Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Reflecting on TVADs growth and planning for the future

Old and new members of the TVAD research group, which researches relationships between text, narrative and image, came together for a research development day on June 24th 2013.

The keynote speaker was Professor David Crow of Manchester School of Art <> He talked about storytelling and narrative as pivotal parts of the way we should be thinking about research in the School of Creative Arts at UH. We have common interests in language, text, audio and visual ways of representing the world around us, and in new structures of communication. New technologies are informing pedagogy and the research that feeds into it alike. Prof Crow noted that a concern for well-being and harnessing the arts to health imperatives underlies much of the work being done in the School, and he saw that aspect of our work as connecting us to other research activity across UH, for example in the Health and Human Sciences Research Institute (HHSRI) <> and, of course, in our home at SSAHRI, the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute <>.

The day formed a valuable chance for TVAD to reflect on what we had achieved since our inception in , individually and as a group, and what we planned to do in the short and medium terms. We discussed new work under the visual culture banner which examples the politics of discourse and verbal and non-verbal ways of communicating; current issues of design history including globalization and sustainability; new methodologies in art history centred on new materialism and the impact agenda; subject specific pedagogy in which students don't simply learn about something, rather they become enculturated into a discipline and emerging pedagogies centred on demography and engagement in cultural activity as an issue of access.

Our discussion was informed by a poster session - the posters are shown here.

We are excited about two new projects underway within the TVAD group, each of which will result in a volume for our online peer reviewed journal, Writing Visual Culture. The first is Digital Comics, edited by Daniela Merlin Goodbrey <> The second is entitled 'TEXTS / CITIEs: from the 1970s to the present', and is convened by Dr. Daniel Marques Sampaio and Michael Heilgemeir, lecturers in photography <>


Daniel studies relationships between images, cities and text. During our development day he examined the links between his work and that of Erica Liu on place branding and Dr Marta Rabikowska, a researcher of visual culture and visual methods applied in the area of creative industries and urban regeneration through creativity. See their research summary posters here.

TVAD also has a strong concern for graphic design shown in the work of Kerry William Purcell, a theorist of visual culture who is researching the philosophies underpinning writing on the history of design and Nick Lovegrove, who enjoys words and images and the way they work together, Dr Barbara Brownie's work on fluid typography - she works as a theorist of letters and clothes - and my own work on writing, and reading, design, including graphic design.

Dr Ivan Phillips describes himself as a reader of words and images and a teller of tales, as well as a lecturer and a teacher. His research interests range across Romanticism and its contexts, Modernism into postmodernism, Poetry and poetics, Experimental fiction from Laurence Sterne to new media, Gothic culture, traditions of spectacle, mythology, fantasy, horror and science fiction and theorising (new) media. Mark Broughton also examines media new and old in his work on relationships between media and other art forms, in his work as a historian of film and television.


We were joined for the day by Professor Joy Jarvis of the Learning and Teaching Institute <> who discussed her pedagogical research in a way that connected with several of the TVAD researchers' interests. Particularly, Prof Jarvis's work related to Polly Palmer's focus on making visual and material culture relevant and accessible to our students, for whom cultural access is not a given.

Dr Pat Simpson, Reader in the Social History of Art and Research Tutor in the School, left us with this text and accompanying images, which describe her work on Soviet and post-Soviet art and visual culture and preparation for her planned book.

Dr Steven Adams, Associate Dean Research in the School, joined us to explain his curiosity driven approach to research and the way in which that approach intersects with the impact agenda. He proposed a mode of criticality centred upon impact, a politics of impact asking how we might celebrate it and reject it.

We will continue our rolling programme of meetings in September with a session examining the use of time for research, and research leave, plus the cascading of expertise and mentoring in the group. TVAD is growing and developing new lines of enquiry as new members join us and all of our work progresses and develops. Watch this blog for new of our new work, which we will also document and report on the TVAD website:


Dr Grace Lees-Maffei
August 2013.

Modular construction and anamorphosis in Channel 4 idents: Past and present

By Barbara Brownie

In the thirty years since the first appearance of Martin Lambie-Nairn's ident `Round and Back', Channel 4 has established a reputation for screening idents that are both innovative and pleasingly familiar. While many texts have acknowledged the significance of these artefacts, there has, as yet, been no sufficient exploration into the precise behaviours that make these idents so distinct. This article explores the construction of the Channel 4 logo from independently moving parts, and the alignment of static parts prompted by tracked navigation, showing how these behaviours are made possible by the modularity of the Channel 4 logo. These behaviours are likened to anamorphosis, in which a privileged viewing zone reveals to viewers an alignment of forms, and a fleeting moment in which separate pictorial objects collaborate in the presentation of a more significant numerical configuration.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: University of Hertfordshire
Publication date: 2013-06-01