Capturing student creativity through zines

Glasgow, Scotland

Challenge team: City of Glasgow College Library Service and City of Glasgow College students

Population of Glasgow: 650,000

Summary: City Zine is a collaboration between students at the City of Glasgow College in Scotland and the college library to encourage students to express their thoughts and feelings through zine making.

The library team at the City of Glasgow College – the largest further education institution in Scotland – has been working with some of the college’s 27,000 students to explore how they can build a safe and welcoming space together through a co-creation project: a zine library.

When the library first opened up following the pandemic – before many other support departments at the college – students told staff that the library was a haven for them, one of a small number of welcoming spaces. Building on this, the library team started providing small workshops in mindful journaling to help students express their thoughts and emotions following the disruptions of the pandemic. 

They then started to create small collaborations with students to encourage them to use the library space to share their own poetry and photography. After a successful exhibition with photography students on the theme of mental health, the library decided to encourage creativity by offering students an outlet to share their thoughts and feelings on a range of topics through zine making.

A collaboration between the City of Glasgow College library and the Student Association, the City Zine challenge team wants to develop this idea further by creating a unique collection of curated student-submitted zines that are unique to Scottish students and their lives. 

The challenge team has been working closely with the Vice Student President for Diversity and Wellbeing to develop workshops as part of LGBTQAI+ History Month in February 2023.

“We want to build connections with our students to give them an outlet and platform to share their creative selves with one another,” the challenge team said.

Their ambitions are to extend the initiative to a European level as a broader platform for creative expression: “It would be amazing to create a Euro-zine that encapsulates the thoughts and feelings from students throughout Europe,” they said.

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