New Fanzines at Epsom

zine zine3 zine4 fashion-as-sculpture

We have an exciting addition to the Epsom Archive at UCA – a large selection of student zines. For the Visual Communication brief, the Graphic Design students were set the task of creating a fanzine (a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest). This brief was given a fashion biased and students could choose from the following themes:

Sustainable fashion

Music and Subculture

Art and Fashion




Concept stores

Fashion and Architecture



Taste and kitsch




The fanzines are incredibly varied considering the guidelines of each having 20 pages, a 250-word limit and the use of three colours. They are a great resource for anyone researching zines.


Volunteering at the Feminist Library

By volunteer Lorna Harrington
As well as being involved with the UCA archives I also volunteer at the Feminist Library in London, so what better way to finish women’s history month than to explore the resource in further depth.
The library houses over 7,000 books including fiction, non-fiction and poetry and 1,500 periodicals. What makes it so special, is its unique classification system which reflects the feminist ethos of the library, with its’ non-hierarchical categorisation.
I first discovered the library as a student at UCA while researching feminism as part of my dissertation focusing on fashion and its relationship with women. I never actually had the time to visit, but now as a volunteer I am finally able to spend some time getting to know the collection.
In terms of acquisitions of interest to art and design students, the periodicals room has a total of twenty four art journals including Feminist Art News, Women’s Art Journal and Make. It also contains copies of Spare Rib, the women’s liberation magazine which ran from 1972 to 1993 which has since been digitalised and is now available online through the British Library website.
Zines are also a key part of its collection with publications covering themes such as race, sexuality and gender. A zine or fan zine is a self-published piece of work about a specific topic often those that are not usually covered by the main stream media.
For designers, it is interesting to see the various unique styles of zines and gain inspiration for layouts and graphic presentation. In an increasingly digital world, zines still reflect their analogue routes through their use of collage, photocopying and hand written text.
They also holds many events during the year related to the arts be it zine festivals, art exhibitions or feminist film screenings. As well as this they attend events such as Feminism in London and Women of the World at the Southbank Centre.

Volunteering in the archives- MA Fashion

Volunteering experience of Lorna Harrington, alumni of UCA
As an MA Fashion student and volunteer at the Feminist Library, starting
to work with the UCA archives has been an exciting project.
I have been able to see first-hand at the Epsom campus how the art school has changed over the years through looking at past prospectuses as well as minute books. This has made me start to consider whether the art school is a feminist space, a topic I hope to explore while volunteering at the archives.
I have also had the opportunity to visit UCA Farnham where I was able to look at some of the Tessa Boffin archive and the zine collection. These were of specific interest to me, due to my studies in to feminism and my post graduate studies which have so far focused on creating my own zines and planning an exhibition.
The Tessa Boffin archive, is a collection of personal papers including hand
written notes belonging to former staff member and photographer Tessa Boffin. Part of the collection included her research for a proposed exhibition on a Billboard
which focused on a real life news story surrounding the alleged rape of a young woman by a member of her own sex pretending to be a man. Also included is the project proposal which really gives insight into what goes in to putting on an exhibition.
The zine archive includes a wealth of material and is certainly an inspiration to anyone thinking about creating their own, both in terms of content ideas as well as presentation.
I had the pleasure of looking at The Hissterics a zine created in 2001 by feminist artist Rachael House. Interestingly, since visiting the archives I have met Rachael who
was both a performer and stall holder at The Feminist Library winter fair.
From this meeting I was able to acquire three more of her zines;
C(o)unterculture–women’s land and Red hanky panky issues eight and nine. As part of my volunteering I hope to write a small guide giving an overview of Rachael House’s zine for those using the archive.

‘English Suppressionists’ mailart – language, culture and geography

Zine, English Suppressionists

English suppressionists
‘The English Suppressionists’ is the title of a mailart project and resulting pamphlet by Keith Bates. Printed on vivid blue paper, in a dark blue ink, the zine contains both text and art. Many of the pieces submitted to the project are made up of images alongside words in satirical adverts, instructions and collages.
The artists consider their own cultural identities with feelings varying from candid impatience to critical fondness. The introduction to the pamphlet explains the decisions behind the name ‘Suppressionists’ as this invokes both an association with existing art movements such as the Impressionists and Expressionists alongside a darkness which could hint at ‘the antithesis of art’.
Some of the characteristics of Englishness which are explored are negative traits such as bottling up emotions rather than expressing them, stiff upper lips and other ‘character armour’.
Issues of language, culture and geographical location are all dealt with as part of the project. Jonathan Stangroom’s show ‘Multiculturalism’ brought up the fact that most international mail art dialogues are conducted in English and this is highlighted here in Bates saying that ‘language is not a neutral vehicle for expression’.
The Suppressionists end up taking on a dual meaning, both of the English tendency to suppress expression of emotion and the fact that the dominance of the English language in art suppresses the identity of other cultures.

What’s in the Epsom Archive? Not just a Room of Dusty Old Books.

Not just a Room of Dusty Old Books.

As the archive room is relatively new at Epsom, tucked away near the equipment hire, it might not have surfaced on your radar. I thought I’d share with you some of our finds to entice you to visit us.

Leighton and I are Gateway Advisers by day but have volunteered to help in the Epsom archive room (as Rebekah Taylor the actual archivist is based in Farnham.) We open the room twice a week to students and staff and during that time have come across some real treasures.

For instance, who is this glamorous member of staff photographed on a Fashion Department outing to Ascot in 1962?

Espom School of Fashion staff

This is just one of the photographs and newspaper clippings lovingly preserved in a scrapbook covering 1961 to 1995. It’s a real insight into UCA Epsom through the ages. A brilliant place to start your research as there are examples of fashion through the ages, student unrest, politics, sexism…. It’s all there when you start to read.

Graphic design students may be interested to know that the archive room houses a vast collection of books published by ‘The Diagram Group’. If you are unfamiliar with their work, they specialise in detailed diagrams, charts, maps and illustrations. The group is also responsible for the hilarious ‘Diagram Award’ presented each year to the book with the oddest title. Awards in the past have been given to ‘Living with Crazy Buttocks’ in 2002, ‘Bombproof your Horse’ in 2004 and ‘Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way’ in 2010.

Not only do we have the books but all the original artwork and layouts. From ‘Card Games’ to ‘Early Man’, ‘the Sex Lives of Animals’ to ‘How to be a Success’!

Epsom Diagram Group How to be a Success

We have zines and artists’ books galore, some created by UCA staff, which are marvellous sources for fine art, illustration and graphics. We have student publications like ‘Jigsaw’ from 1976 created by 2nd year Communications Design students. Their brief was to create a newspaper each day for one week and they feature news, interviews, recipes, tips, cartoons and small ads.

For Royal family fans, there are copies of fragile, old newspapers from the 1930’s of King George V’s demise, King Edward’s abdication and the Coronation of King Edward VI. We have the 1953 edition of ‘The Times’ and the ‘Picture Post’ covering Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and the more recent Royal Wedding Souvenir of Charles and Diana.

There are a plethora of Victorian handwritten letters and postcards regarding Art school business. They are such wonderful examples of Victorian copperplate writing; unfortunately now a dying skill. This memo dates from 1896 and is just one of many acceptances to the opening ceremony of ‘The Epsom Technical Institute and School of Art’ in 24th July and shows beautiful penmanship.

Epsom handwritten

So why not give us a visit? We are open during term time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3pm or by special request. Ask at the Gateway desk or email

Tiffany Gregory, Advisor, Library & Student Services, Epsom campus

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.