Let the words do the work for this crowdfunding campaign. Poor old Martin can’t even raise a smile…


When Martin Luther wrote his ninety-five theses he didn’t have a plan to create a religious schism, he didn’t know that people would want their own copies and nor, I am quite sure, did he realise that book printers would make a living from the reprints. He didn’t just reframe religion, he helped create an entire industry.

Johann Zedler offered copies of Martin Luther’s works at an Easter fair in Leipzig in 1728, using a new form of funding known as praenumeration. Once people had pledged financially he used the funds to print the books and deliver them at Michaelmas, later that year.

Praenumeration is the 17th century word for the 21st century crowdsourcing or crowdfunding. Between Zedler’s times and now, Mozart tried and failed and tried and succeeded in sourcing funds for three concertos with the pledgers receiving not only the pleasure of hearing them performed but also copies of the scores. The Statue of Liberty has a pedestal, with thanks acknowledging the contributions of many Americans. And most recently creatives and business people – creative business people and business-minded creatives – have turned to crowdfunding to pull them out of the garrets and into the light over the past fifteen years, and it’s happening on a global scale.

We're not quite sure why Wolfgang appears so irked – crowdfunding had him rolling in it.

Something else that happened on a global scale shortly after praenumeration was embraced was transportation. An entirely novel way of dealing with an excess of people, deemed criminals, by loading them on to boats and shipping them around the world.

Some of these were transported to a tiny heart-shaped island far to the south. Not all of them were guilty of faculige, heifer stealing or sacrilege. There were political prisoners, those convicted of sedition and even American patriots. Tasmania has spent many years quivering under the “convict stain”. Its dubious beginnings are now being embraced, the diversity of the Europeans who settled here, however willingly, has created a culture that could be compared to the vast miasma that is London.

And in the 21st century of praenumeration a new transportation of creativity is occurring. Catalysed by a Tasmanian expat writer, now living in London, an anthology is being created on the perennial themes of Islands and Cities. Invited writers will be accompanied within by a number of submissions (submissions page) from emerging and established writers from both locations.

The organising team believes the writers deserve remuneration for their creations, so a crowdfunding campaign was created to support the endeavour (crowdfunding page). Like the praenumeration efforts of old, this will pay the writers the printers and the illustrators. But we need that crowd, we need people to part with a few dollars, or pounds or euros or rubles to see this most assuredly soon to be classic anthology birthed into paper and sent round the world.

In the words of Tasmanian artist, Josh Santospirito (Joshua’s site), “Artist Run Initiatives take many forms in our community. This is one of them, and it’s attempting to do something that hasn’t really been done in recent history in the Tasmanian community, let alone link the Tasmanian writing community to that of London’s.”

Let’s make it so. Pledge your support for Transportation.

Kristen Erskine

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