Image by Coronaverses Collective
Meet the lockdown zine founded by London- based writer Hannah Baldwin as a means to mark the unfortunate events of the pandemic and in turn help those in need.
Cataloguing poetry and illustrations born from the pandemic, ‘Coronaverses Collective’ is a non-profit publication. All money raised is donated to carefully selected charities such as Mind UK and Help Musicians, creating a zine dedicated to fundraising. With Issue 1 came an initial response to the travesties of 2020, which unfortunately I’m sure we can all relate to on some level. Society's frail state is only accentuated throughout the artwork, poetry and illustrations featured, it’s almost as if we are invited to help in a time of such uncertainty.  
After selling out of their first issue within a matter of weeks, the collective graced us with a much sought after second release on Valentine’s day. Exploring the heartbreaks of the second wave and the dissolution of the arts industry, Issue 2 highlights an inevitable shift in attitude towards the pandemic, one with less fragility and more anger.
We caught up with Founder and Editor-in-chief Hannah Baldwin who gave us a deeper insight into the publication's story so far. 
When was ‘Coronaverses Collective’ established? Where did the idea stem from?
“The concept initially started in the first lockdown (around early spring time). I was on furlough and spent months in my garden doing absolutely nothing, with lots of time on my hands. I am a writer by nature and when out on my runs, words just kept coming to me. I actually even wrote my first poem by a grave of a family member of mine. 
The idea then developed into thinking it would be really great to read my friends' work and have a physical place to catalogue our thoughts and/or struggles. Having studied History at university I had an understanding of the need to mark or catalogue events in the physical form. It bugged me that something so huge had happened and there was almost nothing material to show for it.”
Who does your team consist of? Where are you based?
“We started off in Manchester (where I went to university) and now we are based in London.The team at the moment consists of me (Founder and Editor-in-chief), Caroly Nisu (Art Director and Graphic designer) and of course our contributors.”
Has it been a challenge to remain creative and stick to deadlines during the pandemic?
“I would say no, but that's not suggesting that it wouldn't be for other people. ‘Coronaverses Collective’ doesn’t feel like work to me right now because it was my idea if that makes sense. During this time I think people are spending more time on the things they want to do rather than what they are told to do.”
Why did you want to create a non-profit publication?
“I think there's different elements to it, I've never actually worked for anything where I don't see the benefit for other people. I want to see that there's purpose behind what I'm doing and I feel uncomfortable profiting from other people's hard earned work. We are in the middle of a pandemic where people are struggling tremendously, creativity deserves to go to a good cause right now more than ever.”
How do you choose what charities the profits will go to?
“I mean honestly I'm kinda making it up as I go along. We focus on what we feel requires our attention.”
What was featured in Issue 1? What charity did it fund? 
“For Issue 1 we funded Mind UK. it was really a kind of initial response to everything that had happened in 2020. The fragility shows throughout the artwork, poetry and illustrations featured. Mind UK seemed like the right charity to support that fragile mental state, especially considering the huge amount of mental illness caused from the pandemic. Our initial response was amazing and we sold out of our own stock in roughly 2 -3 weeks.” 
Talk to me about your newest issue? What did you hope to achieve with it? 
“This issue I think reflects and contrasts very differently from the first. There has been a real shift in attitude towards the ongoing pandemic. It seems less refectory and more angry this time around, especially in the UK. Issue 2 reflects the anger we all feel towards the government and even the virus itself at this moment in time.
It only felt right to support a charity responding to the government's neglect which is why we chose Save Our Scene UK. This particular charity targets the music and events industry aiming to help fellow creatives and musicians during this time of need.”
Is there a reason you choose to feature poetry and illustrations specifically? 
“There's something extremely potent about poetry, it's the purest response to any emotional situation. I suppose around that theme usually with poetry comes illustration, it seems fitting. We are starting to develop this even further by beginning to feature articles and photography as well as poetry and illustrations. This shows the growth of the publication, even in such a short space of time.”
What do you want the reader to gain from Issue 2?
“This winter has been really tough for a lot of people, some more than others but with everything that's gone on in the past year or so most people have faced some sort of trauma. I want people to have comfort that they are not alone. I hope this magazine allows us to share human experience between one another and maybe enable us to realise that we can find strength together even if we are each facing individual struggles. For me Issue 2 acts as a sort of physical token of appreciation for what we've all been through.”
Where can we buy your magazines? 
“You can buy the zine through our website at the moment by visiting Record Store based in Manchester stocked Issue 1 and will be stocking Issue 2 soon so watch out for that! They have been very supportive of our venture. Issue 2 is running out super quickly, the response has been incredible so far, so be sure to grab a copy while you can.”
What can we expect from the next issue?
“The next issue is actually already confirmed, along with the cover art and is due to be released around spring time this year. The theme of this issue is going to be womanhood and inclusivity which came as a response to everything happening in the trans community at this point in time.”
What does the future have in store for you?
“I wish I knew the answer to that question. What I can say is that I think the magazine is about to go through a bit of evolution after the third issue, we definitely need to think about how to stay relevant in the future.”
Stay up to date with the collective on Instagram @coronaversescollective
To purchase your own copy of Issue 2 click here.

Interview written for Read 24.​​​​​​​
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