The Book Unbound – a short introduction

June 26th, 2012 by Scott_Russell | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Book Unbound – a short introduction
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The Book Unbound project aims to research the impact of new, digital technologies on the process of publishing and to create an iPad app demonstrating some of these technologies.

The idea was developed within the Centre for International Publishing Studies at University of Stirling in mid 2011. In late 2011 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) called for research projects based around the concept of digital transformations. The Publishing Studies team, led by Professor Claire Squires, saw this as an opportunity to integrate the app idea with more formal academic research. We wrote a proposal and submitted it in November 2011.

After the AHRC approved the project this February, we assembled our project team: Claire Squires and Padmini Ray Murray from Publishing (carrying out case studies); Scott Russell (designing and developing the iPad app); and author Paula Morris, a lecturer in Stirling’s Creative Writing programme (editing and writing).

On 29 March the project was presented to postgraduate students in Publishing Studies and Creative Writing, and the students were invited to apply for several project assistant jobs. Claire introduced the project, Paula Morris described the opportunities for potential content providers, and Scott Russell demonstrated the proposed software platform, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

DPS was chosen for several reasons. As part of Adobe’s InDesign page layout application, Digital Publishing Suite allows iPad apps to be developed without using coding or other bespoke development services. This simplifies the production process and makes app development available to a wide variety of publishers. As the industry-leading page layout application, InDesign is already used by many publishers to create books and magazines.

Pricing for DPS is also multi-tiered with a low cost entry level, making it very competitive with traditional printing and making app development a possibility for individuals and small organisations. We chose to develop an app over an ebook as the interactive features offered by the app format offered more scope for transformation than those of an ebook.

The project has a fairly short deadline – the end of August 2012 – so the project group immediately set about creating a production plan, developing designs and creating a call for entries.

Book art, tea and Radio 4

June 17th, 2012 by Emma_Dunn | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments
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I have just spent a lovely week interning with the amazing Rachel Hazell of Hazell Designs Books. Rachel is many things in one; she is primarily a book binder, but also an artist, a teacher, a writer and a traveller. Her mission this year is to teach twelve different workshops in twelve different inspirational places, and write a book about the experience.

Rachel makes book art, from miniature, intricately bound books, to delicate sculptures using traditional techniques.  Her work is poetic, always extremely neat and detailed and no piece is ever the same. She takes inspiration from the natural world, from the wilds of Skye to the bleak, white beauty of Antarctica, and this is clearly reflected in her work: nautical themes run throughout, with a passion for miniature boats, old maps and the changing tide.

I was there to help her commission work for The Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey in Devon this weekend, which is the sixth place on her list. From stamping and sticking to carving and cutting, Rachel allowed me to make all sorts, from tiny music envelopes to word art and miniature labels. I got to use a range of tools including the Japanese Screw Punch, which apparently is always a favourite. It was really interesting to the see the craft of book making at a time when digital books are at the forefront of everything, and to appreciate their tactile quality and how important it is to have both.

Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable week and would recommend anyone to intern with Rachel. I have a new appreciation for Radio 4 and was grateful for the many cups of tea and chocolate. I did do some traditional publishing related activities such as press releases and research, but it was nice to see the making of books from a different perspective.

For more information about Rachel and her books please see:

Facebook Page


– Emma Dunn

AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society

June 12th, 2012 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society
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The University of Stirling is pleased to invite applications for a three-year Collaborative Doctoral Studentship, fully funded by the AHRC (UK/EU rate) with an additional contribution from The Saltire Society, plus associated expenses, to commence on 1 October 2012 or as soon thereafter as can be arranged.

This studentship will be a collaboration between the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and The Saltire Society, a charitable organisation in Scotland. The project will focus on the Society’s book awards, which were established in the 1930s, and which were systematically awarded since 1982, as part of the Society’s overall mission ‘to foster and enrich the cultural heritage of Scotland’. Winners have included Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, William McIlvanney, Norman MacCaig, Muriel Spark, Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Liz Lochhead, Janice Galloway, John Burnside, A L Kennedy, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, Ali Smith and James Robertson; in addition to historians, literary critics, and biographers of Scotland, Scottish subjects and figures. The precise scope and emphases of the work will be shaped by the interests and initiative of the successful application in consultation with their academic supervisor, Professor Claire Squires. The successful applicant will spend some of their time based at The Saltire Society’s offices in Edinburgh, working alongside Saltire Society staff on the current Book Awards, liaising closely with Jim Tough and Sarah Mason (Executive Director and Programmes Manager of the Saltire Society respectively) and Professor Ian Campbell (Chair of the Book Awards judges).

Applicants must have a good first degree in an appropriate subject and a Master’s degree relevant to research into contemporary (late 20th/21st century) literature and publishing. A demonstrable interest in literary prizes and modern Scottish writing would be especially welcome, as would an interest in and aptitude for publishing and literary administration.

Eligibility to Apply

In order to apply, you must fulfil both the academic and the residency criteria laid down by the AHRC.

Academic eligibility – you must:

1. Have applied for and been offered a place to study at the University of Stirling (such an offer will be made to the successful applicant for this studentship);

2. Hold a relevant postgraduate Masters degree.

Residency eligibility – you must:

1. Be a British national normally resident in the UK; or

2. Be an EU national normally resident in the UK, the EU or Switzerland; or

3. Have been resident in the UK or EU for the past three years for reasons other than education.

For full details (particularly regarding residency eligibility, which has many conditions and exceptions), please see the AHRC’s Guide to Student Funding:

Further information on the studentship and on the application procedure is available as a pdf here: AHRC_SaltireSociety_CDA_fps. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Professor Claire Squires (claire.squires [@] or +44 (0)1786 467505) with any questions they may have.

Deadline for applications: 12 noon on Wednesday 11 July 2012.

Interviews will be held at The Saltire Society, 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TF during the week beginning 6 August 2012.