The Designer Bookbinders International Competition Exhibition returns with an all-new Bookbinding Festival 

The Bodleian Libraries is delighted to once again be hosting the Designer Bookbinders’ International Bookbinding Competition Exhibition and the Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize, as well as the inaugural Festival of Bookbinding in the Weston Library this summer.

The long-awaited revival of the Designer Bookbinders Exhibition is due to begin at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Thursday 7 July 2022. This year’s exhibition, titled “A Gathering of Leaves”, features 76 entries from 18 countries. The competition and accompanying exhibition celebrate innovation as well as the traditional techniques involved in bookbinding.

This year, participants were invited to bind a book of their choosing on the theme of nature, plants, botanicals and gardens. The overall winner of the Sir Paul Getty Bookbinding Prize will be announced on 6 July 2022, with all shortlisted entries on display in Blackwell Hall from 7 July to 11 September. The accompanying Festival of Bookbinding will feature lectures, demonstrations and workshops on the practical and theoretical aspects of bookbinding.

The Festival of Bookbinding, taking place on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July at the Weston Library, includes a varied programme of events related to the craft, inviting the public to celebrate with prize entrants and learn about both the practical skills and artistic flair involved in the process of bookbinding. It includes an introduction to the decorative techniques of contemporary bookbinding, a lecture on the past, present and future of British bookbinding, talks on the implications of rebinding old books, a practical workshop and a stand selling bookbinding materials. The programme will be delivered by a group of award-winning bookbinders, Bodleian book conservators and Fellows of the Designer Bookbinders Society.

Stuart and Louise Brockman, organisers of the Designer Bookbinder’s Festival, said:

We are excited to be involved with this prestigious international event. The competition attracts entries from some of the finest craftspeople from around the world and allows them to fully express their artistic flair. The Festival of Bookbinding will provide an opportunity for anyone with an interest in books and bookbinding to attend the events in the stunning surroundings of the Weston Library, and to view the exhibition to fully appreciate the quality and variety of bindings on display.

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said:

The Bodleian Libraries is delighted to play host to the Designer Bookbinders Festival and Exhibition, and the Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize. Although strong advocates of digital technologies, the Bodleian is proud to host an event where traditional techniques are revived, and bookbinders of the future are inspired to continue to experiment with, design, and develop the truly unique canvas that is a bookbinding. It is part of the Bodleian’s proud guardianship of literary heritage that we make sure the incredible skill and artistry that goes into bookbinding continues for many years to come.

The Designer Bookbinder’s Exhibition, “A Gathering of Leaves”, runs from 7 July to 11 September 2022, with the festival taking place on Friday 8 July and Saturday 9 July. Prior booking is required for some events. The accompanying catalogue, published by Bodleian Library Publishing, features full colour images along with full descriptions of all 153 bindings entered. Find out more on our Visit site.

Notes to editors

For further information, images or to arrange an interview please contact:

Rachel Smith, Press and Communications Manager at the Bodleian Libraries
+44 (0) 7718118141

About the Bodleian Libraries

The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford is the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. It includes the principal University library – the Bodleian Library – which has been a legal deposit library for 400 years; as well as 26 libraries across Oxford including major research libraries and faculty, department and institute libraries. Together, the libraries hold more than 13 million printed items, over 80,000 e-journals and outstanding special collections including rare books and manuscripts, classical papyri, maps, music, art and printed ephemera. Members of the public can explore the collections via the Bodleian’s online image portal at or by visiting the exhibition galleries in the Bodleian’s Weston Library.

About the Designer Bookbinders Society

The Designer Bookbinders society evolved from The Hampstead Guild of Scribes and Bookbinders, which was founded in 1951. Its name was changed in 1955 to The Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders. Designer Bookbinders evolved from this guild in 1968.

Currently with a worldwide membership approaching 500, the society has 29 fellows, and 5 licentiate members.  The Designer Bookbinders’ Society is a collection of talented and passionate bookbinders, aiming to continue the traditional techniques of bookbinding and bring the practice into the 21st century. The society publishes an annual journal, The New Bookbinder, as well as quarterly newsletters, and strives to promote, maintain and improve standards of design and craft in hand bookbinding. Fellows of the society each year bind the Man Booker Prize shortlisted books to be presented to the authors. The Designer Bookbinders’ International Competition is a jewel in the crown of the society, hosted in conjunction with the Bodleian Libraries’ at the University of Oxford. For more information on the society, including how to commission a binding or become a member, visit the Designer Bookbinders website.