collections, collectors and the cultural role of printing museums
The annual conference of the AEPM was hosted by the Museum of Typography in Chania (Crete, Greece) from 11-14 May 2017.
The 2017 annual conference of the AEPM looked at the various ways in which collections of printing heritage materials become museums:
- who collects printing heritage materials?
- how is printing heritage transmitted from one generation to the next?
- what motivates founders of printing museums?
- how do collections become museums?
- how can printing heritage be made available to the public?
- what forms do independent printing museums take – associations, foundations, privately-owned companies?
- what challenges do independent collections and printing museums have to face?
The conference also offers the opportunity to discover some aspects of Greek printing heritage with the help of several distinguished invited speakers.
Thursday 11 May 2017
10.00 – 16.00
Arrival of participants
At the Museum of typography. Registration and visit (optional).
Short tour of the old port of Chania.
Rendez-vous at the Cathedral (Trimartiri Church), in Halidon Street, two minutes from the old port.
19.00 – 21.30
Official opening of the conference and welcome speeches.
Centre for Mediterranean Architecture.
Founder of Chania’s daily newspaper, Haniotika nea and of the Museum of Typography, Yiannis Garedakis began his career as a journalist in Athens, at the historic newspaper To Vima, and then went on to work in Chania as a journalist and co-director of another historic title, The Observer (Paratiritis). His own, individual itinerary in the field of the local press began fifty years ago, with the creation of Haniotika nea.
During his long engagement with the press, he has served as president of the Owners Union of Daily Regional Greek Newspapers which led to the creation of the Daily Regional Newspapers Association in 1998, bringing together the major Greek provincial newspapers, and for which he served as chairman of the board for eight years.
He founded the Museum of Typography in Chania, Crete, in 2005 and his initiative also led to the creation of the Regional Press Institute, based in Chania district.
Yannis A. Phillis
Yannis A. Phillis received his diploma in electrical and mechanical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 1973 and his Ph.D. in control systems from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1980. He has held academic positions at UCLA, Boston University, Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo in Ecuador, and the Technical University of Crete, Greece, where he is professor and was Rector for more than 12 years. In 2008 he was Onassis Foundation Senior Visiting Fellow in the US.
He is recipient of numerous awards from Boston University, the Academy of Athens, and the Municipalities of Chania and Assini, Greece, for his service to society, science, and letters, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, at the World Automation Congress 2010, and Alumni Achievement Award in Academia from UCLA in 2013. He is an award-winning poet and novelist in Greece and the US. He is Fellow of AAAS and member of Poets and Writers, USA, and the P.E.N. Club.
Printing museums: records of civilization
We build museums to keep stories and memories alive, to feel the continuity of time and to do research. Printing museums tell us the story of one of the most important inventions of humanity. Printing is information, and information is the most fundamental condition for the existence of civilization. Everything, including human beings, in principle, can be expressed as strings of digits (binary or otherwise). Most things today: texts, pictures, numbers, voice, music, control signals for a robotic operation or the guidance of a spacecraft, internet files, and many others, are transmitted as sequences of 0s and 1s, or bits. Limits on information generation or capacity are also limits to civilization. From an information theory point of view, it has been estimated that the information content of civilization before the invention of writing was about 1011 bits, whereas this content, after the invention of printing, rose to 1017 bits. The present computer era has raised it to 1021 bits. Printing gave us an information leap one million times greater than its predecessor: writing! So why do we need printing museums? Because they preserve the memory of one of the grandest achievements of humanity that shaped history and tremendously advanced science, technology, education, the arts, religion, and independent thinking. In one word, civilization.
Today we are facing poverty, inequality, intolerance, bigotry, violence, and all possible expressions of tribalism. Also, environmental problems figure prominently, ranging from climate change to pollution and species extinction. Humanity continues to struggle with solutions or, equivalently, with information. Even today information is, to a great extent, the printed word. Here in Chania we are very fortunate. We have the only printing museum in Greece, the Museum of Typography founded and directed by Yannis and Eleni Garedaki. The Museum offers a compelling narrative of printing, a technology that changed the world. Its founders must be proud. They have given us a narrative of the human quest for information, the pride of a job well done, the human drive for communication and enlightenment.
worked in printing and publishing for twenty years in Britain, then in France, contributing regularly to the trade press on various aspects of printing history. In the course of preparing a doctoral thesis on the Lumitype-Photon and the changeover from hot metal to phototypesetting he began working with the Lyons Printing Museum which he directed from 2002 until his retirement in 2015. He is currently chair of the Association of European printing museums.
How print became heritage: 150 years of printing museums
Why do we have printing museums? How did something as utilitarian as printing become a legitimate field of cultural heritage? And what do we mean by ‘printing museum’?
Printing museums are in fact extremely diverse in nature because they are the products of a century and half of technical, economic, social and cultural change. The printing industry has been revolutionized three times since the middle of the nineteenth century. Similarly, the status of the book as a cultural artefact has been profoundly altered by the industrialisation of publishing. The traditional bibliophily of a select elite has been largely transformed and popularised, and the emergence of the discipline of bibliography as a means of studying printed words and images has made decisive contributions to the ways in which printed objects are displayed and mediated today. And as the forms and uses of print have multiplied to meet the needs of industry, commerce and an increasingly complex society, so the perimeter of print heritage has expanded beyond the traditional domain of rare and curious books and prints, to include newspapers, posters, packaging and other forms of printed publicity; coming to englobe the almost limitless field of graphic communication both paper and digital.
This talk will try to outline some of the major actors and stages in what is sometimes referred to as the ‘heritagization’ of graphic communication, a process which in the course of a century and a half has involved collectors, libraries, museums, academics and the printing industry itself.
Professor Emeritus of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
Sense Crete: cultural actions facilitated by augmented reality as a lever for growth centered around the Museum of Typography in Chania
Reception: informal discussions and drinks
Friday 12 May
Museum of Typography
08:30 – 9:15
09:15 – 11.15
Words of welcome and a guided tour of the Museum of Typography
11:50 – 13:50: Talks
Chair: Paraskevas Perakis, director of the newspaper “Haniotika nea”
11.50 – 12.30
K. Sp. Staikos was born in March 1943. He is descended from the family of the architect Spyros Staikos. He studied architecture and interior decoration at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and in Paris. He subsequently specialized in the restoration of historical buildings such as the Library of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on Patmos island. From 1973 he has been studying the history of Greek books from the 15th to the 19th century as well as tracing the evolution of both the institution of the library and library architecture from Antiquity to the Renaissance. The fruits of his research include the Charta of Greek Printing, published in 1989, and the multi-volume edition of the History of the Library. His own book collection, which focuses on editions and printed documents destined to Greeks everywhere from the 15th to the early 19th century, is now housed at the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
Practising Greek Typography (15th – 18th century)
Greek books were printed in almost all European and Eastern countries where Gutenberg’s art flourished. In the beginning, Greek printers, in close collaboration with Italian publishers and printers, issued books with the aim of spreading the knowledge of Greek language and Classical literature. Later, as strong Greek communities emerged in several cities, from Moscow to Geneva, Greek editions were printed for each one of them. Thus, it may be said that the history of printing in all those countries includes a large chapter on the circumstances that led to the publication of Greek books.
12.30 – 13.10
George D. Matthiopoulos
Georgios D. Matthiopoulos (firstname.lastname@example.org) teaches graphic design and typography at the faculty of Fine Arts and Design of the Technological Educational Institute of Athens and his research work is in the fields of type design, typography and graphic arts history. Since 1992, he has been a founding member and type designer for the non-profit organization Greek Font Society (www.greekfontsociety.gr). He has authored the illustrated an Anthology of Greek typography (University of Crete Press, 2009), the textbooks History of lettering and Type design and flexography (Greek Open University Press, 2002) and has translated into Greek the works of: Robert Bringhurst, Elements of typographic style (University of Crete Press, 2001); Victor Scholderer, Greek printing types, 1465-1927 (Typophilia, 1995); Tim Wu, The master switch. The rise and fall of information empires (Gialos Press, 2012); and John Berger, A painter of our times (University of Crete Press, 2002). He has also designed many publications, art catalogues and museum exhibitions and has participated in numerous international conferences.
The Grecs du roi meet early Cretan literature in a Street Art performance throughout Crete: a school project
The goal of the project is to communicate to the public and to involve the younger generations with the rich but largely unknown typographic tradition of the Greek language. By introducing a hypothetical conjecture of the famous mid-16th c. Grecs du roi (designed by Angelos Vergikios, a famous Cretan calligrapher, and engraved by Claude Garamont, the best French typecutter of his generation) with the first chivalric poetry in post-Byzantine Crete, we aim to produce couplets in paper, which will be pasted on many different locations in several cities and towns of Crete as Street Art performances by crews of students and their teachers. The project is organized by the Department of Graphic Design (Technological Educational Institute of Athens), the Museum of Typography, Chania and the Cultural Activities Administration of the Secondary Education Board in Chania, Crete.
13.10 – 13.50
Gerry Leonidas teaches and researches typography and typeface design at the University of Reading, UK. He supervises MA and PhD research, and lectures widely. He runs knowledge transfer projects, consults on publication and typeface design, and reviews bodies of work. He is the vice-president of ATypI, and helps organise ICTVC, Granshan, and other conferences. He is the Director of the MA Typeface Design, and the TDi summer course; both are global reference points for type education. From 2017 he will be running a new hybrid MA on research in typeface design.
Research-based design: integrating archives in a practice-based discipline
As disciplines related to graphic design, typography and typeface design have been considered practical disciplines, with task-orientated curricula. Gradually in recent decades, and much more intensively in recent years, typography and typeface design have been reframed. They are disciplines that combine a research-informed understanding of the past, an interrogation of the present with tools from the heart of the Humanities, and a reflective, critical view of practice. This approach relies heavily on an interaction with archival material that sits very comfortably within the collections of printing museums. This talk describes a methodology for integrating archives-based enquiry into practice, with a specific focus on typeface design — an area of work that is arguably on the forefront of this redefinition of disciplines.
14:50 – 17:10: Talks
Chair: Elia Koumi, Director of the Museum of Typography
is a Belgian typographer. He studied classical typography and book printing. Since 1983 he is a technical expert in graphics working in the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. In 1997, at the age of 40, he graduated cum laude at the Plantin Society, a post graduate school of graphic arts based in the Plantin-Moretus Museum. He is responsible for the typographical collection of the museum and the historic building. In 2005, the Plantin-Moretus Museum was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, the only museum to have been accorded this status. Its typographical collection is the world’s largest and most important, dating back to the original material of the 16th century printing and publishing firm founded by Christopher Plantin up to ± 1800.
Museum Plantin-Moretus: storytelling for a new audience with respect for a fragile collection
Three hundred years of living and working, one hundred and forty years a museum in a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1576 Christophe Plantin transferred his printing office to the Vrijdagmarkt in Antwerp. The business stayed in the family for nine generations. In 1878 the entire site – house and printing shop with the world’s oldest printing presses – was sold to the city of Antwerp, whereupon it became a museum. In 2005 the museum was included in the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage. The family and company archives have been labelled as unique memory of European history by the UNESCO Memory of the World programme.
Heritage for the 21st Century. Since its reopening in September 2016 the renovated Plantin Moretus Museum is ready for the 21st Century. With a new story line, an interior design full of atmosphere, and contemporary audience development tools, the museum is connected with a present-day audience. The last big refurbishment works were carried out almost 60 years ago. The vulnerable collection of books and prints was suffering from being on long-term display and was in urgent need of a new depot. Moreover, the encyclopaedic displays of book history were no longer up to date with the demands of contemporary audiences. After a temporary closure of four months a brand-new museum concept and a sustainable presentation were opened to the public: new stories about living, the art of living and working, and editing books in the 16th and the 17th centuries. The vulnerable collections of paper heritage are now better preserved: every two years we change all the paper objects, without altering the story line and without any extra costs to scenography, personnel management or materials.
15.30 – 16.10
Dr. Jürgen Bönig is a sociologist and historian of technology. He worked for 25 years at the Museum of work in Hamburg and is currently chair of Zeichen der Welt e.V.
From collection to museum: J. J. Augustin Glückstadt, Hamburg, New York
J.J. Augustin, a print office established 1632 in the small town Glückstadt on the river Elbe near Hamburg, specialised in the printing of foreign languages and alphabets at the beginning of the 20th century, an activity which governmental print shops in Paris, London, Vienna and Berlin had introduced several centuries before. In 1908 Heinrich Wilhelm Augustin (1878-1938) started printing foreign languages, having at the end more than 100 foreign languages and non-latin alphabets especially for scientific purposes e.g. for the upcoming Hamburg University starting as Kolonialinstitut, expanding its business to dependances in Hamburg and New York.
Very famous was the “Chinese Circus or Circle”, were the composer took types out of the surrounding letter cases with 4.000 types by sight because he could not speak Chinese. Carefully looking at the manuscript also helped to compose dead languages or mathematical or chemical formulas. Since 1914, Augustin used Monotype Casting to print oral descriptions with special letters for languages which had no own characters.
The film “Zwiebelfische” – which could be shown in the evening – describes the fate of Jimmy Ernst, son of Max Ernst and Lou Strauss, apprentice at J.J. Augustin in 1936-1938, who escaped with the help of the owner against the background of the still existing workshop in Glückstadt.
We try to transform the printshop with its historical equipment into a museum Zeichen der Welt (Characters of the World), which could show that different languages with different characters describe a differing world which could not be translated into the other without cultural loss.
16.10 – 16.50
Born in 1960 in Antwerp, Patrick Goossens studied history at the universities of Antwerp and Louvain. Goossens has always been closely involved with the Plantin-Moretus Museum and is a founding board member of the friends of the museum.
Using historical printing equipment as research tools, Goossens uses these artefacts to piece together a picture of the past. Hands-on experience of hand printing and punch cutting (using mainly nineteenth century technology) allows him to learn a little about how new technologies and techniques were introduced in the workspace. Research suggests that some printing houses were more open to technological ‘progress’ than others. He has also compiled a specialised library to support his research
With Bob Oldham, he published a book about the Columbian press, the printing of which was an experiment in itself. Further articles will deal with the prolonged use of the common press, the impact of the introduction of the mechanical press, and the effect of mechanisation on punch cutting and typecasting, and its subsequent effect on type design and printing. Goossens presented some of his findings to conferences in Rochester (USA) and Moscow in 2015, and has found guidance in the Antwerp University to support his research.
Collecting and the true craft of historic printing technology
Even before the advent of the printing museum, the general public – from whatever class – has always had a fascination for the processes involved in printing.
The first part of my presentation will take the Plantin-Moretus printing house as a case study. The Plantin-Moretus has long had a policy of taking in visitors to guide them through the integral parts of the production of a book, and this has been the case since way before the building became a museum. In parallel to this I will also explore the early attempts made to exhibit printing processes in some book exhibitions.
In the second part of my talk I will deal with printing museums that are born out of printing businesses wishing to commemorate their history. I will also touch upon museums, or just collections, that result from the acquisitiveness of printing obsessives such as myself. Collecting is all very well, but how do the accumulated inert artefacts in collections transform themselves into animate objects so that we can understand our past, and consequently our present and our future. I will address this subject using my own personal experience of collecting printing hardware and forays into serious historical research.
And, last but not least, if we try to preserve the past and its processes of production, should we just preserve a ‘demonstration’ quality of the techniques, or should attempts be made to keep the most important processes ‘really’ alive.
17.10 – 17.50
Professor of typography and graphic communication and associate Dean of the School of humanities & social sciences at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. He is director of Hyphen, a typographic forum, author of the books Reproduction and printing issues (new ed. 2010) and Casting the Greek newspaper; a study of the morphology of the ephemeris from its origins until the introduction of mechanical setting (1999), Fellow of the International society of typographic designers (ISTD) and the Institute of paper, printing and publishing (IP3), as well as chairman of the Institute for the study of typography and visual communication (ISTVC).
Making (printing) history in Cyprus: a museum waiting to be made?
When thinking of Cyprus, one’s mind would probably go to sun and sand, picturesque villages, traditional food (and plate smashing!), archaeological sites, Venetian castles and Byzantine churches, and even to the island’s troubled political history… It would barely go to printing tradition and culture, fields that sadly remain largely unappreciated and unexplored.
With the first written documents dating from the sixteenth century BC, and intriguing historical questions about some of the oldest writing systems which were developed to visually represent local dialects and the Greek language, Cyprus became over the centuries the centre of a long and rich multicultural tradition. Parts of that tradition are still reflected in various aspects of visual communication such as multilingual street and shop signs, printed books and magazines, and official documents.
After a brief review of existing, limited published sources of printing history, this talk will focus principally on artefacts, privately owned printing machinery, tools, and materials, developing an argument in support of the creation of a printing museum in Cyprus.
17.50 – 18.30
is Assistant Professor at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, where she teaches typography, print and digital publishing, and design research. She holds a PhD in Typography and Graphic Communication from the University of Reading, UK. Her research concentrates on the history of book design and production, with a particular focus on the printing history of Greek reading primers and the history of Greek graphic design. She is a regular member of learned societies and professional associations which promote the historical study of books and printing. For a list of published papers and articles please refer to https://unic.academia.edu/NikiSioki
Outside the printing museum: printed ephemera in Cyprus local museum collections
In Cyprus, printing heritage has not yet attracted neither the state’s attention nor the researchers’ interest. However, although there are no institutions specifically dedicated to the history of printing, a substantial number of printed ephemera are kept in the collections of local museums. In their majority, they were produced during the years when Cyprus was a protectorate of the British Empire (1878–1914) and a British colony (1914–60) and include a wide range of printed artefacts such as posters (in some cases the original artwork is also preserved), theatre and music programmes, promotional calendars, periodicals and newspapers, cigar-box labels and other examples of packaging design, adverts for local products and hotels, menus, maps and teaching material. Their production served brief everyday activities, therefore their study as products of social actions could contribute to the social local history and unveil aspects of local printing practice and tradition. For the time being they are exhibited as agents of local history without attracting any interest from historians. In this talk I will examine representative examples, discuss which of their aspects attracted the collecting interest of museums and the attention of curators, and provide suggestions for their use as primary sources for the history of the local printing trade and as teaching material for design students.
Saturday 13 May
Regional Press Institute.
09.40 – 11.10
Annual general meeting of the AEPM
Chair: Antonis Skamnakis, Assistant professor in Journalism at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, academic coordinator of the Regional Press Institute.
11.10 – 11.50
Sonja Neumann studied musicology, political science, philosophy, completing a M.A. (1997); postgraduate studies in book science. She was scholarship holder (historical research scholarship) of the City of Munich 2000-2002 for her Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg, on “Musikleben in München 1925-1945”. She has worked for different research projects concerning exhibitions, congresses and publications, e.g. „Entartete Musik 1938. Weimar und die Ambivalenz“ Musikhochschule Weimar, Ausstellung „Haus der Musik“ Freies Musikzentrum München, Ausstellung NS-Dokumentationszentrum München. Since 2012 Sonja is exhibition curator at the Deutsches Museum Munich conceptualising and elaborating exhibitions of musical instruments, printing technology and cryptology. Her research interests centre issues of (media-) culture and technology. see: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/forschung/wissenschaftl-mitarbeiter/dr-sonja-neumann/
Printing heritage and the information age: collecting, preserving and exhibiting as a future challenge for printing museums
Gutenberg’s invention of the printing process had broad and profound effects on its age. The breakthrough technology enabled important changes in several of the ways that people dealt (and deal) with knowledge. What this all amounts to is that print culture is the conglomeration of effects on human society that is created by making printed forms of communication.
Now we are in the midst of the Information Age which is strongly influenced by the Digital Revolution: The way that information is transferred has changed with this new age of digital text and the shift towards electronic media. Information takes the form of immaterial bits of digital data that are circulated at high speed around the globe.
From this perspective it was often predicted that print media would disappear in a very short time. In fact digital technology is not a destructive force in print media—it is the driving force that shapes content creation and distribution. The distinction between print and digital is outdated: publishers have often become digital media companies.
This dynamic past-paced media transformation plays an important part in the planning process of the new printing technology exhibition of the Deutsches Museum Munich – and raises many discussable questions, e.g.:
– how does the significance of printing heritage changes in the course of the information age?
– how to present the future of printing media to the public?
– how to enlarge the printing heritage collection?
11.50 – 12.30
Director of the AHRC-funded Design star doctoral training centre, based at the Department of typography and graphic communication, Reading University. As director of collections and archives in typography, she oversees and encourages the use of collections and archives in teaching and research. She also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in design practice and lectures on the theory and history of typography and graphic communication, and supervises doctoral students in subjects relating to the history and theory of typography and graphic communication, including Isotype, children’s books, and the graphic aspects of language.
Using the archive: material aspects of text
This talk illustrates work in the Department of Typography & Communication at the University of Reading where material from collections and archives underpins research and teaching about the material aspects of text: printing processes, design, and the way in which readers engage with documents.
As well as giving examples of workshops, exhibitions and other collaborations, some of the issues and challenges of sustaining work with archives in higher education will raised and the value of collaboration between academics and museum and archive professionals to raise the profile of collections and archives as drivers of research, and of approaches to teaching and learning.
12.30 – 13.10
Anastasios E. Politis
Professor and researcher. The Hellenic Union of Graphic Arts and Media Technology Engineers
Typography revisited: the importance of typography in modern visual communication
Nowadays, we are witnessing the explosion of distribution of information through a vast amount of various applications in daily life, through electronic and mobile platforms. Such applications vary enormously, from ATMs to ticket machines and from websites to e-banking and taxation systems.
All these and many more, are forms of presenting and distributing content and information, and where the appropriate visual communication is crucial. However, in many cases, the principles of typography and visual communication design are not efficient or they are completely missing.
This presentation will attempt to reveal the importance of Typography and its principles in modern print, electronic and mobile visual communication.
Through specific paradigms, effort will be given to explore the issues concerning the correct visual communication design and the challenges for the application of proper Typography in these applications.
The main objective of this presentation is to highlight the importance of Typography as one of the most significant stakeholders in modern visual communication and justify the necessity for applying the typographic principles and specifications.
13.10 – 13. 50
News from museums – discussion
- Pascal Fulacher: Atelier du livre d’art et de l’estampe, Imprimerie nationale, France
- Dr Seungcheol Lee / Sora Kim: International Association of Printing Museums, South Korea
- José Bermejo, Imprenta Municipal, Madrid, Spain
- Jadwiga and Pavel Tryzno, Book Art Museum, Lodz, Poland
- Sue Shaw, Type Archive, London, United Kingdom
Traditional lunch at Nippos village
Visit to the Museum-residence of Eleftherios Venizelos
Visit to the historic Holy Trinity Monastery
A small historical museum with a rare books collection and wine cellars.
Sunday 14 May
11.00 – 17.00
Visit to the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete
Offered by the Museum of Typography and the local authorities of Chania.
This post is also available in: French