Intellect caught up with Craig McDaniel and Jean Robertson from Spellbound to find out more about the book and the inspiration behind it.
Could you describe your new book in a few words?
Spellbound: Rethinking the Alphabet offers a concise examination of the historic development and contemporary use of alphabetic writing, and presents two approaches we have invented for rendering the letters of alphabets in highly visual ways. While the book’s primary emphasis is on the Roman alphabet and our re-designs for Roman letters, a multi-cultural context is also introduced especially through the inclusion of two chapters by guest essayists who explore aspects of Arabic and Cyrllic alphabets. The book makes the case that while historically the Roman alphabet has remained anchored in variations of shapes as the means to symbolize letters, we have entered a cultural context in which dramatic changes in the visualization of writing are within our grasp. Factors driving change in the ways in which we communicate by writing include the cultural (e.g., the constant search for opportunities for creative expression) and the technological (e.g., digital communication makes more flexible approaches to the alphabet feasible). The book advances key points of analysis through a wealth of illustrations.
Where do your own personal and academic research interests lie?
One of us (McDaniel) has devoted his career to exploring various strategies for melding the visual and the verbal in experimental approaches to literature and visual art. One of us (Robertson) has researched and written extensively on a wide range of topics about contemporary visual art. Together, we have researched various approaches to the development of experimental alphabets, which vary in terms of their aesthetic “flavors” and in terms of their functionality. The three guest essayists who contributed chapters to Spellbound expand our book’s perspectives – Aaron Ganci is a visual communication designer, Erica Machulak is a specialist in medieval literature (including English and Arabic), and Gabriel Ritter is a curator of contemporary art.
What did you enjoy the most when writing this book?
We were captivated to discover how flexible the new approaches to the alphabet we have invented can be. This alphabetic flexibility opens vast new areas of further research: a change in alphabets can allow access for different levels of intellectual, cultural and psychological meaning; and a change in alphabets can – if certain qualities are invested in them – be surprisingly easy to learn, use, and remember.
In this title, you state that the written language is on the verge of its greatest change since the advent of the printing press. What do you think has contributed to this change?
The advent of digital forms of communication has prepared the ground, allowing us to write, transmit and store written communication in forms that humans could never effectively and efficiently process prior to the computer. Digital tools have also ushered in cultural change – such as the widespread use of social media – that have prepared us to welcome additional and, perhaps, dramatic changes in the ways we communicate.
In what ways do you think research on typography and language will evolve over the coming years?
Today visual and verbal (as well as aural) forms of communication mix and meld to an extraordinary degree. Research about typographic formats will, we believe, increasingly pay attention to how different parts of the brain can be accessed and stimulated by various communicative strategies working individually and cooperatively.
Do you have a favourite chapter from the book and if so why?
Can we name two favorite chapters? The chapter by Erica Machulak, 'Thinking in Scripts: The Look of Arabic,' is beautifully written; her analysis of the subtle nuances of approaches to the written word in Arabic gives our book an invaluable moment of grace. The second 'favourite' chapter is the Conclusion: we believe this book will ultimately prove to be prescient about future changes that are only now taking shape. Our final chapter gives, we hope, tantalizing hints in the right directions. While we are generally optimistic about the changes we envision, we also note that challenges will accompany us in a world in which written communication becomes increasingly open to personalization and tribalization.
Do you have a favourite Intellect Book and if so what is it?
TV Museum, by Maeve Connolly, is a very smart book that offers readers a lot to think about. Television (much like the alphabet) is one of those fulcrums upon which significant aspects of our entire culture pivots. Plus, the visually-rich design of this book captivated us.
What are your future research projects and plans?
We have very recently completed our research on the fourth edition of our co-authored volume Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). The new edition incorporates our recent research about making art in a post-Internet world. That publication milestone signals it is now time for us to embark on more travels to research new manifestations of contemporary art in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 … !!
One of us (Robertson) is now working on research for art in the 19th through 21st centuries, for a new survey text (being developed by Thames & Hudson); and the other (McDaniel) is starting to develop plans for an exhibition of experimental versions of iconic texts (e.g. U.S. Declaration of Independence and, perhaps, Pride and Prejudice) rendered in our new visual alphabets.
The research that anchors our publication of Spellbound with Intellect continues; for example, some of our most recent examples of experimental literature will be available soon in the online literary journal Word Riot.
Are you attending any conferences this year or next?
We will be giving a presentation on aspects of our experimental work on the alphabet at the upcoming College Art Association Annual Conference (in NYC in February 2017).
To buy a copy of Spellbound please click here
Intellect are delighted to offer a free extract from our latest release, Precarious Spaces. This title addresses current concerns around the instrumentality and agency of art in the context of the precarity of daily life. the below extract is takenf rom the first chapter titles 'Why Precatious Spaces' by Katarzyna Kosmala and Miguel Imas.
This volume addresses current concerns in art discourse around the instrumentality and agency of art in the context of the precarity of daily living, urban informality and the proliferation of alternative forms of organizing. Authors from South America as well as Europe, the United States and Canada engage with spatial strategies behind the utilization of precariousness, and examine ways of challenging forms of precarity, and indeed, the instigation of precarity.
The volume draws upon interdisciplinary research including cultural and visual studies,art theory, organization studies, architecture, urban planning, geography and contemporary philosophy, and supplements local histories and experiences in the Global South, as well as their theoretical frameworks, with theories of art and socio-political practice as they have been debated and developed in European and North American contexts. The book offers a survey of socially and community-engaged art practices in South America and from there expands to address similar issues in the Global North. The individual chapters examine examples of projects based on performances of space that can be seen as exceeding the norm, as well as case studies concerning art-informed inquiry aimed at social and
transformative consequences, set against the backdrop of neo-liberal economies that have contributed to the emergence of precarity in both life and work. Such an inquiry implies not only a particular philosophical and theoretical position, but equally demonstrates how,in practice, groups, individuals, and communities can challenge constructed, established orders to create spaces of emancipation. Thus, the book offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective for engaging with some of the themes of precarious spaces by mobilizing the use of arts-based inquiry both as a research method and as an intervention that aims at social and organizational change; drawing on resources that originate from South America, including examples from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Chile, supplemented with
insights and resources emerging from the North, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
The key phrases surrounding precarity, such as unstable condition of today’s living;
flexible, context-dependent and time-contingent employment; self-organization, disposability and contingency, have opened up new thresholds in theory development as well as in artcentred activism and the arts more generally. Foster (2009) identifies contemporary art practice with the precarious condition many artists share and respond to by creating meanings from uncertain circumstances, especially through a comment or an evocation of discourse,in response to a political confusion, and in association with socio-economic unrest. Such
processes associated with reimaging the precarious condition into spaces of opportunity also require a theoretical reflection upon the processes of intervention and self-organization. At the same time, the scope of the critique of contemporary Capitalism and neo-liberal sentiments threatens to generalize precarity as a somewhat undifferentiated and ubiquitous condition.
We could argue, following on from Judith Butler’s investigation into human vulnerability in Precarious Lives: The Power of Mourning and Violence (2004), that, while what can be termed as precariousness is common to all life and contemporary living, a state of precarity associated with the contemporary moment of neo-liberalism is largely politically induced and, we would add, requires to be problematized. Precarity commonly refers to a living condition based on temporality, fragmentation and job insecurity in increasingly flexible labour markets. Precarious spaces are often seen as not being stable, settled or well staked out; these spaces are perceived as unstable, unsettled and relatively unmapped or less visible.
Precarious places reflect exposure to spaces that are marginal in our societies (Wacquant, 2008) and yet, often, informality of marginalized groups becomes a groundwork for ‘inverse colonialism’ (Yiftachel, 2009).
To read more from this book please click here to buy your copy.
Many congratulations to Stephani Etheridge Woodson for her book, Theatre for Youth Third space which has won the AATE Distinguished Book Award for 2016! This book is part of our very popular, Theatre in Education series.
To find out more about the book please click here
Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of the Journal of Illustration 2.2 is now available to purchase.
Articles within this issue include: 'The reader-viewer' in Indian literate-media contexts: A Kerala archive' by Kavitha Balakrishnan, 'Rumour, Legend, Tradition, Fact: A critical project report' by Luise Vormittag and 'The Nomadic Illustration' by Catrin Morgan
University of Leicester, Friday November 18th 2016
Targeted towards a special edition for publication in 2017/18 of The Soundtrack, and as part of the 50thAnniversary of Media at the University of Leicester, Intellect journal The Soundtrack and IDeoGRAMS (the Interdepartmental Group for Research into the Arts, Media and Society) are pleased to announce a one-day conference on transmedia musics. Paper proposals are invited in any of the following areas and anything else relevant (this is simply indicative):
o Music which is used across transmedia texts
o Scoring across media
o Re-using music versus original scores in transmedia texts
o Levels of musical integration across the text
o Music in film, TV and game franchises
o Musical aesthetics in transmedia texts
o Compositional strategies for transmedia production specificities
Please send your proposals (250 words) plus a 100 word biography and affiliation details, in word format (i.e. not pdfs) to Dr. Anna Claydon at firstname.lastname@example.org Please indicate on your proposal document if you wish to be considered for the journal special edition.
DEADLINE Sept 1st. Acceptances will be sent out during the following week. The final schedule will be issued on September 26th.
Should your paper be invited to submit to the journal following the conference (you will know by December 1st), the deadline for your submission will be February 1st 2017. For further information about The Soundtrack, please go to: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=146/
Societies in Flux: Media, Democratisation, and Political Socialization
Guest Editors: Nael Jebril (Bournemouth University), Matthew Loveless (Center for Research and Social Progress), and Jamie Matthews (Bournemouth University)
Call for Papers (also attached)
Issue 8.3 of Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture (Fall 2017) seeks to compile an empirically-based understanding of the role of media in countries in transition as it relates to individuals’ political attitudes, values, and behaviour.
There is a corpus of work across several disciplines such as political science, mass and political communication, anthropology, and sociology on political socialisation. However, they have not coalesced into an understanding – much less a theoretical body of knowledge - of individual political socialization via traditional and new media in periods of national change.
One reason for this is the depth of each of these fields given that the wide swath of potential media (i.e.: television news, electoral campaigns, social media, public radio, inter alia) and potentially related political outcomes (personal efficacy, voting, political knowledge, etc.) interact in a variety of contexts. In particular, the context of democratization shifts the (theoretical) ground under the feet of existing theories by blurring the distinction between private and public media, motivations for individuals’ media consumption, and the debut of the new technologies of social media in a world dominated by traditional print and broadcast media theories. Thus, the assumptions underpinning well-established theories of the West find little firm ground.
Media scholars must confront the troublesome reality that elements of both democracy and authoritarianism coexist in countries in transition. In this context, the simple and normative assumption of a positive relationship between changes in the quantity and quality of information sources (and the expansion of freedom of expression) and successful democratic socialization can be misleading. Investigations into media effects (at the individual level) may find the formation and change of individuals’ attitudes a more fertile area of research as well as one that is more closely related to democratisation theory.
This requires a break away from deductive approaches. We should stop thinking about the media in terms of static, traditional models which are inadequate for explaining the dynamic processes of democratisation. We may well need more inductive research that is theory-generating rather than theory-testing. Put slightly differently, there is a need to enhance our knowledge about the dynamics of media audiences in transitional contexts. Studies need to enhance our understanding of how information-seeking behaviour and/or preferences for political information consumption are affected by rapid changes to political and information environments and how audiences make sense of complex media transformations that accompany political transitions. This may require integrating theories of non-mechanical media effects and democratisation in order to shed light on the relationship between individuals’ media behaviour and choices and the subsequent take-up of democratic values following regime changes. Therefore, meaningful research will likely explore media use, contextualise analyses that are conducted at various levels (cross-nationally or ideally with times series/panel data), and be open - if not responsive - to the grey areas of inductive feedback that are likely in countries and societies in transition.
We seek empirical and theoretical answers to the following questions:
1. How does regime change affect audience’s reliance on and perceptions of news media?
2. How do individuals’ media consumption change during democratic transitions? What do they consume and to what political effect?
3. What are the most likely political outcomes for individuals – i.e. values and attitudes - to be affected by media during transition?
4. What is the role of international media in fomenting, encouraging, or catalysing public support for democratization?
5. Are there individual-level differences in media choice consumption and/or effects across democratizing, transitioning, or post-authoritarian contexts?
6. To what extent and how do the internet and social media influence the role of traditional media in democratization?
7. Ultimately, to what extent does the success of democratic political socialization require – genuinely require – a free media? Is there empirical support for the necessity of free media – the new marketplace of ideas - in the normative theory of democratization?
8. How effective are the internet and social media in influencing the development of individuals’ democratic attitudes, values, and behaviour?
Further details on the general state of research on media and change for democracy can be found at:
Prospective authors should submit an abstract not exceeding 250 words directly by email to:
Please include your name, affiliation and contact details in all correspondence.
All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and authors will be notified about the outcome of the review by
7 October 2016.
A selection of authors will be invited to submit a full paper (from 6000 to 8000 words) due on 15 January 2017.
Full paper submissions are to be original, scholarly manuscripts that follow the journal’s submission guidelines
-formatted according to Intellect House Style guidelines
-sent in Microsoft Word .doc/.docx format ONLY as e-mail attachments to
All submissions will be peer-reviewed and the issue is scheduled for publication in Fall 2017 (November).
Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture is published by Intellect and is online at http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=165/
The autumn issue of the peer-reviewed journal Book 2.0 will be focusing on all aspects of poetry. We already have articles promised on the continuing popularity of the sonnet, the republication marking the 50th anniversary of J H Prynne’s The White Stones, the contrasting histories of surrealism in British and American poetry, and a ‘conversation’ of pieces on how best to support and encourage student poets, but we would still welcome further contributions.
Drama Therapy Review has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the North American Drama Therapy Association Research Award. The NADTA Research Award is given to members of NADTA in recognition of significant contributions to the field through research demonstrating the efficacy of drama therapy. The editorial team consisting of Nisha Sajnani, Christine Mayor, and Meredith Dean share this award with contributing authors, their advisory board, and the production team at Intellect.
This is a call for papers for an international conference on Innovations and Tensions: Italian Cinema and Media in a Global World, hosted at The American University of Rome, 9th-10th June 2017.
Possible submission topics include:
Italian cinema and international co-productions
Borderlands and the changing geographies of liminal spaces
Diasporic and accented filmmakers / filmmaking
For more information please click here
Developed by the Smart Cities Council, the recognized leader in smart cities education, Smart Cities Week® is North America's premier smart city conference and exhibition focused on holistic, integrated approaches to smart cities that save money while improving results.
The event highlights best practices breaking down barriers to progress and instilling a culture of collaboration — cross-cutting solutions that public officials can use to improve livability, workability and sustainability in their communities.
You will see, hear and experience showcase demonstrations of the next wave of innovative, integrated technologies that are helping cities save money, build more robust economies and enhance citizens lives.
Smart Cities Week® is your opportunity to learn about, see and be inspired by the smart technologies that are already working in cities just like yours. The event will give you knowledge, insight and proven ideas that you can put to work right away.
Smart Cities Week® will focus on three key themes:
Connectivity: Improving connections with citizens as well as between key stakeholders
Climate: Combining technology and innovation to make cities more sustainable and resilient
Compassion: Using digital technology to reduce suffering and improve the lives of all citizens
Join government and industry thought leaders in Washington, D.C. on September 27-29, 2016 for the second annual Smart Cities Week®