Victorian Bookbinders Guild

For all interested in the Art, Craft and Practice of Bookbinding                                             

Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Lecture.

  A History of Paper as a Transformative Medium: from Ancient China to Contemporary Australia

Speaker: Professor Jonathan Bloom - Norma Jean Calderwood Professor, Islamic and Asian Art, emeritus, Boston College and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Endowed Chair in Islamic Art, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Date          14/03/2019    Time   6:45 PM to 7:45 PM

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, Arts West Building, the University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic, 3010

A reception will be held immediately following the lecture in the Atrium Foyer of the Arts West Building from 7.45pm-8.30pm.

Registration essential go to


The development and spread of paper has always opened up new cultural possibilities for recording and disseminating information: the printing and literacy revolution in early modern Europe is only the best known case. Yet the broader history of this humble and every-day item as a transformative medium has been less discussed. From its origins in China, and especially as it was adopted in the Muslim world, paper transformed the ways artists and architects created their art, from the spread of drawing and life studies to the sharing of designs, technologies and artistic trade secrets.

In this lecture, Jonathan M. Bloom will present joint research carried out with Professor Sheila S. Blair, charting the world-changing role of paper from its origins in China, across the Muslim world into Renaissance Europe, and into the Americas and contemporary Australian life.

Professor Jonathan M. Bloom and Professor Sheila S. Blair are internationally recognised scholars of medieval and early modern Islamic culture and art history. Blair and Bloom teach, research, and write as a team. They jointly hold the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship of Islamic and Asian Art, emeriti, at Boston College, and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Endowed Chair in Islamic Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Their ground-breaking work includes The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800 (1995), Bloom's award-winning 2001 book Paper before Print (reprint 2013), and their recent joint study of writing as an art form in Islamic world culture, By the Pen and what They Write (2017). Their work has been honoured by prizes from the State of Iran, the American John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute, and translated into Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, and Persian.

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Victorian Bookbinders Guild Inc.  Incorporated 1981     Registration No A2896  ABN: 97 853 169 281     PO Box 355, Seddon West, Victoria 3011