In this, its tenth year, the Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair relocates to the Parkinson Court at the University of Leeds from its original venue at Dean Clough, Halifax, during which time this internationally recognised annual event has grown and developed.
The book fair brings the international and the national to the region and in turn introduces local artists and audience to a national and international practice, highlighting the modes of production, distribution and dissemination particular to the medium. The fair is an opportunity for developing creative and academic networks and an increasing appreciation of the genre. This type of art production, often small, relatively cheap and accessible, encourages a diversity of maker, audience and collector. We can all afford to make and buy books.
Now that this model has become an established one, the coordinators have recognised the need to expand; not only in scale, but also the context, so developing the rich potential of the event as an ongoing and evolving artistic initiative. With this in mind we have established PAGES, a basis for a wider ranging programme of events. In this project’s first manifestation, as well as the Book Fair, this initiative presents the exhibition, Special Collections, in the University of Leeds Gallery which brings together unique and historical material, selected contemporary artists’ books and commissions. Performance works, talks and workshops will also take place, adding breadth to this newly created space for the book.
As coordinators of the fair, our involvement is not by selecting the work on display, but through the curation of the event itself and its catalogue, which continues to exist as a distributed source of information long after it has taken place, and the commissioned works and activities.