Zine Making Workshop @ Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield based Edge of the Universe Printing Press (EUPP) are a group I work with, assisting the delivery of workshops on zine making and screenprinting. Check EUPP out here! https://www.facebook.com/edgeoftheuniverseprintingpress

Eimear, Jon and I delivered a day long zine making lecture + workshop to 1st year Graphic Design students at Sheffield Hallam University. EUPP had delivered a similar workshop last year, so we had an existing workshop to build from. We decided to give it a thorough rethink, and in the end created two versions of the workshop; one full day, six hour session with lecture and workshop, and a variation that runs for 3 hours with reduced a lecture section.

After talking to course tutor Toby, we ran the 6 hour plan, which started with a lecture on the history of zines and zine making, contemporary zines, story arc and narrative techniques. We broke the lecture up with an excercise where students paired up, interviewing each other for 10 minutes, then responded by each creating a tri/accordian fold publication following a six stage story arc in 15 minutes. A speed zine! Students responded well; the time limit was tough but forced students to move quickly, spending only three minutes per page with pens, pencils and markers only.

The students module revolved around storytelling and 'A Sheffield Story', so we tied this into the days activities, bring along lots of local printed emphema to suppliment the materials students had been instructed to collect. We also wanted to emphasis the tradition zines have of being a platform for marginalised voices or niche ideas and opinions, so encouraged the cohort to connect with the session in their own way, with their own interests.

We had about 80 students on the day, so it worked out well having three of us, especially once we got to the second part of the day, the main workshop section. This kicked off with me (attempting) to explain Pagination, Imposition and Reproduction using a photocopier. We then ran a quick demo per table showing how to mark up page number on a mock up A5 publication, how this then mapped across to a set of single sided A3 blueprint sheets. It really is a tricky concept to visualise in the minds eye, so sitting down and working through it accelerated comprehension of the process.

The idea of working on loose A5 sheets that were pinned to the blueprints seemed to be confusing for some, but once the students realised they could shuffle and reorder the pages by not working directly on to the blueprints, the lightbulbs went off. There were many similar moments, and I think that's to be expected as the process doesn't make sense until you get to the point of using a photocopier for reproduction. Luckily we were able to use this point to readdress any problematic areas, and continue to successfully produce a lovely 8 printed page zine.

We didn't think too many students would reach the point of printing and binding their zines, but if active participation can be used as a measure of success for the day, well over three quarters of the students managed to each put together their own an eight page zine based on A Sheffield Story. Awesome! 

We needed to divide up the responsibilities at the end of the seession to manage the rush to photocopy. Eimear handled the copier, I covered the cutting and binding and Jon ran a kind of drop in crit and reflection group for those that had finished. A long, but rewarding day. We hope the group enjoyed it as much as we did!

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