This public talk invites a panel of librarians and cultural practitioners to explore zines as a self-published medium that circulates outside mainstream channels. It also inquires into the politics of producing and distributing zines, the challenges of acquisition and cataloguing, and the radical approaches that zines require librarians to take on.
As part of their residency with AAA, London-based zine librarians Holly Callaghan, Nicola Cook, and Loesja Vigour will deliver close readings of selected work from Tate Library and the Wellcome Collection, and discuss the processes of building their collections. They will be joined by the Hong Kong–based art publishing collective Display Distribute, which proposes the concept of “Semi-Autonomous Zines” as a way of scoping the development of zine and independent publishing cultures in East and South East Asia.
The programme also marks the launch of AAA’s new zine collection. Moderating the panel is Collection Manager Elaine Lin, who will discuss how the zine collection at AAA was built.
This public talk and residency is developed by AAA in partnership with the Wellcome Trust. The programme is part of Contagious Cities, an international collaborative project that aims to support locally grounded conversations around the global challenges of epidemic preparedness. The project proposes a reading between the notion of contagion, and zines as an art medium that spreads ideas without control.
Free and open to the public with registration.
Holly Callaghan is Senior Liaison Librarian at Tate Library where she acquires, catalogues, and provides access to library materials focusing on contemporary international art. She developed the zine collection at Tate in 2014 and previously established the zine collection at INIVA’s Stuart Hall Library with Sonia Hope. In 2015, she co-founded the UK and Ireland Zine Librarians group with Leila Kassir and edited the first issue of the UK and Ireland Zine Librarians zine. Callaghan is also a maker of queer DIY zines and comics about class, body positivity, pop culture, and mental health.
Nicola Cook began sourcing and collecting zines for Wellcome Library in 2016, to complement the library's existing graphic medicine holdings and to diversify the perspectives of health in the collection. Along with Loesja Vigour, she devised cataloguing procedures and held a series of group cataloguing workshops, effectively working through and making available the hundreds of zines acquired during that time. In late 2018, Cook began a secondment at Tate Library, and currently works alongside Holly Callaghan as a Senior Liaison Librarian.
Loesja Vigour is a Librarian at Wellcome Collection, where she develops and manages the zine collection. She also oversees the journals collection, organises public programmes, and catalogues ephemera, grey literature, and rare pamphlets. She organised Wellcome’s first Pop-Up Zine Library and all-day Zine Club with Nicola Cook, showcasing the library’s growing collection of zines focused around the lived experience of the human condition and the links between science, medicine, life, and art.
Display Distribute is a thematic inquiry, distribution service, now and again display proposition, and sometimes shop operating in and around the Pearl River Delta region. Current inquiries into the phenomenon of the Semi-Autonomous Zine have been carried out by artist-researcher Elaine W. Ho and writer-researcher Ming Lin.
Elaine Lin is Collection Manager at Asia Art Archive.