With keynotes delivered by Gabriela Méndez Cota, Paige Raibmon, and Winnie Soon; workshops led by Simon Worthington, Simon Bowie, An Mertens, and Z. Blace; and a roundtable discussion with COPIM's experimental publishing working group
Experimental Books: Re-imagining Scholarly Publishing was the final conference of COPIM’s Experimental Publishing and Reuse working group. During three days in February and March 2023, the conference showcased some of the experiments that are currently taking place in the realm of academic book publishing.
The conference which included talks, roundtables, and workshops was organised around three key themes that we have explored and experimented with over the last 3.5 years in the context of the COPIM project. These were Data Books, books for which a database of resources forms the central element (i.e., not as an enhancement to a text-based book) around which the book is formed; Combinatorial Books, books based on the re-use (for example, through re-writing, adaptation, remix, or forking) of already existing books published under an open license; and Computational Books, books that include or incorporate code as part of their critical content or that execute or run code as element of their knowledge production or publication process.
During the conference we were interested in exploring how experimental book publishing projects can support new collaborative and relational futures for open humanities research and publications, and in how these book experiments could sit within more standardised or established workflows for print and online book production, dissemination, and preservation.
We invite you to listen to the recordings of the introduction to the conference delivered by Dr. Janneke Adema; the three keynotes delivered by Dr. Gabriela Méndez Cota, Dr. Winnie Soon, and Prof. Paige Raibmon with responses by Rebekka Kiesewetter and Dr. Lozana Rossenova; the two workshops facilitated by Simon Worthington and Simon Bowie, and by An Mertens and Z.Blace; as well as a panel discussion featuring the members of COPIM’s experimental publishing group and some of their collaborators.
All the recordings can also be found on the conference website and on the Internet Archive.
Roundtable conversation with Dr. Janneke Adema (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), Simon Bowie (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), Joana Chicau (Creative Computing Institute, University of the Arts London), Prof. Gary Hall (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), Dr. Kat Jungnickel (Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr. Julien McHardy (COPIM), Dr. Gabriela Méndez Cota (Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Department of Philosophy), Rebekka Kiesewetter (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), Simon Worthington (NFDI4Culture @Open Science Lab, TIB Hannover). Moderated by Dr. Julien McHardy (COPIM).
COPIM’s Experimental Publishing Work Package has worked with authors, publishers, designers, developers, providers of open source platforms and tools, on a series of Pilot Projects that are examining ways to align existing open source software, tools, workflows and infrastructures for experimental publishing with the workflow of open access book publishers. To do so, we have co-developed a set of pilot projects together with the scholar-led presses Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press, and Open Book Publishers. In this panel, we introduce the three Pilot Projects, discuss the challenges and critical potential of experimental monograph publishing in the humanities, and share our experiences with how these projects have transformed the conventional relationalities between authors, editors, designers, developers, and publishers, the (linear) temporalities, boundaries, and labour divisions between research, writing, and publishing, and how these transformations have resulted in the adaption of established editing and publishing workflows.
Keynote by Dr. Gabriela Méndez Cota (Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Department of Philosophy) with a response by Rebekka Kiesewetter (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University)
In her keynote, Gabriela Méndez Cota introduces Ecological Re-writing as Desappropriation, the first experimental book coming out of COPIM’s Combinatorial Books: Gathering Flowers Pilot Case. She suggests to understand the re-writing of books published under an open licence as a way to question academic writing as an institution (Illich, 1993) including notions of individual authorship, objectivity, creativity, and authority.
Keynote by Dr. Winnie Soon (Course Leader at the Creative Computing Institute, University of the Arts London, Associate Professor (on leave) at Aarhus University, visiting researcher at the Centre of the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI), London South Bank University)
By reference to three computational book projects, Dr Winnie Soon examines a parallel between writing and coding that blurs the boundary between books and software, arguing that writing (publishing) a computational book is like writing (publishing) a piece of software. In their keynote, they explore different open source softwares, platforms, and tools, while discussing the diverse communal engagements unfolding through them. They introduce a form of publishing that is oriented towards collective interventions, actions, and practices, and blurs traditionally sequential tasks (such as coding, writing, editing, and publishing), temporalities, and hierarches.
Keynote by Professor Paige Raibmon (Department of History, University of British Columbia (UBC))
By reference to As I Remember it, an open access digital book that shares teachings presented by the ɬaʔamɩn Elder and knowledge keeper Elsie Paul with wide-ranging audiences, Professor Paige Raibmon discusses a multi-year, collaborative process of research, recording, writing, editing, and publishing centring around questions such as: What does it mean for scholarship to remain accountable for future generations? Is the internet a safe place for indigenous knowledge? During the process, the co-authors and co-editors of the book strove to design a digital book whose form aligns with the relationships and meanings embedded within the its content (i.e. the teachings as shared and remembered by Paul). The digital book attempts to not simply sharer information about Paul’s life, rather it challenges wide-spread assumptions about scholarly method, production, authorship, expertise, and copyright.
Workshop with Simon Worthington (NFDI4Culture @Open Science Lab, TIB Hannover) and Simon Bowie (COPIM, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University)
In this workshop, Simon Worthington and Simon Bowie introduce into Computational Publishing – an idea emerging in the life sciences and STEM disciplines to allow publishers and authors to embed executable code, visualisations and advanced media objects alongside conventional text – and show how it can be used to accommodate the research that humanities scholars will want to do in the future. Simon and Simon talk through a series of exercises for auto-compiling catalogue publications for exhibitions or publication listings from multiple open data sources using Jupyter Notebooks for code and the Quarto platform to wrap up the notebooks for multi-format outputting.
Workshop with An Mertens, Z Blace (Wikimedia LGBT+)
In this workshop, An Mertens and Z.Blace propose queer methodologies that can help to find, fill, and play with the gaps in date encountered on the free and open knowledge base Wikidata and introduce a series of writing exercises to create Wikidata-structure-like poems about more-than-humans.