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Recently, there have been a number of zine fests that have not been wheelchair accessible, including the NYC Zinefest, and Canzine. I also believe Expozine was held at an inaccessible spot.

 

What gives? What can we, as a zine community, do to make sure this doesn't happen? I know that the inaccessibility of these spaces is not even acknowledged beforehand, so people arrived at the NY Zinefest unable to get inside. I'm not sure if that happened at Canzine, but it doesn't matter. It should NOT be held at a inaccessible site.

 

I would urge anyone who knows of an inaccessible zine fest or event to let the organizers know you will not be attending and why. Access should never be optional or an afterthought.

 

 

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I agree with this. It really bothered me that the 2009 Richmond Zine Fest wasn't accessible, although IIRC they announced it in advance. I can imagine that finding inexpensive venues is tough, but most zine events are organized a year in advance, there's no excuse for not making accessibility a top priority. Especially in NYC, come on.

We took that into account when picking the venue.  In Richmond there are not a lot of spaces suitable for an event like a zine fest when most organizers want to stay away from renting space at VCU.  There were complaints in 2008 that the Gay Community Center was "too far" from the main area of the city where people live.  The pressure to have it in a more familiar and closer place like Gallery 5 ended up outweighing full accessibilty... even though we were all bothered by it.  As you can see, in 2010 we went back to the GCCR and made people deal with traveling 2 miles from their "comfort zone"  :)

Erica S. said:

I agree with this. It really bothered me that the 2009 Richmond Zine Fest wasn't accessible, although IIRC they announced it in advance. I can imagine that finding inexpensive venues is tough, but most zine events are organized a year in advance, there's no excuse for not making accessibility a top priority. Especially in NYC, come on.

See, I really like the GCC. Of course, I was going there in a car... but even so, it didn't seem to hurt the attendance any, since I got a lot more sales this year. It was also a lot less cramped. Basically that space is awesome. :)

I overheard people at Canzine complaining about it.  Not just for wheelchairs, you've also got a lot of people with heavy boxes and bags who aren't exactly prepped for hiking up a long flight of stairs.

 

The two zine fairs I've run were both held at public libraries so we've never had any issues.

Oh i agree with you wholeheartedly Erica.    The problem with Richmonders is that they don't like to travel outside of a 2 block radius. 
 
Erica S. said:

See, I really like the GCC. Of course, I was going there in a car... but even so, it didn't seem to hurt the attendance any, since I got a lot more sales this year. It was also a lot less cramped. Basically that space is awesome. :)

Yep. I've had so many qualms with zine fairs lately, this being one of them, that I've just plum decided to quit tabling. If a zine fair isn't gonna be held in an accessible space, I'm just not up for supporting it anymore. I've written to zine organizers about it, and the excuse is always that they can't afford an accessible space (one organizer even said they couldn't afford the "luxury" (!) of an accessible space, then went on about having to turn down 100 potential tablers due to lack of space - um, another 100 tablers = an extra $2000 - 3500 (tables were $20 for one day, $35 for two, NOT WORTH IT) = more zines = more attendess = find a damn accessible venue. Or they say that it's just not a priority. Why isn't it a priority?!

Aside from 'protesting' the zine fair by not attending, and writing to organizers, I'm not sure what else I can do, and that bothers me, because I feel like there is much more that can be done.

Also, Canzine is just a mess, this is only one of their many issues. A couple years ago, I went to the Toronto Small Press Fair, which was held in a library (not sure which branch, I'm not familiar enough with the city to remember that kinda stuff), and it was accessible and large. I'm not sure if it's a large enough venue for Canzine, but the possibilities are out there, and they need to figure that shit out.

Also, just want to note the zine fair I was referring to in the first paragraph was Expozine in Montreal, not Canzine.

I guess, really, the only thing we can do is protest by not attending (and letting them know why), and spreading the word. I'm thinking of making some kind of graphic to put on the internet, and maybe making a mini zine about it. Any other ideas?

Erin, Erica, Nicole, and Miranda,

I am curious to hear more of your thoughts on making events accessible.

If I was going to hold a public zine release party, and I was thinking about holding it in my apartment, since I can show people where I made the zine and cook them some fresh cookies and not have to ask anyone other than my roommates for permission, but my apartment is up two flights of stairs, is that a shitty thing to do?

Should all events of all kinds be accessible, or is there a tangible degree of scale or sort of event that makes accessibility significantly more important?

How does being wheelchair accessible compare to being accessible to people in other ways? How important is being near public transportation? How important is being near affordable parking? How important is having an ASL translator? Translators and programs/materials for non-English speakers? Listening devices for people with hearing impairment? Other things?

If you can share any thoughts, thanks.

Best,
Dan

Public zine events should be accessible. Period. Otherwise, they're not really public at all. People like me aren't welcome.

 

I think having a ASL translator for zine panels is good. I think the Boston Skillshare had that one year? I may be wrong.

 

Of course, wheelchair access isn't the only way to make a place accessible, but people can't even get in the building, and that's a huge problem.


Dan C said:

Erin, Erica, Nicole, and Miranda,

I am curious to hear more of your thoughts on making events accessible.

If I was going to hold a public zine release party, and I was thinking about holding it in my apartment, since I can show people where I made the zine and cook them some fresh cookies and not have to ask anyone other than my roommates for permission, but my apartment is up two flights of stairs, is that a shitty thing to do?

Should all events of all kinds be accessible, or is there a tangible degree of scale or sort of event that makes accessibility significantly more important?

How does being wheelchair accessible compare to being accessible to people in other ways? How important is being near public transportation? How important is being near affordable parking? How important is having an ASL translator? Translators and programs/materials for non-English speakers? Listening devices for people with hearing impairment? Other things?

If you can share any thoughts, thanks.

Best,
Dan

that is why i am proud that my 'home' zine fest, Philly Zine Fest, is held at a very accessible and reasonable venue every year. However part of that is because PZF's venue is like most of the zine fests held at public/college venues are more apt to be accessible, due to the fact that the ADA statutes mandate such things.

 

i agree that zine fest organizers should really consider accessibility when organizing, especially since the zine community proclaims to be all about inclusion and diversity. especially when it comes to big cities like New York and Toronto that have plenty of schools, libraries and community centers, i cant believe that its impossible to find a venue that could suit everyone's needs. and good on ya, Erin to call this out and have a dialogue about it!

Dan - as far as accessibilty is concerned, your apartment isn't accessible to people who have anxiety issues with going into someone's home  who they don't  know.   Like Amber said... that'd be a party for people you know.  I would never go to a zine release party in someone's home.  (I don't even understand why zines need a release party... unless you are going to read from it).   I don't go to any party in a home which i don't know the host personally.    I dislike the fact that the Flying Brick Library here in Richmond is in a home.  It makes me incredibly anxious.

 

I'll be a total asshole here and say that i don't understand why you would go to the trouble of finding an ASL or any language translator unless you KNOW someone is going to be coming who will need to use it.  Organizing a large zine event is VERY hard work.  Adding "finding translators for 20 languages" to the list would be very difficult. 

Maybe it makes sense in a more bilingual place like Quebec.     

Richmond is in a lot of old buildings as well.   This is one reason Gallery 5 was (and still is not) completely accessible.   It's in a 100 year old fire station.  

Amber / Culture Slut said:

You're not an asshole! It's definitely different here because I live in a very bilingual city, my point is just that it's do-able. These things aren't necessarily available at 100% of the events, but if the venue is given 48 hours notice, they do whatever they can in regards to translators and child care. I just didn't like the way Dan phrased it as some sort of an impossibility when it's something that I've seen happen successfully on numerous occasions. Nothing is perfect here, but I've noticed that people are more open about talking about various shortcomings when it comes to accessibility and working hard to change it. (I'm referring to more of a specific social / activist circle, and not the city as a whole, which is terribly inaccessible).

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