The Lismore community was lucky enough to be chosen as one of four regional centres to receive a free culture mapping workshop over the weekend.
A culture map of Lismore was created in one day by around 20 participants at the Lismore Art Space and distributed the following day.
Culture maps are created by community members to inform readers of the places, people and culture in that moment in their community in a ‘zine’ format.
Jeremy Staples is the founder of Toowoomba-based free music and arts zine Bizoo which has now been catalogued in a zine book called The Best, The Worst and the Trash That Never Made It.
Joining Jeremy on the culture mapping tour is another Toowoombian, Elouise Quinlivan, who has transitioned from a career in teaching to zine production and workshopping.
Mr Staples said the modern day zine originated ‘from fan zines from sub-cultures like sci-fi and punk for example where music publications were wary of music that was obnoxious and had foul language’.
‘In three years time that culture map may be irrelevant but it documents a time in Lismore,’ Mr Staples told Echonetdaily.
Ms Quinlivan said that regional centres were a priority for the tour as they quite often did not have the same media representation that larger areas have.
‘Usually you go to a regional area and you get told the three big things to check out and later you find out about cool art spaces, quirky back alleys and community run shops for example, this is what we want to help regional centres document,’ Ms Quinlivan said.
‘We like to go to regional areas and get people to start talking about what is amazing and not so amazing about the place they live.
‘Regional places usually only get a voice in a disaster, so although we don’t encourage zines that just paint pretty pictures we try to represent what is real in each community,’ she said.
Many local councils have shown interest in zines, according to Ms Quinlivan, as they are particularly interested in what the young people think.
‘Council will never find that information out of a glossy magazine, this is a way they can hear what is really going on and what may need to change,’ she said.
Because of their tangibility, many people trade zines which is not possible with e-zines. With a few exceptions zines are printed on paper and can have anonymous contributors.
‘Social media allows people to directly comment on what has been written where zines allow people to explore feelings, we see social, emotional, political and sexual issues being explored and the contributors will not have thirty comments saying “LOL you didn’t spell today correctly”,’ said Ms Quinlivan.
‘When people express something personal they don’t usually want to be shot down.’
Ms Quinlivan said zines have been popularised because of the internet which makes contact databases more current.
Zines are traditionally free or under five dollars.
‘Advertising doesn’t really exist in the zine culture, you just need to have a little bit of money for printing and maybe posting,’ she said.
Mr Staples said the traditional funding model for zines is ‘beg, borrow or steal’.
‘Generally things that are limited and handmade cost more, zines contradict that,’ said Mr Staples.
Many state libraries collect zines as they document the times.
‘Zines represent the times very differently to what we see in Dolly or Frankie,’ said Ms Quinlivan.
Zines have been known to show up when sitting in libraries, at bus stops, on trains etc.
‘The beauty of zines is they don’t need to be distributed through mainstream outlets,’ said Ms Quinlivan.
Joanna Kambourian is caretaker of the Lismore Art Space who hosted the workshop and has been a keen follower of zines.
‘My background is graphic design and print making so anything that is about printing and distributing information DIY and on a grassroots level is attractive to me,’ Ms Kambourian said.
To check out the Bizoo zine go to www.bizoo.com.au