Events  |  E&T Conference


Keele University, August 3rd - 6th 2017

The Conference is a great opportunity for bookbinders of all levels to see demonstrations by knowledgeable experts in a wide range of fields. Amateurs and those with less experience will find inspiration and encouragement; professionals will gain new ideas. If you have not been to a Conference before you will find it easy to make new friends and to talk to the speakers and other top-level binders. You will find them approachable and always willing to discuss bookbinding matters with you.

If you are not a member of the Society you may attend the Conference for a slightly higher fee. If you wish to become a member you may pay the difference between this charge and the appropriate subscription while you are at the Conference – or you can join beforehand.

The response of delegates to the 2015 Conference at Keele University was so positive that the Conference team decided to return there for 2017. Keele, in Staffordshire, is an excellent campus, with plenty of greenery and open space. The main activities of the Conference will take place in the Chancellor’s Building, where lecture rooms, the Suppliers’ Fair, the Competition Exhibition, the café and restaurant are all situated near one another. There is a large car park nearby, and the main campus, where there are cash machines and shops, is a few minutes’ walk away.

Accommodation will be in one of the halls of residence on the campus; these are about ten minutes’ walk away from the Chancellor’s Building and there will again be a shuttle bus running between the two at peak times, with longer hours than last year. All rooms are single, with tea- and coffee-making facilities, toiletries and towels and internet access. There are some rooms with disabled facilities, including walk-in showers and extra space; please indicate on the application form if you would like us to allocate you one of these. Car parking space at the accommodation is limited, but there is plenty nearby as well as back at the Chancellor’s Building, and we would ask those people who do not have mobility problems to park away from the hall of residence once they have unloaded their luggage so that those who really need the parking spaces there can use them. Mobility scooters are available for hire at £175; again please request these on the form.

Delegates may arrange to stay at the University on a bed and breakfast basis for extra nights before and after the Conference; this is particularly useful for those coming from overseas who would like to recover from jet lag before the Conference begins. Family members or friends of delegates who are not attending the Conference may book bed and breakfast with optional dinner during the Conference. For Conference fees and rates please click the PRICING tab above. Further information may be obtained from Noel Carruthers, Conference Treasurer, email:


Meals will be taken in the restaurant in the Chancellor’s Building, near the lecture halls.  Le Café, in the same building, provides teas, coffees and sandwiches during the day and becomes a bar after 5pm, serving local bottled beers and other drinks. Real ale aficionados can find interesting local brews at the Sneyd Arms in Keele Village which is about half a mile from the accommodation, just outside the campus. 

All special diets can be catered for but please indicate your requirements clearly on the application form.


For any more information, or for copies of the printed leaflets about the Conference and the Bookbinding Competition, please contact Angela Sutton, Conference Organiser:

See also:


PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME (updated 05.06.17)
A number of speakers will be giving their presentation on both days.

Please note that for reasons beyond our control it may be necessary for us to change the days on which a speaker has been scheduled to give their presentation. If delegates need to be sure of seeing a particular speaker they should check the website again nearer the time.

A full timetable will be sent to delegates in June along with the joining instructions.

Note changes from the previously published timetable:
Some speakers’ slots have moved from morning to afternoon and vice versa. Major changes are as follows:

  • Kathy Abbott is giving a double session on Friday (last session of the morning and first of the afternoon), and not a repeat session on the Saturday.
  • Renate Mesmer is giving a double session on Friday morning, and not a repeat session on the Saturday.
  • John Mumford is giving a double session on Saturday afternoon, and not at all on Friday.
  • Ian Andrews and Tony Mack are speaking on Saturday, not Friday.
  • Lara Artemis is speaking on Friday, not Saturday.
Thursday  3rd  August

Informal drop-in sessions:
• Pop-up books - Paul Johnson
• Adhesives – Vicki Manners
• Working with vellum – Thomas Schmitz
• Tours of Keele Hall and visit to University Library
• Showing of a Nick Cowlishaw instructional DVD

6.00pm Annual General Meeting
8.30pm Competition Prizegiving
Friday  4th  August

Kathy Abbott – limp vellum binding (1)
Andrew Brown – design binding
Chris Harvey – conservation structures
Paul Johnson –  pop-up books
Renate Mesmer – girdle bindings (1+2)

• Suppliers' Fair open


Kathy Abbott – limp vellum binding (2)
Lara Artemis – parchment conservation
Ingela Dierick – Bradel binding
Roger Green – drop-back boxes
Consuela Metzger –pre-springback stationers’ bindings
Royston Haward – forwarding techniques

• Suppliers' Fair open

8.30pm • Evening Lecture
Saturday  5th  August

Ian Andrews – treasure bindings
Chris Harvey – conservation structures (repeat)
Consuela Metzger – pre-springback stationers’ bindings (repeat)
Tine Noreille – cutting and folding method
Pamela Smith – paper marbling (1 + repeat)

• Suppliers' Fair open


Roger Green – drop-back boxes (repeat)
Royston Haward – forwarding techniques (repeat)
Paul Johnson – pop-up books (repeat)
Tony Mack – bookcloth production
John Mumford – Islamic bindings (1+2)

• Suppliers' Fair open

7.30pm • Conference Dinner & Live Auction



    Kathy Abbott
    A ‘Tomorrow’s Past’ style limp-vellum binding

    Kathy will demonstrate how to make a limp-vellum binding which has no lacing-on points through the cover, is fully reversible and uses very little adhesive. This structure was originally devised for a ‘Tomorrow’s Past’ exhibition in 2005 and is one that Kathy keeps returning to as it is so versatile.

    Kathy Abbott served a four-year apprenticeship in bookbinding and then gained a Higher National Diploma from the London College of Printing, London (UK) followed by a BA (Hons) degree in Bookbinding from Roehampton University, Surrey (UK).

    She teaches advanced level Fine Binding at the City Lit, and conducts many other workshops across the UK and overseas. She is the author of Bookbinding: A step-by-step guide, published by the Crowood Press in 2010.

    Her work is held in both private and public collections.

    Kathy is one of the founder members of ‘Tomorrow’s Past’, an association of bookbinders who make modern conservation bindings for antiquarian books. They have exhibited at international bookfairs, at SoB Conferences, and at the Aram Gallery, London.


    Ian Andrews
    'Treasure' Bindings: the use of gold, jewels and ivory on early medieval gospel books

    Ian’s study of these ‘treasure bindings’ concentrated on the identification of design themes by analysis of a large number of these covers, and led to a Master’s Degree from Huddersfield University. Ian has written several articles for Skin Deep, the online publication by Hewits Ltd, and for Bookbinder, the Society’s journal, of which the latest can be found in volume 23 for 2009 (‘Pattern recognition’).

    Ian’s original qualification was in Applied Physics, with a degree from Brunel University in 1964. For some years he worked in the field of computer hardware at the National Physical Laboratory and for IBM. He started a small business in the 1980s and became interested in bookbinding through a friend who had collected several types of early books.

    He took a short course at West Dean College and later studied at Guildford College with Maureen Duke and Lester Capon. This led to several specialist courses in gold-tooling and the restoration of leather bindings with John Mitchell.

    Ian’s special interest is book covers made from the fourth to the twelfth centuries, which were made in European monasteries for the early Christian Gospel books. The pages of these were parchment which over time tended to expand and so wooden covers became increasingly thick and heavy to control this tendency. It was always important for these covers to be decorated and they were adorned with plates of solid gold and silver, enhanced with jewels and gemstones, plaques of carved ivory, panels of repoussé and enamel work.


    Lara Artemis
    Introduction to the History of Materials and Techniques in Parchment Conservation

    This talk with a demonstration will aim to give a short introduction to the rather complex and challenging material that is parchment. It will discuss its composition and preservation, and include a description of how parchment came into being as a writing substrate, provide a brief insight into the illuminated page and compress around 1500 years of conservation practice.

    Lara is currently the Collections Care Manager responsible for library and archive collections held at the Houses of Parliament, UK. She has also worked at the Wellcome Trust in London as a book and paper conservator, at the British Library, and the National Archives, where she began her specialist interest in the conservation of parchment. She is a PACR mentor, and an accreditation assessor for the Institute of Conservation (Icon). She has an MA in Medieval History from the University of London, a BA Conservation of Arts degree from Camberwell School of Art, London, and a Fine Art Foundation degree from Barnet College, Herts.


    Peter Bower
    Adventures with Books: Investigations into Book History using Paper Analysis

    Peter’s Friday evening lecture promises to be entertaining and interesting to anyone who works with paper, i.e. all of us! He will illustrate his methods of examining texts using books that he has worked on, which will probably include the following:

    • The Augsburg Wunderzeichenbuch, 1550.
    • The ‘To the Reader’ page in The Clumber copy of Shakespeare’s Second Folio, 1632.
    • An Album of 80 watercolours by Jacques Le Moyne De Morgues (1533-1588), bound in 1770.
    • The Kilmarnock edition, the first printing of Robert Burns’ poems in 1786.
    • The Black Diaries of Sir Roger Casement who was hanged for treason in 1916.

    Peter is a paper historian and forensic paper analyst, and is sometimes called on to give expert evidence in court cases.


    Andrew Brown
    Revelation to Genesis: the realization and creation of a design binding

    Andrew will use illustrations of his bindings to demonstrate various design techniques and talk about the planning, the technique and the thought involved in arriving at a given design.

    Andrew serendipitously discovered bookbinding in 1989 whilst working as a trainee picture framer. He then commenced an apprenticeship with Paul Delrue (Fellow of Designer Bookbinders [DB]) throughout the 1990’s, starting his own business ‘The Cheshire Bindery’, in 2001. Now trading as ‘The Artisan Bindery’, Andrew applies the principles of using the highest quality materials and methods in his binding of new books such as bespoke album and gift books, and in book restoration. He also gives individual tuition to new binders.

    With a particular interest in design binding Andrew became a Licentiate of DB in 2004 and has design-bound work in private collections and public institutions in the UK, Europe and USA. He has been a prize-winner in a number of national and international competitions. Andrew is also a member of the Society of Bookbinders, and is the current North West & North Wales regions programme organizer.


    Ingela Dierick
    Bradel binding, a Fine Case Binding

    Alexis-Pierre Bradel, a French bookbinder of the 18th century working in Germany, developed the precursor of the modern case binding while trying to find an easier alternative to the elaborate French fine binding. At the same time he continued to use sewn-on headbands and edge-gilding for his Bradel style.

    Ingela was apprenticed as a bookbinder in Berlin, and then went to study at Guildford College, where she gained the Diploma in Fine Binding and Paper Conservation. In 1996 she won a scholarship to study at the Centro del bel libro, at Ascona in Switzerland. She spent three years working in traditional binding in different workshops all over Europe and in 2000 she gained the German Masterdiplom in bookbinding.

    In 2004 she set up her own bindery in Plombières in Belgium, and now teaches in various schools including the Buchbinder Colleg in Stuttgart,Germany, the Ecosign art school for graphic design in Cologne, Germany and at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland.

    Since 2009 she has been an active member of MDE (Meister der Einbandkunst, The International Association of Masters of the Art of Bookbinding). She has taken part in various international competitions, and in 2003 won the first prize for the Complete Book category in the SoB competition. She also exhibits widely and shows work at fairs.


    Roger Green
    Drop back box – for presentation, storage and transport

    Roger’s presentation will show the basic constructional techniques of his own version of a drop-back box, which is built as a unity rather than in several parts. A box should be durable and fulfil its function of protecting the book, while also being an object of aesthetic value. Roger will show some variations on this theme, using a variety of different covering materials. To finish, examples will be shown of how to make these 'presentation' boxes something striking in their own right and not just a sort of elaborate packaging.

    Roger took a BA (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Sussex in 1982, and then studied bookbinding with Faith Shannon at Brighton Art College. He has been running his own bindery for thirty years as a self-employed bookbinder, mostly in Wuppertal, Germany.

    He has taught bookbinding on a regular basis through workshops in his own bindery, and at various colleges and Steiner schools, as well as training occupational therapists in the use of bookbinding and other arts and crafts as therapeutic mediums. He works primarily on commission, covering the whole spectrum of bookbinding - with a particular emphasis on creative solutions.


    Christopher Harvey
    Old Manuscripts, Working Books, Changing Structures -
    Aspects of Book Conservation at the College of Arms, London

    Christopher will refer to the particular kinds of book structures that are kept at the College of Arms and talk about some case studies.

    Christopher took a BA Hons in Conservation in 1993 and an MA in 1997 from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL). He worked for English Heritage, and then for Perth Museum Scotland on the conservation of flood-damaged photographic material. An independent conservation workshop was developed with work for collections and private clients, including the College of Arms, and the National Trust. During this time Christopher was fortunate to be involved with the conservation surveys for the St. Catherine’s Foundation of the library of St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai. Since 2004 he has been Head of Conservation at the College of Arms Library, London, additionally organising provision of student placements each year since 2005. Amongst other teaching and lecturing activities Christopher has been an Associate Lecturer for the conservation courses at Camberwell (UAL) since 2001.

    The College of Arms is the foremost centre for heraldry and genealogy in the UK. Its library and archive have been developed over centuries and have been a constant source of reference since the College’s inception in 1484. The working library collection is particularly noted for its significant manuscript book material. Many of the systems or formats of record within these volumes were devised centuries ago and a number remain in daily use and continue to be the preferred methods the heralds use for record-keeping. The bindings reflect this gathering, organising and use of information and in some instances also influence the method and practice of the record keeping process itself.

    The working library presents many significant challenges to the conservation department, particularly in balancing the requirements of maintaining reference access against the preservation of text, structures and bindings. A working library provides an exceptional insight for a book conservator or binder into what structures work, and what techniques and materials prove durable in regular use.


    Royston Haward
    Forwarding – Looking through both Traditional & Modern Eyes

    As the traditional binding processes are forced to adapt themselves to the changed circumstances of today there is much vigorous debate about how this should happen. Roy will use his wide experience to try to explore the issues that arise during the forwarding of a book, and will look at materials, techniques and adhesives, using illustrations and practical demonstrations.

    Royston has worked as a bookbinder all his life, since his apprenticeship more than four decades ago. He studied at the London College of Printing where he achieved a distinction in the City & Guilds qualification in Advanced Craft Bookbinding. He is also qualified in conservation science.

    He worked at various London binderies, including Sangorski & Sutcliffe, until 1990, when he went to work for the British Library Centre for Conservation.

    He is passionate about teaching and has taught many students over the course of time. He has run workshops on subjects such as Islamic, Ethiopic & Coptic binding, box-making, Cosway bindings, and paring and sharpening techniques..


    Paul Johnson
    Sculptural Carousel Pop-up Books

    Although Paul had been making unique pop-up books for over thirty years, it wasn’t until about four years ago, approaching his seventieth birthday, that he started making carousel pop-up codices with sculptural spines inspired by the great Philip Smith. Now he makes nothing else, and in this session he will be showing a selection of them, which you will be invited to hold and explore. None of his pop-ups have folds - dovetail joints and interlocking sections join all. Most books have over two hundred separate units, so they can be taken apart and reassembled.

    Paul is also offering a workshop on Thursday afternoon: Once Upon a Pop-up Time Participants will make an eight-page book with a detachable cover. On the first page will be a paper-engineered invitation card, followed by two different 180-degree pop-up spreads, and ending with an origami envelope with an enclosed letter. The aim is to narrate a story that threads its way through the pages.

    Paul Johnson lives two professional lives: as an educator with an international reputation for developing children’s writing through the book arts; and as a book artist. His published books include A Book of One’s Own and Literacy Through the Book Arts. He has made books with over 25,000 teachers and nearly 200,000 children worldwide. His unique pop-up books are in most of the major collections in the USA including The Cooper-Hewett Museum in New York and the Library of Congress, Washington DC. He has received the Colophon Award from the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, and the Portnall Award from the Society of Bookbinders.


    Tony Mack

    Bookcloth may be regarded as the poor relation of bookbinding in comparison to leather, but without it we would be lost. It is a highly necessary hard-working material, with a huge variety of colours, weights and finishes.

    Tony will help us to understand something of the processes that go to make up this essential and versatile fabric. His talk will give us a glimpse of a bookcloth factory in the 1970s, with some humour and practical demonstrations. Tony says there may be strong language and adult content…
    Tony started his career working for a company called Melland and Coward Ltd in Heaton Mersey in Stockport. They were part of the Whitecroft plc group who then owned Redbridge, a well-known name in the bookcloth world of the time. In 1979 there were thirteen coating machines at Tony’s factory running day and night as well as weekends. However, the industry was already in decline, and the break-up of the Whitecroft group after a failed factory merger led to the closure of the last of the big traditional bookcloth factories.

    Tony joined one of his customers, Evans Textiles, in 1989, and designed and operated a single coating machine in a much scaled down enterprise which was successful until it was forced to close in 2013. A number of factors, including the closing down of many university libraries, the moving of much book production to China, the use of cheaper paper alternatives and the reduction in the number of hardback books, all caused a lack of work and meant that the plant was no longer able to continue. However, Tony is still working at producing coated cloth in the United Kingdom.
    The new materials are cheaper and stronger, but they are not as ‘green’ as starch-coated cotton. Tony remains passionate about the material that he has worked with all his life.

    He says: My passion for the industry is in my blood. I have just created a new archival and conservation range with our finishing factory in Ireland and we are looking to become the world’s leading supplier of conservation cottons and linens.


    Renate Mesmer
    Girdle Books

    Painting of St Fridolind in Dijon Musée des Beaux Arts, unknown German master of the 15th century.


    Renate Mesmer is the Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, USA, where she also held the position of Assistant Head of Conservation until 2011. Before coming to the United States, she directed the Book and Paper Conservation Program at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland.

    She started working as a bookbinder when she was sixteen, and gained a Master’s qualification in Bookbinding from the Chamber of Crafts of the Rheinland-Palatinate (the Handwerkskammer der Pfalz) in Germany.  She gained experience as Head of Conservation at the German State Archives in Speyer and was awarded a grant to study conservation abroad. Her internships took her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

    Over the last twenty years Renate has been actively teaching and presenting on a variety of conservation and bookbinding topics in the USA, Switzerland and Australia  of which the following is a small selection:  Tips and Tricks in Book and Paper Conservation, The Use of Bleaching Treatments in Paper Conservation, The Use of the Suction Table, The Use of Cast Pulp Paper, and Wax Seals.  She has also run numerous bookbinding-focused classes, including  subjects such as Three Conservation Bindings, Der Edelpappband (German Paper Binding), and The Girdle Book - A Mediaeval Binding Structure.

    Renate has chaired the Potomac Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers and is in her second term as president of the International Association of Paper and Book Conservators (IADA). This is one of the largest international organisations for book and paper conservation; it has more than 650 members and also publishes the Journal of Paper Conservation.


    Consuela Metzger
    Towards a better understanding of pre-spring-back laced and tacketed stationers’ structures

    Before the spring-back became the dominating account-book structure (at least in England) around 1800, binders used a variety of non-adhesive methods to fashion sturdy blank books with unique structures and decorations. Lacing, tackets, overbands, fore edge flaps and belt or loop and toggle closures are just a few attractive features of many early stationers’ bindings. This presentation will incorporate a short slide show of stationers’ bindings that represent some important aspects of this branch of the binding/stationers’ trade, and some hands-on tips for creating models of these structures.

    Consuela Metzger is currently head of the Library Conservation Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. She is a former tutor in book conservation for the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, and continues to hold an associated faculty position at the University of Delaware. She is intrigued by bound record-keeping structures of all kinds, and has been fascinated by bindings within archives since seeing them at the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City..


    John Mumford
    Islamic Bindings

    John is an independent preservation and conservation consultant for books and paper, and is currently working in Cairo, Egypt, where he is responsible for manuscript conservation at the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation. 

    He began his career in book conservation in 1975 by completing a four-year apprenticeship-training programme at the British Museum Bindery. His interest in historical book structures and their conservation techniques continued to develop while he was working within the different collections’ departments at the British Library over a 30-year period. In 1992 he was appointed manager of the Oriental and India Office Book Conservation Studio, furthering his study of early Oriental and Eastern binding structures. In 1998 he became manager of the Oriental and Eastern Book Conservation Studio at the new British Library, and helped to establish the Rare and Early Book Conservation Studio there.

    John has lectured and taught workshops all over Europe, including Patmos and Montefiascone, and in the Middle East and South America. He is dedicated to promoting the understanding of historical book crafts, their preservation and conservation.


    Tine Noreille
    Perfect Measuring, Folding and Cutting Without a Pencil

    Tine finds that the usual methods of measuring and folding are often inaccurate: the pencil line is too thick, the ruler slips, or the knife is in the wrong position, and machine trimming is often needed at the end. She has evolved this method of measuring and cutting at the same time, which is more likely to produce a good result. She also stresses that the techniques are useful in other contexts, such as cutting mounts, folding concertinas and checking angles.

    Tine will demonstrate the main cutting and folding techniques and show how these can be used to make artists’ books.

    Tine is a bookbinder and graphic artist. She has always been fascinated by paper, and she has taken several courses in bookbinding and book and paper restoration.

    As an artist she mostly works with modern bindings and books as art objects. However, her main interest is teaching, passing on knowledge and guiding students in expressing their creativity. As they are usually photographers, graphic artist or calligraphers and often have no formal bookbinding knowledge she has developed a quick and easy method to make perfectly finished books, mostly non-adhesive bindings.


    Pamela Smith
    Evolution of the Mysterious: the Adaptation of Historic and Once Highly Secretive Paper-Marbling Techniques at MarbleSmith Paper

    The history of the marbling process is steeped in tradition where patterns and their colour palettes are strictly dictated. Knowledge of the practice was further guarded by a highly controlled apprenticeship system which was in place throughout the 19th century. In this presentation master marbler Pamela Smith will share her techniques for both adhering to tradition and breaking free of its limitations. Her demonstration will move step by step through the making of 18th and 19th century patterns, such as gold-veined French Shell and Oak Leaf, and then focus on the use of historic techniques to create non-traditional patterns - delicate leaf designs infused with mica powders, vignettes, and alternative textures. The idea is to push the edges, to bring marbling into the realm of 21st century book design.

    Pamela Smith launched her marbling career over forty years ago in tandem with her work as founding director and curator at the Press of the Palace of the Governors, the Museum of New Mexico’s small press programme and working exhibition. Since her retirement from the Museum in 2001, she has taught book art classes and paper-marbling techniques throughout the United States.

    Pamela continues to produce marbled paper editions in her studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA. Her MarbleSmith work reflects a dedication to creating unique patterns, textures, and colour combinations for the finely-bound book and is distributed all over the world.


The entries for the international Bookbinding Competition for 2017 will be on display in a room upstairs in the Chancellor’s Building. The winners will be announced on the Thursday evening after dinner. If you wish to submit an entry for the Competition the closing date for registration is May 12th, and entries must be sent to the organisers by June 9th.  For further details see the competition section of this website.

The major suppliers of bookbinding tools and equipment will be at Keele and delegates appreciate the chance to see and feel materials and to discuss their needs with the helpful and friendly salespeople. The Fair will be open all day on Friday and Saturday, and there is time between the scheduled events for delegates to have a good look at the stalls. Mid-morning and afternoon refreshments will be served nearby.

A list of the suppliers attending the Conference will be sent out with the joining instructions.

Throughout the Conference there will be a ‘silent auction’ running, where bidders for small items can write their bids on a bidding form. Larger items will be sold at the Live Auction after the Conference Dinner on Saturday evening. Please bring tools, materials, books and any other items that you may wish to donate to the Society for this sale which raises money to support the Society’s educational activities.

Keele University is situated in the centre of the UK with excellent transport links.

By car:
Keele is easily accessible by road from the M6 motorway, junctions 15 or 16, and is signed from there. The post code for satellite navigation systems is ST5 5BG. Once you have turned into the University campus follow the signs to the main University reception, and look for the electronic noticeboards.

By rail:
The nearest railway station is Stoke-on-Trent where there are direct trains from London, Birmingham and Manchester. The bus to Keele (number 25) goes from the opposite side of the road as you come out of Stoke station, just to the left of the crossing; it takes about 45 minutes and runs through the campus (get off at the second campus stop where you will find notices and helpers). Crewe is slightly further and the 85 bus from the station runs to Keele Village. See tel. 03457 484950, or +44 (0) 207 278 5240 from overseas.

By coach:
Coaches call at Hanley and Newcastle-under-Lyme, from where you can get a local bus to Keele. See Tel. 08717 818181

By air:
The nearest airport is Manchester, 35 miles away. Trains from here run to Manchester Piccadilly Station, where there are trains to Stoke-on-Trent. National Express also run coaches to Hanley bus station. Birmingham and Liverpool airports are also reasonably near.

There is more detailed information on the Keele University website.

Full Delegate:

  • Members: £380
  • Non-members: £400

This price covers accommodation for the three nights and all meals from dinner on Thursday until breakfast on the Sunday, including the formal Conference Dinner on Saturday evening.

Day Delegates:

  • Members: £120 per day
  • Non-members: £130 per day

Conference Dinner on Saturday (day delegates and guests) £45.00
(note that this is included in the Full Delegate fee).

Bookings made before January 31st 2017 may be secured with a deposit of £100 with the balance payable in May (does not apply to online bookings).

Bookings made after June 15th will incur a late booking fee of £20.00 (Full Delegates) or £10.00 (Day Delegates).

Anyone wishing to book after July 10th should apply directly to the Conference Treasurer.

Payment may be made by bank transfer, cheque, or online via Paypal or credit card (click the Register tab above).

If you have further enquiries please email:

There are several bursaries available to help people who would like to attend the Conference but for whom the cost is a deterrent. Applicants should apply for one bursary only. Please click the Bursaries tab above for full details.

Several bursaries are available:

  1. The Gordon Hartley Memorial Fund: full bursary with a preference for a mature person wishing to change career to full-time bookbinding ( details here ).
  2. Conference 2017 Bursaries: Two full bursaries - one for a UK binder and one for an overseas binder, who will be expected to help at the Conference ( details here ).
  3. Regional bursaries. These are offered from time to time as circumstances allow. If you are interested please apply to the Chairman of your regional branch who will be able to tell you if a bursary is available.

    The closing date for applications is 30th April 2017.
There are also external organisations that can help students in training but their requirements can change from year to year, and possible applicants should do their own research on this.

Gordon Hartley

Gordon Hartley, Chairman of the Society of Bookbinders for several years until his death in November 2007, had been a teacher for most of his working life. When he died he had recently retired from teaching but was intending to make bookbinding his second career. With this in mind, the Society has decided that if there are two or more equally qualified applicants for the bursary more mature people making a similar career change to Gordon should have preference. However, this should not deter younger applicants, as the award will be made on merit. When applicants are considered some preference will also be given to Society members, but again merit will be the main criterion.

The Conference lasts two full days and consists of a series of lectures and demonstrations by internationally recognised practitioners of bookbinding. These are highly instructive, and the nature of the Conference means that it is possible to talk to the lecturers and to other bookbinders, which can be very encouraging to someone who is usually working alone. There is also a suppliers’ fair, with leather, paper, tools and books for sale.

There is no means test, as the purpose of this award is to encourage newcomers to bookbinding. The award does not cover the cost of travel to the Conference.

Applicants should be students of bookbinding (not necessarily on a formal course) who are seriously thinking about taking up bookbinding as a career, even if they are not yet very experienced.

Students who are on a course, or have been recently, should obtain a reference from their tutor.

Applications will be considered in the first instance by a sub-committee of the Birmingham and Central Region and a short list will be forwarded to the national Council of the Society for a final decision.

Applicants will be expected to produce a short report on the Conference and their activities there.

The closing date for applications is 30th April 2017.

View/Download application form (PDF)

The Conference would like to offer two bursaries to:

  1. A binder from the UK 
  2. A binder from overseas.
Applicants may still be students or starting their careers and should be able to show that they would benefit from further training. While preference may be given to younger binders older applicants will also be considered.

The Conference lasts two full days and consists of lectures and demonstrations by internationally-recognised practitioners of bookbinding. It is possible to talk to the lecturers and to other binders, which can be very encouraging. There is a suppliers’ fair with leather, paper, tools and books for sale, often at reduced prices.
The bursary will cover board, lodging, and all Conference events, but not the costs of travel to the Conference venue. The Society will expect the successful applicant to write a report on their experience at the Conference. The organisers may ask the applicant to assist with the running of the Conference but in such a way that the applicant can attend all the lectures that they wish to. 


  • Applicants should be students of bookbinding (not necessarily on a formal course) who are seriously thinking about taking up bookbinding as a career, even if they are not yet very experienced.
  • Students who are on a course, or have been recently, should obtain a reference from their tutor.
  • Applications will be considered in the first instance by the Conference organisers and recommendations will be forwarded to the national Council of the Society for approval.
  • Applicants will be expected to produce a short report on the Conference and their activities there.
Applications should be sent by April 30th 2017.

View/Download application form (PDF)

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If you would like to register, please email the Conference Treasurer.