Category Archives: BA(Hons) Graphic Design Research

Four Deadlines & a Dinner

Ellie Woodman – Folie à deux

Four Deadlines & a Dinner was a MOTH collaborative practice project working with 20 Stage 2 Graphic Design students within the School of Communication Design along with external partners from medicine, palliative care, writing, design for the live environment and VR. During this four week period, students worked across a range of death & design projects, they discussed and delivered ideas and potential solutions relating to end of life experiences.


With Dr Mark Taubert Clinical Director/Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Velindre NHS Trust, Cardiff, we explored how visual communication designers and medics could benefit from sharing knowledge and skills to impact on policy and practice with regard to end of life matters, in particular with patients with life limiting illness and their choices regarding DNACPR. The work produced from this will be exhibited at the Bevan Commission Health and Social Welfare Conference in Wales in September 2017.


In collaboration with Ben James, Creative Director at Jotta Design and Anna Kiernan a Senior Lecturer in Writing, we considered our own personal eulogies and innovative ways in which to store our digital selves as either a digital future or digital archive beyond our physical life.


MOTH hosted a Death Over Dinner party, where our guests were invited to eat and engage in meaningful conversations and questions about the end-of-life, we also held a film night where we screened Afterlife, by Hirokazu Kore-eda: Newly deceased find themselves in a way station somewhere between Heaven and Earth. With the help of caseworkers, each soul is given three days to choose one memory from their life that they will relive for eternity. The project also included a tour of artist’s graves at Falmouth Cemetery run by Glyn Winchester from Falmouth Art Gallery.

Theo Penrice – Childish Perspectives:
Wrong But Not Forgot
James Cook – To Top it Off
Poppy Andruskevicius – I’m never drinking
Haruka Kondo_ What do I want to do?
Joe Arnold – Pair No 8

AVTUR at J G Ballard Day

First year Graphic Design students Paul Merritt, Dylan Young, Reuben Morley and Alex Bassett have worked together on two group projects: BAUEN and AVTUR.


Our first project BAUEN, was the realisation of a micro-nation for which we designed a 63 page book documenting a dystopian village based on the write/re-write motion of a computer hard disc. BAUEN designers constantly build and demolish to satisfy their modernist creative aesthetic indulging themselves in continual updates with no care for inhabitants or environment. Design is all.

After BAUEN we decided to work together again for an end of term film project. We were asked to make a 60-90 second film on the theme of ‘A new experience’. Alex, Reuben and Dylan had never read the work of J G Ballard before. Taking the RE/SEARCH Ballard special and ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ as our starting point we began to look for film locations in Cornwall. We accessed M.O.D. facilities and hung out in car parks. We found concrete structures near tin mines and irrigation structures in fields. Finally we pieced together the 90 seconds of vision and sound that is AVTUR. The film was shown at the end of year Graphics Oscars where it won an Oscar for ‘Best Cinematography’


The J G Ballard Day conference took place on Saturday 24 June at Birmingham City University with the theme J.G. Ballard and Making, our film AVTUR was accepted as part of the yearly academic event. This one-day, multidisciplinary symposium showcased student projects at Birmingham University alongside academic papers and other creative responses to Ballard from elsewhere.

Objects, artefacts, performances, papers and discussion panels that respond to any aspect of making in J G Ballard’s work were included in the day’s events. Our film was shown as part of a visual and film themed section of the day where several films were shown and followed by questions and discussion. AVTUR was shown twice and we had an excellent reaction from other contributors. We answered many of interesting questions regarding both the technical side of the making of the film and the creative links to the themes of the world of J  G Ballard.

It was a great opportunity to find out what kind of reaction our film would have from Ballard scholars and to find out if we were successful in translating at least some of the feeling and ideas present in his work. It was also a fantastic opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful modern building where we presented our film.

After the event its organiser Dr Thomas Knowles (Birmingham City University) said that AVTUR was “A really excellent addition to alternative cinema influenced by Ballard. AVTUR really captures the mood/tone of his works” He also confirmed that “It went down a treat” in a posting on his blog about J G Ballard day.

ReDo; making things happen!

‘…How do we re-do our design education, our design practice, and our design research so that our knowledge comes to have an actual effect on how we live, from the micro level of the domestic to the macro level of politics? How do we train our students to become do-ers and to confront the challenges that face the world in terms of social inclusion, climate/environment, and economic growth? How do we impact our disciplines and beyond?…’ (Cumulus 2017)

The ReDo biannual Cumulus 2017 conference in Kolding aimed to playfully inspire, challenge and develop the role, relevance and scope of design, art and media in a global world with sustainability for people, planet and profit in mind. The overall aim of the conference was to create lasting impact in design and design education and initiate (future) actions. Senior Lecturers Dion Star & Andy Neal were both invited to deliver their paper ‘Rethinking Graphic Design Process’ as part of the conference, and benefitted from four days of challenging discussion with a wide mix of contributors from all over the world.


Highlights included Bo Stjerne Thomsen (Head of the Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning at the LEGO foundation), who talked about the importance of play as a trans-disciplinary activity, and the pressing need for us to communicate creativity’s value to society (so more people will create). Christian Bason (CEO at the Danish Design Council) reflected on design’s capacity to challenge existing power structures if we fully embrace institutional/societal change. Mathilda Tham (Professor of Design, Linnaeus, Sweden) highlighted design’s responsibility to both meet the needs of the current generation, without jeopardising the needs (and rights) of future generations, and Margrethe Vestager (European Commissioner for Competition) talked about design as a mechanism for putting people first, and as a facilitator in empowering people to become involved in the processes that are changing our lives. ReDo_07ReDo_08ReDo_06ReDo_05

There were over 300 delegates in attendance, from over 40 countries, delivering over 60 papers, plus keynotes, films and posters, all with the focus on three key questions;

What do we wish to ReDo?

How and with whom do we ReDo?

How do we teach students to ReDo?

Full papers from the conference are available online, and are worth looking through if you have an interest in design and/or design education.




Various Writings + CAST

Various Writings is an art- and design-based research project initiated by Maria Christoforidou, Lizzie Ridout and Dion Star. It is both a research platform and programme of projects investigating acts of writing.

In February Maria, Lizzie and Dion were invited to undertake a short residency at The Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (CAST), an educational charity based in Helston, Cornwall. The residency was an opportunity to explore what writing is and what writing might become, through the creation of a taxonomy of writing acts and gestures. Various Writings asks the question, 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?

As a result of the CAST residency, many of the tests, responses and critical observations have been developed into workshops for a Collaborative Practice project. Various Writings: Collaborative Practice is a four-week project in which Stage Two students elect to work in conjunction with staff on specific research projects.

Acts of Writing

Dion, Lizzie and Maria will deliver a collaborative performed presentation in April at Please Specify!: Sharing Artistic Research Across Disciplines, the annual international conference of The Society for Artistic Research. This year the conference will be held at the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland.

In July they will also be delivering a paper about their research and collaboration at MIX2017 – Writing Digital, a conference to be held at Bath Spa University and examining the intersection between creative writing, storytelling, media creation and technology.

Dion Star is Stage Three Coordinator and Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Lizzie Ridout is a Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Graphic Design and MA Illustration: Authorial Practice and Maria Christoforidou is a theory lecturer across Fine Art, Illustration and Graphic Design at Falmouth and Plymouth Universities.

STUFF Student collections Moth Design & Death + The Studio Society

Following on from the Staff STUFF Collections, which were exhibited at the end of last year, students from the School of Communication Design were invited to exhibit their personal collection of STUFF. This collection could be one which has been added to over time, bequeathed to them, multiples of objects accrued as a result of habitual buying, a chance encounter at a boot fair.

MOTH: design & death has been interested in working with staff and students instigating projects which encourage enquiry using objects and artefacts as triggers for hidden memory, micro/macro, parts and whole, constructing and de-constructing, a passion for ‘rejects’ and fragments. This projects extends into The Studio Society which seeks to promote opportunities for the community of the Graphic Design Course to share, comment and contribute to the course beyond the curriculum.

Over the last four weeks students have shared some of their collections, giving insight as to why they have this STUFF and what it means to them.

Collection_01 | Jocelyn Affleck | Story Book


‘Everybody has a story to tell, but it’s tricky to find it. I take this book with me everywhere as a conversation starter and from there on people feel like they are part of something – part of this wide network of stories all held within the broken binding of this book’  Jocelyn Affleck

Collection_02 | Louise Osborne | Royal Memorabilia | Victoria Boyle | Black Cat & Socks | Chris Rees | Keyrings


‘No amount of frills, ribbons or official crests can disguise the naffness of these objects. Such an ornate form of tat, they are simultaneously beautiful and hideous. Quite an impressive combination in all honesty. Essentially I find them amusing, a completely bizarre thing to have in your home. However for such a simple object they open a variety of discussions and memories’ Louise Osborne

Collection_03 | Su Lee | Eating Habits | Sylwia Cwieczek | Trophies | Ciaran Saward | Calendar of Blades


I could never even think about my trophies as a collection. You can’t buy those objects, get them as a gift or find them in the middle of the field. Even though you might like their shapes and colours it’s not why you own them. You don’t decide to collect them, they’re actually only a side effect, a proof, something that reminds you what happened.Sylwia Cwieczek

Collection_04 Friday | Charlotte Skerratt |Sea Glass | Lucy Carpenter | Bottles | Armelinda Beqiraj | Imperfect Images


‘I’m so in awe of how nature has managed to create something so alluring, turning our waste into beauty. Although mere fragments of glass, they’re special to me as they remind me of happiness, the feeling I got when I found a special piece or rare colour. The people I was with, how the beach looked and sounded one evening. Within each piece is a snippet of time holding years of history and wonder.’ Charlotte Skerratt



STUFF Collections

All staff from the School of Communication Design were invited to exhibit their personal collection of STUFF. This collection could be one which has been added to over time, bequeathed to them, multiples of objects accrued as a result of habitual buying, a chance encounter at a boot fair.

MOTH: design & death has been interested in working with staff and students instigating projects which encourage enquiry using objects and artefacts as triggers for hidden memory, micro/macro, parts and whole, constructing and de-constructing, a passion for ‘rejects’ and fragments. This projects extends into The Studio Society which seeks to promote opportunities for the community of the Graphic Design Course to share, comment and contribute to the course beyond the curriculum. Over a three week period staff will be sharing some of their collections with you giving insight as to why they have this STUFF and what it means to them.


Nikki Salkeld

Senior lecturer / Course Co-ordinator (Stage 1) // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Virgin Mary

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” Revelation Chapter 12.

Infant School age 5. I was chosen to be Mary in the nativity play. Dressed in blue, I held my plastic baby Jesus with the greatest care and pride and whilst angels, kings and shepherds spoke their lines, I remained a silent but pivotal presence on stage my importance only eclipsed by the baby ‘Tiny Tears’ in my arms.

Fast forward to the 90’s, my MA dissertation at the Royal College of Art on the The Cult of the Virgin Mary: The Pagan Goddess / The rise of the Cult in the middle ages / Contemporary perceptions of Mary. I’m still in love with her.

Her cult is truly rooted in the middle ages reflected in art and architecture, glorious cathedrals more splendid than palaces built for earthy queens dedicated to her glory. A true Queen of Heaven, whilst retaining earthly humility, as the intermediary between heaven (God) and earth (humanity). The medium through which prayers can be answered and miracles made possible. To enter into a church dedicated to her we symbolically enter into the body of Christ’s mother, this metaphor offers us the same protection, love and possibilities of new beginnings.

The more I studied Mary, the more fascinated I became with her. I visited convents, struck up ‘friendships’ with nuns and went so far as to fill in the paperwork to convert to the Catholic faith. Mary was my intercessor into this fascinating and complex world in all her many guises: Mary the Great Earth Mother, The Virgin Queen, The Mascot in the fight against heresy, The Muse, The Queen of Courtly Love, The mascot of female submission, The Mother of God, Lady of Poverty, The giver and maintainer of life, Mater Dolorosa (sorrowing Mother), Mary The Queen of Peace.

With my head and heart Mary is both a successful branding project by the Catholic Church along with being a Divine Mother. Her origins exist in myth, faith and propaganda, out of a need for true spiritual guidance as well as a mechanism for female suppression in a patriarchal world. Whatever skeptics may think, for true Marian devotees she continues to reign in all her many guises, for them there is no matriarchal image more potent than that of the Virgin Mary and her divine child.

With our fragile planet and the uncertainties it faces, some might argue that we need to return to a world of goddess centered understanding, if we wish to preserve this earth and live in peace. The return of the Great Earth Mother.


Ashley Rudolph

Senior lecturer / Course Co-ordinator (Stage 2) // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Boxed collections

Beer Mats / Dice / Stencil letters

Butterfly’s /Slides / Stationery stickers

These boxed collections have been in my possession for 20 years and have escaped the purge of 9 house moves. They weren’t discarded with other disused, out grown items. In their everyday life they sit in the dark amongst the loft insulation, not on display.

What is their value to me? Why have I kept hold of them? When I look through them they invoke excitement within me, hinting at a hidden potential for transformation or applications for unrealized future projects. They were once someone else’s passion, an unknown someone. I have kept them in the boxes they were stored in or that the collector contained them in. I have never wanted to contain them in anything else, to me the storage is as important and part of their journey into my custodianship. The thought of tipping them out into a carrier bag would fill me with horror, but that is the strength of the connection I have with these collections. I think that this reaction is because they reflect a long forgotten passion, someone unknown to me put these collections together and without my intervention, they would surely have become just another land fill item.

What are their untold stories? Who knows? Is it even relevant? I can only guess at it.

The beer mats, of the visits to the pub, of the beers drunk, some unused, picked up and stored away safely in a pocket before being transferred to the shoe box at home. Or a child’s collection brought home by father as a free souvenir in harder times. The dice, an object of chance, for decisions made, fortunes lost or gained, entertaining, full of regret. Each dice has a character of its own with a secret life stories, they have all been separated from their board game families. Orphans of chance.

Lizzie Ridout

Senior Lecturer // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Dion Star

Senior lecturer / Course Co-ordinator (Stage 3) // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Code–Tool–Surface: Future Forms of Writing

Is posting a Facebook status, writing? Is texting, writing? Is typing, writing? With multimedia changes affecting how we deal with economic, political and social interactions, there is much focus is on how we read information. But how do we write in the first place, and why? What are the tools and surfaces that we find ourselves using? There is substantial research surrounding ‘reading and the digital device’, but what of the gesture that (possibly) precedes reading? And what are the implications on these gestures as a result of these new digital surfaces?

Lizzie Ridout and Dion Star – working under the guise of Code–Tool– Surface with Maria Christoforidou – are collaboratively exploring writing gestures through practice and theoretical enquiry. The material displayed here comes from Lizzie and Dion’s private collections that both precede and support some of the thinking for Code–Tool–Surface.

Lizzie’s collection of exercise books began as a teenager when she visited different towns around the world and became intrigued by the diversity of forms that the lines in a basic exercise book could take. The collection was never a conscious amassing, but grew over the years as she travelled more and as international friends offered up additional examples.

Similarly, Dion’s desk notes have been gathered over a number of years and constitute any message left on his desk, without specific criteria as to form or content. They form a glimpse of a set of voices made solid over time; a series of demands, statements and musings, linked only by the person to whom they have been communicated.

Lizzie and Dion’s joint taxonomies of digital files, both stored on their respective computers and ever-growing, are combined here as an animation. They bring together Lizzie’s portable document symbols and Dion’s book logos into one loop. Both Lizzie and Dion are here concerned with the classification and ordering of two apparently simple icons to reveal diversity and complexity in the surfaces upon, and the containers in which we write.


Joseph Payne

Senior Technician Software Skills Development // The School of Communication Design


For as long as I can remember there have always been Comics and Comic Books at close hand. Maybe The Beano or Dandy were the first I saw, I can never be too sure. What I am sure of is the first time I realised that Comic Books can be something other than the mischievous tales of a naughty boy and his pet dog.

My older brother and sister had paper rounds at the local newsagents and every now and again they would come back home with stacks of magazines, papers and Comics. The publications that hadn’t sold that week were shared out between the Paperboys/girls as an extra thank you or (more likely), given away to make space. Usually these stacks were a mixed bag of Women’s Own, Just Seventeen and Whizzer and Chips and would occupy an area of the house for a few days before ending up in the bin (no recycling back then!). Anyways, one week the stack had some radically different additions. Hidden within the stack were three Comic anthologies. 2000AD, Warrior and (most notably) issue 1 of SCREAM!

SCREAM! had everything I didn’t know I wanted in an anthology. Gross out horror in A Ghastly Tale, the twisted morality of The Thirteenth Floor and Monster, a story that would introduce me to the genius that is Alan Moore… Point is, I remember it. I remember carefully peeling off the free Dracula Teeth from the cover… I remember the smell of the paper and ink… I remember studying each panel and taking in every detail… I remember reading (and not always understanding) the bizarre stories… and I remember that I wanted more.

So began the collecting, loosing, selling, buying, swapping, lending, giving and reading of Comic Books and Graphic Novels. I’ve got my favourites for sure. Characters, writers, artists, and nostalgia will always play a part in influencing my purchases. I’m always going to have a soft spot for Batman, in every incarnation… Locke and Key is an astonishingly good story and the artwork is outstanding… The Crossed is the most extreme/no holds barred Comic Book I have ever experienced… and Pride of Baghdad is a touching tearjerker that took me by surprise…

But… I do have an overall favourite.

It’s a book I have owned more times than any other book in my collection. It’s a book I buy and then end up giving to the people who say “all Comics are the same” or “Comic Books are for kids” or “aren’t you too old for this?”. It’s a book that relates directly back to that time in ’84 when I turned the pages on Issue 1 of SCREAM! It’s a book that makes a comment on every trope, stereotype, cliché and archetype within the medium. Essentially a Comic Book about Comic Books… WATCHMEN written by Alan Moore with artwork by Dave Gibbons and coloured by John Higgins. By far my favourite and soon to be part of my collection once again.


Andy Neal

Senior Lecturer // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Vintage puncture repair kits

For my twelfth birthday, I was given a new bicycle. This was clearly a big deal for my folks, as they’d talked openly about never buying new and suffice to say I was over the moon and rode it everywhere. At least, for a while.

I’d love to tell you that it was my pride & joy, religiously cleaned after every ride, and the foundation of my interest in things bike-related. As is often true with young kids, my limited sense of the bike’s value (material & otherwise), my ignorance of the sacrifice my folks had made, or the weight of new responsibility entrusted to me was, sadly, lacking. Spectacularly so, in fact – as in less than a year it was relegated to the back of the shed, cosmetically battered, with flat tyres and a rusted chain.

In a moment of brilliance, my Dad decided his now teenage son could benefit from a lesson in accountability, and instead of reading me the riot act, woke me up early one Saturday armed with a selection of odd-looking spanners, some wet-n-dry sandpaper and old rags.

Over the next month or so, we stripped the bike back to its component parts – systematically archiving smaller items and drawing diagrams to aid reassembly (Dad is an engineer by training). I learnt about cotter pins, quill stems, and the ‘bottom-bracketremoval- tool’ that we had to buy specifically for the project. We sanded (or rather, I sanded – probably as some cleverly conceived form of punishment for my negligence) the whole frame & forks, primed and re-sprayed the metal back to its former glory, re-greased bearings, bolted and tightened everything back into place, wound new bar-tape, and then, as the final task – mend the punctured tyres.

I can still remember (almost in filmic slow-motion) picking up the small red & yellow puncture repair tin, opening the metal lid and being totally bemused as to the contents. Suffice to say, I learnt how to fix a puncture, and proudly rode the restored bike for several years to follow. Interestingly, it was only at this point – in its reincarnated state that my interest in things bike-related was born.

During my later teens, I rebuilt three more bikes before leaving home. More recently, I’ve spent time with my own kids going through the same process, and picking off a few choice renovations of my own. Sadly, the original Dunlop repair kit was lost in a house move, and it was only during one of the recent rebuilds (and a chance find on eBay) that I stumbled across a duplicate. Over the past five years (on-and-off) I’ve started collecting more tins (British, metal, with or without contents) with no real urgency or objective. I just like them as objects, and although they currently live in an old shoebox, they are soon to make it into their own custom-made box-frame for permanent display.

On reflection, there is huge value for me in what they represent; the longevity of bikes; ‘closed loop’ design; reuse, repair & recycle (no pun intended); patience as a lesson worth learning; and ultimately the benefits of buying wisely and looking after your stuff.


Bryan Clark 

Head of Graphic Design // BA (Hons) Graphic Design // The School of Communication Design

Cookbooks and recipes

Making, sharing, and discovering food have been central to Bryan’s life and that of his family, as is the case for many. Recipes held in the mind or within the pages of a cookbook rekindle memories of people, moments, experiences and emotions. These ideas are passed down through generations or built through the experiences we have through our own lives and careers.

The collection you see shows books and recipes passed on by grandmother, father and wife, with a further selection (opened) of those Bryan may choose to pass on himself. They are well used, often adapted and changed and show the patina of age and use. Also on display are a small collection of hand written and collated recipes; another form of culinary ‘baton’ used to record and curate. The collection is about food and memories but also one of design anthropology; the rituals, aesthetics and interactions of the world in which we live as individuals and as tribes or families of people.

The collection shown spans over 100 years and alongside the inevitable analysis of domesticity and the role and identity of the cook in post Victorian England, the books also offer a talisman to the impact of historical counterpoints across this time. Whether the effect of world wars, the changing workplace and home, social mobility, gender politics, travel and print and media evolution.

In Isabella Beeton’s book, as a newer 1950’s edition of the original 1861 version, the change in the future of cooking is clearly prophesized in its preface;

“The world, especially since the war, has travelled at electric speed and the changes of time have touched household affairs from standpoints apparently far remote… Increased habits of travel have taught us favourite dishes of other countries, while improved means of transport have brought to our doors fresh food supplies from all quarters of the world, especially from our own dominions”.

The books do chart a systematic development of how domestic cooking has changed and is inspired but importantly, as a personal collection, they chart an individual’s own journey. This may be through family, travel, career experiences or design knowledge.



‘A Word in your Eye’ Self-portraits


Stage 1 students undertook a photographic self-portrait project. This was embedded into the module ‘A Word in your Eye’ as well as being a part of the research work of MOTH and their latest initiative STUFF which exhibits personal collections of objects belonging to staff and students. The project seeks to discuss ideas around: ‘emotional objects’, the vocabulary of visual language, the notion that materials and artefacts carry meaning and value within the context of communication and how historical, cultural and environmental contexts shape the interpretation of visual messages.

Sorby Brown

The choice of painting was a tough one, as there are just so many to choose from. Picasso alone created 50,000 works of art in his 91 years on this earth.

I wanted to choose a painting that I could relate to myself; so I began thinking about what’s important to me. On the surface I am not a deep person, so the thought of choosing a portrait that would express my emotions through subtle material and artefact placement made me feel rather nauseous.

Instead, I thought I would capture a few of the friendships I have made within my short time at Falmouth. I do believe there is no greater famous paining of a “squad pic” than da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’.

I wanted to replicate the painting with a modern twist. Although sitting around a long table in fancy gowns with a healthy selection of bread and intelligent conversation seems nice, it’s not exactly the way I spend my free time.

Instead I tried to capture themes within current adolescence. I carefully chose objects that would photograph well, and placed them to enhance a dramatic effect within the reflection of the floor. All of the objects on the table were also carefully selected to enhance modern themes; with as much technology on show as is usually around in a student kitchen, as well as bottles of wine and beer. Although we are all brought up to drink out of a glass and be sophisticated and sensible with alcohol intake, our young, naïve and rebellious minds often get the better of us.

Finally, the location. I was searching for lighting that was similar to the original photo, so when I saw the three spots against the wall in the Stannary I knew I had found my spot. The spots against the wall gave a perfect modern twist on the three windows in da Vinci’s masterpiece.

I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who got involved in making my vision a reality, especially to my very talented photographer Jack Joseph-Dalby.

Alex Bassett

“There’s no help for it”. This print shows a man, bound and blindfolded against a post in the middle of what would be a point in the Spanish war. The distastes of war series focuses on this particular period when life was hard during a brutal part of history.

What drew me in initially was the structure of the portrait. Conceptually all of Goya’s work in this series is based on the idea of the ‘in between’ – not before, not after. This movement and capturing of emotion was massively influential on how I felt and thought about this project. It seemed a challenge to capture myself in such a state, a process that would force me to learn more about myself during making the portrait. This shows in the final product that speaks more on my engagement with the source material than myself as a person.

Looking at other influences like Winston Churchill’s portrait contact sheets and Baldersarris conceptual photograph work has made me consider taking a simpler, more conceptual stance within this work. I feel that overcomplicating the work with direct impressions of my would dampen the spirit that came from my research being more abstract.

The experiments I did when looking into the Churchill contact sheets will be crucial into developing this work. It taught me that within a small simple portrait I could convey a lot through just posture and facial expression.

Ensuring that all these elements are covered – research into abstract artists, facial expressions and posture and the strong form and direction from the Goya’s prints – I feel will put me in good stead to create a portrait that hopefully will push the boundaries of the brief while still maintaining a sense of authenticity.

What I am somewhat worried about is that the portrait might move too far away from the point of the brief. However, this could be a good thing. It will mean I will have to make more bold choices about the final piece – making me more confident.

Emily Sorrell

Visual language is a key element of all self portraits. The objects and figures presented, along with the use of colour and light, can all influence the viewer’s response to give an impression of who the artist is, or at least who they consider themselves to be.

Personally, the question of identity has always been a complicated one. As a twin, it is possible to characterise oneself through not only your own, but also through your twin’s relationship and interactions with the world. In this way, self awareness is often comparative as you define yourself as taller, smaller, quieter, louder etc. than your twin. When you begin to consider who you are individually, the question of self becomes completely different. This issue is particularly relevant at this stage of my life.

When researching this project, I considered those things which I feel define me as a person, however tangible objects, while often symbolic, can only represent a small fraction of the self. To me, it is what is missing from an image that has the opportunity to be far more meaningful. This is why I have chosen to recreate Le Pho’s ‘Harmony in Green: Two Sisters’. The opportunity for visual language using this simple yet striking oil on silk was irresistible.

My self portrait explores the ideas of similarity and difference, reiterated by the use of colour within the photograph. I chose to portray the physicality of the figure on the left using the colour scheme of that on the right. This is an attempt at visual metaphor, exploring the way in which a person, however absent, can still contribute to your sense of self.

Connor Edwards

Maggi Hambling’s portrait of Max Wall resonated with me as it explores the idea of how someone might choose to show themselves in a certain light. Gambling herself described her subject as the perfect depiction of a “sad clown”. I found this description touching as it reminded me that we often are ignorant to certain aspects of a persons personality and also made me wonder whether we make people laugh to bring joy to them or whether it is for self gratification purposes.

Hambling conveys this beautifully through her use of contrasting light and dark in the painting. The spots of vibrant whites contrast with the surreal shadow of Max Wall which could reflect an inner conflict, something I also desired to portray. Another interesting technique used by Hambling is her use of perspective. It appears we are looking down upon the stool where Wall rests his feet whilst simultaneously we are facing straight towards him. This might indicate that their are different aspects to Wall’s character.

The objects in the painting don’t contribute much to this message but they do tell a significant amount about the subject, as an entertainer and magician Wall often worked late which is documented by the moon in the upper right hand corner. Wall would often smoke throughout sittings and this is shown through the cigarettes placed at his feet. The black and white eggs used to be part of his routine and also show a great contrast.

In my own portrait I wanted to communicate similar aspects of my own personality and how often I might use humour as a sort of defence. I aim to do this mainly through lighting and the use of my own ‘selfies’ to show that the way a person might portray themselves to the public may not always be a true reflection of themselves.

STUFF – Moth Design & Death + The Studio Society

Objects have history, and each one shapes us in particular ways. Objects that we have as children, the stuffed penguin, silk from the blanket are all destined to be abandoned. Yet they leave traces that will mark the rest of our lives. They specifically influence how we can develop a capacity for happiness, an aesthetic experience and creative play. They demonstrate to us as children that objects in the ‘eternal’ world can be loved. D.W. Winnicott (an English pediatrician and psychoanalyst who was especially influential in the field of object relations theory) believed that during stages of our lives we continue to search for objects we can experience as both within and outside the self.

The use of transition objects continues through our lives as we imbue objects with meaning and memories that are associated with other ideas, places and people. Photographs, mementos and other memorabilia are used to remember good times and friends. Virtually all possessions have a value in creating the self. What is ‘mine’ is that with which I have a defining relationship, that not only defines the object but also defines me. Possessions can vary in the degree to which they have this effect, and ‘treasured possessions’ have a far more significant effect on the ego if they are lost.
Winnicott, D. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena

Call for SoCD staff submissions
Do you have a collection of STUFF, which you would like to share? It could be a collection which has been added to over time, bequeathed to you, multiples as a result of habitual buying. It is that the collection represents multiples of an object which are thematically linked.

The proposal is that, if you would like to contribute to this project we would invite you to submit to an image of the particular collection of ‘Stuff’– (part or whole) along with a word document (500 words max) which gives an insight into your collection. This could be a narrative or a list cataloguing the objects, including a reveal about why you have this STUFF and what it means to you.

The collection will be displayed in the atrium in the lockable glass cabinets which might restrict the sort of objects displayed (we are anticipating that potentially 3 collections could be displayed at once). However, if you have a collection of larger objects, these could be photographed and the images mounted and displayed on the boards. Along with this submission please include a photograph of how the collection is usually stored/displayed/archived.

Basically a conversation is needed with us to resolve how we might accommodate your collection of STUFF.

Each collection will be on display for a week:
WK 7 Friday 28 Oct. | Wk 8 Friday 04 Nov. | Wk 9 Friday 11 Nov.

Following Christmas this will be extended to students.

Please submit your collection proposals via email to by Friday 14th Oct.

We look forward to hearing from you.
Nikki Salkeld and Ashley Rudolph


Collaborative design research project tackles stigma of mental health

During National Mental Health Awareness Week, a global collaborative research project has completed its first phase of work; investigating how design communication and story telling can challenge the stigma of mental health issues.

The project instigated by graphic design staff at Falmouth and psychiatrists from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, saw an initial branding project develop into a global service design challenge. This challenge centred on bringing shared insights from doctors, designers, carers and patients together; using storytelling through film and UX design to deconstruct and challenge the language and insights that so stigmatises those facing and living with mental health issues.

dr feedback session

med student workshop

Part of the project’s investigation unearthed the scale of the invisible epidemic facing the world, with mental healthcare spend and problems growing exponentially over the coming years.

By 2020 the NHS will face the reality of the problem being one of its biggest healthcare priorities. Globally it remains one of the greatest challenges in not only industrialised nations but developing economies too. As an example, China has upwards of 95 million cases affecting its citizens, 50% of which are created before the age of 14. In the UK, alongside physical medical conditions of the brain, day-to-day, 1 in 10 suffer from anxiety and depression. Longer term, 4 in 10 will experience depression in their lifetime and alongside the social and family challenges this brings, 70 million workdays are lost each year, having massive effect on the economy and life of our nation. The true reality of this epidemic has to be opened up for discussion and the Falmouth project; ‘Communicating Mental Health’ aims to confront the dilemma.

The scope of the project soon developed with a further two student design teams at Chinese Universities in Anhui and Jiangnan being briefed in China by designer and research lead Bryan Clark from Falmouth in March. Professor Dr Qingjun Chen and Professor Dr Barbara Wong were to manage the Chinese teams in their two respective Universities and the two psychiatry leads in Cornwall were Dr Adrian Flynn and Dr Rohit Shankar. Additionally, medical students from Exeter University joined some of the project team’s research investigations and co-discovery sessions. Technology support was aided by educational technologist Adel Gordon from Falmouth, setting up online web portals to share learning and insights. A key contributor to the project was Robert Woolfe, Director of Cornish service design company Made Open. Robert’s experience of working with Government, Design Council and communities around the UK, bought valuable project experience to the work of the Year 2 students at Falmouth, where he is also employed as an associate lecturer.

The last stage of work will see the integrated design solutions, campaigns and digital outputs shared with the project teams in Falmouth and China. Further testing will be run with doctors in Ghana, Ethiopia and Singapore for feedback to affirm potential impact and learning.

Head of Graphic Design Bryan Clark notes; “This has been an important project for us, addressing a truly global question through collaborative research, teaching and innovation. It also comes at an important time for the School and our learning, as we launch a new masters course in Communication Design. This explores the emerging landscape of design for human need in the context of a rapidly changing world and how the global creative industries and individuals can respond.  Cornwall too is on the map nationally with major new health funding from the Design Council coming to the South West. The project team aim to examine the opportunity of this news in the context of work undertaken to date and build on the great collaboration so far between design and science communities both in Cornwall and beyond”.

Moth Talks: In the face of death

Moth Talks were hosted by the School of Communication Design at Falmouth University on Friday 8th Jan. Moth is a research group established by Ashley Rudolph and Nikki Salkeld, Senior Lecturers in Graphic Design at Falmouth University. The work explores, through the discipline of Graphic Design, visual language associated with death and end-of-life experiences – creating visual ‘toolkits’ (analogue and digital) as devices for change in: attitudes, conventions and context surrounding death issues.





The talks also incorporated an exhibition and launch of the publication for the current Moth Project In the face of death. This was a collaborative project between Falmouth University and Augsburg University of Applied Sciences working with Prof Stefan Bufler MA(RCA) and Prof Michael Wörgötter along with communication students from both institutions. The students were asked to design a graphic system of symbols, creating meaningful and applied visual language to print, artefacts, digital and social media platforms. It focused on ideas and beliefs at the end of life, (the moment at which we die) and the consequences of that.




The show continues until the end of Jan 2016

The Moth talks brought together, writers, philosophers, diplomats, sociologists, innovators designers, artists, teachers and historians: Ashley Rudolph , Nikki Salkeld, Dr Stephen Cave, Prof. Tony Walter, Joe Macleod, Lucy Willow and Mercedes Kemp.



Dr Stephen Cave who is a writer and philosopher, has written essays, features and reviews on many philosophical, ethical and scientific subjects.

His internationally acclaimed first book, *Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, was published in English and other languages in spring 2012.



Prof. Tony Walter. Facing Death, Facing Loss. Vernacular symbols of loss in a post-Protestant society.

Protestantism has profoundly shaped western European cultures of mourning. Banned from caring for their dead, Protestants could (officially) only remember the dead. In reaction, grief’s emotions came to be creatively expressed in vernacular symbols: nature, the romantic, the gothic, candles, music and angels.

Tony Walter is the world’s only Professor of Death Studies. He was a freelance writer for many years, before becoming Lecturer, then Reader, in Sociology at the University of Reading 1994-2007.

Over the past twenty five years he has researched, written and lectured on death in modern society, e.g. funerals, afterlife beliefs, personal bereavement and public mourning, human remains in museums, new discourses of spirituality, death in the news media and in online social media.

He joined the University of Bath in 2006. From 2011-15, he was Director of the University’s Centre for Death & Society. Now an Honorary Professor, he continues to work with CDAS, gives presentations around the world and is writing three books that bring together his past 25 years’ work.



Joe Macleod. Closure Experiences

We are now encouraged to drunkenly stumble from purchase to purchase, with any sense of longevity and responsibility removed. Long term side effects of this are exampled in the Product, Service and Digital landscapes that we frequent. The consequences of our behaviour results in a changing climate, industries fined billions for mis-selling and individuals casually eroding their personal online reputations.

Joe Macleod has been working in the mobile design space since 1998 and has been involved in a pretty diverse range of projects. At Nokia he helped develop some of the most streamlined packaging in the world, he created a hack team to disrupt the corporate drone of powerpoint, produced mobile services for pregnant women in Africa and pioneered lighting behaviour for millions of phones. For the last four years he has been key to establishing ustwo as the UKs best digital product studio, with 180 people globally in London, New York and Sweden, while also successfully building education initiatives, curriculums and courses on the back of the Include Design campaign which launched in 2013. He now works independently on projects and is currently focusing on his work around Closure Experiences.


Lucy Willow & Mercedes Kemp. Senior Lecturers in BA(Hons) Fine Art. The Falmouth School of Art. Café Morte.

Lost for Words is a culmination of the work of Café Morte to engage in and encourage discussion around the subject of death with a wider community of artists, curators and healthcare professionals. It has been curated with the intention of creating a thoughtful and contemplative space for both artists and audience to reflect on their own personal interpretations on death and how it is represented in art and literature. The works are varied, expressed through a variety of different media and address through physical means the often, unthinkable concept of absence and loss.




[Photography By Beki Nash]