CFP (online conference) Graphic memory: the many lives of letters, from handwriting to digital fonts & back

Vaibhav Singh's picture
August 20, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Childhood and Education, Cultural History / Studies, Fine Arts

Graphic memory: the many lives of letters, from handwriting to digital fonts & back 

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This in-person event and online conference has been organised in collaboration with the Frequencies Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by artist Oscar Murillo and led by political scientist Clara Dublanc. 

From 24 July to 30 August 2021, over 40,000 canvases by more than 100,000 school children across the world will be brought together by Turner Prize-winning artist Oscar Murillo in a major installation marking the culmination of his eight-year project ‘Frequencies’. The project will be presented in its entirety for the first time by Artangel at Cardinal Pole Secondary School in Hackney, London. 

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Call for presentations

We invite abstracts/video submissions for this online conference that will bring together a wide-ranging group of researchers and practitioners to examine the mutual dependencies, and the crossflow of influences, between handwriting, hand-drawn characters, and typographic printed/digital letterforms.

We invite explorations of the interflows between handwriting, lettering, typographic characters, and broadly letterforms in all their variety, to examine how their overlaps have been manifested over different sites of graphic expression across history, and how they continue to shape current practice. Spanning a range of topics – from the paradoxical construct of ‘handwriting fonts’ to the absorption and reimagining of typographic forms in handwriting; from the development of formal models of letterforms to the strong associations between certain styles of letters and their perceived meaning – the conference aims to address the rich media archeology and graphic apparatus of text: within, across, and in-between different contexts of use. 

The conference is particularly keen to address the sites of boundary-crossing between conventions, media, and practices (e.g. between handwriting and its pedagogy, calligraphy, lettering, type design and typography, graffiti, sign-painting, stone carving etc), as well as the crossflow of formal ideas and stylistic influences in different/unrelated contexts.

We invite international participation in this online conference through pre-recorded videos from researchers and practitioners with an interest in visual characteristics, stylistic connotations, and material production of letterforms. Contributions can be in the form of video presentations of 15-20 minutes, with a minimum of 10 slides of visual referenced material. Alternatively, an abstract (250 words) and bio (150 words) can be sent for review and, if selected, Zoom videos will be recorded on the day of the conference by the organisers. 

All video submissions and abstracts should be complete as intended for presentation and must be received before 5 August 2021. If your video/abstract is selected, you will be informed before 10 August and must be able to participate in the online conference on 20 August (live Q&A session will follow the screening of pre-recorded video presentations). Please note that in order to engage a wider audience selected videos will also be screened for visitors to the exhibition in London (see note above), between 23–30 August.

Please send your abstracts via email, and video submissions via WeTransfer or another large file transfer service to 

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Date of in-person event: 19 August 2021 • 2:00–5:00 pm (UK) 
Date of online conference: 20 August 2021 • Timing TBC 

Conference organiser: Vaibhav Singh 
Email enquiries: