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Zine Fair a success!

On Saturday 3 February, Barnsley Civic held the first Barnsley Zine Fair, which was also part of Barnsley Libraries’ first Barnsley Book Festival. It truly was a weekend of firsts!

What is a zine, we hear some of you ask. Well…

A zine (pronounced ‘zeen’) or zines are predominantly self-published, hand-made magazines. They can be collaged, zeroxed, photocopied, or produced digitally and printed as a risograph. Although methods of production have changed slightly over the decades, it still remains very much a DIY publication and continues to be a true alternative to mainstream media.

The first zines were focused on the love of science fiction, and later favourite sports teams, poetry, political activism, and music. Today, while the former all remain corner stones of fanzine culture, the zine community has also become safe space for people identifying as LGBTQIA+, or those who are disabled and/or a person of colour, to share their experiences, ideas, and stories. Zines are distributed via zine fairs and through national and international online distribution networks. And as ever, the topics covered remain niche and a way to find out people interested in the same things as you are.

Over the past seven years, we have used zines as a platform for exploring ideas and sharing creativity when working with different community groups.

We’re pleased to say that our first zine fair was a tremendous success. It took place in our gallery, freshly painted and in a rare gap in our exhibition calendar.

Over twenty tables, we had thirty-five zine makers, writers, poets, photographers, illustrators and graphic designers, from Barnsley, Yorkshire and beyond: with one zinester travelling from Glasgow. Amongst seasoned zinesters, familiar with the national zine fair circuit, there were also a number of local artists exhibiting for the first time, including Barnsley College Graphics students, Barnsley Young Writers, The Borough Collective and Femme Revolution Zine – all from Barnsley. 

Leeds based artist and Emergent Artist in Residence at Baltic Gateshead was invited to run a free drop-in workshop, in which visitors could try their hand at making their own zine.

We had over 350 visitors throughout the day, which was amazing to see for our first event and the majority of those tabling, were eager to find out if we’d be running another in the future.

While we won’t be announcing a date just yet, we definitely will host another event in the future.

In the meantime, Barnsley Zine Fair has its own Instagram account @barnsleyzinefair.

Photographer Timm Cleasby paid a visit. Here’s what he saw.

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