International artists join the best of the west for Plymouth’s Art Book Fair

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Counter returns for its fourth book fair to bring together artists, photographers, illustrators and publishers in Plymouth. This year’s event will be held at Ocean Studios and includes exhibitors from Denmark and Italy in addition to artists from across the UK and many based in Plymouth or the South West.

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Counter is a nomadic programme of events arranged by three local artist-organisers who started working together in 2014. They have since run three book fairs, two workshops and a live performance event and were featured in the UK list of the ‘Artist-led Hot 100‘ published by a-n, the Artist’s Information Company in 2017.

This year’s book fair will showcase 37 tablers making a range of unique publications and limited editions ranging from zines and comics to photo books, catalogues and illustrated poetry. The event has also been sponsored by UK paper smith, G.F Smith, who will be at the event showing their range of products.

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After successfully securing a grant from Arts Council England the organisers have programmed short talks and a performance to take place during the afternoon. Guest speakers Alexandra Higlett and Georgina Hounsome will talk about Pirrip Press, their design/publishing company and shop in Bristol; London-based artist Daniel Lehan will present his performance titled ‘I Am A Square’ and Robin Silas Christian of Makina Books and artist Flo Brooks will talk about Brooks’s project, ‘Outskirts’ and other publications released by Makina. Large prints from the ‘Outskirts’ publication will be on display in the cafe at Ocean Studios from Tuesday 13th-Sunday 18th March.

Counter is free to visit and open to all on Saturday 17th March, 12-6pm at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard.

The ‘Outskirts’ exhibition can be visited during normal cafe opening hours: 13th-18th March; Tues/Wed 9am-4pm, Thurs-Sat 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm.


Counter draws together artists, collectives and book works to make friends, sell books, buy books, share work, share knowledge, learn something new, start conversations, ask questions, try to find answers and exchange ideas. It is organised by Maddy Hearn, Paul Hearn and Vickie Fear.

Previous book fairs have taken place at Plymouth Arts Centre (2014), KARST (2015) and The Main Hall at Plymouth University (2016). Other events have included workshops for SWARM at The Exchange, Penzance and Inland Art Festival, Redruth. In December 2017 the organisers of Counter ran Sticky Tables, an event of live performance and dirty collage at The Underground.

Ocean Studios offers a space to create for the city of Plymouth, providing studios and workshop facilities for artists to develop their practices in the heart  of the historic Royal William Yard. It has been managed by RIO, the Real Ideas Organisation since April 2017, with a commitment to keep supporting makers and creatives in the city as well as using its social enterprise model to ensure Ocean Studios is sustainable and prosperous in years to come.