The Visual Politics of Independent Print Media in the Twentieth Century

Session Convenors:

Louise Siddons (Oklahoma State University)

Victoria Bazin (Northumbria University)

Please email your paper proposal to the session convenors using the Paper Proposal Form


Throughout the 20th century, independent publications were produced by individuals, communities, and organisations around the world. This session seeks papers that explore the visual culture of newspapers and magazines intentionally produced outside the institutional borders of mainstream media. Often advocating oppositional politics through lenses of gender/sexuality, race, carceral status, etc, activist periodicals were the product of editors, artists, and designers who took advantage of inexpensive technologies of reproduction and dissemination, as well as resources such as the Liberation News Service, to build wide-ranging networks through print. The carefully curated interplay between text and images offered readers opportunities for self-definition that reflexively consolidated group identifications. Formally, intellectually, and politically intersectional, this vernacular press often confounded publishing conventions, promiscuously blending genres and audiences. Intentionally blurring the boundaries between art and design, literature and journalism, these publications made cultural and political space for their readers, while occupying diverse real-world spaces. In this session, we will consider the global vernacular press in order to discover the shared structures and intersectional visual networks of 20th-century independent publishing.

We invite papers from artists, designers, and historians that explore every aspect of the visual culture of independent publishing in the 20th century. Papers might address, among other topics:

  • practices of production, and how they were informed by politics, economics, and technology
  • reader/audience networks and dissemination
  • the invention, appropriation, or amplification of specific aesthetics of protest and resistance
  • self-fashioning and the authentication of readers’ lives and experiences.

Submit a paper

Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors above, using the Paper Proposal Form

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 21 October 2019


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