Dr. Sydney Shep is currently Reader in Book History and The Printer at Wai-te-ata Press, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Dr. Shep’s project investigates the personal, professional, social and cultural geographies of the nineteenth-century book trades in the port city of Southampton. Mass industrialization disrupted the traditional structures, economies, livelihoods, and collective identity of many skilled occupations, including that of printers, bookbinders, engravers, and papermakers. Global mobility and new linguistic, racial and gender demographics reshaped how print in all its diverse forms was produced, distributed, consumed and preserved.
In collaboration with Professor Mary Hammond and Southampton University colleagues in Computer Science, History, English, and the library, Dr. Shep will digitally map Southampton’s book trade networks using local archives and digitized newspapers. She will also recover the little-known stories of transient book workers and the places they inhabited, sharing them through a smartphone-enabled, community-facing heritage tour, and a virtual and physical exhibition.