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Monday, 31 May 2010

London Zine Symposium

On Saturday [DoR] took the trip to Shoreditch to visit the 6th Annual London Zine Symposium. It was busy.

The particular reason for our attendance was to sit in on Creating Our Own Culture, a discussion ran by Melanie Maddison, (Colouring Outside The Lines zine) and included input from Patrick Staff, (Ricochet! Ricochet! zine), Em Ledger, (The World's A Mess & You're My Only Cure zine) and Debi Withers, (Self-Publishing and Empowerment zine).

The discussion outlined the reasons and motivation for independent culture creation. Many reason behind this include the ability to allow personal interests to be fulfilled, working outside the mainstream of social interaction. Creating events and cultural social situations gives the ability to fill specific gaps of interest that do not exist and that are necessary. Cultural creation allows complete self expression and representation and the freedom to fulfill what it is you desire.

Patrick Staff - Old Mayfair Carpet Gallery

Patrick co-founded a temporary gallery space and artists studios as well as writing zines in the past. The reasons Patrick finds it increasingly important to be independent include the freedom to set and work by your own rules to achieve your own goals, which has the benefit of not having to answer to anybody. Also the potential to teach yourself new skills and personal development.

Em Ledger - Sister Spit : Next Generation

Em was asked to organise the Sister Spit european spoken word tour as well as writing many zines, putting on gigs and events. Her interest in DIY culture was sparked from the lack of positive female role models during her childhood and feeling increasingly isolated with lack of interest fulfillment.

Debi Withers - Hammer On Press

Debi has been extensively involved in DIY culture including nights such as Fag Club and Pussy Whipped. She has also founded a publishing company through which she has published her own book, Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory. Debi spoke of independently created culture as an active space that you cannot leave, once you have come across the DIY community you feel this is what it is you have been looking for. She declared that capitalism dictates socialism and the way to divert this is to be pro active about self socialism.

Debi gave valuable advice as to how to realise independent culture, including the way you conduct yourself, always act, look and behave professionally, even if you don't feel like you are. This concept was adopted by most of the panel, always market yourself as a capitalist venture and have conviction about what it is you are doing.

Other topics that were discussed included -

Self Sufficiency
Mutual Aid
Skill Exchange
Community Engagement


[Eloise P. Jones]

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