inspiration and a desire to create my own zine as part of my final major project. What struck me was the longevity of the medium and the communities they create. Whether in an institutional archive or in someone’s own personal collection, their influence is not singular or throw away.

For my first zine, I intend to focus on and celebrate the achievements of living women within art and design who although seem to dominate the education system do not always get the credit they deserve within industry.

While it may seem a big step to make your own zine, with many covering previously taboo subjects such as sexuality and mental health issues, many zinesters are looking for contributors or collaborators.  This is an easy way to start getting involved in the zine community and being on the way to creating your own.

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