Zine Machine: Broken Pencil Magazine’s Arts Education Program
Zine Machine at Canzine (2013)
Founded in 2012 by Annie Wong, Zine Machine is a multidisciplinary arts education initiative rooted in the spirit of zine making and alternative arts. Lead by a roster of diverse artists, Zine Machine performs a type of alternative pedagogy that is not afraid to let loose and get messy. In the past our projects have seen us get lost in a series of high rise apartments in the GTA, play Arabic hiphop in the library, and help a teen make an elaborate ‘choose-your-own-getting-arrested-adventure” zine. Our method of exploratory art making is also a means of building community whether that be with children in the classroom, teens in the GTA, or adults in the backroom of the Gladstone Hotel. Zine Machine is a micro-utopia making-machine that generates new ways of thinking about art making, learning, and community building.
“Untitled” by Anonymous, created during Zine Machine Workshop for University of Toronto’s the Student Voice Project (2016)
Zine Machine’s mandate is to innovate arts education practices through collaboration, experimentation, and community building. We work with children, youth, and adults to create engaging leaning environments that are hands-on and horizontal.
In the spirit of DIY philosophy, Zine Machine is guided by the following principles:
Collaboration: Our approach to arts education is to create a collaborative learning environment where new skills emerge by sharing and collectively exploring methods of art making.
Experimentation: While our model of collaboration remains consistent, we are open to re-configurations or our artistic methods that work in different contexts. We are not afraid of trying out new things, tweaking our plans, or run the risk of failing if it will lead us to discover something new.
Community: At the heart of our work is community building. Through our collaborative art-based experiments we aim to bring people together in an environment where new friendships and intergenerational communities emerge.
Inclusion and Diversity: Zine culture and alternative arts were historically born in the margins of society, by people whose voices were ignored. Zine Machine aims to reverse history by getting rid of the centre-margin dynamic altogether and prioritize seemingly under-represented communities and artists as future innovators.
Zine Machine at the Gladstone Hotel (2014)
Zine Machine’s Work
Zine Machine has run one-off workshops, residencies, and programs with schools, libraries, art festivals and partners across the GTA. Former partners include NXNE, the Gladstone Hotel, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto Public Library, Glen Shields Public School, Runneymede Collegiate Institute, and many others. Our roster of workshop leaders including a number of leading alternative artists and writers such as Sab Meynert, Melissa Luk, Jonathan Valley, Annie Wong, Lindsay Gib, and many others.
TPK Walking Maps (2015)
In addition to our workshops, Zine Machine produces special projects with communities, such as TPK Walking Maps (2015):
A typical map of the city is often illustrated as a horizontal experience of a neighbourhood, implying that all experiences of space are flat. How then, do we map an experience of vertical neighbourhoods like Thorncliffe Park? A residential enclave of high-rise apartments, navigating the lived spaces of Thorncliffe Park is hardly considered horizontal. In partnership with Annie Wong, Sab Meynert, and a cohort of local teens, Sofia and Khuld Abdulalim, Sabah Bashari, Asia Syial, and Hasina Madadi we ventured into a collaborative map project to conceive of alternative ways of representing vertical lived spaces in the city’s rapidly urbanizing suburbs like Thorncliffe Park. As part of our research, we visited moms in apartments, walked up and down haunted stairwells, passed colonnades of closed doors, and traversed breathtaking green spaces tucked behind towers. The project concluded with a zine, TPK Walking Maps a collection of research from the cohort containing maps of their apartment building, mental maps of time and space in the neighbourhood, stories of spaces, and stories told in the spaces. Each page is a topographic texture of the neighbourhood, based on the teen psycho-geography weaving both inner and outer experiences.
TPK Walking Maps was also performed to the public by the teens, who led, taught, and shared intimate knowledge of their lives, rituals, and relationships in the various high-rise buildings in the neighborhood. The project acknowledges the support of the Ontario Art Council.
For more information about TPK click here
“Untitled” by Anonymous, created during Zine Machine Workshop for University of Toronto’s the Student Voice Project (2015)
To date, we have worked with public and private schools, art galleries, arts festivals, arts centers, and public libraries. We can provide you with references upon request as well as complete information about the Zine Machine personnel. If you are interested in hearing more about our work with young people and discussing bringing Zine Machine to your school or community, please email [email protected].