Commonplace self-publishing meet up take 2

An important aspect of self- publishing, or any creative endeavour that isn’t massively lucrative, is having the support and the strength to sustain it. With this in mind Commonplace hosts quarterly meet ups in Bath open to anyone with an interest in self-publishing and zines, in order to help support and encourage creativity.

The second Commonplace Self-publishing meet up was a success. Mathilde and Henry from publishing house Essarter spoke about their books that investigate history and geopolitics in former soviet block countries. Since the Ukraine Revolution Essarter have been working with writers, activists, artists and photographers to archive social opinion, through a series of books with a unique design aesthetic.

The format for Essarter’s first collaborative work Musée Immédiat, considers artefacts and the role of the museum. An introduction by Mai Anne Bénédic muses the role of history within Ukraine and the impact of the soviets attempt to eradicate the cultural history of the Ukrainian people. Bénédic challenges us to confront the constructs of history along with their relevant motives.

The poetic reflections of Bénédic are followed by a series of photo projects and texts, presenting a comprehensive insight into the impact of soviet occupancy of Ukraine. Images of urban landscapes and domestic interiors, along with intimate portraits portray a feeling of solidarity from a country in recovery.

Essarter’s interest in Ukraine runs true in their upcoming books, The Red Utopias, a trilogy bringing together artists and writers around the concept of political utopias in Europe after the collapse of the USSR.

Our discussion with Mathilde and Henry allowed questions about the intentions of documentary photography, the inevitable challenges of trying to remain objective when tackling sensitive subject matter, and the editorial strategy that coordinated a project between Paris, Bristol and Kyiv. Mathilde admitted that Skype was an invaluable tool for organising meetings and deadlines is a testimony to how technology and the web can enable projects on a global scale.

Following our guest speakers the discussion continued around the work of our group. It was great to hear developments of returning members projects, and to meet new faces who are engaging in some way with the process of self-publishing.

If you’d like to follow our friends as Essarter Éditions please visit them here . . .


 Event flyer designed by Tessa. Event flyer designed by Tessa.  Essarter crew mid discussion.. Essarter crew mid discussion..

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