Professional Practice: Book Fair

One avenue of pursuing a live application that has been suggested to me is looking at book faires.

My first instinct was to google “Book Fair”, and the top result was London Book Fair 2016.


However, from looking at the website it’s hard to determine whether or not artist books would be covered, it seems to be a showcase of more standard format books and so I’m unsure whether or not I would be able to apply. Looking under the small heading of “Exhibitor Profile”, the only information that is given is 1,000+ companies from 67 countries around the world. From the giant houses to the smallest independent, publishers of blockbuster novels and academic texts, producers of children’s books and graphic novels, mobile companies, and gaming start-ups.” While it does seem to cover a range of different formats, including children’s books and graphic novels which are more image-based, I’m not sure whether a set of fundamentally art piece based books would be appropriate. The purpose of this fair seems more to promote businesses, rather than to showcase an individual book or set of books, which I am not producing to sell.


Looking at the exhibiting options, it seems as if what I would be applying for is the “Small Press” package, as I would only require a very small space to be manned by myself


However, after searching around the website for details and prices, I found that the cost for this (the smallest exhibition space), which would be rented for three days in the week long London Book Fair, cost £1,525 +VAT to apply for. Considering that I am unsure whether or not this fair is the right fit for my work to begin with, and that I am not mass producing or particularly looking to sell my set of books, there is no way in which I can justify the cost of renting a stand for this show.


Refining my search to “Art Book Fair” seemed to yield better results, with the top result being Bristol Artists Book Event, a promising title


However, unfortunately it seems that I have just missed the boat with the event, with it having finished last week. After having looked around the website and seeing no opportunity to apply for the next event (assuming it is more than just a one-off show), and the “What’s on” page has no events relating to artists books to show of. Looking again at the Bristol Artist Book Event page again, there was no contact details specifically relating to this event itself so that I could inquire about whether or not it would run again in future. The email addresses found under the “Contact” section of the website relate to the box office (which I assume covers ticket ordering and inquiring), contact for the shop, cafe, room hire, supporting the gallery, and artist’s proposals. Artist’s proposals however cover a very specific format in which the email is structured, in which you are asking the gallery for funding in order to produce a specific show, and I do not feel this would be relevant for my exhibition inquiries.



Then I stumbled upon a promising looking twitter account, The London Art Book Fair (@TheLABF). Unfortunately, the show it seemed to be promoting was on last year “10-13 September 2015 at the Whitechapel Gallery. Celebrating the best of international contemporary art publishing.”. Although the show is clearly over, the twitter account itself seems at least semi-active as it had made a post promoting a magazine on the 30th of March, so I figured I may as well send them a message

Following the link from the twitter account to the website The London Art Book Fair, I found reference to previous years of The London Art Book Fair running, which suggests to me it’s an annual event I can potentially apply for this year or the next


However, the main header of the page only refers back to the 2015 exhibition. Despite the URL of the website being the website itself seems to be the entire catalogue and upcoming events for the Whitechapel Gallery. Looking around which, I can’t seem to find any information on a book fair in 2016 or beyond. Going back to specifically the book fair page, there is a contact email (as well as the twitter handle, which I have already contacted), so I may as well drop them an email too.



While looking through my emails, I remembered an email which I sent at the beginning of the year, making inquiries about the BAMS New Medalist Scheme, as the information on their website only referred to applications for the 2014-15 run.


Janet was very helpful in response to my series of emails, informing me that at that point they had currently not secured funding for the 2016-17 run of the New Medalist Scheme, and that she would email me in the coming months if they had any news in terms of updates and applications.

With several months having passed now, and I haven’t heard anything back from Janet and  the New Medallist website still only containing information on the 2015-16 application, I thought I’d send a short email inquiring about updates


Hopefully I will hear back soon, but currently all my live applications have hit a dead end.


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