Academic Conference Visual Branding and Programme Design, 2020
The London Science Fiction Research Community's theme for 2020 was 'Beyond Borders: Empires, Bodies, Science Fictions'. The year's reading list, reading group and events programme discussed borders in SF and how SF could help to reimagine and dismantle borders, whether bodily, national or planetary.
As the pandemic continued, the conference had to adapt its platforming, with the organisers opting to host it entirely online. Some of the discourse around the pandemic, aside from the tragedy of it, was how it was a point of departure from previous behaviours and patterns on many different scales. A sense of continuity had been disrupted and thinking about the future was fraught with uncertainty. Whereas before I'd always maintained visual consistency between the call for papers and the conference programme, I decided this time to make a clean break.
I wanted to create an aesthetic that focused on the digital interface of the conference, as this was the first time the LSFRC had engaged with an online event of this nature. As attendance in person was no longer the base line, the conference was now more accessible to international attendees. The programme would need to accommodate different time zones, making it easier for everyone to navigate the day's events.
I opted to work with a large format for the layout so that all information for each day would be displayed on one screen, without the need to flick back and forth. Visually I created patterns, borders and graphics using the RGB colour model. I wanted to allude to the aesthetics of television and technical glitches, signifying disturbance between what appeared on the screen and what powered the digitised image.
THE LONDON SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH COMMUNITY is an organisation of SF scholars, based at Birkbeck University and Royal Holloway.
The Community presents special events with guest speakers several times a year, and also hosts a monthly reading group at 43 Gordon Square, London, on Monday evenings, open to all. Each year the reading group engages with texts organised around a central theme.
I was Head of Design at the LSFRC from 2017 - 2020.