Right after New Year’s, six of Columbia’s Book and Paper MFA students headed west to attend the College Book Art Association’s Biennial Conference in the San Francisco Bay area. This year’s conference theme, Time, Sequence, and Technology, proved to be quite popular, resulting in the entire event being busier than the previous CBAA conference, with participation high and most sessions full. Columbia’s MFAs spent their three days primarily in diverse and informative panels, with topics ranging from pedagogy to digital artists’ books, and from experimental wood type projects and microwriting.
The Columbia representatives included MFAs from both first (Alex Borgen, Jillian Bruschera) and second year (Boo Gilder, Hannah King, Jenna Rodriguez, Claire Sammons). In addition to attending presentations from leaders in the Book Arts field, all six participated in the Graduate Roundtable discussion. This new seminar group was reserved exclusively for graduate students, and allowed for the first time at CBAA a forum where students could meet and discuss important issues in the field. Discussions and debates ranged far and wide, diving into opinions on the role of the traditional book with the rise of screen media and E-book readers (such as the Amazon Kindle).
In addition, second-year MFA Claire Sammons presented her artist’s book, Composition for Stern, on a student panel that focused on the conference’s main theme of Time, Sequence, and Technology. Says Sammons, “CBAA was a fantastic experience for all of us, and it was exciting for me to take on the new role of academic conference presenter. We all agree that the Graduate Roundtable is a valuable addition to the sessions, and found it encouraging and energizing hear from our peers.” All agree that they look forward to the next CBAA conference in 2014!