Academic Conference Poster Design, 2019
The London Science Fiction Research Community's theme for 2019 was 'Productive Futures: The Political Economy of Science Fiction'. The year's reading list, reading group and events programme discussed how SF can offer rich alternatives to the traditional understanding of everyday economic life and what defines it.
I felt that the theme lent itself to more humorous and playful treatment to counteract the potential dryness of the phrase 'Political Economy'. This led me to think how non-human beings or aliens would perceive Terrans as interplanetary trading partners, and how our bodies could be a contributing factor to the way we assess goods and their value.
The call for papers poster was designed as a piece of propaganda in this vein; an earnest and well-intentioned government-issue flyer encouraging aliens to view their Terran colleagues as benign subjects of interest, and so promote the notion of creating business opportunities with them.
I wanted the poster to feature illustrations in an attempt to understand how human senses function, with deliberately clumsy scientific interpretation. My first points of reference were the well-known 1974 - 1980 'Protect and Survive' public information campaign, as well as the 1940s pamphlet 'Holds, Releases, Silent Killings: Manual of Commando & Guerilla Warfare'. When it came to think about the graphics, I looked to the 1981 TV adaptation of 'The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and their animated sequences.
For the final version of the call for papers I printed, folded and re-scanned the poster to recall the textural quality of the material I'd drawn from.
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.