2020 Lockdown ZinesUsed with permission by Astrid Erasmuson

Lockdown Zines

A group of Otago Polytechnic Design learners have had their Covid-related work acknowledged in Kātoitoi, the Aotearoa Design Archive.

A highly regarded curator of work from throughout New Zealand, Kātoitoi collects from different disciplines of Design that reflect contemporary practices, emerging trends and social/cultural impact. Kātoitoi has recently highlighted the work of a 2020 cohort of Otago Polytechnic first-year Bachelor of Design (Communication) learners, who collaborated on a fascinating project, “Lockdown Zines”. 

The “Lockdown Zines” were an adapted response to a first-year publication design brief and the remote learning situation in which they found themselves during Covid-19 lockdown last year. “This project was conceived entirely remotely,” Otago Polytechnic Communication Design lecturer Denise Narciso explains.

“Given that this was only the second design project students had undertaken, we revised the brief to provide students with an innovative outlet for a range of responses to what were uncertain and challenging times in lockdown.”

Otago Polytechnic Communication Design lecturer Lucy Richardson, who co-taught the paper with Denise, says the project enabled students to draw directly on their own experiences.

“These included how to stay connected, combat boredom, live with your parents, stay sane, be creative, slow down, etc.”

The zines ranged from highly personal accounts of grief and isolation, to more humorous perspectives on redefined human behaviour, the media, conspiracy theories and characters on the world stage. It gave students a discussion point, particularly around mental health and the anxiety they were feeling. Notably, Otago Polytechnic Student Success support team requested the zines be made visible around campus to promote student wellbeing.

Kātoitoi describes the project as:

“A really clever brief in response to the global situation at the time and having to adapt to online teaching with first years. It's clear that students responded really well and had fun. A great adaption of the standard brief as a result of the Covid lockdown. Definitely a moment in time captured by young designers at the start of their individual design journey. Worthy of a place in the archive.”