Bookbinding Education within American Degree and Diploma Awarding Institutions: Colleges, Universities, and Schools Devoted to Craft Education
The position of the craft of hand bookbinding within the 21st century evokes an interesting juxtaposition between historical modes of communication and the continued relevance of the physical book form, specifically the capacity for expression through the embodied written word. One significant measure of relevance lies in the value that is placed on the perpetuation of the traditional book form and the skills required to preserve the craft tradition. Questions about hand bookbinding education, specifically how hand bookbinding is currently taught and how students of the craft will learn hand bookbinding skills in the future, are critical to understanding the state of the field at large. In order to better understand the present state of hand bookbinding, an examination of the educational modes and practices, including an investigation of included craft techniques, pedagogies, assessment, learning outcomes, and the institutions in which hand bookbinding is taught, is needed to provide a backdrop for continued scholarship and exploration of the place of bookbinding within contemporary craft and craft education. Additionally, the ways hand bookbinding is used in contemporary practices of the craft, how hand bookbinding can be used as a tool for expression, and the type of hand bookbinding centric work graduates of early twenty-first century degree and diploma programs do within their careers are vital to painting a portrait of the current state of the field within the United States. This thesis was researched, written, and documented in an attempt to capture the current contexts of hand bookbinding education within the United States while also preserving the voices of hand bookbinding educator-practitioners active in the field today. The basis for this research was conducted through an examination of literature on the history of hand bookbindingwithin, mainly, the 20th century United States. An additional section is included outlining early formalized institutional hand bookbinding education within the United Kingdom as a backdrop, or precursor, to the development of more formalized institutional degree and diploma programs within the United States.