The Making Books research centre at Bath Spa University brings together scholars, creative practitioners, and cultural professionals to explore the book – print and digital – as a created artefact and an object of study.

The center is interested in the diverse forms that books can take, the people who make them, the act of making itself, and the places in which books are created, made, disseminated, and accessed.

We are interested in readers and reading practices, in print and digital culture, in technology and remediation, in book design and the book arts, in issues of access and preservation, and in the broader intellectual, cultural, social, economic, legal, and political frameworks that shape the world of the book and book futures.

Bringing together a diversity of perspectives including book history and bibliography; typography, design and the book arts; theories of creative practice; the digital humanities; digital writing and new forms of literature and storytelling; and contemporary publishing practices, the center explores the book’s past, present, and future.

Public Engagement

Each research centre at Bath Spa University has a named Public Engagement (PE) Champion. We’re happy to report that our co-director, Professor Kate Pullinger, has volunteered to take on this role for the Making Books research centre. PE will be a major factor as we move toward the next REF, recording and developing the types of public engagement we are undertaking.



On September 23rd Bath Spa University's various research centres - including newly-created centres like Making Books – came together to share and generate ideas. The day started with pecha-kucha presentations and was followed by meet-and-greet session hosted by each centre. Our own centre's session was extremely well-attended with people from the fields of Culture & Environment, the Digital Academy, Writing & Performance, as well as the Bath School of Art & Design and academics and practitioners from external projects and organisations.

Reading: Past, Present, and Future: 1 December 2016

What does reading look like today? What has it looked like in the past and what can it look like in the future? How does our understanding of what reading is inform the development of new literary forms and practices? Organized as part of the AHRC funded Ambient Literature research project and celebrating the launch of the Making Books: Creativity, Print Culture, and the Digital research center, this public seminar will feature Dr Alice Bell, Dr Edmund King, and Professor Maggie Gee.

  • Alice Bell is Reader in English language and literature at Sheffield Hallam University, England. Her research specialisms are cognitive poetics, narratology, and digital fiction. Her publications include The Possible Worlds of Hypertext Fiction (2010) and Analyzing Digital Fiction (2014, co-edited with Astrid Ensslin and Hans K. Rustad). She is currently writing Unnatural Narratives and Digital Fiction (with Astrid Ensslin) and editing (with Marie-Laure Ryan) Possible Worlds Theory and Contemporary Narratology (Univ. of Nebraska Press). She is Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded “Reading Digital Fiction” project which aims to introduce more readers to digital fiction and conduct empirical research to investigate how digital literary reading works cognitively.

    The Future of Reading: Remarks on the Post-Digital (pdf)

  • Edmund G. C. King is a Research Fellow in English Literature at The Open University, where (among other things) he works on the Reading Experience Database (, the world’s largest searchable repository of historical British reading experiences. In addition to his work in the fields of book history and the history of reading, he also has a background in library digitization. He is currently researching a monograph on the reading practices of British and Australian prisoners of war, 1914–1918, and the charities that tried to provide them with books behind the wire.

    The Histories of (Anxieties about) Reading (pdf)

  • Professor Maggie Gee has written 14 books including The White Family, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, two Ugandan political comedies, My Cleaner and My Driver, and Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014), a comedy which brings Virginia Woolf back to life in the 21st century. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and in 2012 was awarded an OBE for services to literature. In the same year there was an international conference about her work at St Andrews University. She is currently writing about Neanderthals.

Michael Turner Albion Press Launch at Corsham Court: 28 January 2017

The Corsham Court campus of Bath Spa University, the Making Books: Creativity, Print Culture, and the Digital Research Centre and the Bath School of Art and Design held a launch event at Corsham Court on Saturday 28th January 2017 from 12–3pm featuring the Albion Press.

An Albion Press is an iron hand-operated printing press. Originally designed and manufactured by Richard Whittaker Cope in London in 1820 and manufactured until the 1930s, Albions printed commercial books until the middle of the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most famous uses of the Albion Press were in London during the Arts and Crafts Movement, namely by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, T.J. Cobden-Sanderson at the Doves Press and St. John Hornby at the Ashendene Press.

Albion Press no. 1423, made between 1840-45 by Hopkinson & Cope, has been generously donated by Michael Turner, formerly Head of Conservation at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. The gift was secured by Professor Ian Gadd, whose PhD on the English book trade was supervised by Michael.

The Michael Turner Albion Press is located at Corsham Court. Cultural historian Robert Hewison has said that ‘creativity comes from being at the point of exchange’ and the press will form a point of active and creative exchange between text, image and making for staff and students.

The afternoon launch event began with a welcome address by Professor Christina Slade, Vice Chancellor of Bath Spa University, followed by lunch in the Barn, alongside a poetry reading by J.H. Prynne, followed by a Q & A with Bridget Heal (designer), Bruce McLean (artist) and John James (poet) for a conversation about their recent livre d’artiste, On Reading J.H. Prynne’s Sub Songs. Bridget and Ivor Heal are alumni of Bath Academy of Art at Corsham.

This collaborative project for their QoD Press showcases what an Albion press can produce, and is a beautiful and creative collaboration in book making. The press was officially launched in the Gallery with practical demonstrations, which provided guests with a keepsake to take away.


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