Books and the Human: AHRC 10th Anniversary Debate

Date: 16th of December – from 18.00 until 20.30

Venue: Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins.

University of the Arts London is delighted to be hosting this high profile debate which will take place at its Central Saint Martins campus. The Books and the Human debate is part of the AHRC 10th anniversary celebration series.

A panel of distinguished speakers will approach the topic ‘the book’ through the various lenses of philosophy, history, politics, literature and creative practice (the making of books). The debate panel will be comprised of:

Stuart Kelly (Chair)

Writer, Critic and Books Editor of Scotland on Sunday

 Professor Johanna Drucker

Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA

Tom Uglow
Creative Director, Google Creative Lab

Dr Catherine Eagleton
Head of Asia and Africa Collections, The British Library

Introduced by Nigel Carrington

Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London


The Debate will discuss:

  • The book in all its forms connects us to the past, captures the present and looks to the future.
  • The intimate relationship between books and knowledge and between books and human beings is fundamental and crosses times and cultures.
  • In an age when digital technologies and e-books in particular are challenging the traditional forms of the book, how do these changes impact on our relationship with it?
  • What does the book as an idea, as a repository of information and as a physical object mean to us any longer?
  • What does our changing relationship with the book say about ‘The Way We Live Now’?

Alongside the debate, additional events taking place on 16 and 17 December 2015 will explore how books are conceived, crafted, experienced and shared. These events will include bespoke tours of the British Library’s Ritblat Treasures collection, object handling sessions looking at specially selected items from Central Saint Martins’ extensive letterpress archive, bookbinding workshops and a Penguin Books Roundtable discussion.

The debate, together with these events, will question the intellectual, experiential, practical and public aspects of books and how they shape who we are, offering us an opportunity to reassess what the book means to us, as well as to explore its future as an ongoing part of human culture and life.

For the full programme, booking links and further announcements.

This debate is a collaboration between the AHRC and the University of the Arts London.

Website image: The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects,  Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, 1967.