"Coming Full Circle": Reviving Private Press Printing at the University of Otago
The Printer in Residence (PiR) Programme at the University of Otago has been running since 2003, and in that time, nine private press publications have been produced. Each year the programme commissions a skilled handcraft printer to produce a specific work (usually related to the University of Otago's art and literary history) in collaboration with local artists and print makers. Although there is valuable research being conducted in regards to New Zealand's print culture, this was aspect of New Zealand's private press history yet to be investigated. This study utilised an historical case study approach with an objective to document the recent history and development of the Printer in Residence(PiR) Programme through an investigation of its archives; interviews with eight of the programme's participants, and written accounts by two others. The study aimed to gain a holistic perspective of the PiR Programme by interviewing those involved in its administration and general operations, past Printers in Residence, and artists and print makers. Case studies of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 PiR Programmes highlight the collaborative process of producing a limited edition hand printed book, and unique characteristics of each PiR programme. The major themes identified from the data gathered were: the strong collaborative aspect of the PiR Programme; the importance placed on promoting the programme as a teaching opportunity to the English, Art History and Design departments; the hand crafted qualities of the books produced in comparison to commercial publishing, and the perceived value of the PiR programme for those involved in this study. This study identifies the PiR Programme as a small but important aspect of New Zealand's book history which is worthy of further research.