Facilitators: Dr Alistair Kwan & Dr Alys Longley
Felicitator: Dr Evija Trofimova
Friday, 9 June, 11am-12.30pm
Seminar Room G16
Science Centre (Building 303)

Have you ever wanted to know


your lecturer (perhaps you) makes chickenscratch on the whiteboard?
whiteboard scribblings are so difficult to read from afar?
different tools, postures and rhythms generate different kinds of writing?


is a bastard secretary hand?
are the motions that create writing?
role does the writing instrument play?


to get rid of, and avoid, that pain in the shoulder you get every time you write?

to make students gasp in admiration at your blackboard script, even if they never seem to learn anything from your notes?

Come and see answers unfold before your eyes in this one-off workshop on the body, ergonomics and tools of handwriting on vertical surfaces, co-facilitated by masters of writing techniques and of body movement, Dr Alistair Kwan and Dr Alys Longley.

Scribe and palaeography-trained historian of science, Dr Alistair Kwan, will take you on a brief journey through the practices of handwriting in the past, before addressing various challenges presented by contemporary writing tools. The workshop will attend to the agency of the tools – like musical instruments, they behave and misbehave, affecting both the user and the audience through mechanics, feedback processes and ergonomics. Posture, rhythm and grip play strong roles in handwriting, including its legibility. Hear what Dr Kwan has to say about the biomechanics of the formal blackletter, bastard secretary, italic and Spencerian scripts, and see how that knowledge changes the quality of your writing.

Choreographer and performance writer Dr Alys Longley will invite you to think of your body as one of your writing tools: the way you hold your body shifts the way you think and the way you feel about what you do. Wrong positioning in handwriting has very physiological effects (tension, pain). Are you aware of the body and senses (smell, sound, light, and sense of space and texture) that all go into textual production? Her tips, tricks and techniques explore possibilities for thinking through the body as a dynamic way of engaging with the task of writing.

After demonstrations of “good” and “bad” handwriting, participants will have a chance to have their writing technique diagnosed, and get advice on how to improve it. Altogether, the workshop will raise your awareness on the technical choices of “doing writing”, and the multidimensional effects of those, so that your handwriting becomes not only more legible and aesthetically pleasing, but also much healthier.

The event is supported by the SEED Fund and organized by CLeaR as part of its 2017 theme “Writing, writing everywhere”.

Location: Seminar Room G16, Science Centre (Building 303)

Date: On June 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

To read our reflection on the event, visit the event’s blog page.
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