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Tension is frequently described as a positive in design, with designers balancing opposing constraints and visual ideas in often ‘perfect tension’. Design work balances a whole series of tensions: analogue–digital; male–female; Twitter–Facebook; art–design; East–West; old–young; interns–employees; global–local; micro–macro; educated–‘feral’; in-house–independent; degree course–short course/apprenticeship; designer–client.
In these uncertain times of economic and educational cutbacks, what of the old adage that from adversity comes creativity? In the aftermath of WWII, the exhibition ‘Britain can make it’ celebrated the potential of design as a tool for national recovery. The political struggles of the 1960s fuelled the portfolios of a generation of our most celebrated graphic designers. So where are seeds of creativity emerging from current struggles? What are the key points of tension today and what possibilities for designerly making and thinking are opening up as a result? Is tension vital to the design process itself?
Join us to such ask questions and more at Critical Tensions, the tenth annual St Bride Library conference, 10–11 November 2011. Embracing history, education and design practice, this two-day event provides a space for meeting and voicing concerns, for collectively exploring ideas, sharing strategies, consolidating knowledge, and for challenging and reaffirming values.
Speakers include Phil Baines, Jonathan Barnbrook, Zoë Bather, Tom Farrand, Amelia Gregory, Alan Kitching, Gerry Leonidas, Vaughan Oliver, Paul Rennie, Lucienne Roberts, Jack Schulze, Steve Watson, Rebecca Wright and Derek Yates.
Moderatored by Phil Baines and Emily King.
Demonstrators include Paul Antonio (calligraphy), Douglas Bevans (bookbinding), Mark Frith (stonecutting), Helen Ingham and Richard Lawrence (typesetting, linocutting, printing).