At the Crossroads

Article excerpt

BOOK ARTS ACADEMIC EDUCATORS WORKING GROUP MEETING

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA

JANUARY 13-14, 2006

On January 13 and 14, 2006, over fifty book arts educators met at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, for a program organized and co-chaired by Kathy Walkup, professor and director of the Book Arts Program at Mills College in Oakland, California, and Steve Miller, professor in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The initial planning for the meeting began at the close of the Wellesley College Artists' Books Conference in June 2005, when Miller and Walkup announced a breakout session after the closing program for those interested in developing a working session for book arts educators who work in academia. Miller volunteered to host a meeting at the University of Alabama. One of the main topics would include discussions about forming a professional organization for academic book arts educators.

The 2006 Book Arts Academic Educators Working Group Meeting was preceded by five other irregularly scheduled gatherings: the 1984 Inaugural Collegiate Book Arts Conference at the University of Alabama; the 1988 Collegiate Book Arts Conference at Colorado College in Colorado Springs; the 1990 Connections & Collaborations at Arizona State University in Tempe; the 1994 The Next Wave: Books at the Intersection of Icon & Artifact at Mills College; and the 1999 Book Arts 2000 & Beyond, also at Tuscaloosa. The 2006 program organizers were careful to note that although the participants respect the efforts of other members and institutions who comprise the diverse national and international book arts educational scene, this conference was specifically organized to address issues of those who work in academic programs.

The first day included meetings of five interest groups. The Historians and Librarians group discussed how to include the history of the book in teaching: how does current work get into teaching, the history of "now," and strategies for creating interdisciplinary models for book arts and librarianship. The Infrastructure group discussed the methods and challenges of building a book arts program. The Publishing Program group discussed four different, models for a publishing program: apprenticeship, laboratory, faculty-led, and professional practice. The group also discussed how to establish and run a press. …

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