Are You Okay?

By: Jackie Batey  

This paper explores examples of art zines that contain visual narratives about mental health. The author is the curator of Zineopolis (University of Portsmouth, UK) and specific examples will be drawn from this special collection of art zines. This paper questions how visual narratives about issues such as GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), Burnout and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can communicate to a reader through art zines. It will consider authorial illustration within the self-publishing sector and how personal, private stories can been shared in an ultimately positive context. ‘Well-being’ has become a particular focus for higher education in the UK with many students struggling with issues such as anxiety and depression. Art zines have an immediacy and democracy of production that means many more voices can be heard and stories shared beyond what is available in the mainstream. Ethical issues of circulating these art zines within a special collection is also commented upon with reference to The Zine Librarians Code of Ethics (2015). Mental health issues have often been portrayed though the popular media unsympathetically creating stigma, whereas these selected art zines show care and understanding offering an alternative narrative.

zines well-being self-publishing
Publishing Practices: Past, Present, and Future
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Jackie Batey

Course Leader MA Illustration, School of Art, Design & Performance, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Hampshire, United Kingdom

I am an educator and creative practitioner. I produce limited editional handmade artist's books (Damp Flat Books) and art zines (Future Fantasteek!). Many of the themes I enjoy working with are anxiety, humour and our uneasy relationship with technology and social media. My artist's books and zines are in various collections around the world including, the V&A Library, the British Library, Tate Britain, the Getty Institute, Joan Flasch Collection, the Met and the Yale Collection. I'm a senior lecturer in the School of Art, Design & Performance at the University of Portsmouth, U.K., where I am course leader for MA Illustration. I also teach on BA Illustration and supervise Practice-based PhD students. I set-up and now curate Zineopolis - the School's art zine collection. I have given lecturers and published papers about my own practice, sequential illustration and the social responsibilities of the illustrator internationally.