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A Zine Creator’s Workshop for BIPOC of Portland with Geeta Lewis

Community Event
samples of Geeta Lewis's zine work

The stories of we Black…, Indigenous…, People of (every melanated) Color are our stories to tell, our way, and in our own voices. Making our own zines is one way of controlling our BIPOC narratives.

This workshop is designed  to cover three key areas regarding how I create zines that celebrate BIPOC-centric narratives: The Written Word in Three Storytelling Formats, In Living Color, and Transactional Reparations.

Descriptions of each area that will be covered below:

BIPOC Narratives In Three Storytelling Formats

BIPOC zine stories often begin with “The Written Word”. I’ve included three examples of storytelling that suit the way I write: The Essay, The Memoir, and The Parable. I’ll talk briefly about each of these, and recommend some ways that may help you find what works for you.

BIPOC Narratives Illustrated, in Living Color

Stories that “speak” to our personal lived experiences often have their power amplified through drawings, paintings and photographs. I’ve included three models for adding images to your zine that may help reveal a deeper truth than through words alone: The Writer/Artist, The Collaborator, and Free Stock Images. After a brief presentation on how I use all three, you may want to include images in your next zine.

BIPOC Narratives & Transactional Reparations

Though this is the shortest segment of the workshop, it’s the most important to me. In order to keep making my zines, I have to charge for them. My costs per zine vary from one 20 copy print run to the next. The cover price never includes a wage for my production labor. It never includes more than a few pennies per copy for my writing and my artwork combined. With no shade implied, I don’t make my zines for the money.

By following what I call “Transactional Reparations”, I address BIPOC accessibility to my zines, often at, or just above cost. I do that through maintaining a pricing strategy which reflects my belief in reparations

I’ve included a basic blueprint for the infrastructure that supports my beliefs. It may also prove useful to anyone else who is interested in how I recover my costs and still help support “what else matters” to me.

Learn more about Geeta Lewis:

Geeta Lewis is a Visual Artist. A Writer. A Compassionate Storyteller. A Verbal Agitator. And She's a Queer, Trans, Black Woman! Geeta's storyteller performances have been featured at the Artists Repertory Theater and Portland Center Stage at The Armory. A series of her paintings and other works have been a part of a Historical Archive in Washington, DC since 1988. She is a 2016 Alumna of the IPRC Comics & Graphic Novels Program.

After moving to Oregon in 2006, she moved to Portland in 2015, where she’s been active in organizations like the Q Center & Basic Rights Oregon. A balancing act of Light, Darkness, and Laughter is her weapon of choice. It's one of the ways she chooses to help build a more equitable world. And she’s looking for an enclave of empathetic co-conspirators.

Event Info

Suggested $20 donation for the workshop includes a finished copy of the Portland’s Got Talent Community Zine! Donations can be made at the IPRC website. Pay what you can, no one turned away for lack of funds. Additional zines available to purchase separately. 

Add your zine pages to the Portland’s Got Talent Community Zine! 

All submitted zine pages will be printed and assembled into the larger community zine at the IPRC. Zine pages should be 5'' x 8'' in size. Find a zine page template to use below!

*Zine template to use* - this is a pdf- must be saved as jpg to post on FB

Please send digital files in PDF format to Don’t work digitally, or don’t have access to a scanner? We can help! Mail pages to the IPRC at 318 SE Main St. #155 Portland OR, 97214, and we’ll scan them for you. 

Final day to submit pages 9/20. Finished zines available for curbside pick up starting 10/7 at the IPRC. 

About the IPRC
The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is a Portland-based nonprofit that provides affordable access to space, tools, and resources for creating independently published media and artwork, building community and identity through maling. Over 22 years, we've served 35,000 community members, providing resources to create chapbooks, art, prints, and zines. We provide workshops in generative writing, letterpress, risograph, screen printing, graphic design, book binding, and calligraphy. We believe that healthy communities create together and that access to art-making is critical to well-being. The vision of a more inclusive and vibrant Portland arts ecosystem is what we strive to contribute to. 

Find IPRC and on instagram @iprc_pdx