Decriminalising Ornament* : The Pleasures of Pattern


Decriminalising Ornament* : The Pleasures of Pattern

The 9th International Illustration Research Symposium 

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

November 17-18th, 2018

This two-day research conference explores the nature of pattern and ornament within the context of illustration, printing and publishing and explores ideas and asks questions around it’s current state of appreciation, meaning and usage. Within the context of practice based research, international researchers, academics and practitioners will present their work and discuss their ideas.

Alongside the conference there will be a Research Exhibition, featuring a collaborative installation by the graphic designer  Hansje van Halem and  printer/publisher Jan de Jong.

confirmed keynote speakers

  • Dr Alan Powers, Art historian, Researcher, Curator and Design Writer. 

Following a degree in History of Art from Cambridge, Alan received his doctorate on Architectural Education in Britain 1880-1914. He is a prolific writer for magazines and author of numerous books, amongst others Enid Marx, The Pleasures of Pattern 2018),  Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities (2003), Front Cover: Great Book Jacket and Cover Design (2006) , Children's Book Covers, Great Book Jacket and Cover Design (2003). He has curated popular exhibitions, including Enid Marx: Print, Pattern and Popular Art, House of Illustration  (2018); Eric Ravilious, Imperial War Museum (2003); and Eros to the Ritz: 100 Years of Street Architecture, Royal Academy (2013).

As professor of architecture and cultural history at the University of Greenwich, Alan taught architectural history and theory for undergraduate and diploma courses from 1999-2012, and has been a frequent external examiner for PhD and other higher degrees. 

  • Dr Alice Twemlow, Design Writer, Critic and Educator.

Twemlow earned a Ph.D from the History of Design program run as a joint venture by the Royal College of Art and the V & A Museum in London. She has been a guest critic at the Yale University School of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 2006 Twemlow became the chair and co-founder of its Master of Fine Arts in Design Criticism.

Alive Twemlow is a prolific writer and has written for amonst others Eye, Design and the New York magazine  Twemlow and contributed to online publication such as Voice and AIGA Journal of Design.

Twemlow is currently head of the MA in Design Curating & Writing at Design Academy Eindhoven, Lector Design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KABK) in The Hague and Senior University Lecturer (guest) at Leiden University


Ornament : a thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose  . Verb: to make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items. 

— The Oxford Living Dictionary (online) 

“Ornament is no longer a natural product of its culture, and
therefore represents backwardness or even a degenerative tendency.” 

 The 9th International Illustration Research Symposium 

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

November 17-18th, 2018

This two-day research conference explores the nature of pattern and ornament within the context of illustration, printing and publishing and explores ideas and asks questions around it’s current state of appreciation, meaning and usage. Within the context of practice based research, international researchers, academics and practitioners will present their work and discuss their ideas.

Alongside the conference there will be a Research Exhibition, featuring a collaborative installation by the graphic designer  Hansje van Halem and  printer/publisher Jan de Jong.

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 17.34.34.png

Gaf presents Emeritus Professor Andrzej Klimowski

Andrzej Klimowski is a graphic artist and a designer of theatre, opera and film posters. He is an international illustrator of book covers and press and magazine illustrations and an author of graphic novels (publishers include Faber & Faber and SelfMadeHero). His research interests are in narrative, investigating new relationships between text and image.

Born of Polish parents in London in 1949, Klimowski trained at the Saint Martin's School of Art before studying at the Academy of Fine Art and working professionally in Warsaw. His east-European legacy deeply influences his work. From the late 1970s he designed posters and book jackets – including novels by PG Wodehouse , Simon Louvish, Lionel Shriver, Milan Kundera and Kazuo Ishiguro – and illustrations, TV graphics and animation, following his particular of from examples of his 'Polish School' design.

The early twentieth century photo-collagists, Surrealism, Dada and Expressionism have been an influence on part of his work, but he has developed his own personal style with a combination of fantasy, anxiety, ambiguity and eroticism which keeps his works from becoming pastiche. He is the current head of illustration at the RCA, His work includes short films, illustrations and books, including Lo Sguardo Deviato (The Deflected Gaze), and most recently The Secret. His work has recently been the subject of a retrospective at the Theatre Museum in London.

From 1968 to 1972 Andrzej Klimowski studied sculpture and painting at St Martins School of Art. 1973 to 1980 he lived and worked in Warsaw, the first two years of which he studied poster design under Professor Henryk Tomaszewski and film animation under Dr Kazimierz Urbanski at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. He has designed many posters for cultural institutions in Warsaw, Wroclaw, Opole and Lodz and collaborated with leading book publishers. He directed Dead Shadow, a short experimental film shown at international film festivals in Krakow and London (1981). On returning to the UK, he worked freelance for Faber & Faber, Penguin Books and The Guardian. He has been a recipient of many international prizes, including: The Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards for best film posters (Los Angeles 1977 and 1978), Campaign Silver Award for RSC theatre poster (1987), The Daily Telegraph Award for Excellence in press campaign for British Telecom (1988), DA&D Silver Award for a Royal Mail Millennium stamp (London 1999), V&A illustration Award for the graphic novel Horace Dorlan (2nd prize 2008), 12th International Biennale of Theatre Posters (Honorary mention, Rzeszow, Poland 2009).

Gaf's new season of events starts with a lecture with Professor Lawrence Zeegen

Professor Lawrence Zeegen is Dean of the School of Design at Ravensbourne in London UK, where he leads academic departments and research in Advertising, Architecture and Interiors, Communication Design, Fashion Design and Product Design.

Lawrence has taught and lectured internationally in over 20 countries. His design and illustration clients include major international newspapers, magazines, book publishers, design studios and advertising agencies. Lawrence is the author of nine published books on graphic arts, including Fifty Years of Illustration and Ladybird by Design and is contributor to numerous publications.

Lawrence is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Design Council Sounding Board, trustee of both the De Le Warr Pavilion and the Creative Conscious Awards and a former trustee of D&AD. Lawrence has twice been appointed to the Executive Board of ico-D, the International Council of Design.

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Graphic Arts Facility presents

BCU  hosted its first ever  DIGIFEST at Vivid Project Space in Digbeth - a celebration of all things digital, from the hi-tech to the low-tech to the no-tech!A collaboration between the School of Art and the School of Visual Communication.

As part of this event, there was  a symposium featuring

Patrick Thomas, professor of visual communication at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design.


There was also  a series of short performances, readings and discussions.


Jess Webberley

Jess Webberley is a final year BA Illustration student at BCU. She has designed the new GAF logo. As part of the relaunch for GAF I wanted to feature Jess's work and for her to explain to you what inspires her and what GAF means to her. Jo Berry

My work explores the virtual reality that we call cyberspace, and its connection to the physical reality that we find ourselves living in. Within my practice I capture a sense of interchangeability between the physical and digital world, whilst being inspired and influenced by the urban environment. Through creating experimental publications which encapsulate the crossover of physical and digital mediums I hope to communicate that the URL and the IRL exist in symbiosis; we live in a time where one cannot hope to function without the other. I question the physicality of the internet - the internet is enabled by physical materials. Through exploring this subject I have created my own typeface, and have most recently began writing code to create an experimental website which I hope will be the anti-matter to my physical publications.


WHAT GAF MEANS TO ME To me GAF bridges the gap between practice and theory; it shows that there should be no gap. Within my practice theory is key, much of the work I produce has been informed by research. GAF provides the opportunity to hear from experienced practitioners, and has a sense of community which to me is very valuable. GAF celebrates the hi tech, low tech and the no tech; a theme which is prominent within my practice. I believe that work in all mediums should be celebrated, be they digital or analogue. The crossover of the digital and the analogue is something I always consider and utilise within my work - for this reason GAF stands for ideals that I can strongly resonate with. 

IDEA BEHIND LOGO I designed the GAF logo with the idea of theory informing practice in mind. The letterforms I produced for the logo are inspired by ‘urban hieroglyphics’ - a recurring theme within my projects. The theory of these is that they are physical markings within the urban environment representing internet cables and this has informed my practice. I thought that using these markings as a starting point for the GAF logo would be fitting.


GAF. GAF. GAF. GAF. -Relaunch, re invograte and welcome

Graphic Arts Facility (GAF): celebrating the high tech, low tech and no tech

Welcome to the re-launch of the Graphic Arts Facility. Its new, it is exciting and it is for you.

GAF's remit is to facilitate, illuminate and challenge perceptions with respect to graphic arts practice, theory and outputs.  It considers the history of graphic arts, contemporary approaches and thinking, and the future of our discipline.  It embraces culture, imagination, argumentation, creativity, discovery, curiosity and play.  

The Facility will focus on the sharing of best practice at all stages of our creative careers, and will feature informal peer-mentoring to ensure mutual benefits across our community.

GAF will organise events for practitioners, professionals and students: these will include exhibitions, publications and talks both within the faculty and beyond.  The aim here is to build our profile and extend our network to include the most exciting practitioners in our discipline.  GAF will also lead and contribute to a range of initiatives across the Faculty, providing (a) a forum for development of a clear and focused intellectual agenda, (b) critical mass and a collective vision to support applications for funding and resource, and (c) a developmental space and support structure for those that wish to advance their research careers in the space.

GAF will constitute an important strand within a research cluster, one that will have a firm linkage with the School of Visual Communication.  It is fundamentally an instrument to consolidate and advance research interests in the field of graphic arts: its structure, activities and interests will reflect the growing and morphing interests of its members and contributors. 

Key themes for GAF will include:

Art, Science and technology

Print (digital and hand crafted)

Drawing (supporting the BIG DRAW)

Alternative responses and perspectives to the Graphic Arts: exploring, crossing and dissolving boundaries

Please contact  and join this exciting research group 



Tenerife Paper Chase

How can recording something say something? the risk of sounding rhetorical.  Highly compact visuals (yes, I got the watercolours out.... approximately postcard sized, with luggage weight restrictions in mind) of miscellaneous holiday impressions, which then turned in to a highly mobile glass (plastic) vitrine cabinet exhibition, which travelled around various parts of two Birmingham City University buildings (October 2016).  Being mobile and restless it was able to choose and chase it's audience in the most inconvenient, but visible places.


I was subsequently asked to present a short lecture to students about to embark on a foreign trip, reflecting on spontaneous forms of visual research.  This caused me to to interrogate and categorise what I had otherwise quite casually recorded in Tenerife.  So, I extracted more value from the experience, hopefully without over-analysing the whole thing?

I arrived at some loose classifications of what I had done; what might constitute visual research, and I was able to pool them in to five tentative groups:






Extrapolate might be my favourite, but mostly because I think it's a marvellous word... 

Olivier Kugler - intrepid reportage illustrator

Acclaimed reportage illustrator gave free talk at Birmingham City University

Acclaimed illustrator, Olivier Kugler, who uses his art to report on major humanitarian events like the Syrian refugee crisis, gave a free public lecture, at the Invitation of the Graphic Arts Facility on 18th October 2016.  He talked in depth about his work and caught the imagination of students, staff and general public with his many human anecdotes.

Olivier highlighted his achievements in a career which has seen his work featured in publications including The Guardian, GQ, Le Monde Diplomatique and The New York Times.

Award-winning Kugler is known for his interviews with subjects, who he also illustrates by hand before digitising, to create a report made up of quotes and illustrations, often set over dozens of pages.

The German-born illustrator has interviewed and illustrated people from across the world, and most recently began meeting and drawing Syrian refugees as part of a new project to create a book telling the stories of those displaced by the conflict in the area.

The project began after humanitarian aid organisation, Doctors Without Borders, asked Kugler to visit refugee camps to help publicise its work.

After meeting a number of refugees he decided to expand the project and it is currently also being supported by funding from Arts Council England.

Olivier Kugler said: "Over the last few years I have had the privilege to meet Syrians in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Greek holiday island of Kos, the Calais 'Jungle' camp, Switzerland, Colombia and the UK.

“I am excited to work on an illustrated sequential book which will portray the people I have encountered and which will raise awareness about their circumstances."

Kugler began his career as a graphic designer before winning a scholarship to study at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2000.

He has since built a reputation for his style which presents subjects in their own environment and surrounds them with phrases spoken during his interview sessions.

His unique talent for visual representation has seen him win awards including first place in the V&A Illustration Awards in 2011 and the Association of Illustrators World Illustration Award 2015


 Olivier Kugler, Syrian Refugee image, copyright Olivier Kugler 2016

Olivier Kugler, Syrian Refugee image, copyright Olivier Kugler 2016