The hugely influential BLOCK magazine was founded in 1979 and ran for eleven years. Edited by Jon Bird, Barry Curtis, Melinda Mash, Tim Putnam, George Robertson and Lisa Tickner, BLOCK attempted to address the problem of the social, economic and ideological dimensions of the arts in society, and offered a challenge to a conventional understanding of art history.
In an interview for the AAH Oral Histories project, Tickner describes how she and her colleagues at Middlesex Polytechnic (as it was then) launched the seminal journal, and recalls the challenges in naming their new publication. The BLOCK Reader (1996) is a collection of essays from the pages of BLOCK, and encompasses some of the key cultural and critical debates between artists, art and design historians and cultural theorists over the course of a decade. The full set of issues can be accessed in the Sheppard Library at Middlesex University's Hendon Campus.
Bird et al also edited the Futures series published by Routledge, comprising the titles, Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change (1993), Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement (1994) and Futurenatural: Nature, Science, Culture (1996). More recently, Tickner revisited Middlesex University's past and legacy in Hornsey 1968: The Art School Revolution (2008) - an account of the Hornsey 'sit-in' and its aftermath that draws on interviews with participants and hitherto unpublished archives. Hornsey and BLOCK feature in the timeline created by AHRC Creative Fellow Andrew Kearney and Aoife Mac Namara, as part of Spaces Buildings Make (2005-2008), a practice-based research project that took the architectural archives of the former art and design campus at Cat Hill as both the subject, medium and site of a body of installations and performances.