by Kerry Pimblott
There's a new zine in town...
IN:COLOUR is a new student-led publication by and for BME creatives and focused on issues of race, identity and culture. The project was the brainchild of two young historians and fellow Race, Roots & Resistance members: Hana Ward and Amaal Cansuur-Cali. The first issue is slated for release next month at what promises to be a memorable launch event in Manchester.
We took a few minutes to catch up with the zine's Editorial Team...
So, where did the idea for IN:COLOUR come from and who or what were your inspirations?
The idea to start a zine focused on race was due to various reasons. It began with realising that there was a lack of BAME representation on campus. University is daunting for most people, but as an ethnic minority it adds an extra dimension to navigate through which incredibly alienating. This was the driving factor behind Hana and Amaal's decision to create something which would bring people together and provide them with a support base and creative outlet to talk about how their racial identity impacts their lives.
Although there are plenty of University publications... none seemed to overtly focus on race and racism. Perhaps this is because race is still seen as a buzzword, symptomatic of identity politics, but the reality is that race affects relationships at every level in society and beyond. Those who excuse it as a buzzword have either internalised the racial prejudice they receive, or are simply unaffected by it.
Therefore, IN:COLOUR serves as a means to take control of the conversation around race in order to empower voices which are silenced by society or spoken for by well-meaning white liberals.
We were heavily inspired by the award-winning zine gal-dem which based in Bristol and run by women and non-binary people of colour.
The founders of IN:COLOUR are historians-in-training. What role did history play in your decision to launch this project?
Yes, the founders of IN:COLOUR are both History students. Our decision was informed by the fact that historically, one way oppressed groups in society have challenged their silencing is by making themselves heard and forcing people to listen.
History has also shown us that students have a lot of power which they may not realise. For example, the Black Panther Party was founded by two college students. Although IN:COLOUR is not a revolutionary Black Power publication, we firmly agree with Huey Newton's assertion that 'the revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.'
How do you envision the purpose and aims of the zine?
The purpose and aims of IN:COLOUR are varied but our overarching goal is to empower marginalised voices. Although short-term we are focused on representation on campus, we are not restricted to this. An important long-term goal of ours is to go into the wider community and nurture creativity from a young age. All members of the IN:COLOUR team are in agreement that we want to provide young people with the opportunities that we didn't have.
Historically, zines have functioned as important sites of self-expression for groups whose politics, cultures, or identities have been marginalised by mainstream media outlets. It sounds like that history very much informs your own activities...
Yes, that history is instrumental in our decision to launch this zine. Material culture is an important way of understanding history which is why we felt it was important to have a physical legacy, hence a zine over an online publication.
What has been the response to IN:COLOUR been from other BAME creatives in Manchester University and beyond?
The response to IN:COLOUR has been overwhelming! Every single creative who is involved is extremely excited about the work that we're doing. They are in agreement with the Editorial Team that there needs to be a platform for BME voices to speak from. We have a variety of artists and people participating: spoken word poets, aspiring reporters and journalists as well as those who already work in the industry, visual artists and even a DJ! IN:COLOUR is the product of every facet of BME creativity.
So, what should we expect from the first issue? What themes or issues are you going to focus on and why?
Our first issue is based on our own identity. This is largely based on what we call The Question which is being asked: 'Where are you from? No, where are you really from?' This is a question that nearly every person of colour has been asked before. It is also part of the broader issue regarding how BME people have to continually explain and justify their identity, and thus their existence, for a white audience.
You can learn more about IN:COLOUR at the launch event on Thursday 13 December from 8pm-midnight at Leaf in Manchester. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
You can also follow the group:
on Instagram: @zineincolour
on Twitter: @zineincolour
on Facebook: facebook.com/zineincolour