Following a partnership established in 2020 between the IELT and the Lisbon Municipal Archive, a research programme has begun that focuses on the technical procedures of book binding and ornamentation and the identification of the workshops and artisans who historically dedicated to and exercised the craft in the city of Lisbon. More recently, it has also focused on the history of printing and publishing in the city and its relations with the activity in other geographies, creating a sensorial memory of the book as a collection object and tactile and olfactory matter, which is ritualized and moulded into many formats and genres.
The work is structured in three tasks:
1. To record by visual means the trades that are associated with the material production of the book, namely the arts of bookbinding and gilding, (a) to recognize the places in the urban geography of Lisbon where bookbinding and gilding workshops existed, (b) to inventory the existing workshops, (c) to inventory the ways of working and the technical and common vocabulary employed, (d) to capture narratives and life stories (entry into the profession, careers);
2. To survey publishers, booksellers, auctioneers, librarians, artists and other agents who bridge the metaphysical, aesthetic and ethical dimension of the book;
3. To understand the formats that diversify it and are the expression of the book as a pedagogical and aesthetic phenomenon of our times: the object-book, the artist-book, the architecture-book, as well as the illustrated book, the graphic-book, the comic book, etc.
This project aims to generate a visual collection about the current phenomenon around the Book, producing video documentaries, as well as a digital platform that will systematize the research results (under development). The work team is composed of members of the institutions involved and bookbinders, under the direction of IELT researcher Luís Sousa Martins. The working team is composed of members from the institutions involved, under the direction of IELT researcher Luís Sousa Martins.
Some of the recent actions:
1. the organization of the Conference Os artesãos do livro e o espírito militante, given by Beatriz Peralta of the Universidad de Oviedo (Almada Negreiros College, Campolide Campus of the Lisbon Nova University, April 19, 2022);
2. making and premiering the video documentary Arte no livro, integrated in the programming of the 5L Festival, International Literary Festival Literature and Portuguese Language (Palácio Galveias Library, May 5, 2022);
3. preparation of the 20th issue of Cadernos do Arquivo Municipal under the title O Livro no seu Tempo: Lugares, Matérias, Formas e Técnicas, with the scientific coordination of Fernando J. Bouza Álvarez (Complutense University, Madrid), João Luís Lisboa (NOVA FCSH) and Luís Martins (NOVA FCSH), with call for papers under way;
4.design of the database structure (under development) that will systematize the research results in the project’s website (under development).