Blog Series

How to Organize a Feminist Zine Fair (Part 2)

September 2nd, 2014     by Amy Egerdeen     Comments

In Part 1 of How to Organize a Feminist Zine Fair, we covered the first steps from building your team to booking your space. Part 2 covers the rest of the steps, so you can plan your own amazing feminist zine fair.

1. Plan the whole day! Make sure everything is in order

First, you can make a schedule of the day. When do you have to set up, when will tablers arrive? What times will the workshops run, and for how long? It’s great to have things really clear now, so that you feel like you know exactly what’s happening moment to moment on the day.

Everyone in your team will need to take on roles for the day-of – setting up the space, taking donations at the door, checking in with tablers, etc. You can start thinking about those roles now, and who would be best at what roles. Make sure no one takes on too much, and everyone feels good and appreciated for what they’re contributing.

2. The tabling call-out & safer space / accessibility write-ups

The tabling call-out is a crucial part of the zine fair – whether you want to charge per table, or offer free/pwyc tables, you still want to use the tabling application to make sure that the folks tabling at your fair are offering work that fits with your guidelines. In our case, we wanted to make sure that our tablers were offering feminist zines, and could talk about what made their zine / project / distro feminist. We used Brown Paper Tickets, which identifies as a “fair-trade ticketing company” and is simple to use, both for us setting up the application, and the folks registering.

Very important before you set up the tabling application – how many tablers are you going to have? Count tables, set them up in advance if possible. Do you want to have lots of space and less tablers? Make sure to be clear about how many spaces are available, and update folks (on Facebook or your website – see next step!) when you are starting to get fully booked.

In terms of accessibly, it might be a good idea to offer multiple forms of payment – PayPal, cash on the day of, etc.

You can read our tabling application (and apply if you are a feminist zine-maker!) here.

We also wanted to have a safe(r) space and accessibility policy, as those were both very important issues to us, and to what the feminist zine fair stands for. You and your team could brainstorm what a safe(r) space means to you, check out some other safe(r) space guidelines for other events, and make your write-ups available to everyone who is going to be tabling or attending the fair.

You can check out our policies here.

Our #1 rule we had for writing our safe(r) spaces and accessibility policies was to be as easy to understand as possible. Make sure that what you’re writing is accessible to folks coming from all sorts of life experiences.

3. Collaboration

Collaborating is an exciting and vital part of feminist organizing, and it’s great to get like-minded groups and organizations involved. We wanted to put on workshops, so we asked to collaborate with local zine-makers, printmakers, community justice organizations, and more, to put on workshops and generally get involved with the fair. We were really excited to collaborate with Shameless, because we love their feminism and their enthusiasm for self-publishing and independent media. To collaborate, you can research which organizations or groups you’d love to work with, and send them an email or call them to talk about how you could collaborate. It’s great to have a few ideas in mind before you reach out – maybe you want to do workshops, or have someone lead a talk, or anything else you can think of.

Make sure to be clear about what you can offer each other – if you don’t have much money to offer (it’s great to be able to offer a honorarium for workshops or speakers), make sure you’re both getting something positive from your collaboration. Talk about your expectations and theirs. And have fun combining your amazing ideas to make something new and exciting happen at your fair!

4. Make a poster!

You’ll want to make a poster for the zine fair to let folks in your community / town / neighbouring cities know what’s going on! Include all the important information, and make sure it’s eye-catching, accessible, and engaging. Proofread and confirm all information and images before printing it up. Show it to other people to get feedback.

If you have access to a printer and / or photocopier, amazing! Make lots of copies. If you have to pay to get it printed / photocopied, talk to a local printer and see if you can get a discount in exchange for promotion (or just because they appreciate the amazing work you’re doing!)

You’ll want to poster all over your city (make sure to check what the postering laws are in your community first), in like-minded organizations and spaces (coffee shops, community centres, feminist bookstores) as well as email the PDF of the poster to your contacts. Use the poster and/or images in the poster in your promotion.

5. Make a Tumblr / Facebook event

We promoted by making a Facebook event, and offering lots of information on SACHA’s website. The Facebook event can include all the important information – where / when / why – as well as your policies, who you’re collaborating with, and access to the tabling application.

It’s also great to make a Tumblr for your event. Most zine fairs are promoted on Tumblr, so you can link up easily with other zine fairs and similar groups. Share your information, and share theirs as well!

You can use your poster in all your online identities to keep everything looking consistent.

Then: In the final months/weeks: you’ll be going through tabling applications, talking to your collaborative partners, and promoting your event! Soon, it will be zine fair time. Congrats on your amazing work and what you’re providing to your community: this is happening because of your hard work!

After the Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair is over, we’ll have one last Shameless post, talking about what we liked best, what we want to improve for next year, and share some pictures from the event.

To get involved or for more information about our zine fair, check out this link.

Tags: activist report, body politics

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