Grabbing a piece of paper fresh off the printer, Neil Williamson makes the first fold of many to finish his new zine. He digs through a mess of washi tape, markers, and other craft supplies to complete the finishing touches before he can share it with friends, family, and maybe even a stranger.
Williamson is a fifth-year student working toward both a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s degree in science, technology, and public policy. He started making zines while working at a summer art camp as a teen.
“Each zine I make is a time capsule of either the drawings that I was doing at the time, what I was feeling, or what I was experiencing in my life,” said Williamson.
Zines—which are loosely defined as small-circulation, self-published mini-magazines—have long existed in alternative subcultures. In recent years, a growing number of RIT students, staff, and faculty across campus are using this unique medium to express themselves and communicate ideas.
Some faculty members, like Hinda Mandell, have introduced zines as alternative classroom assignments to get students to engage with their studies in a new, tactile way.