Highlighting feminist political consciousness and prioritising women and non-binary writers from a plethora of backgrounds, QOTT are the print, digital and events collective that the world needs right now.
Just to get a bit more information from you: who is behind Queen Of The Track?
Queen Of The Track is currently a duo. We used to be a tight family of four (you can see our profiles on our website), but right now our team is: Flis Mitchell, artist, researcher and project maker; and Hannah Bitowski, artist, designer and performer.
Ideas for events and projects are shared, with each person taking a more of a lead where they have a specialism. Hannah (who is also half of creative DJ duo Faux Queens) takes a lead role for our club nights and also creates much of the artwork and design; and Flis often performs our talks and interviews and recently interviewed author Sheila Rowbotham for The Bluecoat. Together we curate, edit, devise and deliver workshops, masterclasses and film nights. Generally ideas are developed and shared communally; we believe in Power Together.
We’ve actually made the difficult decision to stop make any more zines! We found the format to be unsustainable. We’d spend a long time raising funds, and then use them all to produce an edition, that would become outdated quickly. We have decided to focus on actions that are more direct and urgent, such as events and unique creative projects.
If you had to describe QOTT in a sentence, what would you say?
Whatever we produce as QOTT – for instance, our queer, trans and femme safe space club night Witch Bitch, or workshops, or talks, or film nights – our message is the same: we create cultural space for self-identified women, and non-binary people, with an overarching aim of making the world safer and more inclusive for everyone.
Did you have any particular zines or publications – or even artists or writers – in mind as an influence when you started out?
When we started QOTT we wanted something that combined the luxurious beauty of a fashion mag, with the wild energy of the underground press. I’m not sure we achieved that, but that was our aim.
The influences that feed into the zine are so varied, the ethos of DIY culture has always been dominant in our practice, we love Chris Kraus, Venus X, we love Sylvia Plath and Kembra Pfahler, we love dressing up and gender play and believe in the power of play.
All our influences are people who desire to have space, who want to create and write and think and perform, to take up space and be public, in a time where women’s rights are under attack, and even women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive control are being reduced.
Why are zines important to you?
Zine culture is an incredible force because it’s so personal. Zines are little stories of expertise, each person making a zine, whether it’s about cooking, or periods or sexual assault, or being a mixed-race girl- these people are experts on their subject and a zine gives a unique opportunity to learn directly from another person. They are also gorgeous examples of personal design. Anyone who is interested in the variety and vitality of zines should visit the Glasgow Women’s Library who have a rich zine archive open for public access.
Can you recommend an artist, writer or musician that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard of?
Flis: I’d say rather than focus on individuals, go on social media and learn some shit. Black Twitter, Sex-Work Tumblr, Trans Twitter, are incredible, and there’s education happening right there for free. Listen and learn. I’ve learnt so much from keeping my mouth shut, and my ears open, as I aim to make my politics more intersectional.
Hannah: Flis makes an excellent point, as white cis women we have to recognise our privilege, and by recognising our privilege it’s our duty to listen to, and amplify other women’s voices.
There’s a tonne of exciting things happening in experimental dance music at the moment that are challenging the status quo. For me collectives such as NON WORLDWIDE are where it’s at. NON are a collective of African artists, such as FAKA, Yves Tumor, Chino Amobi, Nkisi, Angel Ho, working towards ‘decolonising the dancefloor’. Discwoman is an excellent platform for female-identified artists and producers, working on levelling out the male-dominated playing field in electronic music. Other artists and producers I’m excited by at the moment: Moor Mother, DJ Haram, Kablam, and of course, the entire NAAFI label.