A collective of students, activists and teachers at the University of Pennsylvania is calling for submissions for a zine on free speech and safe spaces. Following up on our zine last year on feminist pedagogy, this year we want to create a zine that opens up a conversation about the tensions and provocations around queer and feminist practices of collective care versus the need to produce open and sometimes difficult conversations. Partnering with the Alice Paul Center, our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive zine that thinks through some of the following topics:

  • Trigger warnings
  • Feminist community/classroom standards
  • Call out culture
  • Microaggressions
  • Managing difficult conversations

These topics are just starting points, we welcome your thoughts and experiences of balancing open discussions with protecting each other from harm. As a feminist collective, we are interested in creating a feminist dialogue on these topics. We want to hear from students, activists, educators and others interested in contributing to a feminist conversation about free speech and safe spaces, both inside and outside traditional classrooms.

We are open to many formats, including short first-hand accounts, poetry, drawings and recordings.  Please feel free to share accounts of strategies and tactics for creating safe spaces and encouraging open dialogues, and advice on what has worked and what hasn’t.  Contributions will be incorporated into a zine, intended for a wide audience, with the goal of being accessible and intersectional. The zine will be distributed throughout Penn’s campus and through local zine exchange networks in Philadelphia. Copies will also be made available via snail mail. Digital copies will not be distributed.

What is a zine? It’s a DIY, self-published document that tends to talk about politics and everyday life. Zines have roots in feminist, punk and anarchist communities. For more info, see here, here and here.

Who is this zine for? This zine is meant for people who want to learn about feminist practices. We want this zine to be a conversation about the difficulties of open dialogue and politics of self-care.

How can I contribute? You can submit single- or multi-authored contributions in different modes, including audio, visual and textual materials.  Please send us:

  • 2-5 minute audio recordings (which will transcribed into text)
  • Drawings that are no larger than 8.5 x 11”
  • Written experiences (700 word limit)
  • Citations for our feminist reading list of blogs, zines, books, articles, videos and podcasts

How should I format my submission? Feel free to draw, collage, use stickers, or include other images in your submission. Avoid writing, drawing, or typing too close to the margins so that your submission is not cut off in the photocopying process. If drawing or writing by hand, use thick lines to ensure your submission will photocopy clearly. Zines will be printed in full color in a half-sized layout (8½” x 11” sheets folded in half).  

How will submissions be selected? Submissions will be reviewed by the collective.  We hope to take as many submissions as possible, but want to center the experiences of women, trans folk, people of color and others who have been unheard in mainstream discourses.

When and where should I send my submission? Please send materials through the form below by 3pm EST on Friday 5/17. We will do our best to send decisions by 5/24.  If you have any questions about submission topics or formatting, please do not hesitate to reach out via email. Contributors should include any identifying and/or contact information they wish to be published alongside their submission. Anonymous submissions are welcomed.