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Zines as community archive

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Zines are self-published, do-it-yourself booklets that have a long history as tools for activism in social movements. While archival studies has already explored the collection and preservation of zines as cultural artefacts, this article (published in the peer-reviewed journal Archival Science) explores the capacity for zines to act as a form of community archive. The article examines See You at the Paradise, a zine co-created with Norfolk Island community members for a research project focused on Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area. Drawing on Michelle Caswell’s six principles of community archive discourse – participation, shared stewardship, multiplicity, activism, reflexivity, valuing affect – we analyse the extent to which zines and zine-making, as product and process, can be understood as community archive. In doing so, we propose collaborative reminiscence as a seventh principle. The article finds that zines, as community archive, work to strengthen the presence of marginalised voices in dominant historical narratives while also offering an important resource for community-building and political resistance.

Cite this publication: Baker, S & Cantillon, Z 2022, ‘Zines as community archive’, Archival Science. doi:10.1007/s10502-022-09388-1

An earlier version of this work was presented at the Australian Society of Archivists’ Archives Amplified conference in September 2021. A recording of this talk can be viewed below: