Part 5 consists of a series of research and planning exercises that supports the final assignment where I will be designing and producing my own choice of book project. The first steps towards this were to look into different publishing models and the variety of options that show up at various book fairs. The course materials suggested a solid list of online resources to look at based book fairs to get an idea of what independent publishing is like, so I investigated these and a few local options to get a sense of what alternative routes are available in the industry.
The link from the course materials to the Offprint London site was unfortunately broken when I tried to follow it and it appears that there has not been as much UK activity with this platform in recent years. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of links to be found under their publisher section that celebrate French publishers as part of Offprint Paris 2021.
This list of past exhibitors from 2015's London art book fair offers a big host of interesting designs and concepts that I really enjoy and will keep handy to refer back to when I need to look at portfolio examples of contemporary artists books. Definitely something to consider for future events the next time I am planning a trip to London.
Another London based event with the next one taking place in Conway Hall in October, I had a look through some of the publishers they exhibited during the 2021 online version of the event. I really admire the range of creativity that was still maintained by independent authors during the pandemic.
International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair
After searching the name of this fair, it unfortunately seems to be an event that has not taken place since 2019, with no visual archive of previous exhibitors. I did find a list of stall holders on this event listing however, which is something of a start for finding more information, although not as conveniently as some of the other events have presented.
The Sheffield International Artists’ Book Prize
Much to my disappointment, this is the third suggestion that has led to a dead end. It looks like the original URL has now been lost to a casino website, so my alternative link is from Banks Street Arts; An associate of the event with some information on the Book Prize archived, but which has also sadly not been updated since 2019.
I've updated this link from the 2016 version to the 2021 event which is once more a list of names rather than direct links to their own portfolios, but the Dublin Art book fair sounds like a large event and a rare one at that too, claiming to be Ireland's only example of such an event.
BABE Bristol Artists’ Book Event
Another updated link to this year's version, the BABE festival is the south of England's Art book fair, with plenty of international exhibitors. I am curious to see what kind of creative arts the international community has available to see and it's interesting to see examples that transcend the language barrier.
Although there are plenty of jumping off points for looking into independent publishers, I'm concerned at the effect that the pandemic has had on many of these festivals with the last recorded dates of them happening being from 2019. I hope they return as all industries have been hit by the pandemic and deserve a resurgence as we hopefully return to normal with most restrictions being eased.
From the working links, many of these events were taking place down the south of the country which isn't as easily accessible to me, so I had a search of local events to see what was currently happening in the area's closer to home that I could attend or investigate this year.
The nearest of these types of events to me is Derby Book festival where a series of talks and fairs celebrate authors and publishers from around the area as part of a series of ongoing events and conversations. Like many things, activity has been reduced in recent years in line with Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions, but this year it should see a full revival of the 9-day summer edition when rules have been relaxed. I've been aware of the festival for many years but have admittedly not been an active participant. I hope to visit some of the events this year as a learning experience, even after completing this unit.
Artists’ Writings and Publications Research Centre. (2019) International Artists’ Book Fair At: https://awp.leeds.ac.uk/events/international-artists-book-fair/ (Accessed 04/03/22)
Bank Street Arts. (2019) At: Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize. http://bankstreetarts.co.uk/sheffield-international-artists-book-prize-2 (Accessed 04/03/22)
Centre For Print Research. Bristol Artist’s Book Event (2022) At: https://cfpr.uwe.ac.uk/project/bristol-artists-book-event/ (Accessed 04/03/22)
Derby Book Festival. (2022) Derby Book Festival 2022. At: https://www.derbybookfestival.co.uk/ (Accessed 04/03/22)
Offprint. (2022) Publishers. At: https://www.offprint.org/ (Accessed 04/03/22)
Small Publishers Fair. (2022) Small Publishers Fair 2022. At: http://smallpublishersfair.co.uk/ (Accessed 04/03/22)
Temple Bar Gallery. (2021) Dublin Art Book Fair 2021: Manual Guest Curator Dr Lisa Godson. At: https://www.templebargallery.com/exhibitions/dublin-art-book-fair-2021 (Accessed 04/03/22)
Whitechapel Gallery. (2015) The London Art Book Fair: 10 – 13 September 2015. At: https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/london-art-book-fair/ (Accessed 04/03/22)