July 2020 and ongoing
I am working with Dr Giovanna Nordio and Dr Mattia Veronese of the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences on creating illustrated information sheets for patients and clinical trial participants. This is an area that I have been very keen to work in, as it will expand my research from peer-to-peer scientific visual communication to communication between scientists and non-scientists. Thanks to a grant from the Wellcome EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering (CME) Public Engagement Grant Scheme, our aim is to create a visual and modular patient information sheet for generic PET/MRI studies. Each module will represent a separate stage of the study, allowing for easy adaption to different studies. My job will be to produce adaptable figures and images to go along with the sheet, while also ensuring that its graphic design makes it accessible to all readers.
This project is scheduled to be completed before summer 2021, and will be documented in detail on the Neuroscience & Graphic Design website. This site is dedicated to my collaborative work with King’s College Hospital in general, and with the CNS in particular. Edited highlights will be posted in this News feed, with links to the website where appropriate.
April / May 2020
Following on from the Graphic Design Workshops given at King’s during January and February, and with considerable help from the Online Distance Learning division of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, two presentations given during Workshop 1 have been recorded remotely. These presentations cover Good Graphic Design Practice and A Methodical Approach to Building Figures. A live demonstration of the two ‘hands-on’ Adobe Illustrator exercises, performed in Workshop 2, has also been recorded remotely during May.
These recordings will be made available online for staff and students at King’s, via their KEATS online learning website, together with all of the training material that was provided to the workshop participants as digital pdf handouts.
Update – all of the training material is now available online for members of King’s! See the News entry for December 2020 for more details.
An illustration and information design ‘work-in-progress’ for the Neurology Department at University College London, creating conceptual figures that demonstrate the communication between neural circuits in the nervous system. The emphasis will be on producing adaptable visual elements, both anatomical and diagrammatic, that can be combined to produce a sequence of conceptual figures, for use both in print and in PowerPoint presentations. Part of one of the anatomical illustrations, to represent skeletal muscle, is shown here.
As a change from drawing human body parts, I have been working on figures for a friend (and former geophysics colleague), who is looking at the impact of biochar bedding on a rural farming economy. The figures will form a graphical abstract, to accompany a post-graduate research study. I have drawn various visual elements to construct figures representing a ‘biochar cycle’, including some cattle and their remarkably clean shed.
More examples of the elements, and the completed figures, have been added to the Project Portfolio webpage.
Wednesday 4th to Thursday 12th March 2020
As part of UAL’s annual Research Season, taking place throughout February / March 2020, current and recently completed PhD students, who are based at LCC, held an exhibition of work-in-progress. Some of my own work was included in the exhibition and more details, and pictures, can be found in this blog post. All of the participants were also filmed talking about their research work and their PhD experience at UAL. A short video of these interviews, which also includes images of the work on show, can be found on YouTube.
January / February 2020
My graphic design workshops at King’s College London have completed, with 30 participants attending Workshop 1 on 31st January and a total of 35 participants attending the four sessions of Workshop 2 throughout February. For more details, see the Workshops (2020) page on the Neuroscience & Graphic Design website
Due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, there are no plans to repeat the workshops. However, there were a significant number of people on waiting lists for both workshops that did not get the chance to attend, so this may be reviewed when circumstances allow. In the meantime, the workshop presentations, etc., will be recorded for online viewing – see the News entry for April 2020.
Wednesday 26th February 2020
I attended Between Design Research and Policy Practice, an event held at Chelsea College of Arts and organised jointly by UAL’s Social Design Institute and Policy Lab. This was an evening of conversation and idea exchange, for people who use design to explore public policy and social issues.
I joined the group discussing Health, wellbeing and sustainability, with two other groups discussing Social systems and culture change and Services, communities and publics. Interesting points were raised, particularly with regard to the term ‘co-design’. As for the London LASER event (below), the topics covered will be discussed further in a future blog post.
Wednesday 19th February 2020
I attended London LASER 30 – A Picture of Health, held at Central Saint Martins. This was an evening of talks and discussion exploring the relationships between art, health and medical research, involving artists curators, scientists and health professionals. Although focussed on art, rather than design, a lot of the points raised during the talks resonated with my graphic design work with scientists working in the area of health.
Thursday 23rd January 2020
At the first of a series of talks organised by the Design School at LCC, I was one of two former post-graduate students to give a 5-minute talk about our research. My talk focused on the importance of graphic design practice, both in my own design research and as a means to gain insights when used in other disciplines.
These short presentations were followed by the main talk from Rick Poynor, on the designer, activist and visual historian David King. More details about Rick’s talk, and the Design School series of talks in general, can be found at this website.
I was officially awarded my practice-based PhD in January 2020, having passed my viva examination. My thesis, ‘Visual Elements & Visual Paradigms: re-thinking scientific conceptual figures through graphic design’, has been uploaded to the UAL Research online database and the British Library EThOS online repository.
Wednesday 6th November 2019
I presented my research to the students of the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication courses at London College of Communication. This will be part of their ‘Professional and Academic Context’ unit, that explores the relationship between academic research and professional practice. I was one of two presenters representing academia, with another two representing professional practice.
My presentation focused on the importance of graphic design practice in my research and how I then applied my research in practice. I tried to show the students that post-graduate research isn’t all about reading and writing, but involves a lot of doing and making, and that I would not have reached my research aims without doing a lot of practical graphic design. They also got a bit of neuroscience thrown in for good measure – the photo shows me trying to explain chemical neurotransmission …
Monday 28th October 2019
I met with Dr Mattia Veronese, of the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences at King’s College London, to discuss our upcoming workshops on graphic design for PhD students. See the website Neuroscience and Graphic Design for more details.
Thursday 17th October 2019
I attended the Research Degrees Open Evening at London College of Communication, to give a brief presentation about graphic design research and my PhD experience, and to chat with potential candidates. I did a similar presentation last year and wrote a blog post about it. I have updated that post, reflecting on the whole experience now that I have completed my writing-up year and submitted my PhD thesis.
Monday 30th September 2019
My PhD thesis, ‘Visual Elements and Visual Paradigms: Re-thinking scientific conceptual figures through graphic design’, has been submitted for examination. For a summary of my research see this blog post.
Wednesday 1st May 2019
As a continuation of my collaboration with the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, we have been awarded funding by the Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre at KCL to create and run workshops for PhD students on producing scientific conceptual figures. The workshops will take place either later in 2019 or, more likely, early in 2020. More details can be found on the the collaboration website.
April – September 2019
Illustration and information design work for Dr Simone Reinders, of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. I created the visual elements, both anatomical images and statistical bar charts, to build up a conceptual figures that can be used in a journal paper and associated presentations. Creating the figures was an exercise in fitting a large amount of information into a limited space …
February – April 2019
In February 2019 I started graphic design / illustration work for Anoushka Leslie, Project and Scientific Co-ordinator at the Department for Neuroimaging Sciences at King’s College London. The work is part of the SHARE & PREVIEW project, and creates an illustrated communications resource presenting key results from a recent research study and explaining key scientific concepts relevant to that study.
On Saturday 23rd March 2019, I attended a SHARE & PREVIEW workshop at King’s College, Denmark Hill, where neuroscience researchers presented their new and upcoming research to fellow researchers, health professionals and service users. During the workshop we received feedback on the information documents produced so far. These documents cover the subjects of executive function, brain ageing, white matter pathways and DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) scans. Based on the feedback the documents have been revised and updated and in due course they should be made available on the Maudsley BRC website.
Update – the final information sheets, and some of the individual illustrations used in the sheets, have been added to a Portfolio page.
November 2018 – April 2019
A collaboration with fellow University of the Arts London PhD research student Lesley-Ann Daly, a designer based at Central St Martins. Lesley-Ann produced a large-scale piece of information design, presenting the issues surrounding human enhancement technology, and I am provided illustrations. Some of these illustrations can be seen in a portfolio on the Graphic Works page of this website. Lesley-Ann’s final piece will form part of a group exhibition, Anamorphic Waves, at the Ugly Duck gallery from 12th to 14th April 2019. More of Lesley-Ann’s work can be seen on her website.
Friday 15th March 2019
I presented at the NAFAE Research Student Conference – Living Research: The Urgency of the Arts, as part of the Collaboration strand. You can download pdf files of the conference programme and the conference booklet from the NAFAE website.
My presentation focused on my collaborative work with the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences and the role of graphic design practice in that collaboration. For more details about the conference, and my presentation, see this blog post.
Wednesday 27th February 2019
The first speaker was Lilian Fragi, an art curator at LabVerde, an annual ‘art immersion program’ in the Brazilian Amazon. She was followed by Aleksandra Borys, a former student of CSM’s Masters in Art and Science, who had been an artist-in-residence at LabVerde in 2017. Catalogues detailing the work undertaken during the residencies can be downloaded from the Labverde website. The final speaker was Neal White, Professor of Art / Science at the University of Westminster, who has spent 20 years of artistic practice working at remote sites.
While the work undertaken by the artists is undoubtedly interesting, and certainly inspired by scientific ideas or imagery, there is rarely, if ever, any science involved in the work that is created. In most cases, art/science projects would be more correctly defined simply as ‘art’.
Wednesday 23rd January 2019
Read more details about the seminar, and my reflections on multidisciplinary design and design thinking, in this blog post.
Friday 30th November 2018
With collaborators at King’s College London, an application has been submitted to the King’s Together Seed Fund for funding to allow us to continue and widen our research. See the collaboration website for more information on the work completed to date.
Update on 29th January 2019 – unfortunately, the application was unsuccessful and we are now looking for other funding opportunities to allow the collaboration to continue.
Update on 1st May 2019 – we have been awarded funding from the Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre at KCL to run workshops on creating conceptual images (see the news entry dated 1st May 2019 for more details).
Sunday 25th November 2018
Presented at the CARU | Arts re Search Annual Conference at Oxford Brookes University, “What does it mean to research through creative practice?”. My presentation was entitled, Visual Elements and Visual Paradigms: using graphic design practice to research the visual languages of science, and highlighted my use of graphic design practice as a research method.
I was one of eighteen presenters, mainly artists of all types but also including architects, a composer and me as the only graphic designer. But we were all using creative practice in our research or researching creative practice or, most often, doing both. So it was very interesting to hear many different perspectives on the role of practice in research.
Wednesday 21st November 2018
A seminar with the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication course at London College of Communication: The relationship between academic research and professional practice.
I gave a presentation on the role of graphic design practice in my research and the application of my research in practice. This was the last of four presentations in the Professional and Academic Context unit, where two academics and two professional graphic designers present their work. The students then have to produce a 20-page, A3-sized publication on the work that was presented. All of the presentations were very different, covering a wide variety of graphic work, so it will be interesting to see what the students produce in three months time.
Thursday 15th November 2018
A seminar with the MA Data Visualisation course at London College of Communication, where I gave a presentation: Using graphic design practice as a research method. This was followed by activities for the students, which raised some interesting points regarding the creation of typologies and the categorisation of scientific visual elements.
Wednesday 14th November 2018
Attended an event at the Science Gallery London, that highlighted the work of Impact and Engagement Services at King’s College London. To further my collaboration with the Centre for Neuroimaging Services at King’s, we are in the process of applying for additional funding. Research impact and public engagement are a significant part of the assessment for any funding application, so it was very interesting and useful to learn more about how Impact and Engagement Services can provide support in this. We’ll be staying in touch with them as the collaboration continues.
Friday 26th October 2018
A meeting with potential collaborators at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences to discuss options for further research. The reaction to the research proposal was very positive but the presentation given in the meeting relied on animated gifs to demonstrate the adaptability of the visual element Illustrator files, which are key to developing a viable online image library. A blog post on the collaboration website shows how the animated gifs work.
Tuesday 9th October 2018
I gave a brief talk about my PhD experience at the London College of Communication PhD Open Evening.
I gave a similar presentation at the 2019 PhD Open Evening and, after that, I updated my blog post reflecting on graphic design research and my PhD experience You can read the updated blog post here.