POP + COPIM collaboration

POP are pleased to announce a collaboration with COPIM (Community-Led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs Project).

It is an open access book project experimenting with what a Data Book could look like. It probes how texts relate to the archive, and how digital tools complicate this relationship, while also opening ways to render them more dynamically, and potentially available to open and ongoing interpretations.

The collaboration experiments with the archive as the book, and the book as the archive

COPIM is a 3-year project funded by Research England and Arcadia that is developing critical components to support the sustainable publication of open access books, including infrastructures, business models, governance procedures, re-use strategies, preservation structures, and  outreach programs. These systems and infrastructures will be open and collectively managed for the common good.

COPIM is collaborating with three projects:

–  One focuses on POP and Data books working together with Mattering Press.

– A second one, in collaboration with Open Humanities Press, explores the notion of Combinatorial Books that are made by reusing existing texts beyond established citation practices. Both involve innovative re-use of source data and texts.

– A third project, X-Sketchbook, in collaboration with the TiB, The Bartlett School of Architecture, and Open Book Publishers, will explore the state of the art of experimentation in architectural publishing.

For the POP/Data Book project we are working closely with Julien McHardy (COPIM/Mattering Press) and Rebekka Kiesewetter (Coventry University).


The collaboration speaks to concerns with the archive, and how its authority might be queered and bent, if it is exposed to open ended reading.

It also addresses the relationship between qualitative texts and quantitative data, and how one renders the other, and who has the power to frame such renderings, and how-thanks to machine assisted reading of large data-bases, and the machine generation of human readable texts, sounds and images there is no longer a clear distinction in kind, of scale or otherwise, between qualitative and quantitative data

The project experiments with the archive as the book, and the book as the archive.

POP research is based on a large dataset of 200 years of clothing inventions. We started with 370,000 patents. More about where the data comes from is here.

We may of course be biased, but these are not just dusty, dry, old bits of data. Patents hold lively, dynamic, story-filled multi-dimensional experiences of the world. There are many stories of lesser-known inventors and inventions, beyond hegemonic norms, that open up and expand normative understandings of the world at different times. They provide insights into what people were concerned about – and how they sought to address and solve specific problems – they give us glimpses into lives, times and places.

We are interested in thinking about how else we might make this large dataset of historic patents available for other use/rs.

Like many projects, we are committed to open access and plan to put our data into open access archives for other researchers to use. We are also interested in thinking about how else we might make this large dataset of historic patents available – what kinds of other lives this data might have…

So, we are delighted to be a pilot project for the COPIM project to explore and experiment, perform, engage and make other things with this data. We are curious about what interests, intrigues, excites others about it – and how else we might collectively invite people into this dataset. 

What other lives might this data have….?

First steps in the project involve a series of workshops on ReUsing Data in creative and critical ways. It is a collective exploration of how digital tools and machines have changed the relationship between texts and sources, as well as of the conceptual/imaginative spaces and relationalities that emerge around them.

Bringing together scholars, writers, artists and publishers we aim to reflect on and experiment with practices of using and reusing sources that relate texts and their sources in new ways. COPIM + POP + Mattering Press are interested in how texts refer to one another; how texts relate to data; how texts and data are (re)used, experimented with and performed; and how these relationships reconfigure / are reconfigured through new collaborative/multi-modal/multi-actor writing and archival practices and infrastructures.