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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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