Lecturers from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth have been invited to give a workshop entitled “The Graphic Designer as Historian” at Merz Akademie, one of Germany’s most prestigious design schools.
Dan McCabe and Olly Gruner, from the School of Art, Design and Performance, will work with undergraduate and postgraduate students at Merz to create a series of visual displays that respond to the students’ own views on historical events.
The two lecturers said that at a time of political turmoil caused by Brexit, when the UK’s future role in Europe is still unknown, it is important for universities to take the lead in demonstrating that Britain is very willing to work alongside, and collaborate with, its European neighbours.
Dan and Olly’s workshop, part of an ongoing international programme held at Merz, aims to foster dialogue between different nations and cultures on the meaning and impact of history. It is based on their research collaborations, which have led to several talks, lectures and publications. Their article “Gettysburg Inc.: The Use and Abuse of a Historical Icon” was published in design journal The Poster last year. A graphic research paper, which combined visual practice and historical reflection, the article offered a fresh perspective on US president Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
“As a designer with a particular interest in historical representations, I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with colleagues and students at Merz”, said Dan. “History is so important in shaping our personal identities and political beliefs, and I think designers can really contribute to larger debates on the past.”
Olly added: “I’m looking forward to working with German colleagues, exploring shared histories and finding common ground.”
The workshop takes place from the 8th to the 12th April at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart.