Thursday, September 30, 2010

Doctor's Orders?

One more way to get the word out about public health issues: rap videos.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Health Edupublication for 9/30

Here's what's the what for next week:

WRITE: one or two paragraphs describing your proposed zine concept and formatting idea. If you're trying to decide between a few good options, try to narrow these down to two. We'll do individual meetings to help hone these ideas for your final proposals.

If you're feeling really lost in this area, describe what you identify as your main challenges in developing the zine.

FIND, READ, and PRESENT ON: Two published zines that you feel inform your own approach in some way, either in terms of content, aesthetic, writing style etc. Try to choose two that represent different aspects - for instance, one might have to do with content you're interested in working with, while another might represent a stylistic approach that interests you... or that you'd like to avoid.

If you're not sure where to start, here are some leads:
* visit Quimby's bookstore to browse their selection of small-press materials. You can start with their new "health" section, near the front of the store, but take a look at anything else that jumps out at you. Other places to find and buy zines (though there will be fewer to choose from) include Chicago Comics, Women and Children First, No Coast, Golden Age, and, if you're lucky, your local independent record store or comics shop.

* check out the downloadable/printable zines at online archives like, the queer zine archive, and the Small Science Collective. Keep in mind that most of these zines will require navigating the double-sided printing issue we ran into with last week's readings (most printers don't offer the option of double-sided printing). The exception is Small Science Collective, which uses the same small single-sheet format we used for our introductory zines in class.

* talk with friends who may have their own small zine collections, and see what they recommend and/or let you borrow.

* search the zine collections of the Chicago Underground Library, Depaul University Zine Collection, or our own Joan Flasch collection. These libraries do NOT generally allow their materials to circulate (i.e. you can't take the zines out with you) but most zines will have ordering information on them. If you find a zine you like, you can contact Quimby's or check online to see if you can get copies that way.

conflict kitchen

To follow up on our conversation in class this week, here's another recent example of functional packaging-as-zine: the Conflict Kitchen project in Pittsburgh, PA.

From their website:

Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States government is in conflict.

Conflict Kitchen’s current iteration is an Iranian take-out restaurant, "Kubideh Kitchen", that serves kubideh: spiced meat in freshly-baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil.

The sandwich is served in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians on subjects ranging from Persian poetry to the current political turmoil.

Find out more about the project on their website HERE or support their next iteration, "Bolani Pazi", an Afghan take-out restaurant HERE.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Health Zinesters on Film

Joe Behen, the Director of SAIC's Health Services and one of our esteemed special guests next week, tipped us off to the new film "Crooked Beauty" about artist-activist-zinester Jacks MacNamara. MacNamara is the founder of the Icarus Project, which publishes numerous zines and other resources on mental health issues, including one we're reading for class this week. SAIC will bring the film and its director to the Gene Siskel Theatre this Spring. It looks pretty incredible, I have to say. Check out the trailer for the film, below.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

thought showers, idea clusters, and excogitation

After our conversation about it in class, I was curious to follow up on the derogatory use of the word "brainstorming." It turns out to be a pretty interesting case, and oh-so relevant to the issue of health education and information dissemination. Thanks so much to Megan for bringing this up!

According to Epilepsy Action, the concern that the term might be offensive people with epilepsy was raised by some well-intentioned governmental agencies: The Welsh Development Agency and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast. Apparently, in addition to its far more common colloquial use to describe creative problem-solving, "brainstorm" is sometimes used to describe ‘a succession of sudden and severe phenomena, due to some cerebral disturbance’ (Oxford English Dictionary).

As an alternative, the agencies suggested the term "thought shower" be used as a substitute. Here in the US, apparently that was translated into the more American "idea cluster," or even "excogitate" if you want to get really fancy about it, none of which quite have the same ring to them.

Interestingly, The National Society for Epilepsy followed up on this bit of political correctness with a survey that found that the vast majority of people who actually have epilepsy had never even considered that the term might be used in a derogatory way, and in fact were much more put off by the idea of public misperception that they might be overly sensitive. In fact, many seem pretty annoyed by the whole thing.

Epilepsy Action also provides a helpful info page on the condition which includes terminology you should try to avoid when discussing the condition, which seems fairly relevant to our discussions (and publications) around health and the body in general.

Health Edupublication for 9/23

Hey there, everyone. Next week's class focuses on mental health and related issues (grief, substance abuse, support networks). Here's what we've got:

* Friends Make the Best Medicine (Icarus Project) Quimby's now has copies of this zine for our class. If you can't make it over there, download and print the zine from their site HERE.

* The Worst (anonymous) - requires double-sided printing + folding

* Prescription for Change (anonymous)

* a written response essay, due, printed at the beginning of our next class.

Response Essay Guidelines: Choose two zines from the week’s readings. In 1-2 typed pages, compare and contrast them focusing on what you find successful and what you might have done differently.

Just a note after today's excellent discussion - we want to make sure you know that we don't expect (or even want) you to try to reach every possible demographic. The idea is to provide you with resources and information about a range of themes and approaches, including some zine needs that are out there. This does not mean that you should make work that speaks to the needs of homeless teens and transgendered people and SAIC students and senior citizens and whatever other group might possibly pick up your publication. Consider that focusing on a particular community or mode of distribution can actually open up unexpected possibilities for creativity and outreach, which we'll talk about more at the beginning of class next week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zines on Toast!

So, Alex Wrekk (from Brainscan and Stolen Sharpie Revolution) with about half a dozen UK zinesters are going to be reading, talking, and joking about at Quimby's Bookstore this Saturday at 7 p.m. Just thought you all should know!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

EduPublication for 9/16

Hey hey all, what amazing zines and great discussion today. Here's what's up for next week's sex-ed-themed class:

* Tip of the Iceberg (Laura Szumowski)
* Susann Gage (Temporary Services)
* Vaginal Underground (YWEP)
* Bad Encounter Line Zine (YWEP)
* Grabbing Good Health by the Balls handout (Queer People's Collective)

* your response essay focusing on two or three of the above, as per the guidelines described in the syllabus.

the websites for both
* Young Women's Empowerment Project +
* Chicago Women's Health Center
to get a good understanding of each organization. After perusing, write down three questions to ask our visiting speakers next week.


Here's the main resource for what I mentioned in class, zines as a valued tool for democracy in Cambodia (and specific to empowerment of young women, first generation of lots of women receiving higher education in Cambodia). Anne Elizabeth Moore's blog for the project, camb(l)o(g)dia

Check out "How to Make This Very Zine" in Khmer. I'm pretty sure Quimby's also carries Cambodian Grrrl (or did). She spends her winters in Cambodia, so the project is on-going and expected to continue through this winter as well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Street Anatomy exhibition opens tonight

For those of you interested, here's more info on the Street Anatomy show that opens September 3rd (tonight!) at the International Museum of Surgical Science, located at 1524 N. Lakeshore Drive (the inner drive).

The exhibition is curated by Vanessa Ruiz, who runs, a blog exploring intersections between medicine, art, and design. The show features a range of anatomical graffiti, screenprinted posters, skateboard decks, vinyl toys and hand-cast chocolates. The opening tonight will feature a live interactive event and the chance to mingle with lots of people with anatomical tattoos... but if you can't make it you can still catch the show 'til November 19th.

Due for EduPublication 9/9

Just to recap, here's what we've got on our plates for the next class.

* "Engaged Pedagogy" by Bell Hooks
* Anne Elizabeth Moore's "How to Be a Zinester" - bring printed version with you to class

* a mini-zine presenting a health condition you're familiar with in a way that surprises your audience. Al of your zines must be printed and folded before class begins on Thursday. We won't have time to fold in class that day!

* Quimby's bookstore at 1854 W. North Avenue (near the Damen Blue Line stop) to buy the three required readings. They should have them behind the front counter for you. The third zine on the list may not arrive until next week, FYI. If you get there before it does, please pick up the first two to start with.

This is also a great chance to browse their selection of other relevant zines of interest, which you'll be reporting on later in the semester. If you're curious about publications on a particular topic, ask the person at the counter if they have recommendations - they can often help navigate what's in stock to find things you might not find otherwise!