Artists' books have emerged as an energetic contemporary artform over the last forty years. Developing from their last materialisation in the 1960s as a way of bypassing the constraints of the gallery; as a vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and a radical format of bringing art to a wider public through artists self-publishing their work. This notion of making art in an affordable non-wall based format led to the growth of what we now recognise as the artist’s book, from traditional printed matter to e-books.
As part of our research we explore many aspects of artists' publishing: from the conception and history of the artist's book to creative processes and output, current developments and critical assessments of the subject. Through our research projects and collaborations, we hope to widen critical discourse within the book arts field.
We also write regular articles and essays for external publications, give public lectures and curate exhibitions and loan programmes of artists' books to promote the study of book arts nationally and internationally. All of our artists' books projects, news, events, lectures, conferences, essays, papers, symposia and exhibitions are archived online here at the CFPR bookarts website. Many lectures, symposia talks or published essays are available on the publications or events pages as free PDF or audio downloads.
For students we also have a resources page with reading lists and links to information.
For information on our current projects, please visit our projects pages.
Some of our more recent projects have included the AHRC-funded investigations What will be the canon for the artist's book in the 21st Century? and Paper Models; and the international artists’ books project An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street 2013 - 2015.
As part of our investigation of contemporary book arts practice we publish the Book Arts Newsletter, the Artist’s Book Yearbook, a biennial publication with essays and information on many aspects of the book arts, and The Blue Notebook journal for artists’ books.
Please see the Publications Pages for more information.
We also collaborate regularly with other institutions and partners interested in artists’ books such as Arnolfini, Bristol for our biennial BABE event; Winchester School of Art for exhibitions and symposia; AKI (ArtEz) in Enschede, The Netherlands for workshops and exhibitions; the new London Centre for Book Arts, and many other national and international organisations.
At the School we have a popular artist's book Collection and Exhibition Programme in the Library. This area was launched in May 2002 with an exhibition of the works of James Castle and an inaugural lecture: Provenance in the Wild West: James Castle and the Icehouse Books by the late Professor Tom Trusky, then Director of the Idaho Center for the Book and the Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State University, USA. After his unexpected death in November 2009, the School’s library exhibition cases are named in honour of Tom Trusky and all of his wonderful work for book arts.
All of the exhibitions are archived online and available from our Exhibitions and Events page, where you can also view current events.