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Book making and handpress printing explored at Being Human event

A workshop exploring the Hidden Histories: Women and Books, gave attendees the opportunity to try handpress printing and to make their own book from scratch.

Dr Louise Wilson, Assistant Head of English, led the interactive event as part of the Being Human Festival, and guests spent the morning learning about her research, which encompasses archival material that bears witness to the making and reading of books.

In her talk, Dr Wilson highlighted that while women have often been overlooked when cataloguing and researching archival material, there is ample evidence of their roles as makers, collectors, and readers.

The event incorporated many items from Liverpool Hope’s Special Collections, which celebrate the role that women have played as collectors, donors, patrons, publishers, illustrators, and readers of books.

Following the talk, Dr Wilson was joined by Special Collections Librarian Karen Backhouse, who helped her to provide a guided exploration of the Special Collections items.

Participants enjoyed two practical sessions in the afternoon, where they could try their hand at the kinds of work explored in the morning’s session. Local letterpress printer, Karen Edwards of Red Button Press, led a workshop on handpress printing, which incorporated specially made printing blocks based on images and women’s book annotations from our Special Collections. Meanwhile local artist and book-maker Elizabeth Willow, led a workshop in which participants made their own book from scratch.

The event was fully booked and received unanimous praise in the feedback. One attendee wrote: “I loved the hands-on activities as well as the connections back to the history of books and cataloguing practices.” While another stated: “Everything was enjoyable from the informative talk to the printing and book-making. The teachers made it so easy for us to follow and made it a wonderful day of learning something new.”

Being Human Festival is the only national festival that is dedicated entirely to celebrating research across the Humanities. It  ran from the 14th - 23rd November, and took place in over 50 towns and cities across the UK.

Published on 26/11/2019