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iSchool Student Wins 2016 BHPC Printing Apprenticeship

Submitted on Friday, January 08, 2016

sam%20bellinger1Samantha (Sam) Bellinger, a first year Master of Information (MI) student at the iSchool, has been awarded the prestigious Book History and Print Culture (BHPC) Printing Apprenticeship in the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College.

“Having been given this opportunity means a great deal to me as someone who is passionate about learning the processes involved in producing early printed texts,” Sam explains.

The second placement was given to Joel Vaughan, who is in the MA program at UofT’s Department of English.

The BHPC Apprentices are given the privilege of learning the processes involved in operating the printing presses in the Robertson Davies Library’s Bibliography Room at Massey College, and assist showing visitors around the room and explaining the function of the presses and their related materials.

Apprentices will also learn the basic skills of typesetting, registration, presswork, distribution, and principles of letterpress design. Further, they will assist in the maintenance of the shop including sorting spacing, distributing type and the other organizational tasks required to keep the presses in working order.

BHPC students gain a distinctive approach to the materials of their home subject, a methodology fostered by course work, the TCB lecture series, regular colloquia, hands-on experience with special collections and the five iron hand-presses in the working print shop at Massey, and intellectual exchange among members of a diverse community.

New apprentices will be working with the Massey College Printer, Nelson Adams, and will join the current BHPC Printing Fellows, Amy Cote and Julia King, and the two new 2016 Massey Printing Apprentices, Kacper Niburski and Chris Kelleher.

sam%20bellinger_books1For Sam, Joel, and fellow students, this apprenticeship provides a unique, educational experience that extends beyond theory.

“Getting to work hands on with these presses and the moveable type collections at Massey is a really wonderful addition to my education, which I believe will provide me with essential experience for my career that extends beyond the classroom,” Sam says. Through this opportunity, Sam is hoping to gain an increased knowledge of the mechanics and history of printing to help further her understanding of the material she will be working with in her research.

The Printing Fellowship Program at Massey College is a partnership between the Robertson Davies Library and Uof T’s Book History and Print Culture Collaborative Program supported by the Faculty of Information (iSchool) and an anonymous donor. BHPC is a multidisciplinary graduate program sponsored by the Department of English, the iSchool and Massey College with sixteen collaborating departments across the University.  Students study the many aspects of the creation, transmission, and reception of the written word from an interdisciplinary perspective.

All BHPC students are registered in a Master’s or Doctoral program in one of 16 participating graduate units. Students who satisfy the requirements of both programs receive their degree with a notation on the transcript “Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture.” For more information please visit

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