MSU Diversity Services and Incite Magazine collaborate on new zine

The McMaster Students Union Diversity Services and Incite Magazine have collaborated to start 2021 on a creative note with the launch of their newest publication, Soapbox.

Soapbox is a zine publication for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour folks to share their art with the rest of the McMaster University community. The main goal is to amplify the art and craftsmanship of BIPoC students through an exclusive, safe space for them to showcase their work.

Soapbox will be accepting submissions of art in many forms if it can be displayed digitally, such as visual art, poetry or a dance video.

“This publication aims to create a platform where the voices, experiences and lives of BIPoC contributors are not only seen and heard but valued and prioritized,” reads an information document released by Diversity Services and Incite.

“This publication aims to create a platform where the voices, experiences and lives of BIPoC contributors are not only seen and heard but valued and prioritized”.

Additionally, they highlighted the importance of this publication in increasing BIPoC representation within traditional media and social media, which tends to be from the lens of white folks.

“Fundamentally, I think the zine comes out of the fact that often art or creation feels like it needs to be monetized and needs to be done by a certain group or certain somebody with credentials or a background. Often students of color, especially Black and Indigenous students, are excluded from these narratives so we wanted to create a space to have them shine and have their creations be showcased as much as possible,” said Sara Tamjidi, director of MSU Diversity Services.

Another motivating factor for creating the zine was its potential to allow McMaster students to feel more connected with one another through the process of writing and sharing their work.

“It will give the opportunity to create a virtual community in the non-traditional setting of remote learning,” Tamjidi explained.

“It will give the opportunity to create a virtual community in the non-traditional setting of remote learning,” Tamjidi explained.

When asked about why the publication was named Soapbox, Tamjidi explained its historical significance of conventionally being a makeshift box or crate that individuals would use as a platform to stand up and share their views. They chose this name to signify a similar platform where BIPoC individuals can be seen and heard.

“We took that to say that students, especially BIPoC students, exist by creating, by being and are really protesting by creating an enabling soapbox for themselves in their communities,” said Tamjidi

The theme of the publication is “existence as resistance.” With this theme, Soapbox hopes to highlight the ongoing systemic oppression that BIPoC folks face by further suggesting that their very existence is the best form of resistance against these barriers.

The deadline to submit pieces is Feb. 15, 2021, which can be completed through a Google form. Artists whose pieces are selected for publication will be offered a $20 cheque per piece as compensation for their hard work. Each artist can submit a maximum of five submissions.

While they have not yet decided how many pieces will be featured in the zine, Tamjidi explained that Diversity Services and Incite hope to feature the submissions in an alternative media format other than an electronic version.

They also hope to adapt Soapbox to different types of video submissions, such as dance, singing, or spoken word. They encourage all BIPoC students to submit, emphasizing that they are not looking for anything specific or following a certain model.

Diversity Services and Incite hope that Soapbox will be able to create a foundation for future BIPoC students at McMaster by amplifying BIPoC voices on campus and increasing their representation in all spaces.

“I think what our [long-term] hope is with the zine is that we can create an alternative format for students to display their creativity and their artistic talents and to showcase students of colour as much as we possibly can,” said Tamjidi.

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