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«We Publish» – a joint project of the Department of Design and Art of the Bern University of the Arts and the Department of Art and Design of the University of the Arts Bremen – deals with independent collaborative practices of publishing, duplication, and distribution. The project comprises a collection of independently published works since the 1960s with a focus on Switzerland, lectures on the history of radical publishing, on the problem of exhibiting publications, and a series of events and exhibitions on the subject.

This call aims to open the collection to those who wish to contribute to the history of independent publishing in Switzerland through personal, political, social or artistic publications. 

What do we seek?

Independent serial publication projects since the 1960s with a focus on Switzerland (all printing techniques, websites, mailing lists).

What will happen to them?

As many publications as possible will be digitally reproduced, made publicly accessible and searchable.

The physical publications can be included in the multi-media library at any time or returned at the end of the project.

The Department of Conservation and Restoration of the Bern University of the Arts can ensure the preservation of fragile and valuable publications.

A selection will be shown in an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern in December 2019.

How to submit

The publications can be delivered to the Bern University of the Arts, sent to us by e-mail or by post (any high shipping costs incurred can be paid after prior agreement).


15 June 2019


Bern University of the Arts
Lara Kothe
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern


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Based on our collection of independently published works, we would like to develop an exhibition. We are concerned here with the questions of how the increased interest in printed matter in small editions or obscure networks can be identified and how themes, approaches, aesthetics, and attitudes have changed in independent publishing since the 1960s (and why).



We are linking up with the exhibition «Unter dem Radar. Underground- und Selbstpublikationen 1965-1975», which was shown at the Weserburg in Bremen in 2015/16 and for which Spector Books published an extensive publication in 2017. The selection shown in the publication «Unter dem Radar» is international but has a focus on German publications. The publication includes several publications from Switzerland such as «Hotcha!» (Zurich, 1968-2008), «Starkherzpapiere» (Zurich, 1979) and «Whämmli!» (Basel ca. 1971). The exhibition also featured «Experience - Zeitschrift für Musik und anderen Lärm» (Basel 1973-74) and «hapt Schwiiz».



Besides the project «Under the Radar», we are inspired by the exhibition «You’ve Got 1243 Unread Messages. The last generation before the internet?» shown at the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art in 2017/18. It dealt with media in front of the Internet, their materiality, their potential, and their limits. The exhibition showed how artistic, political and personal strategies meet with economic and technical (power) relations in the media. It made it possible to grasp various moments in which specific public spheres were created on this basis. Public spheres are always determined by a confrontation with the power to act and by questions of inclusion and exclusion.


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«There is no place for the dissemination of knowledge associated with bookmaking and publishing in context. Art academies teach the design of books; universities of applied sciences teach booksellers how to sell books; German studies teaches how to edit texts. But where is publishing taught?»

Spector Books, Applied Publishing Studies, Sitterwerk, 10.5.2014

We publish
Seminar in History of Visual Communication
Robert Lzicar

We deal with content, form, production, and distribution of historical publications from the collection of «Wir Publizieren.» Students select one of the magazines, research historical data, facts, and connections, develop a question out of their interest, answer it in the form of a story and present it in words and pictures as a contribution to the exhibition in the Kunsthalle Bern at the end of 2019. This process is enriched by inputs and discussions with guests from the project group, experts and contemporary witnesses. The workshop will also contribute to critically rethinking contemporary forms of self-publication and placing them in a broader historical context, thus counteracting creative nostalgia and unreflected appropriation of stylistic elements. 

Seminar at BA Visual Communication
Spring semester 2019


We publish
Archive visits, guest lectures, discussions
Lucie Kolb

The focus is on the joint, self-organized publication of magazines. Whether in printed or digital form, the publication of periodicals is always a collective work because it combines different competencies such as writing, designing, distributing and publishing. Publishing not only makes something public, but it also forms groups, ties are established, friends and enemies are created. The magazine is therefore not just a place for the reproduction of images and texts, but also a place for the production of social things. From this perspective, the workshop introduces the history of self-publication. With a focus on Bern, we look at various projects that have decided to circulate their content themselves. To this end, we will make excursions and visit the archives of the Kunsthalle Bern and the Swiss National Library, for example, where documents from the nonconformism, Fluxus and anti-psychiatry movements can be found. We sift through cases together, read and discuss - but also talk to people who now publish themselves - and ask about the motivations and visions associated with this practice.

Bern University of the Arts
Y toolbox



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The collection now being created at the Bern University of the Arts covers the fields of art, culture, politics and social movements, but is not limited to them. The focus is on projects that are commissioned by artists, in which they create social bonds, connections, and spaces that promote the collective.

The magazines are stored in the media library, digitally reproduced and preserved. However, the task of a collection is not passive, but dynamic. The collection creates context. Assembling does not only mean procuring objects but also maintaining existing links and building new ones, for example between underground publications, magazines by artists, political magazines and post-digital projects. 

Find a preliminary list of our collection here.


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Franziska Bauer

Graphic designer, artist, self-publisher and gender-queer activist. She is part of the multimedia art collective ELAF. Among others, they held a four-part exhibition at Debatterie by thealit/Bremen Nov 2018 with variations on the topic of abjection. They are part of the Dynamic Archive Project launching in Summer 2019. Franziska Bauer is also co-editor, writer and graphic designer of the annual self-published, queer-feminist maga_zine Purple Scare.

Lucie Kolb

An art historian with a doctorate in artistic publishing strategies since the 1960s. She works at the Institut für Experimentelles Design und Medienkulturen Basel in the research project «Institutions as a Way of Life» on the legacy of institutional critique, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). She also publishes regularly on self-publishing, education and art criticism, most recently the monograph «Study, Not Critique» (transversal 2018). She is co-editor of the magazine Brand-New-Life and a member of the Art Commission of the Culture City of Bern.

Lara Kothe

She studied graphic design with a focus on editorial design and typography in Hamburg. In 2016 she published the award-winning book «das Lethe-Kompendium», which has been exhibited several times worldwide. In this book, she acted as editor, author, artist, curator, and graphic artist and devoted herself to publishing as an artistic practice. After stays in Amsterdam and Berlin, she now works in the studio of the Hochschule der Künste Bern in Switzerland. Since 2017, she has also been studying Design Research at the Bern University of the Arts in Master Design, is an Associate Researcher in the research project «Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited» and Researcher in the field of Design History at the Bern University of the Arts.

Robert Lzicar

Designer, professor, and researcher. He is based at the Bern University of the Arts HKB, where he teaches design history, directs the MA Design course, and coordinates the Research Field Design History. He organised the symposium «Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland» (2014), edited a publication of the same name with Davide Fornari (Triest, 2016), and is co-coordinating the research project «Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited,» funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Sinergia programme (since October 2016).

Tine Melzer

She studied Fine Arts and Philosophy in Amsterdam, received a studio scholarship at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, and earned her doctorate in England. She combines the philosophy of language with visual means and publishes her books. 2004-2009 lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, regular exhibitions and publications at home and abroad. Since 2014 lecturer at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (Y Institute, Design, and Art: Fine Arts).

Daniela Mirabella

She works as a freelance graphic designer at the Atelier Mirabella-Morganti in Zurich, mainly for clients from the cultural and educational sectors. She teaches in the Department of Design at the Zurich University of the Arts and works there in the Graphic Design Collection of the Museum of Design. She has been studying Design Research at the HKB / MA Design since 2017.

Tania Prill

Since 2001 she was the partner of the studio «Prill Vieceli Cremers», former «Prill&Vieceli» and realized commissions in the cultural sector as well as self-initiated book projects such as «MONEY» (2015) and «Under the Radar – Underground Zines and Self-Publications 1965–1975» (2017). 2018 she has started her studio and collaborated with different artists, designers, and networks. Tania Prill is teaching at universities in Switzerland and abroad. She was a professor of communication design at the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design and since 2010 is a professor of typography at the University of the Arts Bremen where she is in charge of the Archive of Independent Publishing.

Rejane Salzmann

studies at the School of Visual Combinations, MA Studio Integrated Design HfK Bremen

Asli Serbest

develops projects in various media to negotiate the evolving relationship between art, architecture and media society. She founded the collective m-a-u-s-e-r (together with Mona Mahall), which exhibits and publishes internationally. She is editor of Junk Jet (since 2007), an independent magazine for art, architecture, and media. Asli Serbest works as a professor at the HfK Bremen.

Studio Harris Blondman

is the award-winning graphic design studio of Harry Bloch and Joris Landman. The Swiss-Dutch studio combines classic editorial and design knowledge with new media expertise and creative coding and works at the cutting edge of graphic tradition and digital experiment.

Andreas Vogel

An art historian with a doctorate in late-absolutist urban planning, curator, critic, text and cultural worker. Activities at various museums, including 1999/2000 as curator of the Kunstverein in Konstanz. From 2001-2015 he worked in different management positions at the F+F School for Art and Media Design in Zurich, from 2011 as its rector. Since 2015 he has been involved in the function of Head of the Department of Design and Art at the HKB Hochschule der Künste Bern. Andreas Vogel was a member of the Art Commission of the City of Zurich from 2006 to 2014, a member of the jury of the Guggenheim Foundation from 2013 to 2018 and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bern Design Foundation since 2016.