Small Publishers Fair was from 2002 to 2012 one of the regular activities organised by RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications).
RGAP was founded at the University of Derby in 1993 by artist and publisher Martin Rogers. It published artists’ books and editions, and organised exhibitions and events including the Fair. The scale and diversity of activity was made possible by university funding.
Projects included guest artists and publishers: Christian Bök, Ian Breakwell, Pavel Buchler, Steve Clay, Hamish Fulton, John Janssen, John McDowell, Antonio Riello, and Jan Voss.
There were exhibitions: Sol LeWitt at Site Gallery, Wirksworth Art and Literature Trail, and there was a permanent display in the Library at the School of Art and Design, University of Derby.
Cornerhouse Publications continues to distribute and sell five RGAP publications including Some forms of availability by Simon Cutts, and The Book is Alive edited by Emmanuelle Waeckerle. Stephen Willats’ Artwork as Social Model is also available.
There were workshops and visits, and RGAP attended book fairs across the UK and abroad. In 2008 RGAP published Slice Through Derby by Bill Drummond, an edition of 2000 published to mark the opening of Derby’s new arts centre: Quad.
The year after RGAP moved from its recent home in Cromford, Derbyshire to Yorkshire Art Space in central Sheffield.
After a long illness, Martin Rogers died at home 1 December 2012. Throughout 2013 Simon Cutts, RGAP colleagues and Martin’s widow Lindsey Adams worked to put in order the RGAP archive.
At this time it was decided that Small Publishers Fair had an identity, reputation and momentum of its own, and should be continued. Helen Mitchell, who was well-known by and had worked with both RGAP and Coracle Press, was invited to run it.
Following lengthy negotiations, undertaken by Simon Cutts, the RGAP archive and Martin Roger’s own collection of artists’ books were taken by Chelsea College of Art Library, University of the Arts London.
For further information about RGAP publications, or Martin Rogers, please contact Lindsey Adams on 01243 775870 or Simon Cutts at Coracle Press.
Construction Storage Despatch, the 2015 Coracle Press book about Martin Rogers is available to buy here.
“One might say we were drawn together by our interest in exploring the potential of artists’ publications and, in particular, approaches that might be characterised as experimental and situated in a context of innovative practices in music, texts of various kinds and performance.”David Ainley, Construction Storage Despatch, Coracle, 2014
“Martin Rogers saw that things remained grounded, so that the realm of possibilities became the tangible realm of the actual. The basic day to day humdrum activities of moving boxes of books, relocating reams of paper, folding said paper, stuffing envelopes, posting parcels and packages, organising rooms, ordering materials together with other, so called ‘menial’ jobs, were considered as important a thing to engage with as any cerebral activity could be.”Rodger Brown, Construction Storage Despatch, Coracle 2014