Ligatus news

New post: Research Assistant

Title: 0.5 Research Assistant - Ligatus
Reference: 300079
Occupation: Academic and Research
College: University of the Arts London
Position Type: Temporary - Part time
Sector: Ligatus Research Unit
Salary: £26,017 pro rata
Closing Date: 11/03/2011

Job Overview

one year fixed term contract

University of the Arts London is a vibrant world centre for innovation, drawing together six Colleges with international reputations in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts and a long involvement in the book arts and book conservation.

This is a rare opportunity to work alongside pioneers in the study of bookbinding and book conservation, gaining experience and knowledge that is not otherwise widely available. You will join a dynamic team of researchers and play a key role in developing a new field of study which combines historic bookbinding with digital tools.

Your chief responsibility will be to work in collaboration with Ligatus team members and a range of experts from Europe and the USA to help compile a glossary of bookbinding terms, and your responsibilities will include digitising, organising and filing extensive collections of slides of historic bookbindings.

Your organisational and communication skills will be needed to help organise workshops and conferences on historic bookbinding. As the first point of contact for online academic discussions on historic bookbinding, you will also manage content on the Ligatus website. Actively joining in with discussions, keeping records and disseminating conclusions will be central to your success.

To excel, you will need research experience in the field of bookbinding, book conservation or book history. We are also looking for an excellent understanding of historical bookbinding structures combined with a good knowledge of current work in the field. You will need to be up-to-date with current terminologies.

As well as your post-graduate or research degree, you will have enthusiasm, self-motivation and openness to new ways of working. An understanding of digital humanities tools is essential.

This is one of the two positions currently offered by Ligatus, with the second one being a part time Research Technician.

In return, University of the Arts London offers generous leave, a final salary pension and a commitment to your continuing personal development and training in an environment that encourages excellence, creativity and diversity.

Please download an application pack and then upload your completed application here. If you have any queries about this role that are not covered in the documentation available below please contact Ewelina Warner, Ligatus Administrator. Telephone: 020 7514 6432, email:

University of the Arts London aims to be an equal opportunities employer embracing diversity in all areas of activity.

Professorial Platform Lecture - Professor Nicholas Pickwoad “Finding Words- The Ligatus Glossary Project”

On Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in the Rootstein Hopkins East Space, London College of Fashion, John Princes Street,
Professor Nicholas Pickwoad will give a lecture “Finding Words- The Ligatus Glossary Project” as a part of the UAL Professorial Platform.

All crafts, trades and disciplines sooner or later develop their own specialist vocabularies to allow their practitioners to communicate quickly, easily and clearly when going about their everyday activities. In the more literate areas of life – medicine and law for instance – these vocabularies have survived and remain, if not in use, at least in older records, but the more artisan trades have often lost their words as techniques have changed and new ways of doing things have evolved. This is certainly the case with bookbinding, where our current, inherited vocabulary has shown itself quite unable to cope with the description of the detailed techniques and structures of books sometimes no more than two hundred years old. Even where terms have survived, the same terms have sometimes been used to mean different things, or different things have been included under the same term. As the study of the history of bookbinding develops, and its value as an essential but hitherto largely disregarded part of the history of the book becomes ever clearer, so the need for a consistent glossary of terms becomes ever more apparent. The Ligatus Glossary project is trying to supply this need, working with the old terms and inventing new ones in equal measure, and delivering the result on-line in a new, hierarchical schema designed around the structure of the book itself, in an attempt to pin down the extraordinary diversity of technique used over two millennia to make the tens of millions of books that fill our libraries

Study Day in Memory of Professor Ihor Ševčenko

The Study Day will be concentrated around Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai, its manuscripts and their conservation and will take place at Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, University of Oxford on Saturday, 27 November.

This meeting, held in memory of the late Professor Ihor Ševčenko of Harvard University, is intended to focus
attention within the scholarly community on the conservation work currently being carried out on the important
collection of ancient and medieval manuscripts housed in the library of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount
Sinai. This conservation work is organized and funded by the Saint Catherine Foundation. The lectures listed
below are being given, many by colleagues at Oxford, to commemorate the contribution made to the study of
the Sinai monastery by Ihor Ševčenko. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Associates
of the Saint Catherine Foundation, as well as past Visiting Fellow of both All Souls and Wolfson Colleges,
Oxford and member of the Editorial Board of Oxford Studies in Byzantium. A memorial fund in his name will
be announced for the conservation of Sinai’s early Slavonic manuscripts in which he was particularly interested.

10:00 Prof. Dr Peter Grossmann (Cairo), The Sinai monastery that Justinian built
10:40 Prof. Cyril Mango (Oxford), Ihor Ševčenko and the Sinai Monastery
11:00 coffee
11:30 Prof. Nicholas Pickwoad (London), The Programme of MS Conservation at Sinai
12:00. Dr Lukas Schachner (Oxford), Book & other Production in Early Byzantine Monasteries
12:30 lunch
2:00 Mr Nigel Wilson (Oxford), Byzantine Libraries
2:30 Dr Nancy Ševčenko (Vermont), MSS copied at Sinai
3:00 Dr Georgi Parpulov (Oxford), Greek and Latin MSS at Sinai
3:30 tea
4:00 Dr Sebastian Brock (Oxford), Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic MSS at Sinai
4:30 Prof. Robert Thomson (Oxford), Georgian, Caucasian Albanian and Armenian MSS at Sinai
5:00 Dr C.M. MacRobert (Oxford), Slavonic MSS at Sinai
5:30 The Ihor Ševčenko Memorial Fund
6:30 Ashmolean Museum, reception

Study Day is supported by the Saint Catherine Foundation, Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, and
Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity. For further information write to: or

John Latham: Anarchive at Whitechapel Gallery

This Saturday, you are invited to two events that coincide with the final weekend of the exhibition 'John Latham: Anarchive' at the Whitechapel Gallery organised by the Ligatus Research Centre and supported by AHRC and PRS Foundation.

Saturday 4 September at 2pm

FLAT TIME/sounding

A composition and performance by composer/author David Toop based on John Latham's ideas of Flat Time.


David Toop: laptops, flutes, strings, amplified processes, omnipresent score.

John Butcher: saxophones, etc...

Phil Durrant: Maschine, etc...

Aleks Kolkowski: gramophones, Stroh violin, etc...

+Roger Turner: percussive markers

John Latham's 'Flat Time Hypothesis of 2000' elaborates on various forms of art, sound and those immaterial and mysteriously insubstantial events that exist as anomalies within our predominately space-based, object-based materialistic epistemology.

David Toop Highlights Flat Time's affinity to the conceptual framework of an improvising musician, innately understanding and responding to the world in terms of events.

Commissioned by Ligatus, University of the Arts, London on behalf of the John Latham Archive and supported with funds from the PRS Foundation

This will be followed at 4pm by the launch of a new DVD of John Latham’s films,

John Latham
Films 1960 – 1971

John Latham (1921- 2006) was one of the most important British artists of the post-war period, and is best remembered for his painting and sculptural works which incorporated materials such as glass, canvas and books. Less well-known, but now restored after several decades out of circulation, are the six films which Latham made during the 1960s and early 1970s. Through playful and varied use of stop-frame animation, these films, including the stroboscopic collage Speak (1962) and the cosmological meditation Erth (1971) developed the concepts of ‘time-base’ and ‘structure in events’ previously explored in his works. The DVD includes all Latham’s completed films as well as previously unseen documentation. The DVD is co-published by LUX & Lisson Gallery.

Both events are FREE

Venue details:

Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

Underground and rail links: Aldgate East , Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway DLR

The Portable John Latham - Book Launch

Please join us to celebrate the launch of 'The Portable John Latham'.

A collection of unpublished or rarely seen documents from the John Latham Archive Edited by Antony Hudek and Athanasios Velios

Thursday 15 July 2010, 6­9pm

Whitechapel Gallery
77­ 82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

Published by Occasional Papers in association with Whitechapel Gallery, London, on the occasion of the exhibition John Latham: Anarchive, 2 April­ - 5 September 2010

Funded by Ligatus/Camberwell College of Arts With the support of AHRC, Cassochrome and the John Latham Foundation.

Occasional Papers

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad at IADA Symposium Prague 2010

The International Institute of Book & paper Conservators has invited Professor Nicholas Pickwoad to talk about Book Boxes: A New Design in Stainless Steel during the symposium "Out of sight - Out of mind?"

The symposium, which is taking place in National Museum in Prague from 27-28 May will be dedicated to the broad theme of collection management of paper-related cultural heritage. Presentations should focus on issues such as storage, storage environment, enclosures, digitization, risk management and related subjects.

John Latham's Anarchive - co-curated by Antony Hudek and Athanasios Velios

The remarkable archive of British artist John Latham (1921-2006) is explored through this exhibition inspired by his engagement with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Each section is envisaged through the character of the three eponymous brothers. Mitya is an amoral and decadent sensualist; Ivan is an inflexible rationalist; and the youngest brother Alyosha is a kind and loving witness who attempts to relieve the suffering of others. They offer avatars for this celebration of Latham’s complex thought and work, presented through sketches, diagrams and photographs. Latham had a visionary outlook that questioned scientific thought. An important contributor to the Destruction in Art Symposium (1966) and a founder member of the Artist Placement Group (1966-89) he created performances, paintings, assemblages, sculptures and films. This apparently eclectic practice was united by his concept of Event Structures and Flat Time Theory. Through his experimental and radical work he linked science and art, proving influential in both fields.

Though a prominent figure from the 1960s onwards, the diversity of Latham’s work and the complexity of his ideas remain largely unknown beyond specialist circles. The exhibition explores the fundamental concepts that shaped his art, also including material from Flat Time House, the artist’s residency in South London and now home to the John Latham Archive.

John Latham: Anarchive is co-curated by Antony Hudek, Athanasios Velios, Research Fellows at Ligatus, University of the Arts, London, and Nayia Yiakoumaki, Archive Curator, Whitechapel Gallery. John Latham’s Archive is the subject of an AHRC research project developed by Ligatus Research Unit, UAL. With thanks to Elisa Kay, curator of the Flat Time House; and Anna Ridley of Annalogue Limited, commissioner of the Dadarama series.

The Whitechapel Gallery is grateful for the support of the John Latham Foundation; the Lisson Gallery; the Exhibition Circle, Richard Saltoun and those who wish to remain anonymous.

New post for Book Works KTP

Digital Archivist – Shorter KTP Associate

£18,200 - pro rata
17.5 hours per week, 10 month fixed-term contract

University of the Arts London is a vibrant world centre for innovation, drawing together six Colleges with international reputations in art, design, fashion, communication, performing arts, conservation and archiving.
We are pleased to work with Book Works in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) on a high profile project to develop Book Works’ digital archive using innovative online archiving techniques to optimise future growth and to enhance the use of the archive. Working closely with a team of academic supervisors at Camberwell College of Art, this role is fundamental to the development of the project. The research and subsequent online prototype produced will shape the future of the Book Works’ online archive. Book Works is a London-based contemporary visual arts publisher and commissioning organisation for artists' publications, founded in 1984. A registered charity, Book Works aims to advance art education and disseminate visual art practice through books. Book Works generates its revenue from publishing books, operating a specialist bookbinding studio and applying for grants from trusts and foundations.
You will undertake a survey into the company’s current archive and report on the variety of the archive's material and its requirements for online classification. You will develop a specification and an initial prototype of an online system that will act as the foundation for Book Works’ online archive. You will work with the KTP team to test this prototype using archive material to asses its fit. Documenting the processes of the online system, you will train Book Works staff through a programme of hands-on workshops and presentations. Degree educated in a relevant field of archiving, conservation, fine art, art history, IT, or book arts, you will have knowledge of archiving techniques and archive design. Any prior experience in research and development activities and implementation in relation to archive requirements would help you, as will knowledge of the Drupal CMS, excellent communication, project management and interpersonal skills.
For more information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, at University of the Arts London, please visit: In return, we offer a competitive employment package including a salary that reflects working in London; annual leave; a final salary pension scheme; and a commitment to your continuing personal and career development in an environment that encourages creativity, diversity and excellence.

Closing date: 13th May 2010

Interviews date: end of May.

Please visit or to download an application pack, applications by CV alone will not be accepted, or alternatively please contact Jill Kovacs, telephone: 020 7514 6287, email:

University of the Arts London aims to be an equal opportunities employer embracing diversity in all areas of activity.

Advertised on,,, Creative Careers and other website on Thursday 15th April 2010.

Ligatus Summer School 2010

Ligatus Summer School 2010

The History of European Bookbinding 1450-1830


Identifying and recording Byzantine bookbinding structures for conservation and cataloguing.

Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel (Germany)
2-6 and 9-13 August 2010.

The 5th Ligatus Summer School, following the success of the courses in Volos, Patmos and Thessaloniki, is to be held this year in collaboration with the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, near Braunschweig, in northern Germany. This is an exciting new venture for us, and the opportunity to use books from this magnificent collection in our courses, will make this year’s summer school a memorable experience.

About the course:
The contribution that bindings can make to our understanding of the history and culture of the book is often neglected, but they can offer insights into the study of readership, the booktrade, and the provenance of books which are often not available elsewhere. In order to realise this potential, it is important to understand not only the history of the craft but also to learn how to record what is seen in a consistent and organised way. Librarians, cataloguers, conservators, book historians and all scholars who work with early books, need therefore to understand the structure and materials of the bindings they encounter in order to be able to record and describe them. Such descriptions of bindings are not only valuable for the management of library collections, pursuing academic research and making informed decisions about conservation, but are also important for digitisation projects as they can radically enrich the potential of image and text metadata. It is our belief that bindings should be seen as an integral part of the book, without which, our understanding of the history and use of books is often greatly circumscribed.

The purpose of the summer school is to uncover the possibilities latent in the detailed study of bookbinding and it mainly focuses on books which have been bound between the fifteenth and the early nineteenth century. While both courses concentrate in particular on the structure and materials of bookbindings, each of the two courses offered in this summer school looks at bindings from different geographical areas and with a different approach. The first course looks at the history of bookbinding as it was carried out in Europe in the period of the hand press (1450-1830), with the opportunity to look at examples from the collection during the afternoons, while the second course looks at the development of bookbinding in the eastern Mediterranean and gives hands-on training in how to observe and record bindings, again working with examples from the collection. Part of this course will include the construction of an XML data structure (schema) for recording bookbindings.

The courses are taught in English and each is open to 12 participants. Although the courses can be attended individually, participants are encouraged to attend both courses in order to get a more complete understanding of the issues discussed, through the comparison of the wide range of bookbindings considered in each week. Since these are not beginner-level courses, the participants are expected to be familiar with bookbinding terminology and have a basic knowledge of the history of book production in the periods under discussion. A basic understanding of the use of databases is also desirable for those who will attend the course in the second week.

Description of courses:

Week 1, European Bookbinding 1450-1830
Tutor: Professor N. Pickwoad
This course will follow European bookbinding from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, using the bindings themselves to illustrate the aims and intentions of the binding trade. A large part of the course will be devoted to the identification of both broad and detailed distinctions within the larger groups of plain commercial bindings and the possibilities of identifying the work of different countries, cities, even workshops without reference to finishing tools. The identification and significance of the different materials used in bookbinding will be examined, as well as the classification of bookbindings by structural type, and how these types developed through the three centuries covered by the course. The development of binding decoration will be touched on, but will not form a major part of the discussion.

The course consists of ten 90-minute sessions with slide-show presentations (over 800 images will be shown). Actual examples of bindings will be shown in the first four afternoon sessions while the final afternoon will look at bookbinding terminology and offer the opportunity for the discussion of questions and issues raised during the week.

Week 2, Identifying and recording Byzantine bookbinding structures for conservation and cataloguing.
Tutors: Dr. G. Boudalis and Dr. A. Velios
This five-day course will be divided in two interconnected sessions. The first session, run by Dr. Georgios Boudalis, will focus upon the major structural and decorative features of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine bookbindings and their evolution in time and space. The relation of these bindings with the early bindings of the Coptic and other Eastern Mediterranean cultures will be discussed, during lectures, slide-shows and hands-on sessions. This session will centre the influences and comparisons of these different bookbindings. It will consist of eight 90-minute computer presentations supplemented by hands-on sessions.
The second session will be run by Dr. Athanasios Velios and will deal with the data management and storage of bookbinding descriptions. Alongside a brief reference to the relational databases this session will mainly involve discussions on a) the semantic web and XML, b) schemas and terminologies for bookbinding descriptions, c) commercial and open source software options for XML data and d) methodologies and workflows for collection surveys. A large part of this session will be devoted to the actual development and use of an XML schema for recording binding structures. This session will consist of two 90-minutes presentations and eight 90-minutes hands-on workshops. Basic knowledge of database use is desirable for this course.

The courses are supported by Ligatus and the University of the Arts, London, with generous help from the Herzog August Bibliothek. We have therefore been able to reduce the cost of the course for this year to £320 per week, excluding travel, meals and accommodation.
A number of accommodation options will be provided to the participants. A detailed schedule of the courses can be sent upon request. Applications, including a short CV can be submitted online Ligatus Summer School For information about registration please email Ewelina Warner (e.warner(at) and mark the message subject with: 'Ligatus Summer School'. A reading list will be sent to those who will attend the courses in advance. Deadline for applications is the 11th of June. The participants will be contacted by the end of June.

About the library:
Wolfenbüttel is a small town in Lower Saxony, Germany, located on the Oker river about 13 kilometres south of Brunswick (Braunschweig), at the edge of the Hartz Mountains. It became the residence of the dukes of Brunswick in 1432 but the first known library in Wolfenbüttel was that of the Duke Julius (1528-1529), the first protestant ruler of the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. This library was transferred in 1618, on the orders of his grandson, Friedrich Ulrich (1591-1634), to the university of Helmstedt, founded in 1576. The Herzog August Bibliothek in its present form started its life as the private library of the Duke August (1579-1666), and by the time of his death, the library was one of the greatest collections in Europe, containing 135,000 painstakingly catalogued printed books and 3000 manuscripts.

The library continued to grow under his immediate descendants in later seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, with both Gottfried Wilhelm Liebnitz and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing serving as librarians, and was then housed in a splendid circular building, finished in 1713, built by the Duke Anton Ulrich, which was the first free-standing secular library building in Europe. In 1810 the library of the University of Helmstedt was returned to Wolfenbüttel, and other notable collections, both from later generations of the ducal family and other aristocratic families, were added to the Biblioteca Augusta, as the Duke August’s own collection is known.

The current library building was opened in 1887, and new reading rooms, exhibition spaces and other facilities have been added in nearby buildings in more recent times. In 1983, the library was established as an independent research centre by the State of Lower Saxony, with an active programme which allows approximately 150 scholars to work in the library each year and the addition of a large reference collection to support the study of the early books. In addition, since that time there has been an active programme of acquisitions of both printed books and manuscripts of all ages, building on the strengths of the collection and embarking in new directions. The library is now designated as the national repository for printed books of the seventeenth century. It is remarkable in having maintained its collection virtually intact since the seventeenth century.

A good introduction to the library and its collections can be found in A Treasure House of Books: the library of the Duke August of Brunwick-Wolfenbüttel, Wolfenbüttel, 1998.

Ligatus is a research unit of the University of the Arts London with particular interest in the history bookbinding, book conservation, archiving and the application of digital technology to these fields. Ligatus’s main research projects currently include the conservation of the books in the library of St Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai and the development of a multi-lingual glossary of bookbinding terms.

The Incidental Person - curated by Antony Hudek

Opening reception: 6th January 2010, 6pm
The Incidental Person

The late British artist John Latham referred to the 'Incidental Person' as someone who invests a situation, observes it and responds to it in a specific, though not necessarily tangible or practical, way. For Latham and some of the other artists involved in Artist Placement Group (APG) between the 1960s and 1980s, the Incidental Person allowed the emphasis to shift from the person's identity — 'artist', 'theorist', 'worker', 'politician' etc. — to her or his engagement in a given context. Hence APG's axiom 'Context is half the work.'

Here the context is a group exhibition selected as part of apexart's annual call for unsolicited proposals. Thus the exhibition itself can be seen as incidental to a pre-existing framework, and its curator and participants as incidental persons invited to act within the event's given parameters — a relatively small space in Manhattan, with a relatively small budget. As befits their incidentality, many of the projects in the exhibition The Incidental Person are still, at the time of writing, in development. What is certain, however, is that the displayed projects will reflect the incidental persons' engagement in diverse situations, irrespective of whether these situations fall within the remit of what one calls 'art' or not.

Including work by: Ron Bernstein, RaphaëleBidault-Waddington, Luca Frei, Will Holder, Marysia Lewandowska, Gianni Motti, Brian O'Doherty, Joachim Pfeufer, Keiko Sei, Barbara Steveni, Megan Sullivan, Neal White, and Portland State University MFA Art and Social Practice Concentration: Katy Asher, Katherine Ball with Alec Neal and Matthew Warren, Jennifer Delos Reyes, Harrell Fletcher, Constance Hockaday, Ariana Jacob, Hannah Jickling & Helen Reed, Laurel Kurtz & Sandy Sampson, The Print Factory, Eric Steen, Michelle Swinehart, Lexa Walsh, Jason Zimmerman.

All events are free and open to the public.
291 Church Street,
NYC, 10013
Telephone: +1 212 431 5270


Subscribe to Ligatus news