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Subscriptions Success + New Goal

May 1st, 2013 by gileslane

April was a fantastic month for the Periodical – we’re very happy to report that we exceeded our goal of reaching 60 subscriptions (we actually reached 61) and are delighted to welcome 23 new subscribers into this growing community.

Our new goal for May is to reach at least 80 subscribers and we have a very exciting special extra to give to new annual subscribers. As you may know, Proboscis is leaving its studio space in a couple of months and we are undertaking a major review of our archive and back catalogue of projects built up over 19 years. We frequently make things as part of our creative process that don’t come to light for a while, or are never made public. In opening one of the archive boxes I came across some special things which had been planned to form part of a larger special edition artists publication which didn’t in the end come to pass. However, they make a fabulous set on their own and we are pleased to offer them as this month’s special extra inducement to take out an annual subscription to the Periodical.

Between 2008-2011 I commissioned a series of eBooks and StoryCubes by a diverse range of writers, artists, performers, thinkers and makers to respond to two questions from different perspectives, “Why are we who we are?” and, “What do we want to become?” – Diffusion Transformations. I had hoped from the beginning to publish a limited edition containing all the books and cubes, but funds weren’t available to do so, however I did manage to print several of the contributor’s pieces.

We have a small number (around 20 or so) which will be sent out on a ‘first come-first served’ basis to any new annual subscribers. Subscribe now for your chance to have this rare set.

Pharmaceutical Cubes by Kenneth Goldsmith
Legendary concrete poet and founder of UbuWeb, Kenneth Goldsmith created these 6 StoryCubes as a form of writing as texture.

3 Cubic Conundrums by Raqs Media Collective
Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta), co-founders of Sarai, created these 3 StoryCubes for the series : “The Curse of Invariable Good Fortune”, “Door to Door to Door” and “The Fugitive Never Escapes Himself”.

The Octuplet: Story of Our Lives by Babette Wagenvoort
Babbette Wagenvoort’s beautifully illuutrated cubes tell “tells the strange story of eight human-beings living inside their mother, while they prepare for their future. One of the octuplets seems better equipped for life than the others…”

A Sort of Autobiography by Warren Craghead
Described by comics reviewer, Matthew Brady, as “three-dimensional comic strips”, veteran comic artist, Warren Craghead created a set of 10 StoryCubes as a “possible autobiography”.

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the Periodical Issues 1 to 7

April 30th, 2013 by gileslane


Here is a picture of all the different publications that have been distributed amongst subscribers of the Periodical between October 2012 and April 2013. Each month at least one publication is chosen to be printed and sent out to subscribers, and we have also been adding other goodies sourced from our own archive of previous projects. Everything has been made and shared on bookleteer and can be found in its main public library, with the monthly issues featured in the Periodical library.

Our hope is to inspire subscribers and others to create and share even more fabulous publications on bookleteer, fuelling and driving the Periodical forwards into ever more eclectic domains. Subscribe here to become part of the story.

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the Periodical issue 7

April 26th, 2013 by gileslane

Issue 7 is now out and this month we’ve selected something with a nod to the historical moment this month has brought to people in the UK. Tor Lukasik-Foss’s The New Worker’s Songbook Songwriters Workbook for New Worksongs! is a playful guide to creating your own workers’ song, helping you through the process of writing verses, the chorus, rehearsing and performing. It was part of a 2011 collaborative project by DodoLab and Tor, commissioned by the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton, Ontario which was inspired by WAHC’s collection of books and recordings of songs that reflect Hamilton’s history of industry and organized labour. In addition to the songbook, the project led to an exhibition and several public performances using Tor’s Mobile Workers Song Cart.

From the Archives
This month we have distributed copies among the subscribers from a selection of books created for our City As Material 1 : London (2010) and Material Conditions (2011/12) projects. City As Material was a series of walks in London that produced collaborative publications by the participants. Material Conditions was a series of commissioned books made by creative practitioners reflecting on the state of personal creative practice in an era of recessions, austerity and funding cuts.

From Material Conditions,

From City As Material 1 : London,

Treat yourself to something lovely each month – an enigmatic, eclectic package of beautifully printed books dropping through your letterbox. Get inspired and create and share your own publications on bookleteer to take part too. We’re currently aiming to reach 80 subscriptions – with free copies of artists bookworks for every new annual subscriber, changing monthly.

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London Book Fair Special Offer

April 16th, 2013 by gileslane

Since this week is the London Book Fair, we thought it only right we should offer something extra for any new annual subscribers signing up and quoting “lbf13″ – a copy of the fabulous Endless Landscape Magnet set (in addition to the Professor Starling’s Thetford-London-Oxford Expedition and the Social Tapestries : Case of Perspectives sets). Hurry offers ends Friday 19th!

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Modern London Cries

April 3rd, 2013 by gileslane

image courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute via Spitalfields Life

Artists Bookworks… Get Your Free Artists Bookworks…

We’re currently on a subscriptions drive for the Periodical – we estimate that we need about 100 subscriptions to break even on printing and shipping costs, and if we can grow beyond that we’ll be able to explore starting new series of commissioned books to be sent out alongside those we select from bookleteer’s public library. At the moment we’ve reached 40 subscriptions – 19 new ones in the past 4 weeks. Each month we’re setting a goal to aim for, and offering (for new annual subs) a different free artists bookwork from our back collection, alongside the “Social Tapestries: Case of Perspectives” which we’ll send out while stocks last. Last month we sent new subscribers a copy of our deck of cards, “Being in Common Catalogue of Ideas“, which we created as part of a commission for Gunpowder Park back in 2008. This month, aiming to reach 60 subscriptions, we’ve selected an artists bookwork we made last year with our friends at DodoLab, Andrew Hunter and Lisa Hirmer, artist Leila Armstrong and curator Josie Mills, Professor Starling’s Expedition : Thetford-London-Oxford.

Why Subscribe?
Three reasons, really. Firstly, and most importantly, its about inspiration, surprise and delight. Each month you’ll receive a package of something engaging, challenging or simply lovely through the post.

The bookleteer Periodical subscription is a treat because the monthly arrival is always suprising, ranging from quirky to poetic. These little editions are like a monthly book art present. This is a great subscription for anyone who would enjoy a thoughtul miniature periodically arriving though their post box.
Luci Eyers, Artist & Subscriber

Secondly, its about a community of readers and makers who can participate in an evolving and expanding project of making and sharing ideas – responding to the things you receive in kind by making and sharing your own publications on bookleteer. Not the knee-jerk reactions and comments so commonly found on social media, but a space and place for considered, elegant ripostes and rejoinders.

Responsive, spontaneous and not too concerned with being A Significant Addition to One’s Great Works; that’s a great place to start from. From play can spring a lot of possibilities. Bookleteer has been a new game, where the next move is always unknown but the consequences useful. The usual finality of publishing is made obsolete by the mutuality of the provisional publication, always open to improvement and rethinking. I like to receive a regular dose of the unpredictable: I’m not too proud to borrow and not too selfish to share.
Gair Dunlop, Artist & Subscriber

And lastly, its about resilience and sustainability – bookleteer is unfunded and supported entirely through donations from its users and sales from the Short Run printing service. The Periodical is our way of inviting users to share in supporting bookleteer rather than charging for using it. If we get enough subscribers we’ll be able to consider more ambitious parallel projects, such as commissioned series, too.

If those sound like good reasons, subscribe here.

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the Periodical issue 6

March 30th, 2013 by gileslane

We’re now half-way through our first year of publishing the Periodical and we’re delighted to share another quirky gem – Hard Hearted Hannah : The World of the Strange and Bizarre by Cartoon de Salvo. Back in 2009, Alex Murdoch, Artistic Director of theatre group Cartoon de Salvo, had a residency with Proboscis to explore using bookleteer. The Salvos were then touring their innovative, long form improvised theatre show, Hard Hearted Hannah and Other Stories, around the UK (and abroad). Each show began with a title suggested by the audience, which they then improvised a whole show around. As Alex and I discussed ways to record some of the ideas from the show a plan was born to create a series of books that would explore themes that ran across and through them. With over 100 shows performed, there was a wealth of material and six books emerged, which are now collected together here. We have chosen this book to give a sense of the extraordinary creativity that this form of improvisation takes and how the immediacy and presentness of a live performance can also find new life in being re-told and illustrated by the artists who performed it.

From the Archives
This month we have selected small numbers of 5 books (of over-prints and tests) to be distributed among the subscribers. They are by very different users of bookleteer as well as representing dramatically different subject matter and range in date of creation from early 2010 right up to February 2013. From whimsical tweets, to researched blogging, artists working alongside people with disabilities and researchers working with communities to document and record their heritage, to a catalogue of art and craft practice.

Stories in Their Place 1 : The Makers of Leeds by Matt Edgar is the first volume in a projected series of three collecting together blog posts written between 2009 and 2013. This book gathers together some stories of Leeds’ heroes, its industrial and scientific pioneers.

My Brother, My Sister by Joyce Majiski. A group of young people who have siblings with disabilities were brought together in a series of gatherings and asked about their lives. They were asked the following questions: list the things you like or admire about your sibling, create a timeline of your life, list the things that you don’t like, or things that annoy you about your brother or sister. What things do other people say about your sibling? This book is a compilation of these responses.

Greenhill Historical Society : Digital Storytelling Guide by Gillian Cowell is a practical guide to recording and sharing stories with and by communities. It was part of a research project by Gillian with the community in Greenhill, Stirling.

Cosmo China 20th Anniversary by Josie Firmin. Our neighbour and friend, Josie Firmin (daughter of Bagpuss creator Peter Firmin) has run the Cosmo China shop in Bloomsbury for over 20 years. To celebrate their 20th anniversary exhibition we helped Josie put together a book of works by ceramic artists featuring in the show.

Cummerbundery Volume 1 : The Collected Tweets of Brandon Cummerbund by Russ Bravo. Brandon Cummerbund was the Henry Pooterish alter ego of Russ Bravo. The book collects about a year’s worth of tweets written in the persona of Brandon Cummerbund during 2009/10, with illustrations culled from Victorian magazines.

Click on the links to find out more about each one, read them online or download, print out and make up your own copies.

Treat yourself to something lovely each month – an enigmatic, eclectic package of beautifully printed books dropping through your letterbox. Get inspired and create and share your own publications on bookleteer to take part too. We’re currently aiming to reach 50 subscriptions – with free copies of artists bookworks for every new annual subscriber.

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the Periodical issue 5

February 28th, 2013 by gileslane

This month we are very excited to bring a book we helped launch back in 2011 to a new audience, Picnic : order, ambiguity and community by Kevin Harris, illustrated by Gemma Orton. It is a true gem – a thoughtful essay on the role of picnic in contemporary society and specifically on community engagement and development, something very close to our hearts at Proboscis. We have worked with Kevin in the past, most notably on our Conversations and Connections project for Social Tapestries. This is a joyous and incisive piece of writing with elegant and witty illustrations by Gemma Orton.

It is accompanied from our archives by Why Keep a Sketchbook? by AccessArt which we printed as an experiment in 2010. This lovely book is a visual explanation of the pleasures of keeping a sketchbook – showing all kinds of different ways to do it.

Click on the links to find out more about each one, read them online or download, print out and make up your own copies.

Fancy a monthly treat dropping through your letterbox? Reach for the unexpected with a subscription to the Periodical. Create and share your own publications on bookleteer to take part too.

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New Feature : Collections

February 27th, 2013 by gileslane

We are excited to announce another update to bookleteer including a new feature called Collections. This new feature allows for eBooks or StoryCubes to be grouped together to form a collection. This can be given its own title, author, publisher, colophon, summary, copyright info and a cover image. Collections can be shared or kept private – those shared are listed in the Collections Library.

Viewing Collections

Clicking on a collection box will open it’s unique page – each collection has a unique URL as well as buttons for sharing it on Facebook and Twitter:

Creating a Collection
To create a collection, log in to bookleteer and select the collections button (illustrated above) in the “create + order” bar.

This will open a new page where you can add details such as the title, author, publisher, copyright, colophon, summary and publication date. You can also upload an image to act as its ‘cover’ and select which book or StoryCubes are to be included in the collection.

You can see all the collections you have made by clicking on the “my collections” link, which opens a list. Clicking on the collections in the list allows you to edit each one.

Your Feedback
The Collections feature is a crucial step towards building an internal ‘crowdfunding’ mechanism (“Pledge For Print”) that we have written about before, and which we hope to bring to bookleteer later this year. We’d love to hear feedback about this new feature, please use the comments section here or email us direct.

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21 and counting!

February 20th, 2013 by gileslane

Four months in and we’ve notched up 21 subscriptions to the Periodical. Our target is to reach 100 within the first year (i.e. before October) – which means attracting roughly 8 new subscriptions a month, so we’re a bit behind but ever hopeful that as more people see what lovely books are being sent out each month, they’ll sign up to receive their own monthly packets of delight dropping through the letterbox. From just £2.50 a month its a small price for a regular treat. SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Our first 100 subscribers (annual only) also receive a copy of an artists bookwork we made as part of our Social Tapestries programme of projects : the Case of Perspectives and get a copy of the Field Work notebook.

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Library Gems 2

February 18th, 2013 by gileslane

Two more gems from the bookleteer library :

Travelling Through Layers by Alice Angus, Giles Lane and Orlagh Woods was inspired by the discussions that took place during and after Paralelo : Technology and Environment, a meeting point for artists, designers and researchers in Sao Paulo in March/April 2009. A version was included in the publication Paralelo – Unfolding Narratives: in Art, Technology & Environment published by MIS, British Council & Virtueel Platform (2010).

In the Shadow of Senate House by Henderson Downing, Owen Hatherley, Esther Leslie & Victoria Macneile is a StoryCube made for a “psychogeographical perambulation” hosted by Birkbeck College in Oct 2009.

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Library Gems 1

February 11th, 2013 by gileslane

Here are a couple of gems from the bookleteer library :

Grand River Stories by Alice Angus – a record of Alice’s Grand River Stories project for Render exploring the Grand River in Canada in 2008.

An A-Z of The Ting : Theatre of Mistakes – A by Marie-Anne Mancio – the first part of a 16 eBook set collating Marie-Anne’s research into the radical 70s experimental performance art/theatre group The Ting. Created as part of a bookleteer residency in 2009, originally to accompany a show at West Bromwich’s the Public (cancelled as the venue closed).

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Seeking Sponsors for bookleteer

February 6th, 2013 by gileslane

Could You Help?

We are urgently seeking sponsors for bookleteer to help us cover the basic costs of hosting and maintenance and to continue our programme of enhancements and developments. We’re looking for supporters who share our ethos and drive to help communities across the world benefit from the simple, yet dynamic, communication possibilities that bookleteer offers.

Our long term aim is to make bookleteer financially self-sustaining and we’ve made reasonable progress towards achieving this, but Proboscis’ loss of core funding from Arts Council England in 2012 means we cannot continue to support bookleteer from our own dwindling resources for much longer.

What’s So Special About bookleteer?
Bookleteer is unlike other e-publishing platforms in that it has been evolved and created by artists, building on innovations we began back in the late 1990s and have doggedly pursued ever since. Our aim has always been to enable “public authoring” – the sharing of people’s ideas, knowledge, experiences and visions – for as many people as possible, breaking down the traditional barriers in publishing requiring access to capital and distribution channels.

Our model of Shareables bridges the traditional world of paper with that of the digital, enabling publications made with booketeer (both Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes) to move back and forth between the physical and digital. The evolution of the formats and bookleteer has been consistently achieved through an organic process of co-creation and co-design with participants in our projects and activities – learning by doing and making incremental, iterative improvements.

What’s In It For Sponsors?

    Supporting Social EnterpriseProboscis is an independent non-profit organisation. Other than a small Technology Strategy Board Feasibility Grant in 2008, we have developed and maintained bookleteer from our own resources, donations from members and supporters, and revenue generated from the Short Run printing service. Our social enterprise model presents opportunities for corporate social responsibility through direct financial support as well as in-kind support (marketing, mentoring, secondments etc).
    Enabling Grassroots Sharing – bookleteer is about enabling as many people as possible, wherever they are, to be able to make and share their stories, knowledge, experiences, artwork, information in formats that can be distributed freely, both digitally and on paper. bookleteer now has over 750 members and every year hundreds of thousands of copies of Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes are downloaded and shared across the world. Our projects, where we often use bookleteer, take place in sites as varied as schools, museums, beaches, local community centres, universities, mountains, galleries and even remote jungle villages!
    Kudos – Over the years Proboscis has built up international visibility and a reputation for invention and innovation across many fields, sectors and disciplines. We have collaborated with leading universities (e.g. London School of Economics, Royal College of Art, University of Cambridge), industry (e.g. Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Orange, France Telecom) as well as government departments (e.g. UK Ministry of Justice, Department of Trade & Industry), public agencies (schools, local authorities etc) civil society organisations and grassroots communities in the UK and abroad. We’re good at making connections between unusual partners, at bridging the yawning gulfs between people and organisations who wouldn’t normally consider working together.
    Supporting New Creative Work – Through the Periodical we are developing a new kind of participatory publishing, building a community of contributors and readers. There are opportunities for sponsoring new series of commissioned publications to grow alongside and as part of its evolution – we’re keen to talk to both sponsors and partners who’d like to get involved in this initiative.

What’s Next?
We are constantly exploring new uses for our platform and formats, such as the work we have recently begun with a traditional jungle-based community in Papua New Guinea to help them record and share their knowledge and experience of living with and being part of their local environment – for their children, their neighbours (near and far) in PNG and everyone else. Or our Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange workbooks based on collaborating with local people in Pallion, Sunderland – part of a toolkit we’re creating for people to help organise local ‘knowledge networks’. In doing so, we are discovering new needs, technical limitations and the potential to improve what bookleteer offers.

We are already planning a range of new features we can implement to make bookleteer useful to communities in remote locations such as Papua New Guinea, features that will of course bring benefits to communities elsewhere too. And in the next few weeks we’re launching other new features that have been in development since last summer.

With regular, reliable support we could achieve so much more. If you are interesting in sponsoring or supporting bookleteer, please get in touch direct with Giles Lane.

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Workbooks for community knowledge networks

February 4th, 2013 by gileslane

Last year Proboscis collaborated with a group of local people and a community run centre (PAG) in Pallion, Sunderland to co-create and co-design a sustainable ‘knowledge network’ that could help people respond to the bewildering array of changes taking place in the benefits system. Our project became the Pallion Ideas Exchange (PAGPIE) – weekly meetings and get togethers run by and for local people to help each other identify and address problem, share information and experience and help share the results with others in the community. A key part of our collaboration (the project was also part of the Vome research project led by Dr Lizzie Coles-Kemp at the Information Security Group of Royal Holloway University of London) was the tools we designed to help the community think through not only how they could identify problems and opportunities, but also how they could figure out what they as individuals and as a group already knew and could share with others. All the tools were designed to be easily produced/reproduced using standard office stationery or, in the case of the larger posters, could be cheaply printed at a local copy shop. Everything was also designed to be easily captured for sharing on the web via blogs, twitter, facebook etc – in whatever way was both safest and most appropriate for the local community.

We devised simple workflows, diagrams and ‘thinksheets’ as well as developing some workbooks and notebooks that individuals could use – all made with bookleteer. We printed up a batch of each using the Short Run printing service, but a key part of the design was that anyone could easily download, print out and make up more copies if they needed to, or the centre could easily order more printed copies as and when they had funding.

We are now creating generic versions of all these tools so that anyone else can set up their own version of a Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange (NIE), can download and make up the notebooks and other tools. We’ve completed versions of the existing 4 notebooks – Experiences, Managing a Problem, Communicating a solution online, Things To Do – and are writing a general guide to the toolkit and NIE concept.

We’ve also been condensing our experiences working in Pallion, as well as many years experience working with other communities both here and abroad, into a playful set of StoryCubes designed to help communities, facilitators and organisers think through the different kinds of steps needed for something like a neighbourhood ideas exchange or other community network. We’re hoping to have the whole toolkit finished in time for the AHRC Connected Communities Showcase on 12th March, where we’ll be showing materials created for our other collaboration with ISG on the Hidden Families project.

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the Periodical Issue 4

January 28th, 2013 by gileslane

Hard on the heels of the Periodical issue 3 we’re excited to announce what’s in this month’s package;
The first publication is Whisker #1, edited and published by our very own Hazem Tagiuri, author of many a post here.

Whisker is a pocket-sized literary magazine that showcases new poetry and short fiction, often from previously unpublished contributors. It has a tactile sense of merit: instinctive, curious, unconcerned with fixed styles, rigorous entry criteria, or authors’ backstories. Just fresh, fine writing that invokes feeling; that strikes a nerve.

We’ll be selecting future issues of Whisker to include in issues of the Periodical so get in touch with Haz to submit your writing for consideration.

Alongside this is a treat from the archives – Waiting For Crisis by William Davies, first published in 2009 as part of our Diffusion Transformations series. Will is Assistant Professor at The Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick and wrote this piece a year on from the banking collapse that triggered the present double/triple recession/Greater Depression. It was printed as a special edition when bookleteer first began to offer the larger A5 book sizes and our Short Run printing service.

Click on the links to find out more about each one, read them online or download, print out and make up your own copies.

*** Stuck for inspiration? Get something eclectic and unexpected through the post each month with a subscription to the Periodical. Create and share your own publications on bookleteer to take part too. ***

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the Periodical issue 3

January 8th, 2013 by gileslane

A bit late owing to the holidays, December 2012’s issue 3 of the Periodical includes two eBooks, If London Were Like Venice by Somer L. Summers and Towards an Anarchaeology of Belo Horizonte : Corners from our archive of previously printed projects, another of the books I made as part of my contribution to the ArteMov Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in November 2009. Click on the links to find out more about each one, read them online or download, print out and make up your own copies.

*** January blues? Start your new year with something eclectic and unexpected – Subscribe to the Periodical to receive fantastical publications through the post each month. Create and share your own on bookleteer and your’s may be selected for a future issue too ***

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