Debating the Book

This October, the White Rose University Consortium (consisting of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York) will host the Debating the Book programme, featuring talks, exhibitions, demonstrations, guided reading groups and other activities taking place throughout Yorkshire, and aiming to explore all aspects of matters bookish, past, present and future. At the centre of the programme was a public debate on ‘The Future of the Book’ at the Great Hall on the evening of Thursday 8 October at 6pm chaired by University of Leeds Chancellor Melvyn Bragg.


The Future of the Book

For centuries, the bound volume held an esteemed and seemingly invincible place in our culture. In the digital age, however, nothing about the status of books, or even their survival as physical objects, is certain. How should we understand the present moment, suspended between the print culture of old and the digital future? What lessons might the past hold for thinking about current concerns and options? Does digitization herald the end of the book or a new beginning (or neither)?
Speakers included:

• Melvyn Bragg (chair), author of Twelve Books that Changed the World
• Linda Grant, Orange Prize for Fiction winner and Booker Prize shortlisted author
• Professor Brian Cummings, University of York, distinguished historian of the book, whose 2012 Clarendon Lectures were on “bibliophobia”
• Dr James Mussell, School of English, University of Leeds. Victorian literature specialist and Director of the Leeds Centre for the Comparative History of Print
• Dr Bridgette Wessels, Reader in Digital Sociology at the University of Sheffield, a leading expert in the sociology of digital communication in the arts and the public sphere
• James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones
• Dr Stella Butler, Leeds University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection

The speakers were introduced by Julian White, CEO of the White Rose University Consortium

If you missed the debate, you can watch it here live:
http://fsmevents.com/whiterose/

Debating the Book Programme, 3-27 October

The White Rose Debating the Book programme, in partnership with Ilkley Literature Festival, will connect the large public in and around Leeds, Sheffield and York interested in these questions with the outstanding scholars and innovators best placed to shape informed, imaginative discussion.

You can read about events as they happen by visiting our blog.

Saturday 3 October

A Medieval Islamic Library Lost and Found
Dr Fozia Bora
4-5pm, Church House, Ilkley
(Part of the Ilkley Literature Festival)

Monday 5 October (and after)

The Valley of Fear serial fiction reading group
Dr David Ibitson
6-8pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop, University of Leeds

Tuesday 6 October

Treasures of the Brotherton 
6-7pm
Brotherton Library
(Part of the Ilkley Literature Festival)

Wednesday 7 October

Collecting the Future
Chris Taylor
4-5pm
Brotherton Library

Thursday 8 October

The Future of the Book (see above)
6-7:30pm
Great Hall

Books are my Bag
Party 8pm (after the debate)
Blackwell’s Bookshop  

Friday 9 October

Small Press Printing / Printing at Leeds
12-5pm
Brotherton Library

Saturday 10 October

The Historic Leeds Library: A Guided Tour
Becky Bowd
11am
The Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street  

Sunday 11 October

Poetry Out Loud: Performance and Publication in the Digital Age
Dr Helen Mort & Dr Rachel Bower
7:30 for 8pm start
Chemic Tavern, Johnston Street

Monday 12 October

The Adventures of a Rare Book Dealer – in the Digital Age
Dr Christian White
6-7pm
School of English

Tuesday 13 October

Treasures of the Brotherton
6-7pm
Brotherton Library
(Part of the Ilkley Literature Festival)

Winning Friends and Influencing People: A History of the Self-Help Book
Professor Malcolm Chase
7:30-8:30pm
Ilkley Playhouse
(Part of the Ilkley Literature Festival)  

Wednesday 14 October

The Book as Object: Workshop for Schools
Dr Jane Rickard and Ellie Johnson
4-5pm
Laidlaw Library

Thursday 15 October

Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History
Professor Francis O’Gorman
5:30-7pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop

Friday 16 October

Experience Historical Printing at the University of Leeds
4-5pm
School of English
(Part of the Ilkley Literature Festival)  

Saturday 17 October

The Historic Leeds Library: A Guided Tour
Becky Bowd
11am
The Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street

Sunday 18 October

Editing Digitally: Ben Jonson for the 21st Century
Professor Martin Butler
6-7pm
Ilkley Playhouse
(Part of Ilkley Literature Festival)

Thursday 22 October

Life Lines: Writing Transcultural Adoption
Professor John McLeod
5:15-6:30pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop

Tuesday 27 October

Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears
2015 C. L. Oakley Lecture in Medicine & the Arts
Dr Thomas Dixon (QMUL)
5:30-7 pm
Leeds University Business School

 

The following events are being hosted by our White Rose partners:

University of Sheffield

'Curious Books': exhibition, Special Collections, Western Bank Library, University of Sheffield, Monday 12th October - Friday 27th November. Free; no booking required.

'Should we Trust Wikipedia?' debate, University of Sheffield, 5pm, Wednesday 11th November. Free; no booking required.

Open Afternoon, Special Collections, Western Bank Library, University of Sheffield, Friday 13th November. Free; booking required.

Further information about all three events at Sheffield can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr

Join the discussion on twitter: #debatingthebook

 

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