Conference report: Script, Print, and Letterforms in Global Contexts

‘Script, Print, and Letterforms in Global Contexts’, an international conference on contemporary and historical aspects of printing, print culture, and typography took place at Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Art, Design, and Media over two days: 28–29 June 2018. The event was made possible by the support of the Centre for Printing History and Culture (CPHC), the Bibliographical Society and Birmingham City University. Four keynote speakers (Lucie Ryzova, Graham Shaw, Robin Jeffrey, Ulrike Stark) set the tone and brought together a wide-ranging set of thematic explorations through opening and closing keynote lectures. The conference attracted a strongly international panel of speakers, with participants from Mexico, United States, Germany, Sweden, Romania, and Cyprus, alongside those from the UK. There was a sizeable turnout for this event despite coinciding with several other academic events, conferences, and summer school schedules. Attendees too included overseas representation, notably from the United States and New Zealand, which was particularly encouraging for our aspirations towards broad-based international engagement and participation.

Topics addressed in the conference ranged from manuscripts and printed texts in several scripts of the world, to technologies of production, forms of notation (including music and pictographic depictions), to the wider social, political, economic aspects of production and textual practices, as well as new approaches to archival material and book-historical research. The breadth of the conference’s theme brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, researchers, and practitioners who found a constructive setting to discuss matters of common interest. In a subsequent iteration, we hope to continue and expand the conversations that the conference was able to spark.

Dr Vaibhav Singh