Friday, September 16, 2011

A Conversational History: Roberts Street Social Centre

By Caleb, Nicole, Jyelle, and a whole bunch of other people

The major reason as to why this site hasn't been that updated over the summer is that I moved to Halifax and developed a social life. I've also spent a lot of time volunteering at the Roberts Street Social Centre and the Anchor Archive Zine Library contained within it.

This isn't to say I haven't been writing things. I continued writing my column for The Beat until this month, I've made a couple of zines (mostly at a 24 hour zine challenge, more info soon!), and have also spent a lot of time updating the website, facebook page, and email announcements list for Roberts Street.

So it is with a fair amount of bias that I approach this zine.

The Roberts Street Social Centre is a space in a former house that houses a zine library, the People's Photocopier, a screen printing co-operative, a meeting space, and more! It's been around for about six years, and this zine (which was about a year in the making it seems) is mostly a transcript of a dinner conversation (from 2009?) between eleven (I think) people involved in the space, and their memories of how the space began, and how it's grown and evolved since then.

There's also an interview with the people that set up the website and online zine catalogue (really interesting to me, but possibly boring to everyone else), an interview with the owner of the house who we rent from (more interesting than it might seem), and flyers and posters advertising events from the beginning of the space.

As someone (heavily?) involved in the space, I find this all really interesting, but I'm not sure how interesting it would be to someone who has never visited. There are some problems (all of the pieces just seem to stop, with no real ending or conclusion), and there's some information that I would have liked to have seen included (why start a zine library at all?), but overall I think it's a really awesome zine, and the style of it (while a nightmare to transcribe I'm sure), is one that allows a lot of different people to tell their memories and opinions in an organic way.

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