2017 > 2018 (what I did last year and what I hope to do this year)

Happy New Year! Bye bye 2017, hello 2018!

I’m not really into New Years resolutions, mostly because they focus on unpleasant (mostly fatphobic) norms. But the beginning of a new year can also stimulate you to do more fun and creative stuff. So at the start of 2017 I gave myself some  creative and reading challenges. And it seems it worked to encourage myself!

These were my plans for 2017, written in italic, and in bold you can see what I actually did:

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Zines I read in 2017 (part IV: October – December)

Here are the final zines I read in the last three months of 2017. Still quite a lot but less than the rest of the year because I finally read some books too that invaded my reading time. 🙂 So let’s get on with it, I have plenty of treasures for you to discover:

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Article about feminist zines as activism in DiGeSt journal

Some cool news: My second research article was published a little while ago in the new issue of the journal for gender studies and diversity DiGeSt (published by the Leuven University Press). The article focuses on the ways zines can benefit feminist activists resisting body norms, often in unexpected or less traditionally-activist ways. My first research paper (for Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies) set some definitions of feminist perzines and delved into what makes them what they are. This second article highlights the importance of these “unruly booklets” for feminist activists who are fighting body norms.

Mail me if you’re interested in reading the article.

I’m very happy and proud that my articles were published in these scientific journals and it was a sometimes hard but ultimately great experience: helpful peer reviewers, patient editors who were willing to give my articles a chance despite not being an academic myself, amazing interviewees with super interesting and important stuff to say, learning to craft/build/edit my articles in the structure required for journals, reading other relevant (and less relevant but still very interesting) research, and hoping to convince readers who’ve never heard of zines of their amazing potential. I want to keep writing and researching about this stuff (zines, feminism, activism) but right now I’d like to focus again on writing for DIY and more accessible publications. The journals I wrote for are probably some of the more accessible (to write for) and are interested in gender stuff but all academic publications have the disadvantage of not reaching a lot of people* because of their excessive cost (unless you’re a student who can find them at their university library or database). That said, do contact me if you want to read my articles.

*It’s funny how people sometimes criticise zines for their limited reach (something which I wrote about in my article too) but I think that my zines will probably find more readers than these article will…

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Book reviews: Living out Loud, Hello Cruel World, Little Book of Craftivism

I read quite some books in the past year, here are some I haven’t reviewed elsewhere but enjoyed reading a lot. They range from self-care to creative activism.

Living out Loud – Keri Smith

If you’re a bit stuck creatively or have always wanted to do/make stuff but don’t quite know how or where to start, please grap a copy of this book. The author encourages you to find the playfulness we used as children in our artwork, to boost your creativity and for me that certainly worked. It’s fun to even just quickly read through the book and will give you instant inspiration and ideas. It comes with lots of little games, activities, stickers, paper dolls, and other such child-like fun, and it’s spiral-bound which makes it easy to use. The book is written by Keri Smith who’s know for her Guerilla Art Kit book and other similar public space creativity workbooks.

Hello Cruel World – Kate Bornstein

I wish everyone had this book on their bookshelf, in case of need. Really, get one for yourself, and then some for your friends if you can afford it. You may know Kate Bornstein for her books about (trans)gender outlaw identities which were way ahead of their time and being in her 70s she still kicks ass. In this book, Bornstein talks about suicide and about the 101 alternatives she lists to prevent it. Sure, not all those alternatives may be usuable for everyone, or are legal or healthy, but they may be of help for someone at some point, and she clearly states that anything is better than killing yourself. The first part of the book focuses a lot on gender and sexuality, as these are/were inportant in Bornstein’s life and related to her wellbeing. If that’s not relevant for you, you can skip it and go directly to the list of alternatives. There’s really plenty of diverse ideas here and she presents each option in a down-to-earth friendly and even funny way. The ideas range from staying in bed and running away to reinventing yourself and taking drugs or staying sober. Really, get this book, it’s probably the best self-help book out there, and in this shitty world we can all use a little Kate Bornstein in our lives.

A Little Book of Craftivism – Sarah Corbett

Craftivism means using craft for activist purposes. Sarah Corbett founded the Craftivist Collective and in this small book she gives some practical ideas or recipes for doing your own craft actions. She explains how to cross-stitch mini protest banners, how to embroider protest masks, how to make speech bubbles with shrink plastic, and how to create activist bunting, while mixing in tips for becoming a craftivist and ideas for slogans. This is a fun creative handbook if you’re looking for some new inspiration in your activism as well as if you’re an activist newbie.

More reviews I recently wrote: about comics (in Dutch), about The Archivist Turn in Feminism (in English) and about The Handmaid’s Tale (in Dutch) and there’s more to come!

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Book review: The Archival Turn in Feminism

The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order
– Kate Eichhorn

How could I not have picked up this book from the anarchist bookshop Fort Van Sjakoo in Amsterdam? It’s about several of my biggest passions: archives, libraries, zines, riot grrrl, and feminism. Can you imagine my excitement when I found it? However, despite the interesting subject matter, the book couldn’t continuously hold my attention and left me with quite a lot of questions…

 

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Amazone Winter Market in Brussels next week

I’m participating in the Winter Market at Amazone in Brussels on December 19th. It starts at 3 pm and goes on till 9 pm. I’ll be surrounded by amazing crafty artists and will share a table with the greatest zinester-friends.

Here are some photos of some of the zines and crafts you can expect to find at our table:

Zines and books by me and my friends + postcards for the winter season:

   

Buttons/badges + crafty bunnies and cats:

   

I’m almost packed and ready to go!

Come and have a look on the 19th!

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Comic about abortion rights in Mine Anthology

The MINE Anthology is a book full of engaging, creative and colourful cartoons, comics, and illustrations from various international artists, published to support the Repeal the 8th campaign by Irish feminist organisations. The project demands to repeal the 8th, provide true reproductive freedom and install legal and accessible abortion services in Ireland.

Our bodies are OURS!
My body is MINE!
So I get to decide what happens to it!
MY body MY choice!
Bodily autonomy now!

This amazing book was published a little while ago and you can still buy it here. There are also some cute bags for sale. Check it out and support MINE!

I happily participated in this project by contributing a comic for the publication. Here you can see the comic I made, depicting a short herstory of abortion rights in Belgium (it was only semi-legalised – legal under some conditions – here in 1990!):

Please support MINE and reproductive freedom for all!

 


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