School of Various Writings
Falmouth University, March/April 2017

What is Writing?

A collaborative project working with stage two BA(Hons) Graphic Design students at Falmouth University to explore questions around the nature of writing.

With multimedia changes affecting how we deal with economic, political and social interactions, much emphasis has been placed on how we ‘read’ information. Reading and the effect of the digital device is topical, but what of the act and gesture that precedes reading? Indeed, does writing precede reading at all? (Vilém Flusser, media philosopher and cultural theorist, in Does Writing Have a Future? states not, though perhaps our common sense suggests otherwise.) How do we ‘write’ in the first place, and why? What are the tools and surfaces that we find ourselves using? How do we define the media that we write with, and how does that media, in turn, define us?

Students worked in two phases, through workshops, seminars, tutorials and critique: Looking Back, explored writing as an act, a gesture and a history; Looking Forward examined the many ‘probable, preferable, plausible & possible’* future forms of writing. A selection of these investigations, along with critical observations and playful responses were presented in an interactive exhibition of writing acts and gestures.

We are thankful to the following for their involvement: 

  • Caroline Weaver – author of A Better Pencil and founder of CW Pencil Enterprise, New York (a pencil shop described by the New York Times as ‘intoxicating’).

  • Stuart Candy – Experiential Futurist, Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and consultant to organisations such as UNESCO, the Sydney Opera House, Oxford University, IDEO, Institute for the Future, Arup, and the National Film Board of Canada.

  • Will Lancaster – Stage three BA(Hons) Graphic Design student for his workshops demonstrating Processing software.

With thanks to our students: 

Domile, Josie, Benjamin, Holly, Elisa, Christina, Miguel, Mollie, Ophelia, Michael, Katherine, Tilly, Caitlin, Joshua, Jen, Chris, Jessica, Corinne.

* Stuart Candy, 2010, Conference held in March 2011 as part of UC. Berkeley’s Design Futures Series.

© Various Writings. 2019