Cardiff Metropolitan University

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Zine but not heard: Historical developments in self-publishing and representations of Cardiff’s creative cultures

posted on 2023-07-11, 11:35 authored by Simon Alexander

My creative writing piece, a novella called mm-hm, addresses the lack of representations of creatives in contemporary fiction set in Cardiff. mm-hm is set in a reimagined, near-future Cardiff, it focuses on the story of two brothers, using several inter-linking narrative strands and multiple third-person points of view. It employs elements from dystopian science-fiction to explore what conditions creatives may have to live and produce work under in the near-future.

Through mm-hm and my accompanying commentary I have questioned if, rather than seeking new forms of expression reflecting contemporary Welsh creative cultures, we are left with a discursive sphere dominated by superficial and repetitive notions of reativity, identity and community.

The commentary is a critical reading of the topic and aims to contextualise the novel within its subject area. This is an interdisciplinary discussion framed by the historical development of creative cultures and how they have used self-published representations of themselves to produce group-based, regional identities. From the early Twentieth Century both avant-garde art movements and post-war countercultures played a key role in producing distinct, regional, group-based cultural identities. This relationship between self-publishing and group-based identities has undergone significant change following the advent of digital, creative industries and the speed at which the digital economy codifies and exploits creative activity. Using this approach I will question if the above changes have limited some spaces within which creative cultures can develop new forms of expression and if we have a discursive sphere where fiction set in Cardiff is almost devoid of representations of contemporary creatives.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

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