OOMK (One of My Kind) is an independent publishing collective that work across the spectrum of print, creating a biannual zine and running multiple far reaching projects: from the co-curation of DIY Cultures to the Rabbits Road Press. They are the artists in residence at the Rabbits Road Institute at Old Manor Park Library, where Bow Arts and Create work in partnership. Bow Arts manage the 20 artist studios on site and Create curate and manage the public programme of the Rabbits Road Institute. OOMK have received funding from the Arts Council to extend their residency and have worked with establishments like the Showroom Gallery and South London Gallery.
Rose Nordin, Sofia Niazi and Heiba Lamara are at the heart of OOMK and have been working together as a collective since 2013. One of the main objectives of their work is to highlight the importance of independent publishing, with a focus on promoting the work and practice of women artists marginalised as a result of their race or religion and open up discussion with their collaborators and readership - away from mainstream media. Rose and Sofia met at a zine fair whilst studying at art school and upon meeting they were driven to create print where the processes are more collaborative and inclusive, Heiba joined soon after.
Each issue has a central theme and the publication is made up of features that focus on different artists, who’s practices and stories all link to that specific theme from “Print”, “Internet”, “Drawing” to “Food". As the format of OOMK’s publications often switches between interviews and stories written by the artists, you can see how the use of voice has become a strong influence for them. It is the idea of letting people speak for themselves which makes their work unique. OOMK has in effect created a kind and generous safe space in which contributors have the freedom to talk about what they want rather than tailoring their work to a specific agenda.
One of the first workspaces OOMK moved into was with South Kilburn Studios and this marked a turning point for their practice. In exchange for free space, they ran projects for the local community. Their long lasting relationships which they formed solidified a strong network with creatives who they could return to time and again. This sense of community is also mirrored in their ‘Think-In Sessions’, where writers and readers are invited in to contribute to the making of the next issue. It is this collaboration which makes their readership diverse.
This need for community isn’t just emphasised in the content, but also in the nature of the print as well. As more mainstream publications move to the digital platforms, you can’t help but think about the impact this has on its readers and the way they connect to the stories. OOMK believe in the importance of the physical as you enter into a print culture. It brings conversation into real life rather than behind a screen and has allowed them to break into different areas which they might not have discovered otherwise.
When OOMK moved to the Rabbits Road Institute and set up the Risograph printing press in 2017 this marked a new chapter in their development. The idea for setting up a press came out of new experiments and was designed to encourage new connections with their audiences. By providing Risograph printers and materials which members of the public could use during weekly Open Access events, it allowed them to connect people to resources which they may not have been able to access. They have also started to set up a Riso collective to pool ideas, challenges and resources with other Riso owners.
With their residency in the Rabbits Road Institute and having been invited by Somerset House Studios to be part of the community, they are now a part of a wider network of artists, designers and makers which open up even more networking opportunities.
OOMK are now looking to the future and they are hitting the ground running. They recently held an Open Day at the Rabbits Road on Saturday 12 May where they launched their public programme for the next year. They have also co-curated PROCESS! at Somerset House for the 21-22 July, a new two day festival exploring creative processes in independent media.
OOMK will be staying in the Rabbit Road Institute for the next 12 months. As well as delivering a programme of public events, they will also be focussing on how they develop the infrastructure of the press, introducing an award scheme and a shop. Keep your eyes peeled…
Bow Arts is committed to supporting communities and artists, offering affordable, top-notch creative workspaces at 12 sites across London to help creatives to thrive and grow their practices. If you’re an artist, designer or maker who’s interested in our studios, find out more and apply here!