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Artists' Book Workshop

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

Experience the creative and reparative potential of artists’ books and learn how to make one in this workshop with Stella Bolaki. In person.

What is distinctive about the artist’s book as a form of creative self-exploration and communication? Since the 1960s, the artist’s book has been an innovative and versatile medium of expression, as well as a radical way of bringing art to a wider public. Using examples of artists’ books by Judy Goldhill at Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery and from the University of Kent’s ‘Prescriptions: Artists’ Books’ collection dedicated to the topics of illness and wellbeing, we will reflect on how contemporary artists reimagine the book format to give voice to intimate experiences and experiment with different modes of creative healing. Participants will be guided to create a handmade book to capture aspects of their own lived experience. 

No artistic expertise is required. All materials for the workshop will be provided, but you are welcome to bring one or more small objects (photograph, letter, collage material, drawing, medical image/artefact etc) connected to the theme of wellbeing.  
If you wish, you can also watch the short documentary film I Make Books by Martha A. Hall (18 min). This is a moving documentary on how American artist Martha Hall used the artist’s book format to document her illness experience and communicate with the medical community. 

Watch this video in advance:

Dr Stella Bolaki is Reader in Medical Humanities in the School of English at the University of Kent and Director of Kent’s MA programme in Medical Humanities. She is the author of Illness as Many Narratives: Arts, Medicine and Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), which explores representations of illness across different art forms. She has led the ‘Artists’ Books and Medical Humanities’, an interdisciplinary project that explored how books, art and healthcare can be interrelated through exhibitions, symposia, and workshops. This project helped establish the ‘Prescriptions: Artists’ Books’ special collection, based at the University of Kent’s Templeman Library.  

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