Print Exchanges is a network designed to facilitate research into incunable and early modern print culture and to support early and mid-career academics, especially those who may be marginalised. It also warmly welcomes those more advanced in their careers who feel they would benefit from the network or who want to support it. Print Exchanges aims to help scholars make their current research more visible to others in the field through its website and to create world-wide opportunities for collaboration.
Woodcuts from Panoplia omnium illiberalium mechanicarum aut sedentariarum artium genera continens (1568), sig. C3r and C5r. Folger Shakespeare Library, GT5770.S4 Cage.
There are particular challenges to being an early- and mid-career academic when job applications, tenure and promotion pressures are likely to be most acute: (1) maintaining research momentum; (2) staying up-to-date with emerging research and publications; (3) obtaining feedback. Institutional affiliations – past, current and absent – can shape and curtail networks unhelpfully. Print Exchanges aims to help overcome these barriers by creating an active and engaged international network in which members are invested and supported.
Share Work in Progress
The idea of exchange is central to this network. We will hold twice yearly “work in progress” round tables in which members will be invited to talk about their latest research for 5-10mins, receive responses, learn about adjacent and similar research, and make connections with potential collaborators. These will be online to allow international conversations to happen and emphatically about informal presentation so that preparation does not become an additional burden to meet. Members will be encouraged to share even very nascent ideas and research ‘knots’ that are troubling them, counteracting the emphasis at most conferences and seminars on presenting near-final work.
Print Exchanges will also help members find collaborators, readers and writing buddies beyond their existing circle of contacts. Members can advertise their current work and academic profile on the Print Exchanges website. But more importantly, through Slack (a messaging app) members can solicit readers to help refine their work by sharing the topic they’re writing on, length of material they would like input on and any relevant deadlines. They can also find writing buddies for periods in which they are engaged in intense writing to help with accountability and momentum.
Foster Further Vibrancy
The Print Exchanges network comes about at a moment of particular vibrancy for the study of fifteenth-, sixteenth-, and seventeenth-century print. As new researchers enter the field and new directions emerge within it, a network that connects these scholars and their ideas will (we believe) further energise the study of print culture.
Co-founders: Alex da Costa, Aditi Nafde, Devani Singh, Kathleen Tonry