events pitch up & publish

Pitch Up & Publish 2011

We’re starting a new regular series of Pitch Up & Publish workshops to help people get started and make the most use out of bookleteer as possible : guiding them from concept to publication and beyond. The 2 hour workshops will be held at our studio, will have a maximum of around 6 places and will probably be held every 2-3 weeks.

We’d like to hear what sort of things you’d like help with: from basic level introduction to specific topics – such as designing project notebooks, embedding multimedia links via QR codes and preparing books for printing via our Short Run Printing Service. If there’s interest we can run specific workshops aimed at transferring our experiences of working with kids in schools to use bookleteer, or with other community groups.

Each workshop place will cost about £20 (UKP) and will include complimentary Alpha Club membership, discount on Short Run Printing Service orders and a free pack of new Medium size StoryCubes. You’ll be able to book places online via eventbrite.

We’d also like to hear whether people would prefer the sessions to be run during the day or evening – we may alternate if it helps more people take part.

Please contribute with your suggestions and requests – we’d like these sessions to be as useful and focused on your needs as possible. You can post comments here, or add them to the discussion on Facebook.

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CCI’s Library of Traces

Back in September Frederik posted a case study of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination‘s use of bookleteer. They’ve continued using it as a creative and documentary resource, and in doing so have created a Library of Traces – a series of eBooks which enable both participants in their professional development workshops, and others, to follow the traces of their experiences and share reflections and observations.

To help CCI widen the audience for their work we’ve posted 7 eBooks on our library and will be making others available there as they are created. All are welcome to download and share eBooks from the Library of Traces.

events news

Commission a local City As Material event

Reflecting back on the 5 City As Material events of last Autumn, we’re really pleased both with the reception of the events themselves by participants and that of the resulting publications with friends and colleagues. Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing the personal contributions of the guests (Tim Wright, Ben Eastop and Simon Pope – Alex Deschamps-Sonsino’s is already available) and an overview eBook of our own. And we will print a special limited slipcase edition of all 10 eBooks using bookleteer’s PPOD service and launch them in the Spring.

Future Plans in 2011
This year we hope to take our Pitch in & Publish series of City As Material events outside of London to other towns and cities in the UK (or abroad). We’d love to hear from people or organisations interested in commissioning us to devise and run a one-day (or possibly longer) collaborative urban exploration and publishing event in their own town or city.

A typical event…
We’ll work with the local hosts to devise a topic, plan the exploration route and design customised notebooks. At the end of each walk we’ll need a space (with WiFi access and ideally a printer) to sit down with the participants as a group and work on planning/drafting the collaborative eBook that will be the record of the day. As before we’ll be using a range of online and social media to post up photos, audio, video etc taken during each event by all taking part – and we’ll be encouraging all the participants to sign up with bookleteer to create their own personal eBooks (and/or StoryCubes).

How to book an event
Please get in touch with us to plan an event in your town or city. Our basic fee for each event (payable by the host) will be £600 + VAT and travel expenses (and accommodation where needed). This fee covers pre-planning, facilitation by 2 members of Proboscis on the day and post-event coordination of the collaborative eBook (+ publication on, as well as printing of a limited edition run (50 copies) of the eBook.
Local hosts will be responsible for recruiting the participants to each event. Proboscis will also help promote each event across our own networks to engage as broad a group of participants as possible.

education events publishing on demand

First day at Soho Parish Primary School

When I heard I was going to be working on creative projects that combine art and publishing with year 5 and 6’s in a primary school is Soho, I was definitely excited about working with children on a project that sounded different, creative, and fun (both for the kids and adults involved!) However, hearing that I’d be working in a school in Soho, I thought I may have mis-heard – I had no idea that there were any primary schools in Soho! The school itself is small Church of England primary school tucked away on a narrow street just a stone’s throw away from Piccadilly Circus. Going into the school I was greeted warmly by staff and noticed how colourful the corridors were – adorned with bright paintings by the children and proud reminders of previous work. Soho Parish definitely had a welcoming ‘family feel’ about it. Walking around the school and peeking into the small classrooms, it was obvious that Soho Parish had a positive learning atmosphere.

After I was introduced to some of the teachers, a class of year 5 children quietly walked into the classroom where Giles would talk to them about how bookleteer and eBooks worked, and also how this would tie into their current project, a project based on Antarctica and the effects global warming. The children were curious about who we were and what we had to say, and as Giles began to explain that we were going to help publish their school project by turning them into eBooks, some of the children shouted ‘yay!’ and everyone seemed to became even more interested. After Giles demonstrated how eBooks were made, the children were more than ready to get going and make their own.

We then began to upload the children’s work onto bookleteer, with the children standing close-by, often asking us about how bookleteer worked and what they thought about their Antarctica project. After a few near glitches with the schools computers, we began to finish uploading and naming the year 5 eBooks. Almost immediately after we waved the children goodbye, year 6’s entered the classroom with the same amount of wonder as to why me and Giles were standing at the front of the classroom. This time around, however, uploading the children’s eBooks was much faster and easier to do after having uploaded year 5’s eBooks moments before. Then came the task of printing off and making up the children’s eBooks – (a skill that Giles was clearly much faster than me at!) After proudly handing all 32 eBooks to the children’s teachers, Claudia and Matt, our work at Soho Parish was done for the day.

some of the 32 eBooks created by Years 5 & 6, Soho Parish Primary

Following our work with with the children (and lots of help from the staff!) Giles and I had lunch with the head teacher, Rachel Earnshaw, discussing possible projects and ideas for the new term ahead. After how promising my first day was at the school, I can confidently say that I am looking forward to going back to the school after the Christmas holiday and collaborating on other creative projects with the children – and also exploring bookleteer in a school setting.


The Amplified Author at Crouch End Unlibrary

Yesterday I took part in if:book‘s Amplified Author event at the Crouch End Unlibrary, giving a series of short workshops about bookleteer and print on demand alongside Anna Lewis of Completely Novel. Anna and I introduced 4 groups of people (many local writers) to the opportunities and limitations of print on demand systems (including our own) : what they could expect and how they could use it in their own projects and for their own publications.

Describing the evolution of the Diffusion eBook & StoryCubes formats, as well as the development of bookleteer over the last dozen years gave me an opportunity to reflect on what’s different again about our approach to publishing and sharing of knowledge. It also reinforced for me how bookleteer and our own PPOD service are yet again quite different to other POD platforms (such as Completely Novel, Lulu or Blurb) – offering something more than just a cheap means of producing and micro-selling books. Our public authoring and shareables concepts, which underpin both the eBooks and the StoryCubes, presents exciting opportunities for mixing the digital with the physical in ways that no other POD service can offer. During the workshops I showed the flow of creation from simple blank sheets of paper than can be folded and cut into eBooks, through to their use as notebooks that can be written or drawn in by hand and then scanned in as PDFs to make them printable by anyone, anywhere, on to the next stage of being able to -reflow the scanned pages back through bookleteer to have PPOD versions printed (my examples were the wonderful set we created for the British Museum’s Melanesia Project with Porer & Pinbin from Papua New Guinea).

The response from the participants was very positive : we’re looking forward to welcoming many more bookleteers to the growing community and excited to see what they create.


Pitch In & Publish: Streetscapes

Last Friday we had our first Pitch In & Publish: City As Material session at the Proboscis studio, “Streetscapes”. In attendance were Giles Lane, Tim Wright, Anne Lydiat, Fred Garnett, David Jennings and myself. After some introductions and hearing participants particular interests, we started pitching, planning what we would like to see in our collaborative publication. Many ideas were inspired by personal projects, but the group soon gave birth to to some new, exciting concepts, (as well as a debate about when the first pineapple was grown in Britain) and after a brief interval of lunch to refuel, we set off to wander through the City.

From Smithfield we walked through Charterhouse Square, onto Aldersgate, and then into the Golden Lane estate. We must have resembled a tourist group; eyes skyward as the history of our surroundings was recounted by those who had tales to tell. By accident we stumbled across an unusual circular space, at odds with the towers of the estate. A haven to rest and exchange stories, we soon discovered the unusual acoustics of the circle, and formed a ring in the centre to test them. Tim recorded this unusual ritual, which you can view here, and David has also posted an audio clip, which you can listen to here.

We then headed through the Barbican, and into Postmans Park to read the plaques that form the “Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice”, poignant tributes to those that have died attempting to save others. This was an amazing place, one I had never visited before, and it served as a perfect end to our expedition.

Once back at the studio, and after numerous teas, coffees and fig rolls, we started to form our publication. We decided the brick circle in the middle of Golden Lane estate, which we deemed the “Unplace”, would be our focus – the eBook chronicling our journey there, and our experience within. Thus, the “Unbook of Disappropriation: Situated Moments From The City” was created. We liked the concept that this eBook would not just be inspired by the city, but that we would add to it as well, so we included a blank page for readers to write down their own experiences of the Unplace, then tear it out and leave it someone else. There is also a City As Material group on Flickr, and two hashtags on Twitter –  one general – #cityasmaterial, and one for Streetscapes – #ddiof, so we can continue the discussion.

Our next Pitch In & Publish: City As Material event, on the 29th of October, will be based on the theme of “River”, and our special guest will be Ben Eastop. Book a place here.

residencies sharing

Seven Days in Seven Dials – eBooks

From Seven Days in Seven Dials: A week in the life of London’s Cultural Quarters

About a month ago I mentioned that Alice was spending the week in Covent Garden as part of the Seven Days in Seven Dials project organised by Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network. For a week ten artists and thirty young people employed on placements in some of London’s leading cultural institutions used 18 Short’s Gardens as a studio. During the week the group explored the area gathering local stories, histories and connections and captured a snapshot of life in Seven Dials in film, sound, photography and writing.

Three books made by participants in the project are now available to download at

Seven Days in Seven Dials: A week in the life of London’s Cultural Quarters, documents the project and its workshops describing the partners, artists and participants. Snapshots of the area, photographs of the making of the Seven Streets in Seven Dials film, notes and sights from A Walk Round the Cultural Quarter and pictures of the recording of the audio tour come together to give a sense of a lively area and action-packed week.

Photographs by Amelia Martin, From Seven Days in Seven Dials: Photography

Seven Days in Seven Dials: Photography shows work from the photography workshop. Photographs of the area taken by 8 workshop participants show details of architecture, food, people and signs.

Map and sights from The Alternative, Whistle Stop Tour of the West End Cultural Quarter

The Alternative, Whistle Stop Tour of the West End Cultural Quarter acts as a guide book to the area and takes you on a tour of the Culture Quarter. Written by participants the eBook combines photographs, navigational directions and local trivia including financial scandals, martinis and phone boxes.

The Seven Streets in Seven Dials film and podcasts of the audiotour can be heard on


Margate Harbour Arm PU&P

This Friday (April 30th) I’ll be at Margate Harbour Arm alongside Dan Thompson from Artists & Makers and the Empty Shops Network as a guest of Lynn at We Make Margate to give a demonstration of bookleteer to local people.

Come along between 1-5pm if you’d in the area and would like to know more about making eBooks and StoryCubes, and to see samples of the gorgeous new PPOD eBooks!

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events publishing on demand

PU&P 9 Coventry with Artists and Makers

We will be running a Pitch Up & Publish event with Artists & Makers in Coventry on Friday 26th March 2010, from 12noon until 4pm as part of the Empty Shops Tour.

Come and join us to publish your stories, pictures and ideas as Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes.

Date : Friday 26th March 2010
Time : 12pm to 4pm
Venue : 11 City Arcade, Coventry

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PU&P 8 – Carlisle with Artists and Makers

We will be running a Pitch Up & Publish event with Artists & Makers in Carlisle on Friday 19th March 2010, from 12noon until 4pm as part of the Empty Shops Tour.

Come and join us to publish your stories, pictures and ideas as Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes.

Date : Friday 19th March 2010
Time : 12pm to 4pm
Venue : 17 Lowther Arcade, Lowther Street, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8LX, UK

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