Publishing the Present: An Archive of Mutual Care and Action

Publishing the Present: An Archive of Mutual Care and Action was an archival project (2020-21) collected independent publications that responded to a contemporary moment of international urgency. Produced as part of Wendy’s Subway’s online residency at READ Books and the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the archive gathered these publications as an incomplete document of the present. These publications attest to ongoing histories of struggle for justice and global crises which inform our collective imagination of radically better futures. The archive aims to challenge conditions of opression, considering public health and justice in the broadest sense—including the ongoing pandemic and its intersection with the crises of capitalism; mass incarceration; police violence; white supremacy; attacks on Black, Indigenous, immigrant, LGTBQIA, and disabled lives; environmental devastation; authoritarianism; housing insecurity and increasing economic precarity; among many other threats to human life and dignity.

In centering the work of independent publishers, we strove to document how creative networks have produced and disseminated urgent, nuanced, and collective responses that contribute to sociopolitical change on local and international scales. Mapping the intersections between social movements, activist efforts, emergency response, mutual aid, protest, resistance, and artists’ publications provides a framework for a broader consideration of the role of creative and critical publishing practice in facilitating social transformation.

With this archive we invite you to consider: What new forms can community solidarity and mutual aid take in times of crisis? How can independent publishing ecosystems support networks of care actively counteracting systems of oppression?

Find the archive here.

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