Monday, 13 May 2019

Reimagining the Artist-led Bookshop


NewBridge Books and Good Press came together within the Ways of Learning exhibition at BALTIC 39 to "reimagine what the future of the artist-led bookshop might be in an age of forever changing reading habits, and unrelenting digital presence.


Both independent stores have faced their fair share of challenges over the years. Unlike big chains, NewBridge and Good Press have strived to curate and support unique collections, exposing audiences to a greater variety of titles and self published work." 

NewBridge Books offers a selection of diverse, original and hard-to-find national and international contemporary art publications, fostering critically-engaged creativity in the region by providing both a resource and outlet for artists, writers, critics and researchers. The shop and social space is unique to the North East of England providing a platform for independent publishers and artists who self-publish. NewBridge Books stocks a variety of artists’ books, zines, writing and magazines as well as hosting a programme of regular events and exhibitions related to print culture.

Good Press is a volunteer-run-informal-organisation dedicated to the promotion and distribution of independently published printed matter with a focus on visual arts and writing; occasionally music and artist objects. All of the publications you find in-store and online are either self published or produced by an independent small press, gallery, group or organisation. We always have, and continue to operate an open submission policy. We will only refuse a submission if its content is offensive or harmful to others, or if the publication could otherwise be purchased at a larger scale retailer.

It was fascinating to hear about the origins of both organisations, and the ways that both have developed organically as well as in response to external forces (mostly the need to relocate due to rental agreements ceasing). The imposed change of location has made each organisation think carefully about the role of the bookshop and the aspects that are central to its existence. 

As Rebecca Huggan (Director of The NewBridge Project) reflected on the history of NewBridge Books, I was introduced to some projects that happened before I was in Newcastle, and this has given me ideas for things that could happen there in the future. 

There are currently many NewBridge members that write, use print, make sound, perform and produce publishable material. I am excited about the opportunity to transform NewBridge Books into a space that these activities can take place and the outcomes disseminated to an audience.

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