TVAD seminars 2015/16

TVAD (Theorizing Visual Art and Design) have just announced their schedule of seminars for the 2015/16 academic year. All events are on Wednesdays, with lunch served from 12:45, and the main presentation beginning at 1pm.

Weds 14th October 2015 – ‘The Comic Electric: A Digital Comics Symposium’ Convened by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, University of Hertfordshire’s School of Creative Arts and Dr Alison Gazzard, London Knowledge Lab at the UCL Institute of Education, this is a joint symposium between three of the School of Creative Art’s research groups; TVAD (Theorising Visual Arts and Design), G+VERL (Games and Visual Effects Research Lab) and The Media Research Group, in conjunction with the DARE (Digital Arts Research Education) research centre at the UCL Institute of Education.


Weds 11th November 2015 – ‘The Portal between Virtual and Real in Product Design’, Julian Lindley, Stephen McGonigal, Richard Adams, John Beaufoy

The presentation is by the four members of the Product Design Team who have the common interest ‘keeping design relevant’ in an increasingly complex and technical world. The presentation starts with an outline of the relationship between our core themes:

  • Generation Z/Digital Natives (Digital Natives….they look like us, talk like us, but they are almost a completely different species
    • This is demanding a new approach to our subject while also offering new opportunities for creativity. We are in a new dawn of Big Data.
  • Application of New Technologies (3D Printing) on Production-Consumption-Education.
    • With the ability to make 3D objects cheaply in the home will this alter the relationship between production and consumption. Are we all Citizen Designers?
    • How do we introduce the new technologies to audiences who are naïve with physical structure and materials?

We will then introduce individual and collective research themes culminating in reflection on how they relate together and ultimately impact and enrich and make the student learning experience relevant. Within this we will attempt to place our work in the context of others working in this area and outline where we intend to take the research next with an open plea for collaborators as we firmly believe in pooling ideas and teamwork. It is very much a forum for discussion and a work in progress.


Weds 10th February 2016 – ‘You’re toast! What happened when modernist designers met subversive consumers in the 20th century kitchen’, Dr Susan Parham, Head of Urbanism, Centre for Sustainable Communities, University of Hertfordshire

Over the course of the 20th century kitchens became highly contested territory, caught between designers’ certainties and users’ unruly responses to their architectural and technological design interventions. Drawing on design research documented in my recent book, Food and Urbanism (2015), in this talk I explore how the foodspace of the kitchen became a critical design site for fascinating battles about spatial behaviour and cultural meaning.

Weds 9th March 2016 – ‘Utopian Archaeologies: Crisis and Recuperation in the Future City Narrative’, Dr Paul Cureton, details to follow.


Weds 13th April 2016 –‘Secret Cinema and the spatialisation of the filmic experience’, Kim Walden.

In the light of changes to the way we view films today with the advent of small screens and solitary viewings, this presentation will look at the phenomena of Secret Cinema that turns films into live events at ‘secret’ locations across London. Focussing on a recent Secret Cinema event in the suburb of West Croydon in which a vacant 13 storey office block was transformed into the story world of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), this presentation will consider the consequences of the spatialisation of the film experience for the spectator.

To investigate the experience, three key strategies deployed by Secret Cinema will be explored: scaled up film props, in-event screenings and sound scapes. Then the presentation will go on to explore how the theories of Roland Barthes’ in The Pleasure in the Text (1973) and Espen Aarseth’s in Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (1997) can both be deployed to understand the audience experience of these events. Aarseth suggests these new media forms are as much ideological as anything else, constructed through their difference (and presumed superiority) to prior media experiences, but this presentation will conclude that secret cinema’s film event creates a sense of tmesis and disorientation for their audiences which is a far cry from Barthes‘ promise of ‘textual bliss’.

Weds 11th May 2016 – ‘Technology and Heritage – predictions from the Millennium – what really happened next?Helen Casey, DHeritage.

At the turn of the millennium, when the internet was new, it seemed that, for heritage professionals, a shiny new dawn awaited. Technology would allow records to be digitised, artefacts to be experienced through virtual reality, and expertise to be shared worldwide at the touch of a button. Technology would democratise our heritage, allowing more people to access, experience and learn from it.

At the same time, there were warnings that the use of gaudy information screens in exhibitions would distract from the object, immersive technology allowing sensory perception would cheapen and simplify the visitor experience, and expensive technology used to digitise and share heritage would become obsolete within ten or even five years, wasting valuable resources and creating a ‘digital black hole’ where digitised artefacts would go to die.

So, what really happened next? And how can we plan ahead in a world of rapid and unpredictable technological change?

For more information about TVAD, contact Dr Grace Lees-Maffei