Critical Kits and How We Use Them

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from zine fairs over the years, which illustrate both techniques for making zines and possible subjects. There are materials on hand, including the fantastic manual typewriter made by Amy Hirst, another member. They also have a photocopier to publish the final results. People who come along can spend a couple of hours making a zine and learning new techniques by watching, talking and doing. The Zine Club is a great example of publishing as a maker space activity, but examples from writing and publishing that mirror the organisational and physical structures of maker spaces are harder to find. One is a Sheffield based organisation The Poetry Business. Active for more than 25 years, for all that time The Poetry Business have run a small-press poetry imprint (an imprint is a trade name under which it publishes a work) called Smith/Doorstop Books, and a twice-yearly magazine called The North. The organisation has only had three offices in those years, and whilst these were never communal in the same way as a Makerspace, people can and do often drop in if they are passing.

example the same first line to start with. At the end of each exercise people can read out what they've written, and get a response both from others in the group and the people running the event, who, after 25 years, have an incredible body of expertise. Thousands of people must have taken part in this process over the years, including two of Britain's most famous poets, Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage. Among the people taking part there is always a mixture of experience, from those there for the first time to people who have been dozens of times. While the writing part is done in silence, the learning what to write is social and done by talking and listening in a way that does seem to parallel some aspects of learning in Makerspace culture. Is the Poetry Business as close to a writer space as it's possible to get? And perhaps more importantly, what can Makerspaces learn from the communal, silent exercises of writing workshops?

Closest in spirit to a Makerspace are the monthly Saturday writing days that The Poetry Business have run every month of their 25 years. These writing days are open to anyone who turns up, and participants, usually about 12 people, sit round a table and write new poems in short ten-minute exercises by following a format that is given to everyone, for

Amy Hirst manual typewriter

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