A Mostly Screen-Free, Zine-Full, Remote-Participation Conference on Experimental Methods for Research and Research Exchange


As the past years have proven, the methods for conducting and distributing research that we’ve inherited from our disciplinary traditions can be remarkably brittle in the face of rapidly changing social and mobility norms. The ways we work and the ways we meet are questions newly opened for practical and theoretical inquiry; we both need to solve real problems in our daily lives and account for the constitutive effects of these solutions on the character of the knowledge we produce. Methods are not neutral tools, and nor are they fixed ones. As such, the work of inventing, repairing, and hacking methods is a necessary, if often underexplored, part of the wider research process.

This conference aims to better interrogate and celebrate such experiments with method. Borrowing from the spirit and circuits of exchange in earlier DIY cultures, it takes the form of a zine ring distributed via postal mail. Participants will craft zines describing methodological experiments and/or how-to guides, which the conference organisers will subsequently mail out to all participants. Feedback on conference proceedings will also proceed through the mail, as well as during optional workshops and discussion sessions on Zoom during the zine-making process.

The conference itself is thus an experiment with different temporalities and medialities of research exchange. As a practical benefit, this format guarantees that the experience will be free of Zoom fatigue, timezone difficulties, travel expenses, and visa headaches. More generatively, it may also afford slower thinking, richer aesthetic possibilities, more diverse forms of circulation, and perhaps even some amount of delight. The conference format itself is part of the DIY experiment.

Conference Format

Prospective participants will submit approximately 300-500 word pitches to by April 15th, describing their proposed topic and format. These submissions will be juried, with conference acceptance determined through a combined assessment of potential analytic merit, aesthetics, and the viability of the project plan.

Completed zines will be due on July 29. Participants will have the choice of either printing and mailing copies of their zine to the conference team, or sending in a print master or digital file to the conference team for print production. Printed zines will be packaged and mailed en masse to all conference attendees in September, along with pre-addressed envelopes and a subsidy for postage to help you craft replies to your fellow participants. A digital volume containing all the zines (the conference proceedings, if you will) will also be published online via the Low-Carbon Research Methods Group’s website, allowing for wider circulation and archiving. Let us know if you would like to receive an update once conference proceedings have been published online.


18 March, 2024: Call for Abstracts
15 April, 2024: Pitches Due
29 April, 2024: Responses Out
29 July, 2024: Zines In/Printing Starts
09 Sept, 2024: Zines Mailed


The conference is free. There are no costs for registration, though we will have a restricted number of contributing participants.

We will cover the printing costs for zine reproductions. Participants that choose to print copies of their own zines can apply to have those costs reimbursed. Please note, there is a reimbursement cap of $200 CAD/team. A rough guess at the printing costs of particularly unusual and expensive formats should be included in the pitch.

Past Coverage and Discussions

“Dr. Anne Pasek,” Gettin' Air with Terry Greene: The Open Pedagogy Podcast, 3 August, 2023.

Dr. Anne Pasek, Marc Fischer, Craig Campbell, Stephanie Sadre-Orafai"Print Politics: An online conversation for multimodal anthropologists about the power of print," CoMMPCT , 14 July, 2023.

Sidney Drmay, "Low Carbon Methods are Greening Academia with Zines," Broken Pencil Magazine, 15 September, 2022.


Submit pitches (300-500 words) to
Deadline: April 15, 2024

Potential Questions Participants Might Address

Potential Formats Participants Might Use


Who is this conference open to?

All scholars with an interest in interdisciplinary methodologies, from grad students to senior faculty.

What makes a good pitch?

A good pitch will tell us both:

  1. what your zine will achieve conceptually (will it contain an extended analysis of a fieldwork encounter, practical instructions on building a piece of hardware, or an essay analyzing the history and politics of a methodological norm?) and,
  2. how it will come together practically (i.e. a roughly 20 page 8.5 x 5.5 inch book made in Illustrator; a series of four A4 8-folded booklets drawn by hand; a set of collaged cards on heavy cover paper with images on the recto, text on the verso, etc.).

We’re especially interested in projects that think about how the aesthetics and format of the zine will work to support its ideas and reception/circulation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that only the most artistically adept projects will be selected; you don’t need to be an artist to participate, nor does your execution need to be in any way sleek, professional, or tidy to succeed in communicating your ideas in an interesting way. All that we ask is that you think about, and discuss, how and why your work will look the way you want it to look.

Can I submit more than one idea?

Yes. Feel free to send in as many separate pitches as you'd like. However, we're probably only going to pick one per researcher/research team.

What kinds of things can you print?

The short answer: Most anything you can make out of 8.5 x 11 or 8.5 x 14 inch paper and a photocopier, roughly 20 pages or less. If you have a conventional print job, we’ll send it to a local print shop in Peterborough. Just send us a PDF and print instructions. To help us best bring your vision to life we ask that these zines are kept to standard 5.5 x 8.5, 8 x 8, 6 x 6 inch sizes for smoothest production.
If you want to print with a risograph machine, we’ll do it in house. For this latter option, a restricted colour palette based on black, yellow, pink, blue, and red inks will work best. Colour-separated PDF files, or Photoshop/Affinity files, are preferred. To help us best bring your vision to life we ask that these zines be kept to a 5.5 or 7 x 8.5 inch size (i.e. a folded piece of letter or legal sized paper) for smoothest production.

The long riso answer: The conference team has a risograph machine at their disposal with Black, Yellow, Fluorescent Pink, Bright Red, and Medium Blue ink cartridges (hex colour codes: 000000, FFE800, FF48B0, F15060, 3255A4). Full bleed images and precise multi-colour registration can cause printing problems with the riso, and so are best used sparingly on the page.

We can work with analog masters (i.e. you draw/paint/collage a real-sized page, one for every colour you want to print in) or digital files (Adobe and Affinity are both supported in our print lab, but greyscale PDFs, separated out for each colour, are best).

If you’re aiming for something ambitious, keep in touch with us so we can troubleshoot potential print problems together. You can learn more about riso printing methods and constraints at:

What if you can’t print the very cool but unconventional idea we have for our zine?

We’ll reimburse you for the costs of printing it yourself, and then mailing it to the conference team. Please note, there is a reimbursement cap of $200 CAD/team.

I don’t know how to make a zine / I am worried about not being artistic enough. Can I still participate?

Absolutely! Zines come with an august tradition of amateur attempts, authentically rough-around-the-edges execution, and plain text entrants. The basic skills are easy to learn, and the conference team is keen to support the acquisition of new tricks.

We will offer drop-in help/co-working sessions and zine design workshops/co-working sessions to provide support to participants. You also can find guides and templates here:

Can teams participate?

Absolutely. We welcome multi-/collectively-authored projects. Just mention your corresponding author in your pitch. We will mail copies of the conference materials to the designated corresponding author.

What if I live somewhere where the mail is unreliable?

Reach out and let us know how best to navigate your local mail system (i.e. special instructions, preferred carriers, and more). We’ll do our best to make sure your conference package reaches you in a timely fashion. We’ve also built a very spacious schedule to allow for variable mail delivery times.

I have access needs that make mail/printed text tricky. What should I do?

Contact us ( and we can very likely work out accommodations.

I’m not ready to contribute a zine, but I would like to receive them. Can I still participate?

To keep shipping costs under control, only contributing participants will get physical mail. But digital versions of the zines will be available online for all to read and cite. Let us know if you would like to receive an update once conference proceedings have been published online.

How will pitches be evaluated?

We will assemble a jury to evaluate proposals and determine the conference list. Jury members will have expertise in both a wide range of research methods and experimental media.

How many zines will be accepted into the conference?

This will depend on the number of submissions we receive and the technical challenges/workload of printing the projects we select, but something in the ballpark of 20-30 seems likely.

Low Carbon Methods

The Low-Carbon Research Methods Group is a loosely affiliated network of scholars interested in examining how climate change not only stands to alter what we study, but how we do so.

Its founding hypothesis is that an energy transition for academic methods—like energy transitions everywhere—offers opportunities to re-examine long-held assumptions and to redistribute benefits and harms (for both good and for ill).

Working across different methodological traditions, as well as discursive and nondiscursive forms of inquiry, the research group seeks to explore the social and institutional prospects of decarbonizing academia, as well as the equity and epistemological gains that might be won thereby.

The research group is founded and coordinated by Anne Pasek of Trent University.

Read more about research groups and other projects at the Low Carbon Research Methods website.

You can also follow @LowCarbonMethod on Twitter for updates and upcoming events.

Do you want to be notified when we release conference proceedings online? Yes! Notify me

© 2024 by Low Carbon Research Methods

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⏳DIY Methods 2024 Timeline:⏳
15 April: Pitches Due
29 April: Responses Out
29 July: Zines Due to Conference Team/Printing Starts
09 Sept: Zines Mailed

Conference Proceedings from Previous Years:
DIY Methods 2023, archived via Low-Carbon Research Methods
DIY Methods 2023, archived via H-Commons
DIY Methods 2022, archived via Low-Carbon Research Methods (with errata)
DIY Methods 2022, archived via H-Commons

Read Our White Paper:
Sarah Rayner and Anne Pasek, “Zine-Based Conferencing: A Guide,” Experimental Methods and Media Lab/Low-Carbon Research Methods Group. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. March 2023.

An Initiative Of
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