HFZF Interview with Zinesters – Unpack Magazine



Tell us a little about yourself and your zine/project/distro.

Unpack Magazine is published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre. We are committed to sharing stories through a gendered and anti-oppressive lens, and focused on highlighting issues that women, immigrants, and refugees in Hamilton face.

To ‘unpack’ means to analyze the nature of, or examine in detail. That is precisely what we hope to do in Hamilton – unpack social justice issues of race, class, and gender – and contribute to the conversation of how to make our city the best it can be.

The IWC is an equality seeking, anti-racist, charitable organization dedicated to the social, political and economic inclusion of refugee and immigrant women in a just and supportive Canadian society.  We are committed to enabling refugee and immigrant women to discover and build their new futures through skills development and settlement support.

How did you start making zines?

For five years, the Immigrant Women’s Centre published the Women’s Press newspaper. Since 2009, we have printed 24 issues, 322 articles, and distributed over 130,000 copies throughout Hamilton. We’ve partnered with dozens of non-profit organizations and have been used as a platform for many women to voice their opinions and experiences.

In 2014 we relaunched our paper as Unpack Magazine. We started publishing stories for a number of reasons. One of our goals was to strengthen social inclusion for women and immigrants in Hamilton, by providing a public  platform for experiences that otherwise lack representation in the media. Getting stories on paper can help both process and validate them in many ways. Another one of our primary goals was to raise awareness among both immigrants and Canadian-born persons about settlement issues, which is the reason for initially starting.

Tell us about a feminist who inspires you to keep working on your zines/projects.

If we had to pick one feminist who inspires us it would be Mary Ann Shadd. She was a trailblazer in terms of publishing and social justice in Canada. She started Provincial Freeman, an anti-slavery newspaper for racial and sexual equality in the 1850’s, which lead her to be the first women publisher in Canada, and the first black woman publisher in North America.

What excites you about Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair or the idea of feminist zine fairs in general?

We are excited for the Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair because it gives us a chance to learn about and listen to the stories and experiences of others in our community. In our day-to-day lives we interact with those in our work, school, or geographical communities, but to have a safe space to bond over feminism and self-publishing is rare.

We are also excited because a woman from IWC has made a zine and will be tabling as well! Yay Anamaria! It is success when women feel their stories and our opinions are worth sharing, that they are of value, and that people will be interested in reading them.


Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair celebrates and creates spaces for marginalized groups to have discussions about feminism through do-it-yourself publishing.

When: Saturday, November 15th from 10am to 5pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON
Accessibility: The space is physically accessible, including washrooms. Here’s some more information about safe(r) spaces at HFZF.


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