Identity, Civic Pride and Civic Place

Wed 30 September, 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Venue: The Swan in the Rushes, 21 The Rushes


Book Tickets

This seminar will discuss the possibilities design offers in developing an identity, structure and meaning for a place.  We have invited individuals whose practice is engaged with ideas around how design can creatively connect with communities to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces, developing a sense of pride and purpose. The speakers will be:

Robert Harland

Robert is Lecturer in Visual Communication (Graphic Design) at the School of the Arts, English and Drama, Loughborough University. He spent 15 years working as a graphic designer in London before entering academia, where his research focuses on the relationship between graphic design and urban design. He holds an undergraduate degree in Information Graphics and a PhD in Architecture (Social Sciences).

Robert's presentation will focus on way places function through urban graphic objects. This will emphasise what he calls the mesographic domain, where form and context are at their most affective.

Patrick Lacey, Åbäke

Åbäke is a collective of four graphic designers. Patrick Lacey is from the UK, Kajsa Stahl from Sweden, Benjamin Reichen and Maki Suzuki from France who decided to work together in the summer of 2000.Their physical work includes posters, CD and record designs, furniture, and installations in art galleries and public spaces. Much of their work concentrates on the social aspect of design and the strength that collaboration can bring to a project. Events often involve (in no particular order) film, dancing, eating and cooking and teaching. They are also singers, painters, photographers, members of bands, furniture designers, curators, fashion designers, DJs and teachers.

 In 2004 Åbäke started a collaboration with the association The Friends of Arnold Circus that develops the public space around Arnold Circus in east London. Patrick will talk about a recent history of Arnold Circus told through shirts and posters (2006–2014) 

Robert Sollis, Europa

Europa is a graphic design partnership formed in 2007 and based in London. It is run by Mia Frostner, who is Swedish, and Robert Sollis, who is English. The pair met in 2005 whilst studying at the Royal College of Art in London. For the past eight years Europa have been designing books, publications, signage and graphic identities for clients who are operating predominately in the public or cultural sector. These clients have included institutions such as Tate Modern, Royal College of Art, Architecture Foundation, Greater London Authority, Somerset House and Victoria & Albert Museum, artists such as Ryan Gander, Martin Beck and Alice Channer and architects such as DK-CM and We Made That.

Europa’s talk will be in two parts. First they will present a reading of Loughborough from the point of view of the graphic design tourist. Second they will discuss examples of their work which relate to identity and place.

Finn Williams, Common Office

Finn Williams is an architect-turned-planner based in London. He worked for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, General Public Agency, and Croydon Council’s Placemaking team before joining the Greater London Authority, where he is Regeneration Area Manager for North West London. Finn is the founder of NOVUS, a public sector planning thinktank, and Common Office, a platform for independent research on the built environment. He also teaches at the Royal College of Art, Bartlett School of Architecture and Central Saint Martins. He is currently developing a new social enterprise to embed talented young designers within public authorities.

Finn will talk about the image of Croydon, and the five years he spent there working with its people and places.

This is one of a number of workshops/seminars that are being organised as part of the current Market Town programme.  They are intended to further investigate the themes explored in the main commissions, and to further engage the local community in the debate about the future of Loughborough.

Image courtesy of Brian Negus via Flickr


November 2018

'Co-working with Things': Exhibition Preview

November 2018

'Co-working with Things': Exhibition Preview

Join us for the opening of Assunta Ruocco's 'Co-Working with Things' in the Martin Hall Exhibition Space on Wednesday 14th November, from 4-6pm. Wine and refreshments provided, and the artist and curator will be present to discuss the work.

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Join us for the opening of Assunta Ruocco's 'Co-Working with Things' in the Martin Hall Exhibition Space on Wednesday 14th November, from 4-6pm. Wine and refreshments provided, and the artist and curator will be present to discuss the work.

An exhibition of artistic research conducted as part of the practice-based PhD project ‘Co-working with Things. How Furnished Spaces Contribute to the Emergence of Artworks’, supervised by Gillian Whiteley and­­­­ Eleanor Morgan, within Loughborough University School of the Arts, English and Drama. All prints were produced within SAED Printmaking Workshop with the help and advice of printmaking tutor Pete Dobson. Exhibition curated by David Bell, with support from Radar­.  


In 1947, artist Anni Albers urged us to consider ‘materials as our co-workers’. In so doing she invited us to develop new relationships with machines, tools, materials and working spaces. This exhibition explores how the things with which artists work can be seen as co-workers. All the artworks presented are based on simple sets of rules derived from what was possible within a particular, contingent context: working at home or in the printmaking workshop. The works are ongoing, and insist on labour intensive relationships with materials, tools and machines arranged within particular furnished spaces.

The most important aspect common to the works is that they are not autonomous pieces produced by an autonomous artist: their dependence on situations, contexts, equipment, and the willingness of others to do some of the work is written within the ‘code’ that structures their ongoing development. The modular installation Vertical Studio is formless, until someone helps to make it by arranging the elements. Aquatint Etchings is a series of double-sided, multi-layered prints: exhibiting them always involves outsourcing the process of deciding which print is visible, and which is concealed. To make the Photo-Etchings, I asked friends to select from thousands of drawings. Those chosen were then turned into a multiple through the complex photo-etching process which produces uncontrollable variations.

The myth of artistic autonomy is challenged by artworks that depend on contingent contexts and can only emerge from specific arrangements of things. Focusing on the role of things within furnished spaces also reveals the importance of maintenance activities that are not usually seen as part of artistic labour. It is the work of setting up and looking after spaces such as homes, studios and workshops that makes the emergence of new artworks possible.


Loughborough University Arts

Martin Hall Building

Loughborough University

Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

01509 222 948

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