BLOCKS PLATES STONES: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections
21 September 2017, Senate House, London (reception at British Academy)
Deadline: 30 June 2017, via bit.ly/BlocksPlatesStones-Submit
Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)
Dr Richard S Field (Yale), Prof James Mosley (Institute of English Studies), Dr Ad Stijnman (Leiden), Prof Michael Twyman (Reading)
The material turn in fields that rely on historical printed matter has led to interest in how those texts and images were—and are—produced. Those objects, including cut woodblocks, etched and engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones, could be fundamental to research. Tens of thousands survive from the last 500 years, but the vast majority are inaccessible because they do not fit into the cataloguing structures and controlled vocabularies used by the libraries, archives and museums that hold them. Those that are accessible tend to be under-used, as few researchers are equipped to understand them or communicate about them across disciplinary boundaries. Even the most basic term is debated: in book research, a matrix is the mould for casting pieces of type; in art research, each resulting type is a matrix (and the sheets printed from them are the multiples). As new possibilities to catalogue and digitise these artefacts are revealing their research potential, it is essential to establish how they can best be made available and how they can be used in research.
This deeply interdisciplinary conference will survey the state of research into cut woodblocks, intaglio plates, lithographic stones, and other matrices/printing surfaces. It will bring together researchers, curators, librarians, printers, printmakers, cataloguers, conservators, digital humanities practitioners, and others who care for or seek to understand these objects. The discussion will encompass all media and techniques, from the fifteenth century through the present. Please submit abstracts for papers (20 minutes) and posters (A1 portrait/vertical) by 30 June 2017 at bit.ly/BlocksPlatesStones-Submit.
This event is part of a 12-month British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, ‘The Matrix Reloaded: Establishing Cataloguing and Research Guidelines for Artefacts of Printing Images’, bit.ly/BARSEAMatrixReloaded. The discussions will support the creation of a research network to distil a single, interdisciplinary best practice from existing standards across disciplines and heritage collections and produce a program to train researchers to engage with matrices/printing surfaces.