Book Arts

Scandinavian Artists’ Books Partnership Project

UWE bookarts received an award from the Nordic Culture Point to run a project from February 2021 – December 2022. This is a collaboration between Sarah Bodman (CFPR, UWE Bristol) Angie Butler, (CFPR, UWE Bristol) Imi Maufe (Codex Polaris, Norway), Lina Nordenström (Grafikverkstan Godsmagasinet, Sweden) Joakim Norling (Timglaset Editions, Malmö Sweden), Shaun Oaten Bower Ashton Library, UWE Bristol), Morwenna Peters (Bower Ashton Library, UWE Bristol), Tom Sowden (School of Art & Design, UWE, Bristol) and Maria White (Independent curator, UK).

We hope that this project will facilitate knowledge exchange between librarians, artists and the public, expand understanding of arts practice, and work towards a more sustainable, innovative and culturally successful discipline. We aim to change attitudes towards and the perception of artists’ books.

We launched the project in December 2021 with an online event in collaboration with our project partners in Bergen, inviting participants from the Nordic / Scandinavian regions.
Our first seminar invited Nordic / Scandinavian and UK participants to share best practice ideas – thinking about what artists’ books are and what role they can play within a library and an educational environment. We also asked them to tell us about any issues we might be able to help with in working with artists’ books. These were then discussed, documented and taken forward via email reports and a second meeting in February 2022.

Tom Sowden has invited librarian / curator participants from Nordic / Scandinavian countries, along with some UK library staff and independent specialists to create works for a Librarian’s Artists’ Books (LAB) exhibition. The challenge for them is to produce an artist’s book in tribute to their collection or archive in the style of or referencing the seminal artists’ books of Ed Ruscha which are held in many libraries.

This part of the project is to involve library staff in considering the making and components of an artist’s book, how it might be created, handled, perceived before it joins the library collection for cataloguing. These books will be exhibited here at Bower Ashton Library as the Librarians’ Artists’ Books (LAB) exhibition, during the IMPACT International Multidisciplinary Printmaking Conference, hosted by UWE Bristol, September 2022.

We have invited participants from Nordic / Scandinavian countries to join us for Bristol Artist’s Book Event (BABE). Artists’ groups, publishers and individual artists funded to come to Bristol include: Norway: Codex Polaris, Kurt Johannessen, Bergen Art Book Fair. Sweden: Lina Nordenström/Grafikverkstan Godsmagasinet, Timglaset Editions, Malmö Artist Book Biennial, Eva Hejdström. Denmark: Pist Protta, Bladr – platform for artists’ books. Finland: Finnish Artists’ Books – curated and organised by Eeva Liisa Isomaa and Hannele Nyman. Iceland: ARKIR artists collective.

Bower Ashton Library staff are also hosting an ARLIS South West event in April for visiting librarians after BABE to meet their counterparts and build new relationships.

By the end of the project, we aim to have:

Showcased ideas for best practice with artists’ books in library collections.

Given confidence to participants in identifying and describing artefacts and materials and making processes through creating an artist’s book of their own.

Buily a network and knowledge exchange opportunity for all attendees.

Assisted artists and publishers in promoting their work in these regions and further field.

Promoted artists’ books practice in the region and embedded it within the wider international field.

If you would like to get in touch about this project, please email Sarah.

Centre for Print Research, UWE Bristol, City Campus at Bower Ashton, Kennel Lodge Road, Bristol BS3 2JT, UK.