dissertation / tutorial work

Update for October 8 tutorial


The weekly task was to write 500 to 1000 words from chapter 1. I only managed 250 words on the letterpress process. Progress has been very slow as I had to do a lot of research to achieve that many words. I could only allocate Sunday to do the task and the Monday morning deadline has meant that I have to draw a line under it now. I had reasonably hoped to also start investigating and writing about the history of printing, but the slowness of progress has surprised me and prevented additional writing. I hope to achieve more written work by the tutorial. I have managed to start a bibliography.

Read the writing task.

Documentary contributors

I met with The Print Project this week. We’ve agreed to work together to create a short film about the company and to get interviews and footage for my dissertation film. I will be filming with Nick week commencing 27 October as he gets a regular poster print commission ready. I had a really good morning in his workshop getting a tour and an introduction to all the equipment and resources, his work and the terminology.

I have spent a lot of time this week investigating other contributors to the film and contacting them individually, or blanket asking for assistance via a LVAF email, and received positive response from:

  • a modern printer who has re-introduced letterpress to their list of services
  • an exhibiting ‘word artist’ who uses letterpress in their work
  • a museum that has a letterpress printing area and has weekly demonstrations from volunteers
  • an enthusiast who has just got his first press and prints (“badly”) from his cellar in his spare time

I am preparing responses to their queries and hope to met up with them in the coming week to discuss the documentary further and secure their contributions.

People that are already confirmed are: a pop-up letterprint shop (also agreed to film members of the public whilst there), and a female printer who has been printing in her spare time for a year but has no equipment.

Documentary style film making

I have asked the Library to order Typeface (2009),  an independent documentary film, produced by Kartemquin Films, about visual culture, technology and graphic design, centred around the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I watched the film last summer and think it will be key to my research.

I have watched The Unbelievers (2013), a documentary film that follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss across the globe as they speak publicly about the importance of science and reason in the modern world – encouraging others to cast off antiquated religious and politically motivated approaches toward important current issues. I have also watched Print the Legend (2014), which follows the people racing to bring the hot new 3D printing technology to your home, documenting the “Macintosh Moment” of this revolution and exploring what it takes to live the American Dream.

From these films I’ve got lots of ideas of how to create a narrative for my film and my next stage is to storyboard it.

Primary research

I ran a short 20-minute focus group with three people (mixed age and gender) and got some interesting response and learnt lots of lessons in terms of general members of the public understanding of letterpress and how my questions may prompt responses that may not be genuine, eg telling participants that something is handmade when in reality they would not have recognised it as such, this then affected the conversation.

I recorded an audio file of discussions, with the groups permission, and now need to transcribe it.


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