The Billiken UK Tour
As part of the Billiken Centenary Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Dr Lauren Rea has been working alongside Euhen Matarozzo, director of Billiken, as she researches the history of the world’s longest-running children’s magazine. This collaboration not only has been crucial for the research project itself, but is also underpinning some of the plans for the future of this heritage brand. In June 2019, Lauren and Euhen participated in a series of conferences and meetings in the United Kingdom with the aim of sharing some of the gems uncovered from the vast Billiken archive and presenting their vision for Billiken beyond its centenary.
The first event took place in the University of Edinburgh in the frame of the colloquium “Book Culture in Buenos Aires: Growing Readerships”. Lauren and Euhen were then invited to give a research seminar at Queen’s University Belfast on the history and future of Billiken. Lauren and Euhen also spoke at the international symposium “Periodicals on the Periphery? Latin American Magazines and Print Culture” held at University College London, reflecting on how this ‘encounter’ between an academic and a practitioner was working towards transforming Billiken beyond its centenary.
Argentine Ambassador’s Residence
On the evening of 28th June, the Argentine Embassy hosted a conference and reception at the Residence of Ambassador Carlos Sersale di Cerisano to commemorate Billiken’s forthcoming centenary. Lauren and Euhen were invited to introduce some of the projects they have been working on together to an audience of media and creative industries professionals and Argentinians resident in the UK. Of Billiken, Ambassador Sersale di Cerisano said: “The fact that the magazine survived all these changes in the world and in our country is an amazing success story, not only for Argentina. It is a
national treasure and part of all of our memories as children and parents.”
Children’s Media Conference
To finish their tour through the United Kingdom, Lauren and Euhen attended the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, holding industry meetings with potential investors and collaborative partners. Reflecting on his visit, Euhen Matarozzo said, “Working with Lauren has helped us to position Billiken for the future. We have rediscovered the spirit of innovation upon which Billiken was founded and are working to ensure that this iconic product endures for another hundred years. My visit to the UK has been a great opportunity to spread the word about Billiken, a great Argentine – and Latin American - cultural institution."