Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.
This post is by #citylis student Tristan Hooper.
It is said that libraries should be more than just quiet places to read, that the modern library should foster learning, creativity and discovery. The atmosphere inside Clapham Library on Saturday, 3 October 2015 was more akin to a vibrant arts fair than a conservative environment heavy with imposed silence and strict etiquette. Music played, balloon animals were made and people, young and old, were encouraged to try something new. This was my first (and hopefully not last) extra-curricular experience with #citylis – a zine-making workshop designed to stimulate interest in those who might otherwise be oblivious to this unique form of expression.
I’d first encountered zines through my background in photography. Many aspiring documentarists see the zine as a cheap and effective means for disseminating their work to a wider audience. I’d come to associate zines with photography and was unaware of their extensive history as diverse agents of fandom.
A number of kids, ranging from the very young to early adolescent, arrived on the day to try their hand at zine making as part of an excellent event staged by Fun Palaces. Together they produced a wide variety of different designs and the spectrum of contemporary topics covered was quite astonishing. One girl explored her interest in coding, whilst another chap indulged his love of Chelsea Football Club. The nature of the zine as a mode of communication affords total freedom in terms of creativity and a real sense of authorship in the finished product. Another interesting aspect is that zines so often reappropriate from existing media – whether it be through imagery or text.
For me, one of the most fascinating zines of the day was made by a teenage boy named Ahmed who based his zine around his love for the game Minecraft. Throughout the afternoon, Ahmed divided his time between playing Minecraft, browsing for information online and making his zine. He used search engines to find pictures and text and then printed and glued these onto card. It was a wonderful synthesis of the digital and the tactile, of contemporary and traditional means of expression. He was using the zine, a form of document with a long and fascinating history, to express his interest in a recent and phenomenally popular computer game. Interestingly, Ahmed chose to base his zine around a game he himself described as being ‘educational’ – I really hope he learnt something from his zine making experience too – I know I did.
Tristan Hooper is on Twitter @TristanDHooper
You can download the handout used at the #citylis zinemaking fun palace here.
Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students. If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact Dr Ernesto Priego.
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