Taking a break from their midterm-week schedules, members of the University’s Feminist Art and Thought Collective hosted a zine-making night on Wednesday, March 4. People came in and out of the University Organizing Center’s (UOC’s) Anti-Oppression Library, sharing thoughts, snacks, and each other’s company.
The Feminist Art and Thought Collective hosts a weekly craft night, but this was their first event specifically designated for zine making and working in the Anti-Oppression Library. Co-founder Tess Altman ’17 first became acquainted with the Anti-Oppression Library through a professor and thought that a partnership between the collective and the space would be beneficial.
Xinyu Zhu ’16 began the informal meeting by explaining the purpose of the Library.
“[The Anti-Oppression Library] is a space to collect [information] and also for people to read about literature that pertains to fighting oppression and also liberation,” he said. “We also have fiction [texts] and a bookshelf for pamphlets and zines.”
According to UOC’s web page, the library is currently undergoing a revitalization process, spearheaded by the Infoshop Preservation Society, a recently formed student group. They are in the process of cataloging various print and audio media sources with the ultimate goal of creating a database for student use.
“Another part of our mission is to archive the wealth of documents scattered around the infoshop related to the rich history of activism at Wes,” the web page reads.
Some attendees expressed interest in having their zines printed and displayed in the library.
Using the various art supplies provided—paper, pens, glitter glue, and stickers were shared among members of the collective—attendees crafted zines, a small and personal publication pertaining to a single topic, usually featuring a combination of artwork and written content. Isabel Alter ’17 offered a brief and comprehensive definition of zines and their significance.
“Zines are very DIY and usually about a subject, and sometimes they’re serialized, and people will do a bunch of issues of a zine, but pretty much everyone on campus who makes zines does a specific zine on one topic,” Alter said. “You can also do ones—some of them are just made by one person and some of them are collaborative. We made a collective one last spring for our Feminist Art and Thought Collective.”
Throughout the course of the evening, the group engaged in a lively discussion ranging from spring break plans to future printing options for their zines. Currently, a graduate student prints the zines, but in the future they hope to garner the funds that would make possible formal arrangements.
The Feminist Art and Thought Collective is dedicated to the expression of feminism through artistic means, collaboration, and discussion. Altman provided insight into its many functions.
“The main purpose of the group is to provide a space for people to express themselves, maybe make art addressing sexist oppression, maybe not, maybe we just know we’re all feminists and make other type of art, hold discussions, hold events, help people with their projects,” she said.
Speaking to their collaborative nature, a member of another student group dropped by the zine-making night to ask members if they would be interested in providing artwork for an upcoming event. Attendees happily agreed to participate.
Altman further addressed the creative freedom that zine-making allows in contrast with other styles of publication.
“When I think of a zine, I think the biggest part of someone making a zine as opposed to [working on] another publication is the DIY aspect,” she said. “You can also write in different ways than you would write for an essay, or in class. You can express yourself in a different way.”