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April 25, 2008 / Ben Chun

Making a Zine

I just had a very encouraging meeting with a couple of colleagues (at a lovely off-campus venue) about a project we’re going to do with my freshman classes. The basic idea is that students will create a zine about how they relate to their neighborhoods, with a focus on understanding and preventing violence. It was really nice to collaborate with these colleagues — in about 45 minutes we created the project, planned out roughly 2 weeks of class time, connected with some other events going on at school, and divided up the remaining work.

The starting point is that we’ll bring in some zines for students to look at, and let them find out what they like about this form of publishing. Then we’ll have a series of writing prompts to help them explore their neighborhood relationships and experiences or ideas about violence. The writing will take place in our online forums, and so there will be documented responses and conversations. Then students will find writing (their own or that of others) from these forums and other sources to assemble with MS Word into a layout. The first stage of the project will culminate with students looking at the layouts done by the whole class, and possibly voting or otherwise indicating their favorites.

Then these 100-odd pages of filtered and laid-out content will go to a smaller group of interested students (the “editors”) who will work outside of class to cut-and-paste together the final zine. In addition to the pages, there will also be drawings and paintings done by students, and written contributions from parents and other community members that we’ll collect at the school’s open house night — which also happens to coincide with an art show at the school.

The cool thing is that the aforementioned colleagues I’m working with are our librarian artist-in-residence and a community health outreach worker. So they’re both very flexible in terms of schedule and can come in to work with my three classes. I’m looking forward to it!



Leave a Comment
  1. orange / Apr 28 2008 3:14 pm

    firstly: way rad. your job continues to seem fabulously neat from this vantage point.

    secondly: librarian artist-in-residence?? whatiz?

  2. Ben Chun / Apr 28 2008 6:00 pm

    Librarian Artist-in-Residence happens when you have a librarian who goes on sabbatical and the substitute that comes in to take his place is an art teacher: Meet Todd Berman.

  3. Joel / Apr 30 2008 12:41 pm

    Great idea gentleman,

    If you are familiar with InDesign, I’d be happy to share some chapbook templates with you. Don’t know if we could pull off a field trip here at 826 for this, but might be worth a try. Send us some dates.

  4. orange / May 2 2008 11:55 am

    well. that’s just rad.


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