Critical Tensions – 10th Annual St Bride Library Conference

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News | Yves Peters | September 20, 2011

One typography conference is barely over and I can already announce a couple of new ones. There is little sense in advertising TypeAmsterdam, on Thursday October 6 in the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam. Just like last year this second edition was fully booked in record time with barely any promotion. At this free half day event organised by Special Collections in collaboration with Peter Verheul, type designers and historians present projects they are working on. This year the program includes John A. Lane on Printing Types in the Dutch Golden Age: Nicolaes Briot, Christoffel van Dijck & Nicolaus Kis, Lida Lopes Cardozo of the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop on Cutting in stone – she will also do a live demonstration of letter carving –, Frederik Berlaen on the new UFO font editor RoboFont, and Bold Monday’s Paul van der Laan & Pieter van Rosmalen on recent custom typefaces.

The other event is Critical Tensions, the tenth annual St Bride Library conference, curated by John Walters and Becky Chilcott, on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 November 2011.

Tension is frequently described as a positive in design, with designers balancing opposing constraints and visual ideas in often ‘perfect tension’. Design work balances a whole series of tensions: analogue–digital; male–female; Twitter–Facebook; art–design; East–West; old–young; interns–employees; global–local; micro–macro; educated–‘feral’; in-house–independent; degree course–short course/apprenticeship; designer–client.

In these uncertain times of economic and educational cutbacks, what of the old adage that from adversity comes creativity? In the aftermath of WWII, the exhibition ‘Britain can make it’ celebrated the potential of design as a tool for national recovery. The political struggles of the 1960s fuelled the portfolios of a generation of our most celebrated graphic designers. So where are seeds of creativity emerging from current struggles? What are the key points of tension today and what possibilities for designerly making and thinking are opening up as a result? Is tension vital to the design process itself?

Join the Friends of St Bride Library to such ask questions and more at Critical Tensions, their tenth annual conference on 10 and 11 November 2011. Embracing history, education and design practice, this two-day event provides a space for meeting and voicing concerns, for collectively exploring ideas, sharing strategies, consolidating knowledge, and for challenging and reaffirming values.

The program for the two-day conference is available online. It is moderated by Phil Baines and Emily King. Speakers include Phil Baines, Jonathan Barnbrook, Zoë Bather, Dan Burgess, Tom Farrand, Amelia Gregory, Matt Jones, Alan Kitching, Gerry Leonidas, Vaughan Oliver, Paul Rennie, Lucienne Roberts, Tom Rowley, Jack Schulze, Steve Watson, Matt Webb, Rebecca Wright and Derek Yates. The conference also features demonstrations of calligraphy by Paul Antonio, bookbinding by Douglas Bevans, stonecutting by Mark Frith, and typesetting, linocutting, printing by Helen Ingham and Richard Lawrence.

Tickets can be booked online.

St Bride Library website

St Bride Library
Bride Lane, Fleet Street
London EC4Y 8EE
United Kingdom

telephone   020 7353 4660   outside the UK   +44 20 7353 4660
fax 020 7583 7073 outside the UK +44 20 7583 7073
email use this form
  • £120 full-price (£90 Friends of St Bride Library)
  • Concessions £50 (£35 Friends of St Bride Library) for full-time students

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