Our manifesto:

Counter is a place for keeners, fans, and D.I.Y enthusiasts.

We are developing a context for making and sharing work using the book format.

Counter can also be a forum for questions and dialogue.

At Counter you will find challenging work.

We like multiples.

We like to mess about with the boundaries between audience and participant.

Counter might be a temporary community at the book fair - this can shift and change.

Counter is still new.

Counter is developing a curatorial rationale.

We feel we’re being welcomed into a national and international network of book fairs and we like it.

Artists can bring their work out of a private space and share it in our public space.

We welcome artists that are already comfortable at a book fair but we also want to find radical work being made on the kitchen table and create a possible outlet.

We are interested in what a book fair might provoke and what we can sustain.

Counter is an inclusive environment but not necessarily a comfortable one.

We can experiment with how we plan and deliver Counter.

Counter has not defined where or when it happens, or for how long. It is flexible and it explores the format of the event itself.

It recognises the value of research and creates a space to connect with academic institutions.

Counter brings artists together to see work they wouldn’t ordinarily see and meet artists they wouldn’t ordinarily meet.

We’re interested in using digital platforms to extend the reach of Counter.

Our motivation responds to the appetite of people who want to show their work and people who want to engage with work.

We’re encouraged by the response of our previous visitors and participants who want to come to Counter again and again... and again...and again...

We are excited by people making experimental work.

Counter is ambitious.

We question where we fit within a national and international network of book fairs.

We want people to know about Counter because we want people to be there. Our visitors are not statistics they could be our future participants.

We think a friendly and accommodating tone is pretty important.

Risk-taking is fun. So is being difficult, challenging, conceptual and critical.

Affordability is an issue we won’t ignore. Travel costs are a very real problem for many people to come to Counter so we know that the event needs to be really good value for everyone.

Not everyone can be there but we can and will connect with our remote audience by utilising social media platforms to build relationships nationally and internationally before, during and after our events.

We are the remote audience of other book fairs and we are just as interested in other people’s events as we want them to be in our’s so we like using social media.

We know that our website has more than one important function; it is a resource, reference and a signpost to exhibitors, participants and works in conjunction with our social media platforms.

We care about the details. Good quality documentation is important for us, our participants and our extended audience. Counter is no good unless the work is actually seen by people.

Artists and institutions are of equal value at Counter; primarily we are interested in good work and conversations and we don’t mind who made it or who wants to talk about it.

Our challenge is to find the ways to make our visitors stay for longer, meet more people, have more conversations and see more work.

To keep going and stay motivated we will need to instigate new ways of working and making friends.