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With a shift simultaneous realities collide*

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London College of Communication

Elephant & Castle



United Kingdom

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This half-day event will focus upon the role of writing in/across/through design education and practice. The afternoon will be in two parts and will encourage participants to share thoughts and experiences.

Dr Nicky Ryan (Dean of LCC’s Design School) will open the event. Paul Bailey (Course Leader of MA Graphic Media Design, LCC) will introduce keynotes from Bryony Quinn (writer, educator, lecturer) and James Langdon (designer, writer, educator).

LCC’s current MA Graphic Media Design participants will host three parallel workshops/activities to explore a series of provocations.

During the afternoon there will be a screening of NO EXIT (2016) - a provoking example of designers co-writing and co-opting existing narrative frameworks. The Design Displacement Group has re-appropriated the narrative format of the opera, exploring theatrics and performative requirements of a design practice. As a basis for this generative multi-screen project, DDG explores the seminal text 'No Exit' by Jean-Paul Sartre in the light of Brexit and a wider political landscape of fracture in the Eurozone. The opera is constructed through an algorithmically coded system with generated music in collaboration with Los Angeles minimalist duo OOFJ. Issues around labour conditions, efficiency, isolationism, populism and panic in a political Union no one can practically 'exit' from have an overlap with questions DDG is posing for a post-signature design practice.

After a tea break, Professor John Wood (Goldsmiths Emeritus Professor in Design, founder of WritingPAD and co-editor of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice) will offer an endnote.

The afternoon will close with a plenary panel discussion fuelled by questions and observations from participants. We will then retire to LCC’s local pub, The Prince of Wales, to continue the conversation.

A curated selection of artifacts from the Special Collections and Archives at LCC will be on display, alongside journals from the Writing-PAD archive.

*title borrowed from Lawrence Weiner (2012)

This is a free event for existing Network members and University of Arts London staff and students.

Non-members who wish to attend can purchase membership for £30 by selecting that option at checkout. The Network membership period runs from September to August, and is renewable annually. Learn more about the benefits of membership here.


13.30—14.00 Registration
14.00—14.10 Welcome by Nicky Ryan and Intro by Paul Bailey
14.10—15.00 Keynotes by Bryony Quinn and James Langdon
15.00—16.00 Parallel workshops x 3
16.00—16.30 Tea/coffee break / screening of NO EXIT
16.30—17.00 Endnote by John Wood
17.00—17.30 Plenary / panel discussion
17.30—late Evening social at The Prince of Wales pub


'Meaning Shifting' by Bryony Quinn

How does meaning carry-over, pass between, translate, tunnel-through and otherwise shift between images and words? And if meaning has a distance to cover, or a threshold to pass through, is it real or imagined? Can the shift between images and words collapse?

Bryony Quinn is a writer, editor and lecturer. Her research sits in the intersection of visual culture and literature with a primary focus on figurative and spatial obliquity. She has presented her writing at Frieze, Turner Contemporary and the Royal College of Art, and has worked with various arts, literary and design institutes including Artangel, Fitzcarraldo Editions, Cabinet Magazine, Barbican and It’s Nice That. She has a MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design from the RCA, where she was the recipient of the annual critical writing prize, editor of Arc, and co-organiser of a conference on the life and work of John Berger.

'To speak of artefacts only in their presence' by James Langdon

I use writing to consolidate what I know. I write to process meanings and methods that I encounter in practice, and to exercise arguments that I am trying to find form for. I will talk about the English designer Norman Potter's 'commandment' — 'To speak of artefacts only in their presence' — and reflect on its influence on how I practice and write about design.

James Langdon is an independent graphic designer and writer and a guest professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Germany. He is one of six directors of the artist-run gallery Eastside Projects in Birmingham, UK; and founder of the itinerant School for Design Fiction. In 2012 he received the Inform International Award for Conceptual Design, presented by Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany. He is presently working on a biography of English designer Norman Potter (1923–1995) as a teacher.

'Machine for saying Sorry' by Professor John Wood

Since the Leveson Report (2012) tried to force reckless journalists to print an apology to their victims, some newspapers compounded their callousness by making the apologies too small to notice. Perhaps robots will manage these situations better than humans. However, this would require 'Artificial Wisdom', rather than 'Artificial Intelligence'. Accountability is not enough. A company's apology may be beautifully written, but only individual people can feel responsible. Ironically, saying “I apologise” is almost opposite to saying “I am sorry’. Historically and politically, an apology was a formal, public defence for one’s actions, rather than a heart-felt expression of contrition. Where is 'design' in all this?

John Wood is Creative Director at Kinerji and Emeritus Professor of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. After a decade as Deputy Head of Goldsmiths’ Fine Art Department (in the famous YBA group years) he wrote some radical design degrees that helped to seed the current Department of Design at Goldsmiths. He co-founded the international ‘Writing-PAD Network’ and is co-editor of its ‘Journal of Writing in Creative Practice’. John has published chapters, articles and books. He is also an active member of several bands (including Deaf School and The Clang Group).


Original thoughts are prohibited

This workshop aims to illuminate the possibilities and peculiarities of transcription within critical design practice. The session will begin with an exercise that considers how we hear, and how we then process that hearing into a written form. This will be followed by a series of provocations expanded by practice-based examples negotiating the spoken word, the interpretation of inanimate forces and the democratisation of the image. Finally, we will screen The annexation of Hello Land, a collaborative film.

Workshop leads: Louise Evans, Cate Rickards & Rebecca Worth

From writer, to reader, to writer, to archive

Cataloguing is a key aspect of academic libraries. As a meticulous eye inspects the pages to estimate their value and destination, sometimes the most peculiar event unfolds. A reader meets another one. Through an underlined sentence, a scribbled comment, or an engaged annotation, another’s interpretation of the work is unlocked. And even more peculiar, far from preventing the book to reach its destined shelf, the cataloguing process proceeds and decides to acknowledge this interpretation as an indivisible part of the original work. Through a selection of works, this display aims to reveal those hidden moments to the public. To immerse themselves in pieces that were augmented, altered, and appropriated by anonymous figures and celebrated by the Library.

Workshop leads: Victoria Falconer, Ruth Collingwood, Monica Sajeva & Héloïse d’Almeida

Editing as a way of writing

If there is a written format that resonates with the role of designer-as-editor it is the Reader. It is a collection of texts that builds meaning with other’s words. It is a thoughtful exercise where an editor unveils a networked intertextuality between and amongst existing sources. This session will explore how designers operate in similar ways, questioning concepts like impartiality, sensuality or persuasion through different editing modes. As an experience based provocation to embrace undercover editing skills, participants in this workshop will produce a collaborative response to a collection of texts in the shape of a Reader.

Workshop leads: Carlos Romo Melgar & Aldo Caprini

How to kill a book

Working from a selection of books reported as damaged to the library desk by our fellow students at LCC, this session raises questions about authority and it's limits, practices of defamiliarisation and augmented alienation. This collection, known as 'the loan stock', will provide rich opportunity to walk through and expand upon the nuanced interventions that provoked removal from circulation and use in the library collection. At what point does the written word add, subtract or in this case extract?

Workshop leads: Eugenia Luchetta & Héloïse d’Almeida


Location and Directions

The event will be held in the Design School of London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London, SE1 6SB.

Please arrive between 13.30—14.00 for registration.

See here for directions to LCC.

Please note that we don’t recommend you drive to LCC as visitor parking spaces are severely limited and there is no guarantee of availability.


Days Hotel Waterloo

H10 London Waterloo

London City Hotel

Hotel Novotel London Waterloo

Tune Hotel Westminster

Contact details

If you have any questions about the event or Network membership please contact:

N.B. The ticket price also buys membership to the Graphic Design Educators’ Network for the remainder of the memership year, which will run until August 2017.

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Elephant & Castle



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