Zine Website for Marginalized Communities

Totally agree with the previous posts, it’s great to see everyone again! I made a zine proposal zine πŸ˜‰ If you prefer, the same text is in the paragraph below.

This project proposes to create a website that presents information on the history and culture of zines, zine making instructions, a protected community page for connecting, and a gallery to display and archive zines. It aims to challenge the limited and partial social and cultural narratives that exist by empowering and encouraging marginalized communities to be authentically seen using the creative, fun, and unique medium of zines. Representing a community-collaborative platform, this would be a place to share stories, ideas, and experiences while facilitating connections with other people, beliefs, groups, causes, and interests. As part of the zine project, open and accessible in person workshops would be held to teach participants how to make analog zines and offer lessons on using digital tools to create digital zines.

During the environmental scan for the Intro to DH paper, I was excited to find a recent capstone project that has the potential to be developed with the proposed zine website project. In the Capstone Project, Exile Garden of the Uprooted, Sazia Afrin writes β€œExile Garden of the Uprooted was created as a stand-alone, digital zine. If I were to develop this project more in the future, I would consider incorporating it in a series of zines that explore the topic of migration through various approaches. For instance, one approach would be to create a zine of transcribed oral histories by doing interviews with asylum seekers and people from both migrant communities and host communities.”

Afrin, Sazia, “Exile Garden of The Uprooted: A Zine About Migration and The Right to Move” (2022). CUNY Academic Works.

4 thoughts on “Zine Website for Marginalized Communities

  1. Zico Abhi Dey (he/him)

    Extremely cool idea Kristy, I was so impressed with heart warming presentation last semester. One question I might have are you planning to build the website from scratch? Also, how are you planning to collect the zines? Through workshops? Or just like you mentioned “create a zine of transcribed oral histories by doing interviews with asylum seekers and people from both migrant communities and host communities.” Community storytelling is so close to my heart. Also, I am guessing you will use alias for representation since these are some of the sensitive information especially for those who are undocumented. I wonder about IRB implications for holding such interviews. Nevertheless, I am eagerly waiting for your pitch for the next class.

  2. Elizabeth Szypulski (She/her)

    Kristy,

    I love the presentation of this — it gives me an idea of how the zine concept might translate digitally, which is so important!

    I have a few questions that you might have addressed in your project proposal last semester:

    1. Do you have connections to current zine creators/communities that are creating zines? Or, like Zico asked, are you planning on showcasing the zines authored at the workshops?

    2. Does your work plan include details about how these workshops will be run and how you’ll make them available to/get interest from people in the communities you’re targeting? It seems like making these connections, planning and executing the workshops, etc., could be a semester-long (at least!) endeavor in itself.

    3. What is the minimum project you’d want to complete by the end of the semester? This site could be (and hopefully will eventually be!) huge, and it seems like the scope might be too wide to finish by May. How much content do you think is necessary to launch it? Are all the features are absolutely necessary for the first version, or might you save some for a later version?

    4. What roles do you envision project collaborators playing? What technical skills will be necessary?

  3. zelda montes (they/them)

    I love this idea, Kristy!
    A couple questions I had as I read through your post:
    1. I want to echo Elizabeth’s 3rd question regarding scope – would you rather focus on the zine workshops this semester with a digital archiving component, or developing the entire website to then be used alongside future zine workshops?
    2. Have you considered how potential language barriers may impact reach, and if so, what would be the plan for responsibly bringing in more voices?
    3. What are some potential accessibility challenges that should be kept in focus as development of this website takes place?

  4. Maria F. Buitrago (she/hers)

    Kristy!
    I love your idea, is fun and creative, I love zines and I love your enthusiasm. I also really like this multiple generations/voices approach you are bringing with the asylum seekers and the migration communities. Do you have a specific group in mind or are you in contact with a particular group? It would be easier in terms of scope and to facilitate the workshops to start with a small focal group first and maybe then, integrating feedback from the people themselves, reach out to other groups. On the other hand, I would like to highlight that Zine making and the history of Zines as I’ve come to know it, in general, has been a practice sustained and maybe even created (?) by those that we would seen as “marginalized” communities, sometimes for very specific political purposes. You mention that the website that you will create could also have the history and culture of zines (which I think its a huge topic on its own) and from my own personal and professional experience zines have been created by many communities as a means to diffuse knowledge with a low-cost production. There are many people working on Zines, as you might know, are you familiar with Bluestockings catalog? https://twitter.com/bluestockings/status/1249023794829803521?lang=en — It would be easier perhaps to pair up or reach out to groups that are already doing the work on the ground…
    I also think for the group working on this project is important (or maybe that’s just how I approach things as a reader, feel free to disagree!) to reevaluate or think deeper on certain terms that are a priori being used to describe the population: marginalized, authentic, empowering, etc. All of this terms need to be discussed because they might from the start create power dynamics that, if the idea is to transform current “negative” narratives about a given group, then you want to also as a facilitator move away from those power structures and give space for new categories or conceptions to emerge. Estefany said something really cool about her project that has stuck with me and it was something like “meeting the people where they are at” … so I will advocate for this project to flip the narrative and, rather than the academic group bringing terms to a community, let the community bring forward their own terms & vocabulary. Who knows what you might find in this crazy multicultural jungle called NYC!? And then you can engage in those questions of: what is authenticity? what does it mean for this people or how do they feel/see/perceive that they can be “authentic” doing zines in ways that they cannot be or do in other areas of their lives?
    Finally, given the potential of investigating and moving across analog vs digital platforms I feel like a project like this really can involve different generations and bring more people to the conversation about the “digital world”…like older folks ,or folks that don’t have regular access to computers and internet, or working class community… there’s a lot of potential to create a interactive pedagogical community research on what the digital looks/means for those that are not in the edge of the latest technological advancement. I love to see where this takes you! Zines are a beautiful journey! Hope my comments are fruitful and happy to discuss more. Congrats!!!

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