ICS Seminar Series - Dr Alison Barnes

Date: Thursday 6 March, 2014
Time: 11.30am - 1pm
Venue: EB.2.21, UWS Parramatta South campus 

Dr Alison Barnes

Geo/graphic Design: The Multi-Sensory Potential of the Book 


There is a discernible shift within cultural geography, and the social sciences in general, towards visual research methods that use media such as film or sound to engage with multi-sensorial aspects of everyday life and place. Such methods are seen to capture place in ways that reflect the embodied experience of the researcher and their subjects, whilst also offering a way to contend with the ongoing, relational nature of place and the ‘more than representational’ challenge that brings. In contrast, the perception of the traditional medium of print is that it lacks this ‘fluid’ nature, is unable to engage with multi-sensory approaches, and generates representations that are too ‘fixed’. However, by developing ‘geo/graphic’ work that draws on theories and practices from both cultural geography and graphic design, the printed page can be recast as a liminal space, a threshold between the reader, their understanding and imagination. By working holistically with both form and content, one can develop books that offer the reader multi-sensory, interactive spaces of exploration, with such a practice also offering researchers a further creative method with which to understand and represent everyday life and place. 


Having completed her PhD at the University of the Arts London, and with fifteen years of graphic design teaching experience in higher education in the UK, Alison joined the Design program at UWS in 2012. Her practice-led research draws on both graphic design and cultural geography and focuses on creative methods for understanding and representing everyday life and place. In particular, Alison’s work explores the potential of typography and the form of the book to create multi-sensory spaces of exploration for the reader that offer an interactive, individual experience.