Can you help us to develop our collection of zines?
At MMU Special Collections, we already have a small selection of zines that sit alongside our other collections. The DIY methods of production and design of the zine are an often overlooked aspect of the history of printing and represent a legitimate addition to our established collections. Due to their ephemeral nature they can be hard to source, so we are asking for help with finding zines that we might acquire.
The development of zine collections at major art libraries and academic institutions points to a lively and ongoing interest and scholarship surrounding the zine and its history. Collections are currently held at the British Library, the Tate, the London College of Communication, the Women’s Library, the University of Portsmouth Library, the Glasgow School of Art, Liverpool John Moores University and the Stuart Hall Library at the Institute of International Visual Arts. MMU Special Collections is at the forefront of collecting 20th and 21st century print, and we want to maintain that position. We have the largest publicly accessible collection of Artists’ Books outside of London and similarities can be drawn between the democratic intentions of pioneering book artists and the DIY ethos of zinesters. Both aimed to avoid mainstream methods of production, distribution and dissemination.
Equally, Manchester has a vibrant grassroots music scene and a long history of political radicalism and cultural diversity. Against this backdrop, Manchester Met seems the natural home for a zine collection within the Greater Manchester area, especially given its own history as a polytechnic in the 1970s, offering a more open and non-elitist route into higher education. In addition, the presence of the Manchester School of Art within Manchester Met strengthens the case for acquiring material which is often highly creative and visually interesting.
At MMU Special Collections we actively encourage the hands-on use of collections in teaching and research. The zine collection will provide inspiration to students aiming to produce publications of their own. The content of the collection could appeal to students and researchers from a range of academic disciplines, such as the humanities and social sciences, encouraging cross discipline collaboration. Our open shelf policy would also ensure full access to the collection for members of the public and visiting researchers.
We are looking to acquire zines principally for their visual content, graphic design or as examples of a particular aesthetic. Subject matter would be of secondary importance. The main focus of the collection is to demonstrate the growth of the zine as a means of creative self-expression, whilst also reflecting the diversity of thought and talent that exists outside traditional publishing. We aim to build a collection starting from the arrival of the punk zine in the 1970s to the present day.
If you have any recommendations for additions to the zine collection, or have any zines that you want to donate we would be delighted to hear from you. We do expect that a substantial amount of material will be acquired through donations. However, we cannot guarantee that any offer will automatically be added to the collection; donations will be held to the same standards for inclusion as purchased items. For more information, please contact Jane Pendlebury, Senior Library Assistant, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0161 247 6107.