Hello Mr. launches LGBTQ magazine residency

by Grace Wang in July 2017
Art & designLGBTQI+

We sent out Hello Mr. to Stack subscribers in 2014, a beautiful magazine about men who date men. In the past few years, we’ve seen their reach expand, and have been really impressed with their increasingly strong editorial direction. Now, they’re using their presence to bolster the growth of emerging LGBTQ magazine makers. Amazing!

The Hello Mr. residency is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, and it will mentor up and coming editors and designers, helping them realise their magazines and send it out as a supplement in the Hello Mr. issues. Read on to find out more about online zine courses they’re starting in our Q&A with founder Ryan Fitzgibbon…

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What is the Hello Mr magazine residency?
Hello Mr. launched in 2012 as a platform for emerging talent and unheard voices, adding to the momentum for more inclusive representation for LGBTQ people in our media. This year, we are expanding that mission, and introducing an artist residency that propels the creators of tomorrow. We’re calling it ‘The Issues.’ Using our global distribution and mentorship from industry leaders, we are providing the tools and resources to get new ideas from queer voices off the ground, and distribute them inside the next issue of Hello Mr. We think of it as an academy for editors, art directors, and media-makers of the future.

What inspired you to start it?
The role of print, as I see it, is to inform readers of important issues and inspire them to take action. As cliche as it sounds, we believe that our responsibility as creators, is more important than ever. Independent presses and zines have always stirred up social change throughout history. The fight for LGBTQ rights, specifically has a long way to go. There are still so many queer stories that haven’t been told, and there aren’t enough resources or places for them to thrive. Like many this year, I really lost my focus getting caught up in the political circus. I wasn’t sure how Hello Mr. could impact change in a meaningful way, but I knew that we could offer a space to have important conversations and create more visibility for our community. I always loved the idea of a magazine within a magazine, but didn’t connect the dots to it being a platform to amplify new voices until last year.

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Who can apply to be part of it?
Applications for our next ‘Issue’ will open this September. Anyone around the world with a great idea for a magazine will be able to apply. The goal is to produce two zines a year, aligning to the Hello Mr. publishing calendar. Additional funds from our active Kickstarter will also allow us to package the curriculum into an online course so anyone can make their own zine too.

What will they get out of it?
The next resident will spend three months working remotely with mentorship from the Hello Mr. team and industry leaders who will guide them through the various stages of publishing, from research to logistics and marketing. We will provide a stipend along with other tools and resources to support them through the process. And of course, the residency will result in a 16-page magazine insert inside the concurrent issue of Hello Mr. Oh, and we’ll help them throw a launch party when it’s all printed to celebrate their first issue!

How will the residency work alongside the main magazine?
The editorial pursuit of Hello Mr. is to reflect on the diverse perspectives of the LGBTQ community, and this residency allows us to expand our reach beyond the ‘Mr.’ People have often asked if I would ever consider launching a female version of Hello Mr. or a publication for trans or bisexual identifying individuals in the LGBTQ community, but I’d much rather hear from those voices and see what they could create with the proper resources and a platform to do it. Our first magazine-in-residence, Brunch Club, is exploring the lives of queer people of colour in unexpected corners of America, and will be tucked inside our next issue this September.

What’s it like to go back to Kickstarter for a second time?
Almost five years ago, I launched the first issue of Hello Mr. on Kickstarter raising just over $26,000 from 626 backers who are still some of our most loyal readers and contributors today. In eight issues, I hadn’t considered returning to crowdfunding but then Kickstarter invited us into their Gold network for ‘iconic projects with bold new takes’ and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to reveal this residency under their endorsement — learn more and support this project.

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