The Trustees of Book Works and Rob Hadrill, Founding Director (Studio), announce Jane Rolo, Founding Director (Publishing) will be leaving Book Works this autumn 2019. For the last thirty-five years Jane has led publishing and commissioning at Book Works, building a singular approach to working with artists. Her incomparable contribution to art and publishing has been to foreground a unique space for the production of artists books.

Jane co-founded Book Works with Rob Hadrill, in 1984. The list of artists that Book Works has commissioned and worked with is a history of experimental thinking. Early publications include books by Cornelia Parker, Joseph Kosuth, Tacita Dean, Liam Gillick, and Susan Hiller. More recent examples of artists working with Book Works and Jane include: Clunie Reid, Katrina Palmer, Hamja Ahsan, Slavs and Tatars, and Laure Prouvost. Forthcoming projects will see new books in 2019 by Bouchra Khalili, Stephen Sutcliffe, and Sophia Al-Maria.

Jane pioneered an approach to commissioning that gave opportunities to young artists to publish their own work, and also to curators and editors such as Matthew Higgs, Stefan Kalmár, Sara Wajid, Mark Beasley, Lisa Panting, Stewart Home, and Maria Fusco, to create their own series, and for young, emerging and unknown artists and writers to be commissioned through a process of open submission. This legacy continues with a new series of books commissioned by Hannah Black, and a new issue of The Happy Hypocrite guest edited by Erica Scourti.

The Trustees are immensely proud to have worked with Jane. Her co-director Rob Hadrill says,

Book Works combines a publishing house with a bookbinding studio, making us uniquely artist-focused. Jane’s vision for artists publishing has been groundbreaking and, as we move into our next chapter, we will continue to make books that make a difference.

The studio works with artists and designers to create hand crafted books. Current clients include Mark Dion, who in 2005 was commissioned to produce a publication associated with a residency at the Centre for Studies of Surrealism and its Legacies at the Manchester Museum, resulting in an installation and the publication Bureau for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacy. Mark said of his collaboration with Jane and Book Works,

With over a dozen books under my belt, I am hardly a neophyte with regards to publishing, however none of my previous projects prepared me for the joys of collaborating with Book Works.

A registered charity, Book Works fosters independent thinking. As we celebrate Jane’s achievements – thirty-five years of experimental publishing and work with artists – she leaves us with a platform of commissions, residencies, and a network of artists, readers, book fairs, libraries and bookshops, and former colleagues and collaborators on which we will build the next chapter of our history. One of our successes over the last decade has been the publication of the journal The Happy Hypocrite founded and edited by Maria Fusco, whose endorsement of Jane’s role will be widely shared,

Jane is puissant, sensitive and canny. The world of contemporary artists books has been immeasurably impacted by her knowledge, generosity and precision.

Book Works is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England and receives support from trusts and foundations. Peter Heslip of Arts Council England says,

Without Jane Rolo’s focus and direction during her time as Director at Book Works, artists books would not enjoy the profile they now do within contemporary art practice. During the Arts Council’s long relationship with Book Works, they have nurtured and developed a wealth of new talent, and established themselves as the pre-eminent platform for artist books and related practices. Jane’s legacy will allow Book Works to continue to flourish and break new creative ground well into the future.

In March/April 2019 we will advertise for the position of Director (Publishing).

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