Dissemination is not only digital: Experiences of using photobooks in a Creativeworks London Creative Entrepreneur Residency
An Interview with Dionne Brissett, Assistant in the Learning Laboratory, Cass Business School since 2009.
When you moved to work at the Cass Learning Laboratory, were you surprised to find a lot of emphasis being placed on photography being used to document research and innovation work? Yes, I was very surprised to find this, and it was necessary to develop some new skills so that I could help produce materials, particularly for dissemination.
Photography has been used in some aspects of research for many years. Was your use different in some way?
We start documenting right from the start of each project, indeed even from the start of the bidding process. We want to be able to tell a story about the project that shows that crucial pre-approval phase. So we are documenting the process as well as photographing the outcomes or tangible products from the research. We are using any kind of image including scanned-in handwritten notes, as well as extracts from emails and forms.
What was your first reaction when it was suggested you use photobooks?
Confusion, I did not really see the point. I did not understand how academics would benefit by looking through a book of photographs. However, each photobook produced tells the story of the projects that the Learning Laboratory has worked on, in an immediately accessible way.
Can you explain what a photobook is?
It is a physical book of photos, produced by an online service, to which you upload and organise photos, then design the exact look of each page in the book. The physical book is mailed about a week later. The pricing of the books is geared to making single copies or low numbers. Typical prices paid range from £5 to £35; heavy discounts are available to the patient willing to wait for special offers.
Photobook- online editor in preview mode
How is a photobook used?
A photobook is way of documenting project work: it can express another perspective than found in a written report. It is also a good way of starting up dialogue with people about the projects that have been carried out by the Learning Laboratory
Why it is different from a traditional paper photo album?
The photobooks are different because the books look exactly like professionally printed books. You have massive control over layout, and the text/photo balance. There are various sizes and coverings that you can use; they are less bulky and more durable. Really, it is like comparing a hardcover book to a kindle book.
Professional production and style
Are there different formats of photobook?
Yes, there are various formats for the photobook, though common ones are softcover A5 size and hardcover book A4. The smallest book you can produce is a 3”x2” minibook, which only allows for landscape photos and no text.
How did you document the creative entrepreneur in residence scheme with Dr Tine Bech?
The creative entrepreneur in scheme was documented by photography throughout.
We are now disseminating this including via photobooks. The photos in these books have most definitely replaced a thousand words. Our first book started with how the funding was received and how the artist was matched to Cass and then how the “SPACE 2050: Seeing with Seers” workshop was undertaken noting the planning, and those that contributed as well as the feedback that was received along with what social media was used.
Tine’s project finished with a major evening event Spaces2050. Were you taking all of the photographs?
Over 1000 photographs and some video were taken by a collaborative team of people who attended the evening, including an experienced photographer, LLeonardo Rubio y Degrassi.
I took photographs of the evening, my photographs are quite abstract – I actually enjoy those photographs the best and they show my creative side.
Tine has a selection of photos at:
There is a Spotify of the event at:
How quickly did you produce a photobook after the event?
A 150 page photobook was produced within 2 weeks. The planning stage of the photobooks are the most time consuming, this was due to me having to get the story in the right order with in excess of a 1000 photographs to work from.
A4 photobook of Creativeworks London residency final event
What were the steps needed to produce the Spaces2050 photobook?
I designed the photobook in 3 sections, the beginning, the middle and the end, then those sections was broken down to the various chapters that reflected a distinct element of the project. This helped me also to decide whether text or photos would be good to explain a chapter in the book, deciding how many photos to put on a page was challenging; there is almost too much choice.
150 pages book of event
What has the reaction been to the Spaces2050 photobook?
The reaction has been very positive and has particularly helped explain the Spaces 2050 event to those who did not attend.
Can you give contact details for some main suppliers?
There is a very wide range of suppliers. We have used three in particular:
Author Details: Dionne Brissett – Dionne.firstname.lastname@example.org, Learning Laboratory, Cass Business School, City University of London
Images Used Here: Dionne Brissett