Bologna, books and biglietti

Animal illustrations for the Book Fair in Bologna...
Dining in Bologna at the Children’s Book Fair 2017…

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We hopped on the bus near the Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna, having purchased our biglietti for Euro 1.50, and found we could ride the autobus, through the medieval cobbled streets of the city, in any direction for ninety minutes”.

Our Partnership team were in Bologna, Italy last week. We were attending the Children’s Book Fair to meet with publishers, authors and artists, and to soak up the atmosphere of world class creativity and dynamism that is the book trade for children in Italy.

Being regular attenders at the London Book Fair, it was noticeable that, although the giant Amazon had a media stand at the week in Bologna, there was nothing like the all pervading presence they seemed to have in London earlier in the year.

Indeed, for the retail giant Italy is still a market in development. We noted that “…Amazon’s Prime service offers one-day delivery of a million products in 6,000 Italian towns and 2-3 days for the rest of the country“.  Read more here… Source: Italy24 web pages.

Bologna Book Fair 2017 image
Bologna Book Fair detail…

With a significant Amazon building and development programme in Italy under way, the diversity and complexity of the other international publishing presences in Bologna, from traditional publishers to independent writers, artists and agents, was a sign that the trade in Italy is perhaps conditioned and delivered still in a very traditional way. Affording much opportunity for disruptive innovation in retail distribution we suspect.

As a micro-publisher, establishing our own tentative foothold in the Italian market, what was stunningly noticeable was the available space and ease with which new graphic artists, illustrators and designers could display their work.

Whatever language children are reading in, the quality of the illustrative art applied to the story enhances and opens that bridge to the imagination. It is as important as the ‘book’ itself, or the page layout or font choice, we would argue. The simplest narrative story can become an exciting page turner with the addition of wonderful artistic creativity. There was much of it evident in Italy last week.

Entering the exhibition halls at the event in Bologna Fiere was like stepping into a giant gallery. With a fantastic display of artwork in the principal foyer, annexed to a series of giant display boards for the young and independent artist to display samples of their work. Although the book trade is about business, the Italian approach led with free form creativity and individual design expertise in a way that we felt was unusual in the English book trade.

Some simple highlights for us during the week

Illustration by Marco Bonatti image
Illustration by Marco Bonatti

 

 

 

 

Marco Bonatti

We enjoyed the informal display of Marco’s work. He produces character with a gentle style, with which to enhance any children’s story, we felt. Engaging, friendly but equally up to the illustration of a more challenging narrative.

Based in Desenzano del Gardo, Italy – you can find Marco Bonatti’s work on the web here.

Katie Rewse

Katie Rewse image
Katie Rewse, using blue to effect…

Katie both studies and lectures in the Arts at Bournemouth University. She also runs Seablue Designs, a wonderfully evocative title for her business, which encompasses oceanic themes and a subtle and diverse range of blue in her work.

Katie’s palette, even informally displayed,  is striking when seen from a distance, which is what caught our eye, but is equally as powerful on the page when feeding a child’s imagination.

See Katie’s work on the web here.

 

 

 

Natasha Durley

Natasha Durley, pattern and proportion…

Another graduate of Bournemouth University Arts faculty, Natasha produces images of plants and animals that are bold in structure and colour, but which are always seemingly ‘anatomically’ sound and proportionally framed.

We liked her structured pattern work particularly, standing out as it did from many of her contemporaries on display in Bologna.

You can find Natasha’s award winning work on the web here.

 

 

 

 

Alessandra Fusi

Allesandra Fusi - a traditional style - image
Allesandra Fusi – a traditional style?

An artist and animation specialist, resident in Bologna, Alessandra has exhibited her work across not only Italy, but also Europe and the USA.

Her pen work was superb we thought, creating striking black and white images for her clients.

Alessandra has an ability to portray character through her artistry, but holds her style very much in the traditional fairytale mannerism, to which she expresses an enduring fascination.

You can see Alessandra’s work on the web here.

(All artist featured images captured from the Bologna Children's Fair ad-hoc display boards in 2017. Copyright remains entirely with the individual artist).

It was the artistry and illustrative energy that was the touchstone experience for us in Bologna this year. Although we were able to build a number of new partnerships and projects for 2017/2018, it is the imprint of ‘the image’ that will stay with us, particularly the energy of the work typical of the artists we have championed above.

Historical linearity in illustration:

We were looking, on behalf of another project before our departure for mainland Europe last week, at the history of children’s book illustration. The Digital Bodleian in Oxford have a wonderful new web resource featuring a number of historic children’s books and games.

You can trace a linear development between the Bodleian web holdings, many dating from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, through to the modern day.

Not only in their stories about children, but also how the imaginative landscape is pictured, focused on illustration as we are in this article. Innovation was the driving force even then.

Colouring instruction - 1824
Colouring instruction – 1824

 

 

 

 

 

We particularly liked the game Choriama, dating from 1824, which serves as a ‘youth’s instructor’ in the drawing and colouring of landscape. The work being made up of a number of individual landscape sections, which can be folded and re-folded to create new topographies of play. See more at the Digital Bodleian here.

 

A Round of Fun - education and art? - image
A Round of Fun – education and art?

We also warmed to depictions of  A Round of Fun. Pleasant illustrations of classroom activity where imagination and fun, with guidance , are the focus of the day’s activity. Is this not how school should be?

This work, in the Digital Bodleian, was created in England but was printed in Germany. See more of the Round of Fun at the Digital Bodleian on the web here.

Our whole Digital Bodleian experience, looking back, has been resonant with echoes of  our contemporary take on the Book Fair in Bologna.

Creative and imaginative illustrations, some classical and others traditional in feel, the many with a modernist take on old themes – the whole utilising the practised hand of the artist, European production skills and education marketing.  A creative journey from the Nineteenth Century to now, following enduring first principles.

Our biglietti:

We are already booking them for the 2018 event! Perhaps we may see another blue crocodile?


Editorial note on Italy:

Italians, in a recent report, the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries, lay claim to being some of the healthiest citizens in the world. Despite the prolonged downturn in the country’s economy and with up to 40% of the young unemployed.

It is the proximity to high art and culture, as well as a high vegetable and fruit diet, that must be responsible for the continual flowering of Italian artistic endeavour surely?

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Looking for 25 under 25?

 Young people developing new ideas…

 

One of our editorial contributors is a member of The Internet Society, which as an organisation is now twenty five years old. We were excited to read his email about the latest prize programme being undertaken by the The Society.

To celebrate this quarter century anniversary the Society is undertaking a search for twenty five internet innovators, under the age of twenty five.

”Do you know someone between the ages of 13-25 who is passionate about using the Internet to make a difference? We want to hear about them! They could receive a trip to Los Angeles and a chance to connect and collaborate with other young leaders from around the world”.

25 under 25 - Internet Society nominations here image and link
25 under 25 – Internet Society nominations here…

You can read more about this search on The Internet Society web pages here. The qualifications for the nominees include the following…

  • They must be using the Internet to make a positive impact
  • Have a commitment and passion to make the world better
  • Be making a difference in their community
  • Have ideas that can be implemented around the world
  • Be between the ages of 13-25 by 31 December 2017

To nominate someone for a trip, and a networking opportunity, that can change young lives read more here – you can discover the nomination process and form here.

What can the entrants expect to secure, if they are successful?

  • Roundtrip economy-class travel for awardee and double occupancy lodging in Los Angeles from 16/17-21 September 2017
  • Formal recognition the evening of 17 September at a special reception
    Invitation to the Internet Hall of Fame inductee ceremony and dinner on 18 September
  • Opportunity to meet and engage with the Internet Society team and the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductees
  • Participation in Collaborative Leadership Exchange in an unconference format on 18 September
  • Leadership development and community engagement programmes on 19-20 September

Nomination deadline: 31st May, 2017.

Our region is bursting with ‘tech talent’ of all ages. Nominate a young person today and help create the next game changing web innovators, pursuing real impact for good!

 

 

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Project Torino – inclusive learning for visually impaired children…

 Building blocks of code for young leaners – code creation in new ways from Microsoft

 

Microsoft researchers, at their Cambridge UK facilities, are in the midst of developing a new set of coding tools which will support children with additional sight needs in exploring the creation of code, commands and programs.

Torino is a physical programming language, which will, it is hoped, enable children with visual impairments, to take part and contribute in coding classes. Sharing the world of code and developing an understanding of the structure of programmed technology with their peers.

It is hoped that the project, when fully realised can be useful to other cohorts of learners, from adults to those who can be constrained by dyslexia and autism, to be able to access careers as computer scientists or software engineers.

The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired, and the vast majority of those people live in low-income settings. In the United Kingdom alone, the Royal National Institute of Blind People says only one in four working age adults who are blind or partially sighted are doing paid work.

Source:  blogs.microsoft.com  Accessed – 28.03.2017

Recruiting young people and educators for the project:

The Project Torino Beta – Expression of Interest page is still live on the web. You can subscribe to receive more detailed information from Microsoft and Project Torino when the beta evaluation goes live.

The process is available  to educators and parents in the UK. See more here.

Inclusion at the heart of technology:

Reading the project detail, it is clear that inclusion for all learners lies at the heart of the project. The research and design work, initially geared towards children in the seven to eleven age group, has already created a curriculum for teachers to be able to use Project Torino. (No prior coding skills are needed…Ed.)

An ‘app’ has also been created to enable children, once having mastered their physical language coding skills, to move on into text based code, wherever appropriate.

Great news from Microsoft Research in Cambridge. We shall follow the project with interest.

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Will you be putting on your JDRF walking shoes?

 

 

The JDRF One Walk Cambridge event is taking place again on Sunday 11 June, 2017.

If you haven’t signed up yet, why not get your friends and family and sign up today?

”The One Walk Cambridge is a family friendly event, that has something for all ages and abilities, from the littlest legs to the briskest power-walkers with our 5km or 9km route. Visit our walk village at Christ’s Pieces with refreshments and activities to keep the whole family entertained”.

You can join hundreds of people across the country walking and raising money for type 1 research this Spring! See you there?

  • You can still get involved as a volunteer, if you would like to support our favourite charity as a event crew member. See more here

conversationsEAST and SmithMartin LLP are delighted to be supporters of JDRF.

One day, we will create a world without type 1 diabetes. Until that day, your support is vital for our world-class research, improving treatments until we find the cure”.

Source: JDRF web pages – accessed 07.03.2017

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Debating Freedom

25 years of age or under?

Thursday, Friday and Saturday – the 6th, 7th and 8th of April 2017. Key dates in the Institute of Ideas calendar.

They are also the dates of the Institute’s forthcoming event, designed to attract young people between 18 and 25 years, who are interested in winning a chance to join the debate about freedom.

 Take part in the debate?

 

The debating school, to be held at ACCENT London, 12 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA,  includes a series of lectures across the days of the event, as well as debating sessions, workshops and a writing challenge. For which there will be a prize.

The event is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years of age, regardless as to whether studying or in employment.

How to apply?

Institute of Ideas debate school, 2017 image
Discover more on-line here…

To apply to attend the school please submit a short statement of between 300 and 500 words stating: –
• two key contemporary constraints on freedom and your understanding as to why they represent an attack on liberty
• why you would like to attend the school and how you will potentially benefit.

Applications must be submitted no later than Tuesday 28 February 2017. Attendance will be at the discretion of the organisers. Successful applicants will be notified no later than Tuesday 7 March 2017.

Source:    http://instituteofideas.com/livingfreedom     Accessed: 03.02.2017

   You can complete the application form on-line here.

The programme highlights?

  • Introductory lecture: Freedom and the Problem of Autonomy
  • Classical Conceptions of Freedom
  • Head-to-head debate: Determinism versus Free Will
  • Freedom and Democracy
  • From Rights to Privileges – The Refeudalisation of the Public Sphere
    …and more.

You can see the full detail of the programme from The Institute of Ideas here.

If you are bursting with energetic interventionism and commentary on our turbulent social, political and economic times, and still to reach the age of 25 years, then this could be the intellectual event of the year.

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Victorian throw-aways…

In London on the 26th?

After the hyper-consumerism of the recent festive season, were you the one carrying the old wrapping paper, used tinfoil and discarded detritus to the rubbish bin?

We follow in a long tradition, arguably in the foot steps of the Victorians, who were the first ‘throw-away society’ according to Dr. Tom Licence of the University of East Anglia.

The Victorian advances in packaging, branded products and new routes to market in retail confirmed the ‘disposability of things’ for the Victorian householder.

As part of the UEA in London series of events, you can hear Dr. Licence discussing ‘What the Victorians threw away’

Thursday 26 January, 6.30pm   – What the Victorians threw away – Dr Tom Licence, UEA

Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW

‘In this lecture, Tom will use items excavated from rubbish dumps to show how our throwaway habits developed. He will explore Victorian ideas about re-use and re-cycling, and link emerging patterns of waste-creation to the growth of western consumerism’.

Source: https://www.uea.ac.uk/alumni/events/

The event is free, but you can book on-line to secure your place here.


You can visit Tom’s archive of objects, disposed of by your great, great grandparents, on his web site – http://www.whatthevictoriansthrewaway.com/ The web pages also contain fascinating insights to what the East Anglians threw away too.

His book is available here in both paperback and Kindle editions…

See more here…

The people who lived in England before the First World War now inhabit a realm of yellow photographs. Theirs is a world fast fading from ours, yet they do not appear overly distant.

Many of us can remember them as being much like ourselves. Nor is it too late for us to encounter them so intimately that we might catch ourselves worrying that we have invaded their privacy. Digging up their refuse is like peeping through the keyhole‘.

   Buy this book here from Amazon.co.uk

Bin & boots image: David O’Farrell – Flickr

 

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Distances travelled and a New Year

We are always excited about books and book production in the conversationsEast office. In 2016 we seemed to have a very ‘bookish’ year all in all.

We enjoyed a visit to Seven Stories in Newcastle to look at the development of an author and the creation of the written artefact through the work of Michael Mopurgo. See more here.

We also happily supported the a new issue of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, an endeavour delivered across the globe from the print works of Kronecker Wallis in Barcelona, Spain. Revisit the work here.

In 2017 the conversationsEAST team have sworn an oath to finally deliver their draft arts journal, artSUFFUSION, and to expand the range of contributors to our pages in the hope of stimulating interest in arts, culture, history and all the other things that occupy our minds during the working day.

As we were unpacking another delivery of books in the intervening quiet days betwixt the festive holiday and New Year, we were pondering, as we tackled another Open Office document and posted several WordPress pages onto our servers for clients. How far have we come in terms of print production?

The Italians took a long look at the subject, the now pre-historic hot metal typesetting process, in 1960.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

Whilst some time later, nearly sixty years in fact, an American production giant revealed how the introduction of micro-processor and the refinement of mechanical processes enabled tens of thousands of printed copies to be created within three short days.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

We thought the passage of time and socio-economic difference was wonderfully reflected in the the comparison between the be-suited operators of the Lino-type machines, half man, half machine, seemingly embedded in their mechanisms as their typing materialised from hot metal reservoirs, into hard gobbets of text, for onward transmission to other people and process.

The contrast underscored by the modern, casually dressed and processor driven work environment of a contemporary print house. We noted the lack of people populating the production landscape in the latter. The ‘white collar’ aspects of the book now taking place remotely, no longer a craft skill in an industrial setting.  A true sign of our times?

Whatever changes 2017 brings, a happy New Year to our readers from the conversationsEast team.

 

 

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The Ferengi still use gold-pressed Latinum…

To the RSA yesterday, in John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ. Between meetings in London we managed to fit in a visit to the lecture by Professor Kenneth Rogoff, deliberating about the existence of cash, illustrated by examples from his new book – The Curse of Cash.

Rogoff: curse of cash cover image
Review or purchase this book from Amazon.co.uk here…

Despite misconceptions in the popular press, Professor Rogoff, he is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, argues for the deletion of high value notes from a national currency, not, as is often quoted, the dramatic end of cash all together.

Drawing on his international experiences, Rogoff served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, he argued for the removal of high value notes from circulation as a methodology to reduce criminality and tax evasion.

Rogoff recognised, in passing, the recent currency changes in India, remarking that his advice to Prime Minister Modi would have been to move at a much slower pace, although India’s fiscal motives are not totally clear at present. Cessation of high value notes is now, he argued, a recognisably legitimate lever in the economic tool box, although ideally pursued over a period of perhaps two years, with currency withdrawn in batches of maximum value over that time.

Using the U.S. as an example, evidence was offered regarding the size of bank note holdings in a population – nearly always much, much higher than any official Treasury forecast, he argued.

In theory, in the U.S., every person should be holding about $4,200 dollars in $100 bills for example. However, we were told, current research indicated that only 5% of U.S. citizens ever saw bills of this denomination, and only once a year at that.

A simple show of hands in The Great Room at John Adam Street, saw only four members of the audience having used a £50 note in the last month. This exposition led on to an assessment of the underground economy in Europe. Undeclared transactions making up 16% of the German economy annually, with up to 25% in Italy and Greece. In the U.S., we were informed, this currently runs at about 8%. But in all cases these hidden  economic transactions represent vast sums in the tax ‘neutral’ take of businesses, whatever their ethical make-up.

Cash and culture:

Rogoff referenced the U.S. economist, Neil Wallace, whom he argued failed to see the rise of electronic currency during his seminal economic work in the 1970’s. Now, Rogoff argued, there has been a step change, in young people particularly, for whom electronic banking and cash movements may have become the norm.

This could have resonating consequences for world economies. Governments make large cash transfers and could, he argued use free, subsidised debit cards for members of society  and deliver benefits, refunds and payments to individuals without the repetitious ‘cost of cash’.

In his lecture Professor Rogoff appeared to be a strong proponent of the use of negative interest rates, to stimulate cash investment in business infrastructure, citing Sweden as an example where this policy had energised the real economy.

In rounding off his talk Professor Rogoff, cited the work of U.S. economist Robert Eisner, arguing that Central Banks could also have a role to play in the ‘new attitude’ to cash. The use of technical devices, such as deploying currency held in banking systems using a distinct and different exchange rate.

This was a quietly and elegantly delivered short lecture, drawn from a very telling book, The Curse of Cash, which provoked and underscored an interesting number of new ways of thinking about cash, banking and the cultural and fiscal exchanges between us all.

We recommend it.

The final exortation, light heartedly, was for us to remember that the Rogoff thesis is not about the abandonment of cash, rather its perpetuation in ‘smaller ‘ form.

The Ferengi, we were told, had after all never lost their interest, as free traders of integalactic renown, in gold-pressed Latinum.


You can hire the resources and spaces of 8, John Adam Street for both corporate and social events. A stunning venue in the heart of London, just off The Strand.

Explore the facilities available here

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British Art at Yale – a discovery…

Following on from our recent article on book binding in Barcelona, we seem unable to escape our thematic journey on-line towards the bound artefact.

As booksellers and literacy project specialists we are especially interested in the concept of the book as a seasonal highlight, as to be expected at this time of year. The conversationsEast team were very pleased to see book-binding as part of the programme of the recent Chelmsford Ideas Festival for instance.

This month we were pleased to discover the web pages of the refreshed and rebuilt Yale Center for British Art. Remarkable in that such a concentration of artefacts, academic depth and insight into our native art history should exist in Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut.

The opening lecture for the Centre, post-renovation, was Artistic Bookbinding in the Twenty-First Century, delivered by the American book historian and conservator James Reid-Cunningham. See more below…

The lecture, The Poet of Them All, concentrates on a remarkable collection of Shakespeare editions in miniature from the holdings of the Yale Centre and in concert with collectors Neale and Margaret Albert.

The richness, skill and indeed, even fun, of such collections is beautifully captured in the Reid-Cunningham lecture. The expressive art and craft skill of the binder in the twenty first century is also visually well expressed in the discourse. In an age of electronics it is sometimes easy to forget the power, even magic, generated by the carefully crafted, masterfully bound book. Whatever its size.

There is much to enjoy across the whole of the Yale Center for British Art. Research at the Yale Center benefits from concurrent funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, encouraging a wide programme of lectures, study and talks to disseminate the findings of the Center. As you would expect from such a world centre of excellence.

We particularly liked the Center’s new education programme Visual Literacy: Rethinking the Role of the Arts in Education. Using the great visual resources the Center holds to create interest in and higher utility in reading. Art becomes the book, becomes the writer!

See the trailer for the work below…

Visual Literacy: Rethinking the Role of Arts in Education from cyra levenson on Vimeo.

Giving  books is a great idea over the festive holidays, getting the family into an art gallery or museum is even better. We visited Seven Stories in Newcastle earlier in 2016, so we know you can achieve the same ‘Yale’ effect without a visit to Connecticut.

Unless you travel on-line that is? Happy Christmas to our readers.

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Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica – a reissue

isaacnewtonportrait
A portait of Isaac Newton by Godfrey Kneller (1689)

Article update: 12.11.2016

1,076 backers pledged 56,504 euros to help bring this project to life, exceeding the original campaign target  of 35,000 euros. Brilliant.


This must be the Enlightenment project of the year.

On the eve of 2017, the 330th anniversary of the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia (Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica), a small publishing house in Barcelona, Kronecker Wallis, are dedicated to issuing a new version of this master work.

Design and detail are the watch words of this small creative team, who are recruiting backers for the project on the pages of Kickstarter.

With only nine days to go of the campaign, as of the publication of this short article, why not take an intellectual punt and pledge a very modest amount to receive a copy of this great piece of literature, science and the art of book binding?

If completed this is the Christmas present to die for for those interested in the aesthetics of the book, the history of science and a love of independent, small studio making.

Discover the Principia and Kronecker Wallis on Kickstarter here.

About the book?

The book will be set in Lucas de Groot‘s font The Serif, created in 1994. To get the finest reproduction the publishers have chosen Munken Polar paper, giving a high quality white tonality to the page and a natural feel. Paper weights of 100 grams for the inner pages and covers produced in 260 grams.

the serif font example image
Buy The Serif office fonts here…

 

The binding is what really sets this book apart. We wanted its “wrapping” to be visually appealing and different. Therefore, we have opted for visible binding that leaves the spine bare, displaying a part of the books that usually remains hidden. This type of binding also helps us when reading the book, as it allows us to open it wider‘.

Source: Kronecker Wallis Kickstarter page

The text is set from the 1846 first American edition, edited by N.W. Chittenden. You can see this text here.

principia page layout image
Page layout image from Kronecker Wallis…

You can make a Kickstarter pledge from as little as 5 Euro’s, a tiny investment in a project of such aesthetic magnitude.

If you do and the bindngs are completed, have a great Christmas festive holiday when your package arrives.

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