Trade School Cardiff has organised a series of free classes in collaboration with Oasis Cardiff during the Welsh Refugee Week. I went along to the first class to learn about Afghani culture and languages from Anisa, who used to work as a translator for the UN in Afghanistan before having to leave the country after being followed and harassed by the Taliban.
See below for a slideshow of the sketchnotes I made from last night’s Platform discussion – this time the guest speaker was artist and curator Shaun Featherstone.
Shaun showed us his work around creating an anti-Jubilee newspaper and prompted the debate with examples by other artists such as the Artist Taxi Driver. The discussion revolved strongly around the scale of an active artist; is it enough just to be an artist in order to make a stand? Also the influence of money, selling work and getting public funding, was talked about in the context of controversial projects such as André Stitt’s “White Trash Curry Kick” and Simon Pope’s “Gallery Space Recall“. This with other examples shed light on various views on an artist’s responsibility and morality and where the limit for appropriate art is drawn. The discussion seemed to conclude that the context of art and the viewers’ individual interpretations make it difficult to provide a yes or no answer to the title.
The Platform still has two more discussions to go and they are free but you need to book. For more info and to take part in the online conversation, visit the Platform web page on the Diffusion website.
This May Cardiff is full of exhibitions, events and talks on photography as the international festival of photography, Diffusion takes over the city. The organisers, Ffotogallery, commissioned me to create visual notes of the festival’s Platform series of discussions the first of which took place yesterday at the Fire Island bar.
For each discussion there is a single provocation that can be also commented on online. The first session revolved around the statement “Everyone is a photographer now” with AP news photographer Matt Dunham providing a starting point with iconic photographs such as the naked child running on a path during the Vietnam War. The discussion ranged from defining what professional photography means and how citizen journalists and amateur photographers fit in the picture of present day news publishing and social media always trying to capture the immediacy of the moment.
The Platform still has three more discussions to go and they are free but you need to book. For more info and to take part in the online conversation, visit the Platform web page on the Diffusion website.
It was interesting for sure – most people wrote theirs down and hid it in an envelope for me to draw later, but a few brave souls sat down and in confidence and spoke out loud about their guilty pleasures. There were lighthearted ones and darker ones:
Eating biscuits in bed
Playing Football Manager
Peeling skin off your legs and feet
Mad baking often at night and drunk
Star Trek (“this is how the world should be”)
Star Trek vol. 2: Captain Picard’s lines (“Make it so”)
Enjoying traumatic and violent nightmares
Randy Savage (!)
Even when the weather turned bad for a while people still kept coming… and I got busier and busier…
In the end I had to stop receiving confessions and just stick to drawing them. Some people collected theirs on their way home but others will be posted to their correct owners in the next week or so.
There is a special magic about providing a space to interact and have a conversation with someone you don’t know very well – sometimes it helps people express opinions and thoughts they couldn’t say out loud in front of family, friends or colleagues. This type of participatory work is something I have done with the Come To Your Senses project and Mearcstapa collective – more details about that soon too. In the meantime do get in touch if you have ideas for a participatory project with visual facilitation or just to say hi.
Just a quick update on some recent sketchnotes I’ve done… I went along to the Creative Wales Awards afternoon of talks in Swansea and made some brief, simple notes there:
Cardiff University commissioned me to record their Archaeology Science Question Time event at the National Museum in Cardiff last night and I really enjoyed it – one of my many dreams when I was younger was to be an archaeologist.
In January I was commissioned to create graphic recording and visual notes of the Denbighshire County Council’s Local Children’s Safeguarding Board conference, held in St Asaph in March. It was great to be approached by forward thinking people who were already aware of the benefits of visual communication in their organisation.
The day included three key speakers and workshops: the audience heard from senior lecturer Wulf Livingston from Glyndwr University, Di Jerwood from NSPCC and a group working on a multi agency protocol for best practice. The topics also included case studies and how children are affected by their parents’ situation whether it is in relation to domestic abuse, substance misuse or mental health issues. You can watch all three talks on YouTube – here’s a link to Di Jerwood’s talk.
The audience feedback was great – many people said I managed to capture the key details of the specialised professional subject matter and the recordings became a key focal point during breaks to promote further discussion. LSCB will use these recordings at their training events in the future so they get even more value for their investment in visualisation.
A few weeks ago I started my role as a resident graphic recorder of Rapid Cycling, a programme of artists residencies at the new ATTIC gallery in Roath, Cardiff. The gallery, founded by artists Sara Annwyl and Julia Thomas, is committed to an exploration of how emotional distress, cognitive ‘dysfunction’ and ’madness’ are understood, treated and experienced scientifically, personally and culturally.
The first event was a hosted day of dialogue, with artist Sara Rees and with contributions from the other Rapid Cycling artists, MARGIN, their resident writers group, and their group of responders. Other guests included Gareth Williams, Professor of Sociology from Cardiff University, Rose Thompson, Digital Storyteller and Dr Jamie Lewis a social scientist who works with the Medical Research Council and acts as ATTIC’s academic consultant.
The event started with people looking around Sara’s work and then being divided into two discussion groups thinking about responses to the work and questions to ask from the artist. The thoughts and questions were then shared with the whole group resulting in interesting conversation.
For more photos of the graphic recording please visit the Flickr set. There will be more updates with other discussion sessions and at the end of the project I get to create a wall mural of the whole thing inside the gallery. For ATTIC info and updates, keep an eye on the ATTIC blog, ATTIC Facebook page and Twitter!
It has been a busy start of the year here at Auralab! Lots of projects with MJR Solutions who I have been working with to create some fantastic smart phone and tablet applications for tourism and heritage projects in Wales. And now – cue drum roll and trumpets – I’m excited to introduce the rebranding work I have done for the company, now renamed as Living Data.
The timing for the launch is great as Living Data are taking part in the Welsh Government stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as I write this post. To those of you who don’t know this is THE event for the mobile industry, both manufacturers and developers.
Rebranding can be a tricky beast to handle. It’s delicate for the business owners who are attached to the business they have created and change can be daunting: how to picture the new look, how to talk about your new brand and how the clients will perceive it. I see a brand to encompass everything a business does, from the service and products, communication in print and online media right down to the staff and how the company delivers the service.
With Living Data I wanted to create a space in which the directors Nic and Melinda could explore their business as it is now and where they want it to be in the future. I facilitated ideation sessions in an informal setting which enabled them to get excited about new opportunities and also look at anything that could be done better. Using visual mapping techniques they really got into the process and in no time we were bouncing off ideas and asking questions to open up possibilities. We then continued onto defining brand values which became the basis for developing the logo, visual style and tone of voice. The process was very collaborative and included the brilliant copywriter Clare Sturges to help coin the right words to communicate with.
Services: app development
Services: digital solutions
Services: creative design
This was an interesting project to work on as the business is all about the digital realm so there was no real need for printed materials as much as digital content – so the main deliverables became about business cards and an animated promo on their website. The main challenge was about communicating the different service areas: Living Data don’t just develop apps, they also have a broad range of digital solutions from high performance analytics to data visualisation tools. Thus the the style was kept very simple using the primary brand colours and clean cut iconography. This visual style also conveys their transparent and collaborative way of working with clients.
You can visit the Living Data website at livingdatalabs.com to see the animation and find out more about what they do. Stay tuned for some exciting app launches in the near future…
Trade School Cardiff has organised a series of free classes in collaboration with Oasis Cardiff during the Welsh Refugee Week. I went along to the first class to learn about Afghani culture and languages from …
See below for a link to a Flickr set of the sketchnotes I made from last night’s Platform discussion – this time the guest speaker was photography writer, curator and academic Daniel Blight. http://www.flickr.com/photos/auralab/sets/72157633810672534/