Monday, 22 December 2014

Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez - TVAD Visiting Researcher gives TVAD Talk

As we were proud to announce TVAD's Visiting Researcher for 2014/15 is Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez from VU University in Amsterdam (where Dr Grace Lees-Maffei is a Visiting Professor). Dr Gimeno-Martínez joined us for his first visit on 24th and 25th November, and the highlights of his work with us included a session introducing theories of national identity and design for the MA Students in the School of Creative Arts, a reading group session for staff to share work in progress, and on Monday November 24th 2014, Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez gave his TVAD Talk entitled ‘A graphic negotiation with the past, present and future. Political devolution and the symbols of the Belgian regions (1970–1998). Here is the abstract and below it is the link to the film of Javier's talk.

Political devolution results in administrative institutions that are generally created anew. However, these new institutions try to conceal the brevity of their existence by reusing communal symbols from the past, such as flags or coats of arms. Even when these symbols might objectively carry certain polemical connotations, the weight of tradition can become an opportune tool for legitimating institutions, so that the past is somehow forced to conform to the present. Properly analysing this instrumentalization of historical iconography can pose quite a challenge for both historians and designers. Indeed, it is present-mindedness rather than historical perspective that drives these legitimating processes.
This talk analyses the negotiation of signs by the governmental bodies that resulted from Belgian federalization. Along with the conflict between past and present, the Belgian case addressed the future, too. Belgian political devolution evolved in parallel with the Maastricht Treaty (signed in 1992), through which regions attained prominent roles in Europe. Did the need to create competitive regions invalidate the suitability of ancient symbols for legitimizing public institutions? It does not seem to be the case. On the contrary, institutional emblems coupled the necessity for appearing established with the urge to project European regions as competitive entities.

We look forward to welcoming Javier back to the School in spring next year.

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