A MadZines workshop with real life humans: a guest blog by Lisa Archibald

The MadZines team was up in Edinburgh for the Zine festival in May (read our blog about that here).

We took the opportunity to drop in on the MSc in Mad Studies at Queen Margaret University, where we facilitated a MadZines workshop. Lisa Archibald, who was there, kindly wrote this guest blog for us.

On a rainy Monday morning when I had 6 million other things I probably should have been doing, I attended a MadZine workshop, in person – yes, with real life humans – at QMU in Edinburgh.


Admittedly, I went in with a degree of cynicism as my experience with zines so far has been a little uncomfortable. At times I have felt that zines can be a tad self-indulgent – a one-way big feelings dump that you, as the recipient, are left holding literally in your hands.


Or, I have found myself being given vomit worthy self-care themed zines that provoke in me a sense of shame for not being mindful or meditative enough while I chaotically juggle solo parenting, full-time work and clawing my way through a masters.


However, today, I was quickly and pleasantly filled with delight as I picked up the many wonderful creative examples set out before us. My favourite moment was opening an alphabetical zine by @RRowanOlive, declaring “C is for CUNT: I hate everybody”.


I did not know that it was possible to feel such a sense of connection and validation just by looking at a stick figure on card. I instantly thought, “this is my kinda zinester”.


Something I very much appreciated was that everyone, including the facilitators (Hel Spandler, Jill Anderson and Tamsin Walker) got stuck in and participated in creating their own zines alongside us.


As we sat around the table together politely sharing scissors and glue sticks I felt calm and connected. These days I find myself mostly in mad activist spaces that feel filled with anger, conflict and tension. I somehow, in recent years, forgot that solidarity can also be found whilst sitting together silently reflecting on each carefully considered word we put onto paper.


I am so impressed at the speed and productivity of my peers who completed amazing zines in such a short space of time while I barely even finished a few cut out words on my little green page.


I am officially a zine convert now, I make a promise to myself to finish the one I started today which will be a gift to a mad activist who has changed my life.

Also, the soup was really, really good.

Read about our earlier session with Mad Studies students at the University of Northumbria.  

Feedback on this guest blog?  Thoughts about MadZines and MadStudies? Want us to run a session with you?  Please get in touch.


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