TL;DR A thesis in a zine!

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Wow! A 168 page MA thesis, transformed into something more people might actually want to read! TL;DR (Internet slang for Too Long; Didn’t Read) is in classic zine folded format (including embracing typos), full-colour, featuring work from five co-researchers from the Moving Home project which explored the embodiment of transience among former youth in care in Canada. It includes a two-page summary of my thesis without any citations, truly a joy to create.

What is the point of creating research that gets stuck behind paywalls, or in a language most people do not interact with? Everyone should make a zine version of their thesis, it honours the written and academic, but transgresses the world of academic publishing into something more community-minded.

This zine is intended mainly as a support for current youth in care, those who work with them, and those interested in arts-based research and creative and accessible research dissemination overall.  This work also makes a contribution to embodiment and mobilities scholarship, particularly with the idea of embodying transience itself. Essentially, considering work on space-time compression, and bringing it to scale of the body.

The TL;DR zine launched August 17, 2017 with a corresponding art show at Critical Distance Centre for Curators. 500 print copies were made, and already distributed freely. There was also a talk at the Ontario Advocate for Children and Youth’s office, who generously supported the printing costs of TL;DR, in addition to other financial support for co-researcher honorariums and art supplies.

Ezine version of TL;DR is here. 

Printable version of TL;DR is here 

For those that want more theory, the research was approached using a framework of the Mobilities Paradigm, Children’s Geographies, and Emotional Geographies. The methods were a combination of Arts-based, Participatory Action Research and Indigenous Methods. Half of youth in care in Canada are Indigenous, and half of co-researchers also self-identified as Indigenous in the Moving Home project. The racism of the child welfare system also shifts geographically across the country, as in Toronto, where co-researchers self-identified as with a statistically representative 40% Black over-representation of youth in care. This is an exploratory Canadian case study model, using Toronto to represent urban-suburban experiences, and Yukon to represent Northern/rural experiences. Colour-coded citations for the Moving Home Project Proposal (2016) are available here. 

The built-in Community Action part of the Participatory Action Research project included four art public shows, two in the Yukon and two in Toronto in 2016 and 2017. These public art shows were all voluntary, with the ability to identify using artist names, First Nation names, initials, anonymous (whatever the co-researchers decided worked best for them). There were ten co-researchers with lived experience in displacing systems such as child welfare, (often overlapping with justice, and shelters) in the Toronto project, and five co-researchers with similar experiences in the Yukon. All art remains the property of the artist co-researchers, digital copies of photos, videos, songs remain in a Moving Home archive. Interesting fact: 80% of the the Toronto co-researchers priced their work for sale, and only 20% initially priced their work for sale in the Yukon (more were made as gifts). The urban hustle is real.

Zine credits: A Merhar, N Ridiculous, X Vautour-Binnette, E M, S N, Meek

Select press on the Moving Home project:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/youth-in-care-art-1.3639421

https://whatsupyukon.com/family-learning/how-foster-care-shapes-lives/

see also https://ameliamerhar.ca/2018/03/01/moving-home-podcast-episode/

 

 

 

 

 

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Zine Tree

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A studious opening, with lots of mini-zines ready to go

A studious opening, with lots of mini-zines ready to go

I built a tree out of wood, zines, birch bark, wire, paper mache, branches and a solid typewriter base. This Zine Tree is a community installation designed to grow zine culture in the north, a distro and a creation station all at once. Free photocopying too! This piece plays on the idea of a tree of knowledge, even down to the details, as the zine shelves are collaged with pages from an encyclopedia called The Book of Knowledge.

I am the Whitehorse Public Zine Librarian, and am using the collection as part of the community installation. I feel strongly that zine culture can do well here, I even tabled at the local gun show one year and it was wildly successful. Many in the North live without running water or electricity, by choice, and I see Northern resourcefulness, off-grid aspirations and zines as a great potential threesome.

July is International Zine Month, and I have several free workshops you can come to and make zines at, or just learn more about what a zine is at Northern Zine:  The Zine Tree Project art show at the Edge Gallery at Arts Underground, the show is open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5 pm until July 26th.

Here’s an interview I did with CBC Radio One about the project, zines, and #julyisinternationalzinemonth on July 2nd.

The fabulous ZINE TREE

If you have any zines you would like to donate to the project, please get in touch! amelia.merhar@hotmail.com

Zine Tree will also be at Artist’s Alley at YuComicon in August, and will be participating in Riverside Arts Festival in Dawson City.

Poutine Zine, The Zine about Poutine

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In 2003, I made the first edition of Poutine Zine! (Left) It featured articles on the history of poutine, the etymology, tons of reviews and all the passion a teenage girl who loved poutine could muster. Even poutine activism, as shown by the Poutine Awareness Cards.

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It also featured drawings by Zeesy Powers, including a centrefold.

IMG406 This first issue was a Broken Pencil Zine of the Month, and it sold out repeatedly, as people would do the “poutine tour” of all the places I reviewed.

The second issue has another Broken Pencil review here. It includes articles on Poutiganism, -where you are vegan except for poutine-, the world’s largest poutine and a recipe for breakfast poutine. And, another awesome centrefold by Zeesy.

IMG407One day I will scan it all and make it available. Until then, it is at a number of Zine Libraries including the Toronto one, or you could email me, amelia.merhar@hotmail.com if you really have a craving.