Post-Publishing is a research theme at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures that gathers together researchers and practitioners who, both collaboratively and individually, explore alternative pasts, presents, and futures for publishing. For us, reimagining what publishing is and what it does means performing it differently: beyond the commercial and humanist legacy systems that still dominate publishing, beyond a focus on books as objects and commodities and on binaries between print and digital, and beyond the way oppressions along lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, and language, continue to shape our writing and publishing practices.
We do so by actively intervening in the way research and writing is produced and disseminated and how communities and publics are created around it. We share a willingness to question and disturb existing hegemonies and enclosures of knowledge production, and to subject deeply ingrained communication practices to creative critique, together with the institutions that sustain them (the university, library, publishing house, authorship, copyright, etc.).
Our aim is to re-perform these institutions and communication practices in potentially more ethical and responsible ways, by creating diverse interactions, alliances, and relations of care around publications, acknowledging local practices and multiple epistemologies. But also by experimenting with not-for-profit, community-led approaches to publishing, with setting up our own presses, publishing projects, and collectives (following the principle of ‘scaling small’), with emerging book formats and with the nature and scope of established textual practices (including writing, reading, and annotating), with radical open access and open-source tools and platforms, and with the creation of alternative organisational models and more equitable and diverse knowledge infrastructures
Through these practice-based and activist research interventions we directly engage with the politics of publishing and open access and with the materiality of our publications and publishing infrastructures (from books to zines and archives). We see publishing as a strategic, tactical, and collaborative method to intervene in prevalent cultures of knowledge production, as a practice embedded in and indebted to forms of community organising. Our research therefore aligns with methodologies of speculative critique and affirmative intervention, while embedding these practices in a context of conversation, communication, collaboration, and care–beyond territorial, epistemic, and disciplinary boundaries.
Through our various engagements, working across borders of academia and activism, we want to stimulate the creation of networks of publishers, scholars, librarians, technologists, activists, artists, educators, and others, from different fields and backgrounds, inside and outside of the university, all committed to exploring alternative forms of publishing.