Written by 

Liam Basford

 

On Monday 23rd March, the UK government announced a nationwide lockdown, ordering people to stay at home and for some businesses to close their doors. Two weeks and countless Zoom quizzes later I was placed on the government’s furlough scheme.

 

Confined to my house and with my normal creative output temporarily paused I quickly became frustrated, with an increasing sense of uselessness that had been imposed on me by COVID-19. At this point I was seeking a purpose and a way to help the worsening situation beyond clapping on a Thursday evening.

 

At the beginning of April and with an eagerness to create something, I proposed the idea of curating a collection of creative work to my friend and writer Dominic Nozahic. After a series of enthusiastic discussions and with a concept born out of a desire for connection, we founded Insiders Zine.

 

Over the next few weeks we reached out to our networks and contacted creatives that we had previously only admired from afar. Over the summer we collaborated with writers, photographers, artists and illustrators from all over the UK to get their unique perspective of lockdown.

 

As ‘normal’ life continued its sabbatical we relied on technology to connect with friends and family. But with more and more aspects of everyday life moving online we hoped to be able to provide the zine in a physical form. Fortunately we managed to secure printing courtesy of The Complete Product Company who offered to print the zine at cost price. We also approached Swiss Typefaces who kindly donated 2 fonts to the project as part of their COVID Initiative, which supports all projects working to fight the virus.

 

 

 

The end result manifested itself as an A5 portrait booklet consisting of contributions from 15 creatives over 64 pages. After surpassing our initial target to raise £750 for NHS Charities Together we eventually raised a total of £1325.55 with £1001.91 going to the NHS after printing and postage costs were deducted.

 

The project spanned the majority of lockdown, beginning in April and wrapping up in August. It was a privilege to curate such incredible creative work from all over the UK and a humbling experience to see a small idea raise over £1000 for the NHS with copies sent as far as California and Hong Kong.

 

Insiders Zine provided a crucial outlet for my creativity during lockdown and a purpose to work through this strange shared experience. It has kept my creative skills sharp as well as equipping me with new ones whilst growing my professional network.

 

Keeping creative during lockdown has ensured that I’m prepared to step back into the world of work when furlough comes to an end. Even if it’s only the few steps from my bed to my desk.