Outsider Book Arts: Contemporary and Historical Approaches to Alternative Publishing Practices

logo: THe 2021 Contemprary Artists' Book Conference
Meghan with a shaved head wearing large read hoop earrings
Meghan Forbes (2020)
medium tone black woman smiles with long curly braids and dark rimmed glasses
Sherese Francis (2021)
medium skin black woman with glasses in a tie-dye tank top
Christina Long (2021)

Event Info

This panel considers how the book object and magazine builds and nurtures communities outside of institutional frameworks. It references in its title Audre Lorde’s book of essays, Sister Outsider, and makes use of the term of Outsider Arts within a frame of agency and affirmation.

Across three short talks, it presents contemporary artistic and poetic practice, as well as historical examples, to suggest a legacy of print that is not centered in mainstream narratives. The panel also considers how printed matter functions as an archive that both collects, preserves, and circulates work that does not have the support of large-scale publishing houses or cultural institutions. It also celebrates the practice of those editors, artists, and poets who produce these publications.

The three panelists will synthetically discuss these issues as it relates to their own scholarly and creative practice. Meghan Forbes will introduce a set of underground, DIY magazines created in the 1980s in East Germany, such as Uni/vers(;), Intermedia, and Anschlag, and consider how their production, distribution, and current status in physical and digital library collections helps to present a nuanced history of East Germany. Sherese Francis will discuss the cardboard book publishers Cartonera & La Impresora, as well as Dudley Randall’s Broadside Press, as publishing models for community building and resistance. And Christina Long, creator of #Blkgrlswurld Press, will present a contemporary example of independent publishing.

Through a set of talks, and a discussion to follow, this panel observes both the potential and limitations of independent, DIY, and micro-press publications as a mode through which to create and facilitate networks and make possible new histories of print.

Founded in 2008, CABC has been a long time programing partner of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs. This year CABC will be presented as part of Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair.

View the recording of this session here:

For more information about CABC and other conference sessions click here.

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