I have been asked to look into the possibility (nothing more at this stage) of developing a VISUAL WRITING M.A.

This interesting especially as I not sure if it actually exists!!!!! (I can find no trace of such an animal in the wilds of academia). It also interesting as I not sure where such an animal if found would be caged…..Fine Art or Graphics?

A web search of VISUAL THINKING came up with only one related PhD studentship at Duncan and Jordanstone:

Visualisation & the Application of Visual Thinking
Visualisation & Simulation, Mediating technology, information design, Applying design thinking, Public engagement, Identity cultural & sense of place, Design in Public, Policy, Society, Business-Service Design, Design in new contexts (health etc) Exploring the economic / social impact of new practices

VISUAL THINKING is a generic term which covers any method of displaying information graphically from business seminars to infographics made for the web. I cannot see how it strong enough to form an M.A. unless situated firmly within GRAPHIC DESIGN. It could however be a cross-disciplinary role helping from a pedagogic point of view which how it employed at the RCA where the post recently advertised ‘taught into animation and graphics’.
Wikipedia defines thus:

VISUAL WRITING is a much narrower term that basically refers to art books which contain a lot of visual information but are not GRAPHIC NOVELS or COMIC STRIPS.

GRAPHIC RESEARCH (my term) is using convention of Graphic Novel/Comic Book to reinterperate/re-present academic research.

My subject matter for my M.A. is FINE ART and practice-led. The blog related to it is called Graphic Research and stands outside of that M.A. and could lead to PhD level enquiry. I am interpreting FINE ART THEORY and PEDAGOGY in traditional research documents and comic book format. In this I am imitating a traditional PhD ‘practice-led’ approach but with both written (verbalised) and drawn analysis. I see the ‘graphic’ elements as being outside the traditional text/practice split and to some degree challenging Frayling’s notion of Research FOR art and design not being embedded in the art object (if you accept the drawings as art objects and not text).

Finally, and to address the new M.A. possibilities discussed above. I could happily posit the following options instead which we do not at present cover.

(I have not included ‘Interactive Arts’ or ‘Digital Arts’ because I think all Fine Art/ Graphic Design is digital/non-digital these days and it a false nomenclature  anyway and we would have to have a culture change and move towards the Glasgow model of ‘Digital Culture’ and ‘Communication Media’ to allow this to happen.)

1. GRAPHIC NOVEL AND COMIC. (Presently none exist in UK could be a USP?)

similar to Goldsmiths course

Wimbledon College of Art have just re-launched their Drawing M.A. and there are also similar courses at Falmouth and Oxford Brookes (just validated)

This a very strong possibility and something I would like to work with Terry and Deborah Harty on developing.

This the area I currently studying in and when I finish I believe I would be best suited to run this as course leader. A post that has not been treated as a separate entity since Carry Welling left and one that I think requires a stand alone course leader to promote and run effectively due to the nature of the provision which more akin to blended or open university curricula. I think it also one of the most exciting parts of our provision at Trent and should be made more of.



If these M.A. ideas do not develop I can see myself moving wholly into research / PhD as the Multimedia Course closes as my only option as I will have no teaching into Fine Art at B.A. (rejected by Fine Art representatives at consultation phase) or M.A. level as things presently constituted. Equally I am not considered worthy of teaching practice into Graphic Design….too graphic for fine art too fine art for graphics…marvellous…