community diversity fellowship

The 2019 Fellowship Application Period is now closed. Thanks to all who applied!

Please see last year’s information and application below to get a sense of the program and timeline. Details for the coming season will be announced in autumn.

help strengthen mzf’s commitment to diversity

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Milwaukee Zine Festival’s first fellowship opportunity! Join our team as we proactively continue our investment in diversity and inclusivity practices for the festival and its associated programming.

Deadline to apply: Friday, January 4th, 2019 by 7:00pm
Fellowship term: Mid-January to Mid-May, 2019

(See below for all the details—and how to apply!)

Introduction: about mzf

Milwaukee Zine Fest is one of the Midwest’s longest-standing zine exhibitions: now in it’s 11th year!  MZF celebrates and promotes zine culture, DIY creative literary work, small press publishing, and other independent, self-created wonders in magazine-like format.  At the heart of our festival is the recognition that zines provide a safe, independent platform of expression for underrepresented and marginalized voices of all kinds.

Our annual zine fest includes local and national zine vendors, plus workshops and hands-on activities for all ages.  In the run-up to the festival, MZF collaborates with other creative and educational organizations to support and encourage zine-making (and reading) throughout the year.

Milwaukee Zine Fest is a production of The Bindery with its key partner and host, The Milwaukee Public Library.  It is held at the Library’s Central Branch each spring, attracting dozens of vendors and over 300 visitors annually.

Fellowship overview

The Milwaukee Zine Fest Community Diversity Fellow will work collaboratively with the leadership team to broaden MZF’s outreach strategies and better engage an evermore diverse audience of both vendors and Zine Fest attendees.

Milwaukee Zine Fest prides itself on being a welcoming space for all voices, regardless of age, ethnicity, socio-economic standing, gender expression, sexuality, (dis)ability, culture, or religion.  This new fellowship role has been created to further establish MZF’s commitment to diversity by both expanding and shaping our outreach efforts and policies. 

We believe proactivity is key in better understanding and welcoming the communities we seek to serve.

This fellowship focuses on several core projects (described below); both behind the scenes with the MZF Zine Team, and via in-person-engagement with local leaders, organizations, artisans, and neighborhood establishments.  We are looking for a highly self-motivated, personable, and organized fellow to leap on board with us!  Further details and qualifications outlined below.

fellowship term and commitment

Length of Fellowship: 5 months (Mid-January through Mid-May, 2019)

Deadline to apply: Friday January 4th, 2019 (by 7pm)

Interviews: January 9th, 10th and 11th, 2019

Fellowship awardee announced: Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Expected hours/commitment: This is a flexible position with the recognition that applicants have varying degrees of availability and work-styles.  The successful fellow will work with MZF at the start to design a schedule and deadlines to accomplish the projects laid out below.

(A once a week check-in with MZF leadership is to be expected, along with monthly Zine Team meetings, and attendance at the festival itself in April.  Additional hours will be largely independent and self-scheduled.)

Core fellow responsibilities

Before the festival (January—March 2019)
Internal Assessment & Focused Community Outreach

  • Assess: review and refine current MZF diversity policies, language, and future goals along with the Zine Team.

  • Research: identify relevant, mission-aligned, local organizations (and individuals) who work with creative, marginalized communities.

  • Outreach: contact those identified above to introduce MZF, assess interest, invite their participation/ideation, and encourage the inclusion of their constituents at MZF events.

  • Target interviews: plan and conduct three informational interviews with relevant leaders in communities of color to better assess how MZF can provide a welcome atmosphere and inclusive programming.

  • Community participation: as a representative of Milwaukee Zine Fest, attend at least one public event or program offered by a relevant organization.

At the festival (April 6th, 2019)

  • Provide point of contact for all questions/concerns regarding accessibility and inclusion.

  • Assist the Zine Team and library staff with tasks throughout the day to make the festival as safe, fun, friendly and accommodating as possible!

After the festival: (April and May, 2019)

  • Feedback gathering: assist MZF leadership with collecting feedback about the festival from both vendors and attendees.  

  • Follow-up with community organizations and interviewed parties regarding festival awareness and participation.

  • Report of findings: provide MZF with a written summary of fellowship term findings, as well as suggestions for continued success of our diversity outreach in the future.

Other related responsibilities

  • Attend general MZF planning meetings with Bindery and Library staff as needed.

  • Help promote and administer the Emerging Voices Scholarship.

  • Help coordinate potential translation services for non-English speakers.

  • Other relevant administrative tasks, as assigned by the Zine Team.

Mzf’s responsibility to you:

The Milwaukee Zine Festival Community Diversity Fellow will be one of our critical team members this year: we can’t wait to work with you!  This role is your chance to take on a respected position within one of Milwaukee’s long-standing literary arts and empowerment movements.  We promise to provide you with a fellowship experience that is positive, properly supervised, and in-keeping with your own goals.  Specifically, this means that MZF will provide our fellow with: 

  • A $200 fellowship award at the end of a successful term.

  • Up to $20 reimbursement of transportation and other related costs.

  • A collaborative, collegial, and respectful work environment.

  • The chance to meet and work with with some of Milwaukee’s most creative and inspirational voices in the literary and arts scene.

  • The chance to refine and invent inclusive policy, programming, and initiatives that impact hundreds of regional artists and writers.

  • Professional development opportunities and support, tailored to your own goals and dreams for your time spent with us.

  • Recognition of your role on our website and social media.

  • For zinesters that apply: your zine displayed for sale at MZF, and archived in The Milwaukee Public Library’s permanent zine collection.

  • Post-term references for other positions in the future, whenever needed.

  • Potential for continued/future paid work with MZF and The Bindery, on-going.

 * Note, we are happy to accommodate reasonable requirements of university/institutional internship fulfillment programs.  Please be in touch before applying to be sure we can work with your needs.


This Fellowship is designed for a college or grad-school-aged individual residing in the Greater Milwaukee Area.  (Enrollment in a college/university is not required.) While specific experience in—or understanding of—zine culture is preferred, it is not mandatory.  As long as you have an interest in zines, zine festivals, and the role they play in supporting marginalized voices, we’re happy to have you! 

(We encourage potential applicants not familiar with zines to research them before applying.  Many online resources exist but We Make Zines and the Zine Wiki page are good places to start.)

We’re looking for someone with a reasonable combination of our ideal qualifications:

Education, training, or background in any of the following:

  • Community outreach and/or engagement

  • Diversity-advocacy

  • Accessibility/(Dis)ability studies

  • Social justice movements

  • Civic-engagement and/or cultural policy

  • Strategy, event, or program development specifically focused on equality, diversity, and inclusivity

  • [Or personal, life-experience relating to any of the above]


  • Knowledge of local organizations working with marginalized communities

  • Experience with the local zine, literary, and/or arts scene strongly preferred

  • Extremely strong writing and communication skills

  • Exceptional people-skills including a high level of empathy, open-mindedness and genuine curiosity

  • Ability and desire to work both collaboratively with others, and independently

  • Access to a computer, the internet, and a phone



apply for the mzf community diversity fellowship


how to apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to MZF via email by January 4th, 2019 at 7pm (Central Time).

Your application should include a resume and thoughtfully composed cover letter. (We’re interested in really getting a sense of you: don’t be shy. Your resume can only tell us so much—allow your personality, goals and interest in the fellowship to really shine through in your letter. We look forward to learning more about you!)

Thank you for your interest in the Community Diversity Fellowship with Milwaukee Zine Festival.

Contact: Zachary Lifton, Director of The Bindery

Email subject line: MZF Fellowship Application