#citylis Zinemaking Workshop at Clapham Library Fun Palace

Fun palaces logo

This blog post was co-authored by Dr Matt Finch and Ludi Price, with edits by Dr Ernesto Priego.

What: Zinemaking workshop led by #citylis members.

Free. All ages welcome.

When:  3rd October, 2015 – 1:00PM – 5:00PM

Where:  Clapham Library / 91 Clapham High Street, London, England, SW4 7DB

How to get there: Tube: Clapham Common, Clapham North Train: Clapham High Street Buses: 35, 37, 88, 137, 155, 255, 322, 345, 417
Hashtags: #citylis, #funpalaces

On Saturday, 3rd October 2015 members of the #citylis team will be involved in a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of public librarianship. Eleven venues run by Lambeth Libraries and Lambeth Archives will open their doors for people to try their hand at the arts and sciences, storytelling and play, exploration and adventure. It’s all part of the annual Fun Palaces weekend, a celebration of community, art, and science championed by writer and director Stella Duffy.

You can watch a a video about last year’s Fun Palaces here:  https://vimeo.com/107262132.

Fun Palaces were originally the brainchild of theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price. In the 1960s, they imagined a roving a pop-up community venue that would venture out beyond city-centre cultural venues to serve as a ‘laboratory of fun.’ It took five decades to come to fruition, but in 2014, Fun Palaces arrived. Theatres, libraries, and museums across the UK and overseas were transformed into places where people of all ages could try their hand at art and science.

Some of the partners who are running workshops for Lambeth Libraries were attendees at our #citymash conference in June. #citylis staff and students will also be on hand for the Clapham Library Fun Palace, running a special all-ages zinemaking  workshop to help people express their passions and interests through word and image.

A zine (short for ‘fanzine’) is a self-published or handmade magazine, that has a longer history than some might think, beginning with the concept of the small, amateur presses of the 19th century.  Zines as we know them today really came to the fore in the 1960’s-70’s, with the rise of cult media, with TV shows such as Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E, and the rise of alternative subcultures, particularly punk.  Zines are built on a ‘DIY’ ethos, comprising of text and images reproduced mainly through Xeroxing (photocopying) at the creator’s own expense, with no intention of making profit, and with only a small readership in mind.

Before the internet, zines were an important part of fandom, as it allowed fans to create their own literature, one that official channels could or would not produce. These zines satisfied the fans’ craving for news and information on their chosen fandom(s), for the exchange and discussion of ideas, and for the creation and consumption of creative works. Many fanzines were compiled by ‘circles’, fans who would group together to produce this homemade literature, compiling fanfiction, fanart, essays and even directories. These would be sent out to ‘subscribers’ via a postal network that could, especially with the more popular titles, cross the globe. Profit wasn’t the point of zines – it was more about sharing your passion with like-minded fans – but in the case of titles with a wider readership, money would only change hands in order to defray the costs of production and shipping.


Datazine (1980-91), the famous fanzine directory. (Source: Mrs. Potato Head, 2010).

Datazine (1980-91), the famous fanzine directory. (Source: Mrs. Potato Head, 2010).


Today the traditional role of zines has largely been taken over by the internet, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still exist.  Fanzines are still a popular way of sharing one’s interest and passion with other fans, and they often make for appealing and visually unique artefacts.  Of course, with the advent of the independent, internet-based publishing houses such as lulu.com, there are many zines nowadays that look as good as any professional title, although there is still a strong tradition of Xeroxed and home-printed zines around.


British punk zines from the 1970’s. (Source: Wikimedia Commons).

British punk zines from the 1970’s. (Source: Wikimedia Commons).


Why are zines important?  Well, they are a unique expression of individual creativity, and, more importantly, of sharing that creativity with others.  They are great focuses for collaboration and participatory culture.  They are the folk art of the internet age, and at Fun Palaces we are aiming to get peoples’ creative juices flowing and to give them an outlet for their passions, interests and fandoms.  Hopefully we can learn some new skills, have some fun, and have something to take home at the end of the day. Some libraries have great zine collections, take a look for example at the British Library’s fanzines collection, Barnard Zine Library, New York University’s Riot Grrl collection, the Feminist Library Pamphlet Collection at the Bishopsgate Institute, etc.


SPARADRAP! fanzine. (Source: Teratoiid, 2013.

SPARADRAP! fanzine. (Source: Teratoiid, 2013.


Lambeth Libraries and #citylis are pleased to team up for this fun, creative experiment in outreach – a new way for a university to speak to communities, for a public library to connect its local neighbourhood with top-flight research, and most importantly of all, a chance for one and all to create something awesome, special, and unique. This is an example of how #citylis maximises on our global location and distinctive links with London (and the City of London), developing opportunities for our students to develop a breadth of experience as preparation for life and work, fostering effective and innovative collaborations with local communities and the public and private sectors, etc.

We live in days in which interacting with electronic devices and digital content can be taken for granted.  Zinemaking can help us reconsider the role of materiality in the creative process and the dissemination and preservation of information. How can Web technologies and good old paper and glue work together and what can we do with it? Join James Atkinson, Dr Matt Finch, Dr Ernesto Priego and members of team #citylis at Clapham Library Fun Palace from 1pm on Saturday 3rd October 2015!

Follow Lambeth Libraries Fun Palace @LamLibsFP.


Read about about Dr Stephann Makri and #citylis student Shermaine Waugh’s serendipity in libraries Fun Palace activity here.


Interested in these topics? Find out more about studying Library and Information Science at City University London here.


About Ernesto Priego

A lecturer at City, University of London. My research interests include digital humanities, library and information science, human computer interaction design, comics scholarship, scholarly communications, open access, open data and open educational resources.
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