Central Saint Martins
Graphic Communication Design
Depth of Field 2020–21
For this year, our events series Depth of Field will continue online.¹ In 2019–20, we invited a range of guests with the aim of unsettling and excavating how we practice, think and learn about graphic communication design.² The events of 2020 have both intensified and lent focus to this ambition.

This year's series will consider questions of the most urgent relevance to education and industry in graphic communication design, placing them into social, environmental and historical contexts. How should graphic and communication designers interact with the dominance of the tech sector, particularly as this is intensified through the pandemic? What can graphic design do to make a step-change against racism and coloniality that has a meaningful long-term impact? How is the environmental crisis a crisis of communication?³
1. The online series will enable us, for the first time, to open to the public. Lectures will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel.
2. Last years in-person series held in the GCD studios in King's Cross was interrupted by Covid in March, but you can read more about it here: csmgcd.net/lectures/2019-20
3. In addition to moving online, this years' series will also follow a new format in which contributors will each present briefly on theme or question chosen together. This will be followed by discussion.
Kelly Walters¹ & Anoushka Khandwala²
Coffee, Cocoa and Sugar
from Tuesday 10 November 2020, 5.30pm

As a follow-up to their recently published discussion in Eye on Design, 'On Breaking Down Power Structures, Navigating Tokenism + Building Community in Design Education'³, Kelly and Anoushka will elaborate on how personal journey and identity has shaped how they design and how they make. Their hope is to create a dialogue that supports emerging designers to be in touch with their own identities as a key aspect of developing their practice.

Kelly and Anoushka originally met at Central Saint Martins when they worked together on Open Dialogues, a design project that was part open forum, art exhibition and visible platform for UAL students of Afro-Caribbean descent. The project was initiated by Kelly in spring 2018, when she was a visiting tutor in GCD.

For this first event in the series, Kelly and Anoushka will each speak for 15 minutes. This will be followed by a moderated discussion with the opportunity for the audience to contribute questions.

This event will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel: youtu.be/CyzBTv5ogjg. You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Kelly Walters is Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York. Her research investigates how socio-political frameworks and shifting technology influence the sounds, symbols and styles of black cultural vernacular in mainstream media. You can find out more about her work at brightpolkadot.com.
2. Anoushka Khandwala is Lecturer on BA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. She is a designer, writer and educator, whose practice explores what it means to diversify and decolonise design. Her most recent work has focused on importance of indigenous perspectives in climate design, and the impact that the anti-racism movement has on art schools.
3. Published on Eye on Design on September 20, 2020 by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.
4. You can read more about Open Dialogues on opendialogueexhibition.com.
5. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Rebecca Ross, Director of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM.
Danielle Aubert¹ & Rathna Ramanathan²
The Politics of Publishing
from Tuesday 15 December 2020, 5.30pm

We are delighted to welcome Danielle Aubert and Rathna Ramanathan for our second public event of the year which takes place on the occasion of the launch of CSM's new Publications Workshop.³ Their discussion will be focused on publishing in an expanded sense, and in particular, its relationship to politics. For many graphic designers, what comes to mind when thinking about publishing are books, magazines and newspapers. The starting point for this discussion will be to first consider publishing broadly, as a set of practices that engage publics. Likewise, we will be working from a wide view of politics as sets of power relations relating to or inherent in communities and practices that goes beyond specific political movements.

Danielle and Rathna will share examples from their own practices, elaborating their perspectives on interactions between publishing, cooperation, class, labour, language and printing. Danielle will speak primarily from her recent book on the history of the Detroit Printing Co-op, which is also the basis for a book and an exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum. Rathna will share a range of examples from her practice, including previous work with the BBC World Service on their approach to reaching rural Indian audiences. The discussion will draw out the contemporary relevance of historical approaches to publishing, communication and graphic design practices and their relevance and impact on political environments.

Rathna and Danielle will each speak for 15 minutes. This will be followed by a moderated discussion with the opportunity for the audience to contribute questions. This event will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/pIsYba7-Gp0. You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Danielle Aubert is a graphic designer whose work examines materials, methods of production, machines and labor. She is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Wayne State University, in Detroit. You can learn more about her work on her website, www.daielleaubert.info.
2. Dr. Rathna Ramanathan is a graphic designer and researcher known for her expertise in intercultural communication and typography, and non-mainstream and experimental publishing practices. Rathna, who was on the academic staff of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM from 2009-2014, is currently the Dean of the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art. She will be re-joining CSM as Dean of Academic Strategy in January.
3. This year's pilot workshop is located in King's Cross D109/D111. Watch Technical Moodle and the GCD newsletter for more information on arrangements and access.
4. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a publication firstly as an 'action of making something publicly known; public notification or announcement; an instance of this.'
5. You can borrow The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing (Inventory Press 2) from the UAL library or find out more about the exhibition of the same name on the Cranbook Museum page.
6. Rathna reflected on her work with the BBC World Service in a 2007 Eye magazine article, Roadshows and rickshaws.
7. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Rebecca Ross, Director of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory¹ & Climate Outreach²
How is the Environmental Crisis a Crisis of Communication?
from Tuesday 19 January 2021, 5.30pm

Our third event in GCD’s 2020-21 series will consider the relationship between communication and the climate emergency. We will ask the question, how is the climate crisis a crisis of communication?

To explore this, we have invited guests from the frontline of producing imagery and other media designed to amplify public engagement with the climate emergency. In this work there is a need to carefully balance accurate presentation of scientific observations and facts, sometimes technical in nature, with visual languages that give rise to meaningful actions at scale. The choices that designers, artists and journalists make about how to depict our planet have a significant impact on how people perceive and interact with its potential futures.³ As designers, what considerations do we need to take into account in our own practices?

Susan Callery is the Manager of the Earth Science Public Engagement team with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She works alongside Susan Bell, a web and content producer. Their team works directly with satellite images and data and renowned NASA scientists to produce visual content for Earth science and climate education, outreach and media. Toby Smith is a photojournalist, now working for Climate Outreach as the lead on their Climate Visuals project. The initiative advocates for evidence-based approaches to illustrating the climate crisis which create a more compelling and diverse visual language for climate change. In addition, their Seven principles for visual climate change communication have also been adopted by a range of organisations including The Guardian.

Susan, Susan and Toby will each speak for 15 minutes. This will be followed by a moderated discussion with the opportunity for the audience to contribute questions. This event will be streamed and archived on CSM’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/KepZN8o6lH0. You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Susan Callery is the Manager of Earth Public Engagement at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is also one of the leads of NASA’s Earth thematic communications team. Susan has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy and Management. Susan Bell is a visual storyteller creating video, graphics and social media campaigns for NASA’s Earth science missions. She holds a BA in telecommunications from Baylor University and a MFA in film from Florida State University and flies upside down as a competition aerobatic pilot in her free time.

2. Toby Smith is the Climate Visuals Programme Lead at Climate Outreach. He graduated with a Masters in Contemporary Photography from London College of Communication in 2008 and was also the Artist in Residence of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute for 2015/16.
3. You can read more about the impacts of visual languages on climate attitudes in these recent articles in Planet Earth Obervation Can Play A Critical Role in the European Green Transition and Real Life, Springtime Everywhere: In prioritizing clarity and smoothness in its representation, Google Earth supports how we are consuming the planet
4. Links to their web-sites include Eyes on the Earth, a desktop app with global satellite data, spacecraft models and real-time orbits; Earth now, a browser version of Eyes on the Earth; Images of Change, before and after satellite images; and the Beautiful Earth Gallery; and the Scientific Visualization Studio.
5. Climate Outreach is a non-profit organisation specializing in climate change communication. Climate Visuals is a project of Climate Outreach which aims to strategically change the working practices of visual communicators across the world, to catalyse a new - more compelling and diverse - visual language for climate change.
6. The Seven Principles for visual climate communication change were published in 2018 as the outcome of an interdisciplinary social science research project based across a number of organisations and institutions. In 2019, The Guardian published an article explaining why they were incorporating these principles into their guidelines for images they use in climate journalism.
7. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Rebecca Ross, Director of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM.
Jazmin Morris¹ & E Roon Kang²
How Should Creatives Interact with the Dominance of the Tech Sector?
from Tuesday 16 February 2021, 5.30pm

This event will raise questions about the agency of graphic designers and other creatives in relation to the technology sector. In 2020, most people are more dependent on digital products and services than ever before. At the same time, for good reasons, we are increasingly scrutinizing their social, cultural, political and ethical implications. Designers and creatives, whether working with, within or around tech, play an integral role in the success of most platforms, hardware, software, services and games, but it is not clear how we should position ourselves in relation.

Jazmin Morris and E Roon Kang will share their different experiences and positionings working as creatives engaged with technology. Jazmin will begin from the perspective of young designers needing to find secure work in an unequal and rapidly changing economy.³ E Roon will follow this by drawing out some of the daily ethical challenges around tech inherent in everyday graphic design practice from the way we use tools to the decisions we make about who to collaborate with. The discussion will challenge us to take a more active and critical stance in relation to the conflicts and contradictions around tech faced by design students, graduates, professionals and educators.

Jazmin and E Roon will each speak for 15 minutes. This will be followed by a moderated discussion with the opportunity for the audience to contribute questions. This event will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/yI5wZlALy-0". You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Jazmin Morris is a creative technologist working primarily in gaming and creative computing education. Her personal practice focuses on complexities within simulating culture and identity through games and virtual experiences. Jazmin’s recent experience includes teaching and community outreach work with the UAL Creative Computing Institute, consulting for Projects by IF (a studio specialising in ethical approaches to data) and facilitating workshops for Stemettes (a social enterprise that supports young women to become engaged with STEM subjects).
2. E Roon Kang is Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York, though he is currently based in Seoul (where it will be very late at night, thanks E Roon). He is also the founder of Math Practice, an interdisciplinary design and research studio, with interest in studying, evaluating, and criticizing complex systems and its pursuit of efficiency.
3. Jazmin's talk will make reference to a number of games including Queers in Love at the End of the World by Anna Anthropy, Miniskirt World Network: Business Slut Online, Porpertine (by Slimedaughter) and Jazmin's own game 50 Shades of Brown.
4. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Rebecca Ross, Director of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM.
Silas Munro¹ & Patricio Dávila²
Data Visualisation, Information Graphics & Identity
from Tuesday 9 March 2021, 5.30pm

In the early part of 2020, before the UK's first national lockdown, many members of the GCD community visited the W.E.B Du Bois: Charting Black Lives exhibition³, which was on view at The House of Illustration, right next to CSM's building in Granary Square, London.

This important exhibition will be the springboard for the fifth event in our 2020-21 series. W.E.B. Du Bois is well-known as a sociologist and for co-founding the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). The exhibition presented a collection of information graphics, developed by Du Bois and a team of African American students at Atlanta University, that challenged pseudo-scientific racism and charted the lives of Black Americans. In addition to disputing racist claims, these graphics raise a number of important questions about the relationship between information, data, visual language, politics and identity. In 2021, as misinformation proliferates and algorithms which process our identity characteristics become more prevalent, these questions take on a new importance.

Using the Du Bois exhibition as a starting point to a wider discussion about how information graphics and data visualisation relate to identity, Silas Munro, Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Otis College of Art and Design, and Patricio Dávila, Associate Professor at York University and Co-Director of the Public Visualization Lab and Studio, will each bring their own perspectives as creatives and researchers. Silas, who has previously spoken in-depth about the Du Bois information graphics and is currently delivering a course in Black Data at California College of Art as well as online short-course on BIPOC Design in America, will elaborate on their wider historical and thematic context. Patricio will draw from examples featured in an exhibition he curated in the Netherlands and Toronto, Diagrams of Power, to connect with pressing contemporary questions about the politics of information and data. The discussion will consider the challenges created by contemporary data visualization and information design practices in the context of contemporary racial and other social justice movements. In particular, questions will be raised about how to consider and deploy information design and data visualisation techniques in ways that strengthen accountability and reciprocity in relation to their wider contexts.

Silas and Patricio will each speak for 15 minutes. This will be followed by a moderated discussion with the opportunity for the audience to contribute questions. This event will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/lEYAR6Y98FE. You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Silas Munro is a partner of Polymode, a bi-coastal design studio in the U.S. that creates poetic research, learning design, artistic practice, and applied design with clients in the cultural sphere and community-based organizations. Munro's writing appears in the book, W. E. B. Du Bois' Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America published by Princeton Architectural Press. The project is featured in articles in Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker and Black Perspectives. Munro is an Associate Professor at Otis College of Art and Design and Advisor, and Chair Emeritus at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
2. Patricio Dávila is a designer, artist, researcher and educator. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Arts in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, at York University and co-director of Public Visualization Lab (PVL) and member of the Public Visualization Studio (PVS).
3. Charting Black Lives, was on display at the House of Illustration in Granary Square, next to Central Saint Martins, from November 9 2019 to March 1 2020. The information graphics were originally produced for display at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
4. The Public Visualisation Lab (PVL) is a networked lab (York U, OCADU, Ryerson U) and focusses on how visualization can operate as a critical design and media practice. A priority for the lab is to understand the ways that the representation of data is political as well as analytical, designerly and creative. A basic premise that guides PVL's projects is that visualization is an assemblage that arranges people, things and processes and as such demands a commitment to ethics, accountability and meaningful participation. In collaboration with the PVL, the Public Visualisation Studio is a design collective whose members are designers, artists, creative technologists and researchers. The collective creates projects as a means to pursue inquiries into the political and conceptual aspects of interaction, space and media.
5. For an in-depth discussion of Du Bois's data portraits, we recommend Silas's lecture for The Letterform Archive, delivered on October 29, 2019.
6. Black Data is a design course that investigates deeper origin points in the history of data visualization and design studies. What does it mean to revisit and rewrite the course of design history in a way that centres previously marginalized designers, cultural figures, and—in particularly BIPOC and QTPOC people?
7. Black Design in America is the first in a series of BIPOC Centred design history courses facilitated by Polymode.
8. Diagrams of Power: Visualizing, Mapping, and Performing Resistance, is an exhibition and publication that brings together projects that challenge and critique traditional forms of thinking through the use of data visualisation practices. You can borrow Diagrams of Power from the UAL library, or purchase online.
9. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Rebecca Ross, Director of the Graphic Communication Design Programme at CSM.
What Next?
CSM Graphic Communication Design in partnership with Design Observer¹ and Thames & Hudson²
from Tuesday 20 April 2021, 5.30pm

The springboard for our final event in the series is the publication of a new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay, Self-reliance,³ featuring a new series of contemporary essays by writer, designer, artist, educator and Design Observer co-founder, Jessica Helfand working in collaboration with graphic designer Jarrett Fuller, published by Thames & Hudson: “When Emerson published his most famous essay in 1841, it was in the aftermath of the calamitous financial collapse of 1837. His positive vision for the power of individualism and personal responsibility was issued in a climate filled with panic and uncertainty, and at a time, much like today, when the values of society and humanity were in the process of being reformed.”

The choice to revisit and reconsider Emerson through the lens of graphic design education and practice, in the context of contemporary events, will serve as the backbone for a roundtable discussion which breaks the format of our previous events. We have invited three guests, each offering a different perspective on some of the questions weighing most heavily on the mind of our own students about to graduate, as well as those of other institutions.

As we all weather the largest public health crisis in living memory, David Davenport-Firth, Managing Partner at Ogilvy Health, will speak to the expanding role for design in the future of healthcare communication. London-based Digital Designer and Member of Common Knowledge, Gemma Copeland, will speak about the potential role of designer-worker cooperatives in reconfiguring the ways creative practitioners structure their work. And, Mike Calandra Achode, who in addition to lecturing on BA GCD, will bring his perspective as a documentary filmmaker working on projects that cross national and cultural boundaries. This discussion will be moderated by Rebecca Ross, GCD Programme Director. As a group, we will be exploring the unique and transformative potential that graduating students during this complex and unusual period bring to professional practice.

This event is brought to you in partnership with Design Observer, an internationally recognised online publication for commentary and criticism about design, and global book publisher Thames & Hudson. In addition to the roundtable discussion, it will feature a few special guest interventions from Design Observer as well as Thames & Hudson.

This event will be streamed and archived on CSM's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/STnlU1T9im4. You will need to log in if you would like to participate in the discussion.

1. Founded in 2003 by Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut, Design Observer is an internationally recognised online publication for commentary and criticism about design and visual culture.
2. Thames & Hudson is an global book publisher centred on producing high-quality illustrated books across all areas of the visual arts.
3. Produced with Design Observer, Self-Reliance is a graphically reimagined edition of Emerson’s text, including 12 additional contemporary essays by Jessica Helfand.
4. Jessica Helfand is is an artist, designer, and writer. She grew up in Paris and New York City, and was educated at Yale University, where she taught for more than two decades. A founding editor of Design Observer, she is the author of numerous books on visual and cultural criticism.
5. Jarrett Fuller is a designer, writer, educator, editor and podcaster. He is director of twenty-six, a multidisciplinary design and editorial studio, hosts the design podcast Scratching the Surface, is a contributing editor at AIGA Eye On Design, and teaches in both undergraduate and graduate programs at Pratt Institute, The New School Parsons School of Design, University of the Arts, and Rutgers University.
6. David Davenport-Firth, aka DDF, is Managing Partner of Ogilvy Health’s Brain Sciences Centre, focusing on the psychology of health decision making and health behaviour. He is also responsible for the agency’s Wellness Lab™, designing interventions to support workplace wellbeing. DDF holds the degree of Master of Science in Health Psychology with distinction and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. He is particularly interested in clinical and shared decision making and how the psychosocial aspects of health and illness can be better managed through visualisation and digital engagement. As a self-confessed "quantified selfer", he is passionate about health data visualization, digital phenotyping and applications of artificial intelligence.
7. Gemma is a digital designer interested in developing new models for living and working collaboratively. She is a member of the not-for-profit worker cooperative Common Knowledge, where she designs and builds digital technology that supports, amplifies and extends the work of grassroots organisations and communities. Common Knowledge shares a vision of a world where people are confident in their capacity to self-organise, empowered by digital technology.
8. Mike is a multidisciplinary designer focused on filmmaking and audio-visual languages employed in Communication. With a background in Graphic Design, Sound Design and Music, his practice is centred on music and cultural spaces emerging across communities of the African diaspora. He considers music not only an echoing literature that reveals nuances of everyday life, but also a superstructure that anticipates economic developments, ‘..to foreshadow new social formations in a prophetic and declarative way’ as enunciated by French economist Jacques Attali. He has practiced as an independent designer in the last 10 years and founded Crudo Volta, a visual collective documenting the development of contemporary lifestyles and musical scenes of the African diaspora. Crudo Volta’s most popular format is the Taxi, a documentary film format where contemporary music scenes are explored through the expedient of a taxi ride. He is currently lecturing for the BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins.