MAY 20 MARKET THEME
In recent years, our smaller mid-year markets have had different themes designed to experiment with the culture at our markets. For example in 2020 we held the Newbies Market, where bookings were only open to new and first time stallholders. In 2021, our market had a $5 Price Limit.
These themes are only one-time experiments - they're not intended to be permanent changes or part of our proper, bigger Wellington Zinefest market later in the year.
These themes are determined by the feedback we receive from our community after each of our events. For example, Newbies Market was inspired by repeated comments that audiences wanted to see new stallholders and new content. The price limit market similarly came about by continued feedback that our markets had become inaccessibly commercial.
The Zines Only theme is a response to audience feedback that Wellington Zinefest markets aren't focused enough on the making and distributing of zines. This is important to us - Wellington Zinefest is, first and foremost, an event designed to celebrate zines.
In response to the question: "What could be improved on?"
"Trying to make sure it's less of a general art market - despite all those emails etc there were still so many stalls with like 2 zines and then all prints, keychains, stickers, etc."
"Too many stalls of people selling stickers and prints with just one zine they've thrown together from their sticker and print art just so they qualify as a zinester. Lots of people ignored the request to be selling predominantly zines."
WHATS A ZINE?
We recognise that this can be kind of a tricky question to answer, as zines tend to avoid definition... which is part of why they're great!
It's pretty clear that objects like stickers, badges, clothes and accessories aren't zines and don't qualify for this market. Aside from that, we trust stallholders to know what counts as a zine, for them.
The Wellington Zinefest board have come up with some pointers for what zines are, listed below. Your zines don't have to fit all of these points perfectly, but they should meet most of them.
Typically (but not always) a booklet or magazine format.
Non-commercial. Zine culture has traditionally been far more concerned with sharing ideas, building communities and self-expression than with generating income. They're a labour of love.
Contain some form of narrative or theme - linear or not, most zines tell a story or explore a particular idea. Often zines are made on niche interests which aren't represented elsewhere.
Cheaply produced. Creators are welcome to explore different production techniques when making zines for this market. But as a general rule, authenticity, originality and affordability are much more valuable in zine culture than high-quality production.
Self-published - meaning put together by a single person, or a small group. This doesn't mean you have to manually oversee every aspect of printing, binding etc, but the author(s) should have agency over all aspects of production.
"...a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine. Zines are the product of either a single person or of a very small group, and are popularly photocopied into physical prints for circulation."
"Popularly defined within a circulation of 1,000 or fewer copies, in practice many zines are produced in editions of fewer than 100. Among the various intentions for creation and publication are developing one's identity, sharing a niche skill or art, or developing a story, as opposed to seeking profit."
Discussion about whether our markets have been increasingly about non-zine items has been around for quite some time. In 2021 we chose to directly address this in a feedback form for the first time.
As part of the $5 Price Limit themed market in 2021, we invited anonymous submissions to give feedback on the price limit. We received 48 submissions with a wide range of responses.
As part of this feedback submission process, we asked people two questions regarding the place of zines specifically at Wellington Zinefest markets.
The first question was:
Should people who aren't selling zines be able to stallhold at Wellington Zinefest?
96% of responses to this question argued that all Wellington Zinefest stalls should have zines. Throughout the responses, we observed a general frustration that more expensive, high-quality art and craft objects had taken the place of lo-fi zines. At the same time, respondents acknowledged that they liked seeing and purchasing things other than zines.
The second question was:
What about if they only have one or two zines, but are mainly selling other stuff?
All respondents agreed that some other items were ultimately okay.
However the responses were not unanimous in what this might look like, or whether stalls which didn't prioritise zines were good for the zine community itself.
Some argued that stalls should feature almost entirely zines, others felt that as long as there was one or two zines then anything else was completely fine.
Two stallholders who only sold zines mentioned feeling their stalls looked boring compared to those with a lot of high-quality non-zine items.
In response to the question: "Should people who aren't selling zines be able to stallhold at Wellington Zinefest?"
"I think prioritizing people with zines would be good as it is a zinefest. Or making sure that about 70% of their work ARE zines atleast."
"Zinefest is called Zinefest. People should have to sell zines, even if it's not their main focus. There should be other art events available that you can sell anything at, but Zinefest isn't that."
In response to the question: "What about if they only have one or two zines, but are mainly selling other stuff?"
"Depends on the size of the other items - small things like earrings, charms, pins, stickers yes. Things like big stuffed toys or clothing or miniatures/models, no."
"Na. Like if it's 80% zines and print work then yes other items."
As always, feedback on our events and projects is welcome and appreciated. If you have thoughts you'd like to share regarding the Zines Only theme, please let us know.
If you'd like to stay anonymous, you can submit feedback using the form below. Alternatively, you can email us your thoughts at email@example.com