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Zines as Storytelling, Sense-Making, and Influence Susan Williams Facilitator, storyteller, writer

Alasdair MacIntyre (1981) describes storytelling as an essential human quality that enables humans to reduce the unknowable complexity of the world required for their survival. In addition, the feedback we receive in response to our own stories and the accounts of others’ stories allow us to develop a concept of self in relationship to others. In other words, the stories we tell about our experiences allow us to make sense of our world.

the facts of a life lived and the feelings evoked by living that life; between allowing the reader/hearer to understand, and at the same time to experience emotion. To me, the zines were authentic; I could trust the storyteller and believe in his or her story. As a reader, the simplicity, and at times, the rawness, of the stories invited me into the circumstances in which the storyteller had found him or herself—the circumstances that contributed to creating the identity and the self-concept of the narrator and actor of the story. By being confronted by their vulnerability, as well as their strength and determination to rise above difficult circumstances, the reader is challenged to take a stance: to be affected, to acknowledge the universal need to be accepted and to belong, or to turn away. In the same way, the exhibition of these zines, through which the stories of the zines were explored visually, provided a subtle, but powerful, act of defiance against institutionalised marginalisation and criminalisation of migrants and LGBTQ, challenging the viewer to take a stance.

Storytelling and story-listening are both, therefore, essential for the formation of identity, reputation, and a sense of our responsibility for and accountability to others (Williams 2014). Through the stories we tell and against which we are measured, we become authentic human beings who share lives and emotions, as well as memories and histories. For the reader/hearer to believe in the message the story brings and be influenced by that story, however, he/she needs to trust the storyteller. When I first read the stories told by these zines, I was moved. The stories were of real people who experienced real emotions. These stories provided a connection between

As advocacy, these stories are influential, but not blatantly so. The Sex Worker Zine Project 104

Profile for MoVE methods:visual:explore

The Sex Worker Zine Project Ebook  

"Featuring the zines produced by 24 men, women, and transgender persons who live and sell sex in the Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga provin...

The Sex Worker Zine Project Ebook  

"Featuring the zines produced by 24 men, women, and transgender persons who live and sell sex in the Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga provin...