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September 03, 2021

Creative Spark Vancouver: Zine-making with EA Douglas

Image description: A white zine lays unfolded on green grass. On the left page of the zine is a photo of the aerial view of a creature with a tail, some hair, and a smiling face. On the right page of the zine is a photo of two crabs. The crab on the top of the page has big eyes and is wearing little boots on its legs. The crab down below is wearing a baseball hat on its head and is holding a baseball bat in its claws.

During the pandemic, artists who received Creative Spark Vancouver grants had to make sure to create COVID-conscious environments for young people to engage in artmaking. So, to tackle this challenge, EA Douglas held Zine-making workshops on Zoom for LGBTQ2S+ youth. 

In DIY culture, zines have been used as a safe, accessible, independent platform of expression for underrepresented and marginalized voices to create self-representation. Zines offer a way for people to create media without many barriers in terms of technology or cost.

EA Douglas is a writer and artist whose practice consists of writing and collaging found images, often combining these creative outlets in the form of zines in order to share her work.

We asked EA a few questions about her Creative Spark Vancouver project, where she led a group of LGBTQ2S+ youth ages 13 to 18 through a series of workshops to learn all about zines. 

Artist EA stands in front of an orange wall with her hands above her head. She is wearing purple eyeshadow and smiling with closed lips. She’s wearing a denim jacket with yellow and pink floral patterns on it.

[Image Description: Artist EA stands in front of an orange wall with her hands above her head. She is wearing purple eyeshadow and smiling with closed lips. She’s wearing a denim jacket with yellow and pink floral patterns on it.]

AS: What project did you do through the Creative Spark Vancouver grant? Why were you interested in working with young people?

EA: I ran a zine-making workshop series and mentorship program for LGBTQ2S youth ages 13 to 18. Together we explored ways to make zines and what to do with your work after it’s been

self-published. I was also able to share with the youth the extensive history of queer zines in

Vancouver by researching zines within the BC Gay & Lesbian Archive. For a long time, I’ve seen zines as a means to empower people and create community. Sharing this with youth, especially ones existing within the same marginalized group as myself, seemed like a no-brainer.

AS: What was the impact of the project? How has this project impacted your process/practice?

EA: The youth learned a new skill--how to make zines--and had a chance to explore the history of our community. A few zines were developed during the mentorship process, which I printed for the participants and mailed out to them. My creative practice evolved through this project as it was the first time I created a zine outside the scope of my personal narrative. Through publishing the wellspring of our potential: an unofficial guide to the zines within the BC Gay & Lesbian Archive, I was able to build my skills of researching material and transforming that information into something new.

AS: What COVID precautions did you take to ensure the safety of your participants?

EA: In order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic our workshops took place via Zoom with live captioning. I created most of the resources participants needed to be accessible online.There was a moment where a participant required additional materials, so I mailed them a package through Canada Post.

AS: Had you worked with young people before this project?

EA: I have a diploma in Early Childhood Education and have worked with infants and toddlers for the past decade, but adolescents I’m less familiar with. It was a pleasure to work with and learn from the participants within this project.

To learn more about EA’s work, you can visit their website.

Applications for the Creative Spark Vancouver grant are open until September 14, 2021. Visit https://artstarts.com/creativesparkvancouver for more information and to apply.

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