The Artist’s Book as Vehicle for Knowledge
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This paper will propose that that the artists’s book is capable of carrying an academic argument in a demonstrative and experiential manner, and will explore some of the benefits and pitfalls for the practitioner-researcher arising from this. The rationale for this topic’s contemporary relevance lies in the shift within universities towards digital submissions for research outputs and access to scholarship through digital repositories. Against this backdrop of stringent regulations and layout requirements that do not embrace the possibilities offered by digital submissions, I shall be arguing for the continued opportunity to embrace the strengths of digital outputs within physical forms. To begin, the paper will outline the strengths of the physical book as a way of conveying a thesis, with reference to artists’ books and a doctoral thesis. These are books which show as well as tell, and demonstrate the strengths of using materials, structure and sequence to make a convincing case. Following this, an evaluative look at the messiness of using the book form to reach a wider audience will be offered, taking in the issues of mechanical reproduction and language barriers. The paper will then conclude by proposing that the artist’s book may be positioned as commensurate with generous moves towards open access publishing and accessibility of knowledge.
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