Friday, 18 May 2012

Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention souvenir programme fanzine and timings

The Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention souvenir programme will be available on the day, printed by Footprint Workers Co-operative. It starts with an introduction to what fanzines are by Manchester-based graphic designer Jenn Trethewey and contains information on talks, stallholders and workshops, as well as interviews with people involved in the day and an insight from Footprint on why they are a co-operative, what it means and what they do. Find out about Friends of Victoria Baths' swimming trips to other historic pools around the country, and how to get involved. Finally, Norwich's Deerly Beloved Bakery, which will be catering the day, has contributed a recipe for vegan triple layer chocolate brownie cake!

Read it online here:

Download and print a copy here.

The Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention will take place on the first floor of Victoria Baths on Saturday 19 May from 10am-5pm. Map, designed by artist Daniel Fogarty (click for larger image):

Timings for the day:

10.30am Guided tour of the building
11am 'Workshop: Alice in apps land: explore your smart phone and your environment', meet in the superintendent's flat (upstairs)
12pm Guided tour of the building
12.30pm Film screening: Self-Publishers of the World Take Over by Salford Zine Library, followed by Q and A, committee room (upstairs)
1.30pm, Talk: Rotherham Zine Library/Closed Caption (title tbc), committee room (upstairs)
2.30pm Talk: David Wilkinson, Pam Ponders Paul Morley's Cat: The Wired and Wonderful World of City Fun, committee room (upstairs)
3.30pm Talk: Cazz Blase, Making a noise: an express ride through the world of punk and riot grrrl fanzines and the UK feminist underground, 1977-2012, committee room (upstairs)

For a map and how to get to Victoria Baths by public transport and car, visit:

A free bus will run between Future Everything venues the Museum of Science and Industry, MediaCityUK and Victoria Baths on Saturday.

Timetable (click for larger image):

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Q and A: Cazz Blase

Cazz Blase, a veteran of the zine scene who started her first zine, Aggamengmong Moggie, in 1993, is doing a talk entitled 'Making a noise: An express ride through the world of punk and riot grrrl fanzines and the UK feminist underground, 1977-2012' at the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention on May 19. After Aggamengmong Moggie, which ran until 1999, Cazz wrote the zines Real Girls (2001) and Harlot's Progress (2002-2006). Cazz is now one of two music review editors at The F-Word website, for which she has written extensively about both women and the UK punk scene and the UK riot grrrl scene, and was a contributing author to the book Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now! (Black Dog Publishing, 2007). At the Fanzine Convention, Cazz will be launching her most recent zine, Too Late for Cake, a collaboration with David Wilkinson (who is also speaking at the Fanzine Convention), which is themed around Stockport, Cazz and David's home town.

SV: You started your first zine, Aggamengmong Moggie, when you were just 14. What type of thing did you write about and was anyone else involved? How did you go about creating, reproducing and distributing your zine? 

CB: I wrote about music in the main I would say, particularly Riot Grrrl and indie bands, but I also used to do a lot of lists as well. I don't know how popular it was but one of the longer running lists was 'School Late Book Excuses', because at my high school you had to sign a book called the School Late Book whenever you were late for school, and you had to put name, class, reason for lateness. This led to all sorts of fanciful nom de plumes and whimsical excuses, some of which I published. I did some ranty pieces as well, and some sort of earnest investigative reporting, such as a three way investigation into the disappearance of vinyl as a musical format. That involved sending letters to record companies, surveying school friends, and going into record shops after school to get the shop perspective.

It was mainly me. A couple of years in my sister did some writing for me, particularly when she went away to university, and writers from some fanzines that I wrote for wrote for me.

I initially produced the covers by hand with a stencil, and the rest of the fanzine was typed and printed off on my mum's word processor. Later the covers were photocopied, and later still, the whole thing was photocopied. I had my own photocopier for a bit as well, which helped. Well, it was my mum and dad's, but I basically commandeered it.

I was very lucky so far as distributers were concerned because there were a lot of them, and they all seemed pretty broad minded in terms of what they would take and sell. I used Piao! for the first few years, but their catalogues couldn't keep up with the speed at which I was producing zines, and then they started to become more of a promoter and label than a distro, so I switched to Little Green Man in Manchester, who sold tapes but wanted to sell the fanzine, and they were really good – they had a subscription deal set up with it, and they were in a band (Godsister Helen) so they sold the zine at their gigs. That probably influenced content a bit as well, it meant I focused a lot more on Manchester and the Manchester scene at the time.

SV: Why did you start making fanzines and what was it about the medium that attracted you? Did it give you an outlet you might not otherwise have been able to find at that age? 

CB: I started making fanzines because of the John Peel show, I think, and the Voodoo Queens. I wanted to write about them, and there was other music I wanted to write about as well. I hadn't actually read many fanzines at this point, I'd only really read the Shakespears Sister fanzine, Harmonally Yours, which was good for band news but incredibly sycophantic in tone, and it only came out every four months, which I felt wasn't enough. As a result of that, I decided I didn't want to focus on one band only, that two months was about right, and that I wasn't going to be sycophantic.

My early style was probably NME meets the Wizzkids Handbook, with more swearing. Another influence was a magazine called Zine which was sort of somewhere between a fanzine and a magazine, and it was written entirely by its readers. They did zine reviews, so I found out a lot about zines through them. I think I'd seen at least one of the riot grrrl zines that Slampt put out by then as well.

I found the medium rather intimidating, I was a technological luddite so I sort of had to drag myself through it and teach myself how to type and use a word processor, then later photocopiers.

It did give me an outlet I might not have otherwise have had, definitely. It was fanzines or writing stroppy letters to the local paper, local MP and NME basically otherwise. There wasn't much scope for teenagers to make themselves heard in the nineties.

SV: Were you inspired by any other fanzines and were you aware of other women making zines at the time? 

CB: I was very fortunate to start making fanzines in mid-1993, when there were tons of Riot Grrrl zines around. That definitely helped. It was normal to be a girl doing a fanzine then, but a lot of them were more personal than I felt mine were. A.M has been written of since as being very personal, but I didn't feel it was at the time – possibly later on, but it was basically started as a music fanzine. I admired the bravery of Erica, who wrote Scars and Bruises, which was about depression and angst I think. One fanzine I would have loved to have read, but never got hold of, was Rampaging Teenage Pervert by a girl called Kate in London. I read an interview with her in a zine about zines once, and she sounded cool. That was a very funny queercore zine by the sound of it.

The Slampt zines, which were put together by Rachel Holborow and Pete Dale, were always good – they tended to include all sorts of people from the north east scene and beyond, and Ablaze! 10 had a massive impact on me for a long time, that was the one with all the riot grrrl stuff in, including the girl power manifesto, and Bobbins! and Grrls World did as well. Ablaze! was Karren Ablaze!'s zine, and Bobbins! and Grrls World were written by six formers in Stockport and Manchester. Grrl's World was their 'We've just been to see Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear on tour!' fastzine, and Bobbins! was a very droll indie zine, which never took itself even remotely seriously but which did have interviews with bands and stuff as well. The band Golden Starlet (later International Strike Force) also did a comic zine, which was cool. There were some cool girls in Cambridge who did a fanzine called Smitten (I think) as well, and that was really good.

What was a big influence was a teenage novel by Roger Burt called The Melanie Pluckrose Effect, which is about a group of schoolgirls stirring up a minor planning revolution in a midlands market town. I would have liked to have achieved something as major as that with A.M, but it wasn't to be.

SV: Aggamengmong Moggie ran for six years, which is a long time to sustain such a self-initiated project. Why was it successful, and what part did it play in your life? 

CB: I think it was successful because it was produced between 1993 and 1999, which was a great time for fanzine making. Also, it was mainly done during the years I was at high school when I didn't have much of an outlet elsewhere for what I was saying in the fanzine. Once I got to six form college, it was actually harder to be as productive because the work was more personally interesting at college than it was at school so I was more engaged with it. I basically failed most of my GCSEs, so I was able to use the energy I should have spent on passing them on the fanzine. Not that I would have passed them though, because I didn't feel engaged with most of the subjects on the national curriculum, I just used the time differently basically.

It actually played a bigger part in my life than I realised at the time, I didn't really think in the long term at the time but it is still remembered, and it did start me on the path towards wanting to be a writer and a journalist. I didn't really analyse it at the time though, I just did it.

SV: What did you get out of making a zine? Did you feel you were part of a wider network of people making zines at that time? 

CB: Not really, not until I hooked up with Little Green Man in about 1995 or so. Before then most of my friends who did zines or were involved with the underground scene in other ways were in London, Newcastle or Leeds. I did meet more Manchester/Greater Manchester zine writers, but not until 1996.

There were a few of us around then: Emmeline who did Soul Junk, Daniel who did I'm 5, Carl who did Fancy Biscuits, Nicola who did Meow!... I found during this period though that having friends locally was actually detrimental to producing fanzines, as far as I'm concerned, in that I basically just work better in solitude. Also, having feedback more constantly made me self conscious, and probably a bit arrogant and arsey I'm ashamed to say as well! I was quite pleased when that period was over.

SV: At the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention, you're going to be giving an overview of zines in the punk and Riot Grrrl movements. What was their significance to the feminist underground? 

CB: These zines ran parallel to Spare Rib, Women's Report, and more mainstream feminism throughout the eighties and nineties in the Guardian's Women's pages. A magazine like Shocking Pink was set up in reaction to Jackie initially, which was the leading mainstream girls mag of the day, and it later found itself reacting to Spare Rib because it was felt by the second collective that Spare Rib didn't represent younger feminists. In terms of punk, Spare Rib had a terrible time adjusting to punk, and you can see the debates around it played out if you read back issues of Spare Rib from the late seventies, so a fanzine like Jolt, that was a punk feminist zine, helped bridge the gap between the two camps.

From a Riot Grrrl zine point of view, my take on it is that those fanzines helped to introduce a new generation to feminism, and that they were perhaps more accessible and more welcoming than the idea that you had to read a long list of really very academic books about feminism before you were allowed to call yourself a feminist. Also, the riot grrrl zines were discussing issues that were relevant to young women – such as being sexually harassed in school – that feminism wasn't discussing at the time.

SV: Do you have any favourite zines, either for their content or style? 

CB: Anything Slampt put out was basically excellent, and there was a Manchester zine by a guy called Dean Talent, called When I Grow Up I Want To Be Bobbee Gillespie that was really good as well, in that sort of beat generation romantic wanderings kind of way. Slampt were very new-style punk, very nineties punk. Messy but sincere. I also used to really love reading the Chemikal Underground newsletter in the late nineties, because they came out very sporadically but were always really funny and tended to be more entertaining in a musical sense than a years worth of NME would have been at the time.

SV: If you were a fourteen-year-old girl now, do you think you would still start a zine, or would you start a blog/online journal instead? 

CB: I would be doing a blog or a live journal, because it's cheaper basically. Having said that, I think I'm relieved in a way that the technology wasn't around at the time because there are things I wrote in my zines that I wouldn't want to go up online. You can make mistakes with far less risk in a paper fanzine, simply because less people read them and also you could destroy the evidence much more easily at the time if you really fucked up.

SV: Why do you think people are still interested in making – and reading – zines? 

CB: I think there is a romanticism attached to paper zines that is similar to attitudes to vinyl. To an extent, they have been fetishised, it has become about the format at least as much as the content. Fortunately there are some really good print zines out there, so it hasn't become completely about the format. I like Things Happen, and Shrieking Violet, because they are about their surroundings, and I find that really interesting. I did a bit of that in Aggamengmong Moggie, but aside from in When I Grow Up I Want To Be Bobbee Gillespie, I didn't see much of that when I was doing A.M. I think the reason that's more common now is because cities like Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield have been gentrified and people are really quite discomforted by their surroundings and want to eulogise the nice bits of their cities that are left. That makes for some really good semi political writing. It could be that print lends itself more to that kind of writing because it too is in danger of becoming obsolete.

Also, with fanzines, you can say things you can't say online. Things that might invite legal action for instance, or that are too personal to go up online but you still want to put out, anonymously or not.

SV: Finally, you've made a new zine for the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention in collaboration with David Wilkinson, who's also speaking at the Fanzine Convention, which is all about Stockport where you both grew up. It's a very traditional cut and paste kind of zine. How did you decide on that subject and style for your zine? 

CB: It was my idea to do a print zine for the fanzine convention, partly because I hadn't done one for a long time but thought it would be fun to do. Partly because fanzine conventions are the best places to sell fanzines, but also because I do a blog called Too Late For Cake, which is about socio-political and cultural goings on in Manchester and Greater Manchester, including Stockport. Some of the content for the zine has been published on the blog, but a lot of it hasn't, and it was written in a different way because it was being written for print.

The Stockport subject matter seemed obvious because it was a crucial thing we had in common, and we both knew we had a lot to say, much of which hasn't really been said before, or not in that format. I think David has been more scathing than I have. I decided to write about nice bits of Stockport in the main, because they tend to be the more ignored bits, but also because I knew David wanted to write about gentrification and redevelopment in Hopes Carr. He grew up around there so it's a subject very personal to his heart. I never really got to grips with writing about Hazel Grove, which is where I grew up, so that'll need to be left for another day. Most of my bits and pieces are about central Stockport.

Stockport is rumoured to be the biggest town in Britain, and Hazel Grove is rumoured to be the biggest village in Europe, so there's a lot to write about. The politics and political history are interesting as well, and some of it's in there – for example Stockport Workhouse – or alluded to, for example that the council was a hung council for many years.

As to the format, we could have made it look more professional just by doing a layout using Word 2007, but David hasn't been involved with zines that much and wanted to go for the traditional cut'n'paste approach because it's what he knows. This suited me because it's a style I settled on for quite a while when doing the later editions of Aggamengmong Moggie and Real Girls.

Cazz Blase will be speaking in the Committee Room (upstairs in the former superintendent's flat at Victoria Baths) at 3.30pm during the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention on Saturday May 19.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention – stallholders

Twigs and Apples (Preston)

Twigs and Apples is a North West UK-based zine collective, started in 2009. It operates as an open collective and, as such, has a wide range of content, including art, writing, poetry, illustration, film and music reviews, sports writing, vegan recipes, photography, DIY and craft, philosophy and the odd rant. Twigs and Apples is fuelled by biscuits, tea and bicycle rides into the night.

Footprint Workers Co-operative (Leeds) 

Footprint is small printers based in Leeds. It print booklets, zines, leaflets, stickers, newsletters, fliers, books, CD wallets and that sort of gubbins. It wishes to be straightforward, friendly, responsible and responsive, rather than “aiming to deliver comprehensive multi-platform printing solutions to clients in the voluntary and vocationally-challenged sectors”. Footprint does this as ethically as it can, printing on proper recycled papers, powered by a genuine green electricity tariff and using the least environmentally damaging processes it can find. Footprint also gives a percentage of the money it makes to worthy projects. Footprint is a workers co-operative, which means the business is owned by the workers. As they have no bosses they run it as they want, doing interesting jobs for interesting people.

Melanie Maddison/Shape & Situate zine (Leeds) 

Shape & Situate is a zine of posters made by artists and DIY creative folk from within Europe, each poster highlighting the (often hidden) history and lives of radical inspirational women and collectives from Europe, as a way of connecting us with the past and the present through a dynamic cultural (re-)articulation of these women’s lives. The zine aims to activate feminist cultural memory, to inspire in the present and to visually bring women’s social and political history to life and into view. 

zimZalla (Sale)

zimZalla is a publishing project intermittently releasing avant objects. Previous releases include a miniature book with accompanying magnifying glass, unique micro texts in medicinal vials and a board game to generate multiple chance readings of a poem text.

Josh Payne and Karl Child (Southport/Preston) 

Josh Payne’s zines and books are made to encourage exploration and observation. One zine is called Journeys to mark the journey he went through to come up with a concept; the concept ended up being the actual journey he embarked on. The next publication is an expansion on the first journey and ended becoming a book. This is to encourage people to go out, be observant and explore the world around them to make their own work and is in a note book format consisting of subtle journeys that Josh has been through. The books are called Notes.
Bound (Manchester) 

Bound Collective is five designers from Manchester who are inspired by design, photography, music, culture and, most importantly, the environment around them, and have created a publication to celebrate this! Bound is not your typical city guide. You won’t find department stores, over-subscribed club nights or chain restaurants as Bound will focus on what makes Manchester unique. Bound wants to present the city’s residents and visitors with an alternative view, focusing on the vibrant locations and independent businesses that are often overlooked. 

Lynne Shaw (Stoke-on-Trent) 

Lynne Shaw specialises in Artist Books produced using traditional book binding methods, printing and digital imagery. Her books encompass a wide range of themes, including the chronicling of her past, urban degeneration and football. Light hearted projects include breathing new life into images from old books and using vintage Bunty and Judy annuals.
Artist Books: Conceive, make, share and adore... 

Black Dogs (Leeds) 

Black Dogs is an art collective formed in 2003 in Leeds. Its output has included formal exhibitions, relational and participatory installations, public events and interventions, publications, video, audio works and records and collaborative learning projects. The membership of the group is notionally fluid and can vary on a project-to-project basis, although in practice the group has a fairly consistent core of ten members currently living and working between Leeds, London, Bradford and Milton Keynes. 

Sugar Paper (Manchester) 

Sugar Paper is a bi-annual craft zine featuring 20 things to make and do, from knitting to recipes, old school crafts to fun things to do with your gang, all peppered with whatever they’re obsessing over at the time! 

Crow Versus Crow (Halifax) 

Crow Versus Crow is an interdisciplinary project based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, presenting, to date, limited physical editions, a community radio show and podcast and live music events exploring the intersection between contemporary DIY and non-mainstream music and visual art culture.

FAKE Magazine (Leeds) 

FAKE is a quarterly independent fashion and visual arts magazine. It gives its readers access to the very latest emerging creative talent, featuring insightful photography, innovative fashion, beautiful illustration, funny and thought-provoking articles, independent venues and businesses, fresh talent, creative projects and much more. Everything within the pages of FAKE is exclusively commissioned for each issue. FAKE isn’t what fake is.

Karoline Rerrie – Collaborative zines (Birmingham) 

Karoline Rerrie is an illustrator who creates images by hand using drawing, painting, silk screen printing and Japanese Gocco printing. She produces a range of printed multiples including zines and artists’ books. She also co-ordinates the publication of limited edition postcard books, zines and colouring books featuring her artwork and that of other women illustrators.

Paul Loudon and David Carden (Manchester) 

Acclaimed freelance illustrator Paul Loudon presents an exciting and unique introspective of his upcoming girl-centric graphic novel Bust-Up. The fanzine includes character profiles, snippets of the action, tips, techniques and curves in all the right places.

Musician and doodler David Carden presents two books inspired by Manchester Art Gallery. Adventures In British Painting is a musical tour of the gallery’s 18th and 19th century collections complete with banjo and ukulele fueled sing-songs. Pea Soup Of The Dead is a musical zombie comic book inspired by the paintings of LS Lowry and Adolphe Valette with a War Of The Worlds-esque soundtrack to boot. David will also be showcasing other projects which he may or may not get round to actually doing. He is after all a very lazy illustrator.
Nude magazine (Nationwide) 

Nude magazine is an arts and culture publication, which has always been a zine at heart in that the editors, publishers and contributors always without exception wrote about issues and events which were very close to them and which they felt a personal passion for. The publishers, Suzy and Ian, are very happy to watch the resurgence of printed fanzines and hope it’s here to stay.

Jo Wilkinson (Leeds) 

Jo Wilkinson is a Leeds-based illustrator. She makes zines with ideas born from a variety of sources including tissue paper on tangerines, observational drawing in sketchbooks and imaginary stuff found only in her fluffy head. She loves to use collage, found ephemera, letter stamps, drypoint and pop up mechanisms in her work. Even a 1970s typewriter makes a recurring appearance!

Jo makes prints using techniques like drypoint, relief, mono and intaglio processes. She also uses Chine-colle. She is currently working on a new series entitled ‘Noah’s Boats’.

Silent V (Norwich) 

Silent V is an absurdist science fiction saga set in a constantly shifting, illogical universe. Its fifth issue has just been completed, and will be launched at this year’s Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention.

Young Explorer (Manchester) 

Young Explorer is a brand new zine about stuff and things by Elizabeth Murray Jones and Steve Carlton. The first ever issue has a ‘Home and Away’ theme and includes bits about being brought up in a rubbish town, day trips, a home appliance-related comic and a couple of bits of enthusiastic waffle about music and that.

Vapid Kitten (Manchester)

Feminist duo Vapid Kitten will be constructing issue 8 of their fanzine (published both in print and for Kindle) throughout the day at the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention. Themed 'Collaboration', it aims to include a big mishmash of experiences, words, drawings, collage and poems.

Vapid Kitten will provide some arty equipment and suggestions to get you started and would like to get as many people involved as possible. At the end of the day everyone involved will get a free digital copy of the zine. 

Shift Space (Sheffield)

Shift Space fuses art, education and new technology to explore ways of immersing people in the environment around them. Through the application of art and the power of digital technology, Shift Space brings people together regardless of age, background or ability to form connections with each other and their local landscape engaging in the spaces they occupy, real or virtual, in new and imaginative ways. Shift Space’s zines are examinations of the world through art, digital and print.

Manifesto (Glasgow)

Manifesto is an occasional free artists' zine. Founded in 2008, Manifesto is resolutely DIY and non-digital. It has an open submissions policy and loves hand drawn/painted images, handwritten texts, Polaroid photos, printmaking, collage or pretty much anything you can fit into a photocopier. Manifesto also makes screenprints in a shed.
UHC, MMDC & Textbook Studio (Manchester)

Working in Hotspur House, Ultimate Holding Company, Manchester Municipal Design Corporation and Textbook Studio work on socially engaged art projects, graphic design and education, often together.

Expect a cross section of their hand finished 'zines, booklets, posters, prints and artist's books, both self initiated and products of other collaborations.


Corridor8 (Manchester) 

Corridor8 is an annual international journal of contemporary visual arts and writing based in the North of England.

Salford Zine Library (Manchester) 

Salford Zine Library was formed in January 2010 and aims to showcase and share creative work in the self-published form. The archive is open to all to contribute. You can visit the Library at Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester.

Other Way Up Press (Manchester)

Other Way Up Press is a bookarts/fanzine publisher with work in numerous national collections. It will be presenting a selection of its output to date and will be accompanied on the stall by other artists including Cyprus-based artist Natalie Yiaxi and photographer Cherry Styles.
Pomona Books (Keighley) 

Pomona is an independent publishing company with a roster including Simon Armitage, Barry Hines, Hunter Davies, Ray Gosling, Ian McMillan, Boff Whalley and many more. It was formed by writer Mark Hodkinson whose acclaimed novel The Last Mad Surge Of Youth focuses on the post punk scene of the early 1980s.

Closed Caption (Sheffield)

Closed Caption aims to make subversive content through appropriation. This new group, which now replaces Rotherham Zine Library, will make zines that twist found content to create new meaning and revel in the absurdity of social norms.

Closed Caption intend to use the zine library as a resource and are looking at how they can add their collection to existing events and places to create interesting new ways to read zines. They also hope to develop the collection by trading zines with others around the world.

Deerly Beloved Bakery (Norwich)

Deerly Beloved Bakery is proud to be celebrating its first birthday at the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention, returning with good food that is cruelty free including vegan cakes, whoopie pies, brownies and savoury pies and pizza slices. Deerly Beloved Bakery specialises in vegan cakes, pastries, biscuits, cupcakes, muffins, breads, salads, starters, mains and desserts. It does not use any animal products. All cakes and bakes are made by hand in small batches using real bourbon vanilla, unrefined non-bone char sugars and margarines free from hydrogenated fats. No artificial preservatives or flavourings are used.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

'Alice in Apps Land' workshop: from zines to smartphones at Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention

Smartphones, history and lo-fi DIY culture might not obviously go hand in hand, but a creative duo who are passionate about both fanzines and smart technology will help visitors to the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention make the most of their phones at the same time as exploring the environment around them.

The 'Alice in Apps Land' workshop is the brain child of Christopher Watson and Logan Holmes, who invite visitors to discover the local landscape through digital stories while learning more about apps and the functionality of their phones. Each attendee is invited to print out their own, personal map and Chris hopes the workshop will attract participants ready to share their memories of the building and the area. He said: “We'd love it if everyone came along with a memory.”

Chris and Logan are visual artists and lecturers at a Further Education college in Rotherham. Alongside their colleague Nigel Rogers, they are part of Shift Space, a collaborative collective with a studio space at Bloc in Sheffield. Both are passionate about new technology and its potential to take learning outside the classroom. Logan identifies “a generation that has been brought up being fed through the internet”, taking in information that is “digestible and fast-paced”. He feels the current rigid education system is inadequate.

He explained: “The existing mode of education doesn't really accommodate this kind of new learner and it's time we adapted. The teaching environment shouldn't be seen as a classroom and four walls. We need to be flexible and empower students by taking education outside and really contextualising it. We need to be able to collaborate with out students and make it more of a two way process. Students and educators don't know what's around the corner and what it's going to bring. We need to work together.”

Chris added: “You learn more by doing and going out on trips – learning the environment. We want a space where you are not constrained by things like ticking boxes. Education shouldn't be confined to 9-5 and set learning outcomes. It is good to get people out and doing things.

“We want to help people bring their environment to life through technology. We think we can give people confidence using and understanding technology and make it accessible. It's crossdisciplinary – it can take in literature, the arts and general knowledge. Technology is open to all and it's a wonderful way of breaking down these boundaries."

Technology is central to Shift Space's work, and they're keen to get other people involved. They explain: “We want to engage everyone, right from school-age to retired people. We want to explore how new technologies can facilitate art and help you express yourself through different media. Smartphones are simple notepads that can capture video and audio but they're underused. We have the technology to bring snippets of information together for people to enjoy.”

One of Chris's other projects uses the name Visual Think Map, and his work has included compiling creative maps that pinpoint creative activity and facilities in different cities. Chris has been devising an app called Little Gems, which he hopes will be a “hub to answer students' questions”. It is a project he sees as being particularly useful to people starting out in the creative industries. He explains: “I took on the thankless task of trying to map the UK's creativity, revealing hidden gems because I had no idea of the creative sector and things that were out and about when I was at university – it was all about craft and technique. I started making creative maps with the idea you could tell students how to set up their own practice. The maps help students know the creative landscape – including galleries and craft shops – and facilitate their independent creation of art.” The maps could also be a boon to tourists, incorporating a live feed, journey planner and the potential to share information with friends.

Logan visited the 2011 Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention and returned with a pile of fanzines. Along with Chris, he is an enthusiastic zine-maker. Chris explained: “Most of our work is digital but we still try to incorporate the tangible in some way. We like to make things by hand and realise things in print.” Logan added: “You've got to have a healthy balance of digital and print. Nobody likes to work solely with a computer screen. People can get frustrated with it. We like the smell of the printing press and the simplicity of fanzines.”

Logan describes the pair's approach to zine-making as “curating the things we collect”, and sees zines as “a way of pooling thoughts or prompting debate”. Chris has done a project based on obsolete library books called Stamps, Stains & Battle Scars which involved photocopying stamps of dates and stains left on the books. He has also made a series of 'paper portraits', which he describes as being a “branch between print and digital”, which involved interviewing the artists who did the etchings on bank notes and blowing up the notes to reveal the detail. He explains: “If you blow notes up on a photocopier you get beautiful, intricate drawings, but I had to contact the bank as there are very specific guidelines about photocopying money.”

Chris and Logan have also been working on a zine in the form of a collaborative sketchbook passed back and forwards between the two artists, and collaboration is key to the way they work. As Logan explains: It's easier to do things collectively than as an individual.”

To take part in 'Alice in Apps Land' come along to the former superintendent's flat at upstairs at Victoria Baths on Saturday May 19. Free, starts at 11am.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Join the Victoria Baths fanzine-making co-operative! (for one day only)!

We want visitors to the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention to help us make a fanzine all about Victoria Baths!

What is a ‘fanzine’? A fanzine is a small, self-published book or magazine dedicated to a subject the people who are making it love. It is usually personal and handmade and contains a mixture of drawings, writing and things like collages and photos.

People write fanzines about all different types of things and we think Victoria Baths deserves its own fanzine!

Victoria Baths is known as ‘Manchester’s water palace’ because of its beautiful decorations such as tiles and stained glass windows. It was very luxurious when it opened in 1906! Although the swimming pools don’t have water in them anymore, and the building is no longer used for swimming, the Baths is still visited by people who have lots of memories of coming here to swim. The Victoria Baths Archive contains thousands of people’s memories of Victoria Baths, as well as photos and other things which help us remember what it was like in the past.

So, we need your help making the Victoria Baths fanzine to celebrate this unique building, and we want you to show us what you like best about this fascinating place.

Join in the workshops in the former superintendent's flat to make either your own, individual Victoria Baths fanzine or add to a book that will be displayed in Victoria Baths as one big fanzine for future visitors to see. Between 10am and 3.30pm you can make your page to contribute to the collaborative Victoria Baths handmade book, and then from 3.30pm to 4.30pm we will all pitch in to bind the pages together. We'll need all the help we can get!

Visitors will be able to use:

Selected material from the Victoria Baths Archive 

Be inspired by pictures and memories of the building's past.

Lino cutting and relief printing

Explore simple relief printing and create unique illustrations and repeatable patterns to adorn your own hand-made zine. Looking at the decorative interiors of Victoria Baths as inspiration, use traditional lino and easy quickprint foam to make unique tile-sized blocks to print wherever you want.

Button book binding

Discover the stitches to bind and design your very own book using buttons, thread, soft papers and card. You can decorate your book with embroidered stitches inspired by the architecture of the Victoria Baths.

Ps, what's a co-operative anyway? 

People with all sorts of different skills and interests form co-operatives and work together to achieve what they cannot achieve alone, helping themselves at the same time as helping each other. Co-operatives are owned and run by their members, and each member has an equal say.

All different types of organisations are run as co-operatives, from food co-operatives to film co-operatives, housing co-operatives to design co-operatives. 2012 is the United Nations' first International Year of Co-operatives, and co-ops across the world are celebrating what makes them unique.

To find out more about co-operatives and how they work, why not go and talk to Footprint, a Leeds-based workers' co-op which prints fanzines, posters and much more, at their stall on the balcony above the sports hall?

 Join the Victoria Baths fanzine-making co-operative upstairs in the former superintendent's flat from 10am-5pm on Saturday 19 May during the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention.  

Free, drop-in and children welcome. 

If you would be interested in volunteering to help at this workshop please email 

(Pictures taken from last year's workshops, led by Rebecca Willmott and Lauren Velvick)