ILAB Congress Scholarship - Part 1 of 4 - Dawn Albinger (Australia)
Dawn Albinger of Archives Fine Books, Australia writes to us:
My background is in the performing arts - primarily as an actress and theatre-maker - but also as a writer, producer, festival director and academic. While I have a lot of expertise in this area (especially contemporary feminist theatre) my personal collecting interests have recently coalesced around the themes of death and dying, in memoriam photography, post mortem practices and funeral culture. I also collect Australian poet and environmentalist Judith Wright (1915-2000), and have a growing fascination for doodles, marginalia, inscriptions, ephemera, friendship books and photograph albums, especially as they relate to Australian social history or, more globally, women's history. I also get occasionally seduced by my husband Hamish Alcorn's collecting interest in revolutionary and utopian literature, in particular the works of political philosopher Murray Bookchin (1921-2006).
Hamish bought Archives Fine Books as a going concern in 2008 and I came on board in a part time capacity in 2010. This part-time involvement became full-time when I stepped in to fill the shoes of a departing employee and found myself falling for the romance of old books.
As a relative newcomer who values education and is frequently inflamed by various research itches, I have been actively seeking out ways to learn more about the antiquarian book trade, bibliographic rigour, collating, cataloguing and curating. I was fortunate to receive an ANZAAB scholarship to attend the Colorado Antiquarian Books Seminar in 2015, and I have been a mentee in the ILAB mentorship program since April 2017. In the future, I'd like to pursue active involvement in my national association (ANZAAB), attend and exhibit at international fairs, and I also want to establish a book collecting prize here at home. I look forward to meeting other members of the trade and asking questions of them about how they may have approached any or all of these goals themselves. I hope to come away inspired, armed with information and ideas, a bit hung over, exhausted but thrilled, and ready for the next chapter.