T Hetzel & April Conway

by April Conway

For the third semester in a row, Sweetland’s very own first-year writing course--WRT 160: Multimodal Composing--hosted a zine mini convention. The mini con is an opportunity for students to showcase their final projects--zines--with the public and to collaboratively put on a public event. This year the students in two course sections joined forces to put on an even more dynamic version of the ‘con: those of T Hetzel’s Little Big World of Zines and my DIY Culture classes.

Hetzel and LSWA sophmore Cecilia Ledezma Herrera wrote and received grants from U-M Art’s Initiative Course Connection grant and from the U-M Sustainable Food Program to fund food and beverages for the convention. One student from each section designed the print and digital posters.

Printed poster designed by WRT 160 student Jaye “DJaye” McNeil
Digital poster showcased on screens in North Quad and Shapiro Library designed by WRT 160 student Taylor Oliver

The zine mini con featured a zine maker space, welcome table, quiet room (an idea inspired by Detroit Zine Festival organizer Yhasmin), students flash reading from their zines, an informal interview walk-about with MCs Ofek Shani and Jacob Ashkar talking with zinesters, a “Zine Library” trading room for those who couldn’t attend the zine con but wanted to share their work, and, importantly, WRT 160 students tabling their own zines!

We had zine stakeholders from around campus, including representatives from Shapiro Design Lab, U-M’s Arts Initiative, Art & Design Library and the Arts Group at the University of Michigan Library, Sweetland colleagues, the School of Information grad student-run (but open to all) zine club ZZine Club, Colum Slevin of North Quad Programming, and more! Undergrads from zine student groups Canopy, LWSA Zine Club, and UMSFP’s zine The Underground also tabled their zines. One student--The Michigan Daily’s very own cartoonist Sara Fang--showed up for a second semester to trade and showcase her zines.

WRT 160 students did the hard work of setting up and breaking down North Quad 2435--where the zine mini con was hosted--; making and posting signs; DJing the convention; working the welcome table; setting up the food, beverages, and trading room; hosting the zine maker space; creating playlists; and coming up with ideas to make the zine con brilliant. 

We will build on the success of these past three zine mini cons to showcase WRT 160 student work. Please join us for the next zine mini con, and be part of it as it perhaps grows into a bigger Zine Con!