Books & Print Sandbox / 5th Dec


This blogpost is from Clare Reddington, Director, iShed (Bristol)and REACT Executive Producer. REACT present a day of exploration into the future of book and print on Thursday 5th December. Tickets are only £3 for a Writing for Digital workshop and a panel examining in the opportunities that new technology brings to writing and publishing.

No one thing can pick up where the book left off; instead it is everything, all of our networks, our services, our devices, the internet plus everything else, which will carry literature forward. James Bridle, Wired Magazine, April 2012

The continuing rise of cheap e-readers and tablets coupled with the prevalence of mobile and wifi networks means it is now easier than ever before to download and read whatever book you would like, whenever you would like to read it. This creates fantastic potential, but as yet the publishing industry hasn’t moved much further than simply aping the paper book in digital form.

Excited by the untapped creative and commercial opportunity of this area,  in January 2013 REACT launched Books & Print Sandbox to invest in new collaborations exploring the digital future of books & print publishing. Over a three month period eight partnerships of academics and creative businesses (and artists, choreographers, technologists, gamers, writers…) developed new product ideas to push at the edges of the possible and gather experience, insight and evidence in search of new commercial potential.

From the Secret Lives of Books, a beautiful interactive platform that visualizes the unexploited data of public libraries and bookshops, to ‘these pages fall like ash’, a digital-physical hybrid created where readers explore a city to discover (and write) the story, narrative remained very much at the projects’ heart, blending form and function to create entirely new types of book experience.

With opportunities to try stuff out, participate in a Books & Print workshop and hear about the projects, the event at The Library of Birmingham in December gives us a welcome opportunity to drop back in with the teams, eight months after the official end of their R&D period. Now in the process of taking their products to audiences, readers and customers, the project teams will tell their stories, reflect on the results and share insight with others seeking to create future book projects of their own.

Thursday 5th December 1pm- 5pm. Tickets for the panel and workshop are £3 via
The panel will be made up of Clare Reddington, Director of the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, with Dave Addey, Managing Director of leading app development studio Agant; Tom Abba, lecturer in narrative theory at UWE, Bristol and member of artist collective Circumstance; Charlotte Quickenden, Managing Director of digital agency Bow Software; Laura Kriefman, Founder and Choreographer with innovative dance company Guerilla Dance Project.

Ticket holders for the Bill Drummond keynote event can access this afternoon event for free, please contact with VOLUME in the subject line for more details.



Meet Pram

Birmingham’s Pram craft fairytales from concrete reality. The second city’s spin cycle of perpetual renovation, from the slum clearances to its current cosmetic upgrade, is etched in Pram’s restless groove, an endearing and gently refusenik mix encircling early Rough Trade innovators The Raincoats, astro jazz, sci-fi soundtracks, creepy Victoriana, tropical analogue and tumbledown funk.

You can see Pram perform at the Library of Birmingham on Sunday 24th November, supporting the Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra’s interpretation of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. It’s the last show in our Discover New Music series for the opening season of the library –

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so don’t miss out!

Tickets are available via


Volume / lino printing workshop / Sat 7th December

During a three day event celebrating books and print, you can learn how to make a two to three colour reduction lino print in a limited capacity workshop. One piece of lino is used multiple times in one print, as the lino plate is recut after each colour printed. You will be guided through the process by the Birmingham Printmakers.

All you need to bring is an A5 image of something that inspires you in Birmingham (could be anything!) and some kind of protective clothing, such as an apron.

Birmingham Printmakers are currently celebrating the history of their work with an exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham Printmakers: Thirty Years of Printmaking 1983-2013, showcases work by members of the group.

The workshop takes place at the Library of Birmingham from 10am to 5pm and costs only £3. Book now via

This event is part of Volume: Birmingham’s Art, Book & Print Fair. 5-7 December.


November playlist

This month our playlist features a walking soundtrack by Adrian Utley, a short story by Bill Drummond and of course some noisy stuff by Shellac.


Library of Lost Books / 6-24 November


An extended residency in our Pavilion series, the Library of Lost Books is here til 24th November. The project was the brainchild of Birmingham based artist Susan Kruse in 2011 as a way to celebrate the move from the old Central library to the new Library of Birmingham in 2013. She assembled a collection of the library’s unwanted, damaged books and sent them to more than 40 artists and printmakers from around the UK to re-work, breathing new life into them through their interactions and interventions. Because many of the books are old, or obscure, this was a unique opportunity for artists to work with books, manuscripts, papers, typefaces and bindings that they might not otherwise have an opportunity so to do.

Images by Katja Ogrin.



Library of Lost Books is accompanied by a three day conference, Resurrecting The Book 15-17 November.


Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra / 24th November

Sunday 24th November at Library of Birmingham
Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra – Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ + Pram

Adrian Utley (Portishead) brings together an orchestra of electric guitar players to interpret Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. Written in 1964 and perhaps one of the most influential pieces of music from the 20th Century, one that established minimalism as a music genre, In C’s simple musical rules – 53 musical phrases in C and no duration – allow for infinite variations. Utley’s impressive Guitar Orchestra is augmented by percussion and organs making for a vintage and mesmeric sound. The effect is an organic musical experience very much created in front of the audience both fragile and thunderingly uplifting.

We have recruited a number of extra players for this performance to make it truly unique, including members of Mugstar and Sunday Mourning.

Birmingham’s Pram craft fairytales from concrete reality. The second city’s spin cycle of perpetual renovation, from the slum clearances to its current cosmetic upgrade, is etched in Pram’s restless groove, an endearing and gently refusenik mix encircling early Rough Trade innovators The Raincoats, astro jazz, sci-fi soundtracks, creepy Victoriana, tropical analogue and tumbledown funk.

Book tickets now via


Shangaan Electro photos

The South African collective Shangaan Electro came to Birmingham last month as part of Bring To Light, for two performances and a free dance workshop. They illuminated the amphitheatre of the library and were the perfect close to Friday night’s programme at the Rainbow.  Photos by Katja Ogrin.





Go here for more Bring To Light photos.


VOLUME – Art, Book & Print Fair 5-7 December

A celebration of the very best in independent publishing, this event will include speakers, panel discussions, workshops and a fair. Volume is being produced in collaboration with a number of Birmingham arts organisations, showcasing the wealth and breadth of publishing expertise in the region. Each organisation will produce a panel, contributing to some of the debates currently critical in the fields of publishing, bookmaking and writing.

Thursday 5th December 1pm £3
Writing for Digital workshop: not losing the plot
Aimed at writers interested in the future of publishing, the workshop will address the role of the writer for digital platforms. No experience of technology required; this won’t be a technical session, rather an exploration of form and content for digital platforms.
Digital Technologies: Opportunities not Threats panel discussion
Panel discussion exploring experiments with digital technology and the possibilities they bring to publishing and writing.
Thursday 5th December 7pm £8 / £10
Bill Drummond – Keynote Speech (12 Years, 25 Paintings,

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100 Questions, & The 17)

Drummond has used various media in his practice including actions, music and words. His actions too numerous to list, some more infamous than others; his music from the multi million selling KLF to the choral music of The 17; the words have accumulated into a pile of books.
Artist, placemaker and designer of the Discovery Season’s flagship space The Pavillion – Morag Myerscough will be presenting an instinctive journey through colours, patterns and her design practice, accompanied by fellow designer and collaborator Luke Morgan and his band The Highliners (including Ginge, former Meteors drummer) creating a punk rock design performance!

Friday 6th December

An Endless Supply presents In Conversation with Peter Bilak – discussing his new design magazine and models of social distribution. 3pm FREE

Letterpress workshop led by Leicester Print Workshop. All day, FREE

Saturday 7th December
Grand Union presents Copy Rights – exploring the concept of originality and the politics of copyright. 11am FREE

Writing West Midlands presents: Roads to Market – Examining The Publishing Economy featuring Tindal Street Press, Alma Books, Nine Arches Press and Inpress Books. 1pm FREE

Birmingham Zine Festival presents: Make It Then Tell Everybody – how emerging artists can promote and distribute what they do. 3pm FREE

Eastside Projects presents The Paperless Stack – featuring figures from Library of Birmingham and the British Library. 3pm FREE

Zine in a Day led by Footprint Workers Co-operative

Roller Printing workshop led by Stephen Fowler

Artist Book Surgeries with the Centre for Fine Print Research

Introduction to Reduction Lino Printing with Birmingham Printmakers. 10am – 5pm £4 tickets via

The Baskerville Society presents a John Baskerville radio play reading. 2pm FREE

The Fair – showcasing books, prints and artworks for sale from an international selection of independent publishers, printworks, artists and organisations including Werkplaats Typographie, Dent-De-Leone, Exitstencil and Imprint Press

In residence Haworth + Hayhoe – The Library Project
Haworth + Hayhoe will be installing a miniature interactive library, running daily bookbinding workshops.

Panels are free but advance booking is essential
Box Office: 0121 245 4455