In the course of time

In July 2020, two technicians and nine students set out to remotely design, print and bind a publication documenting images of lockdown, from home. Working together, but separately, In the course of time is an example of how digital tools can continue to support physical practices in times of adversity and isolation.

As it happened.

LCC students from across programmes and year groups volunteered for this project, following a social media callout. Places were filled within hours of announcing the project. No surprises there – the combination of a strong desire to participate in a collaborative publishing project, and the effectiveness of social media to communicate to people directly and quickly.

Over the coming weeks, they participated in an online, digital file preparation workshop, mastering key workflows for Riso printing. Dan Fletcher, Printing and Finishing Specialist Technician, led students through the process of working with colour profiles. Working with their own photographs produced before and during lockdown, students negotiated the restricted palette nature of riso printing.

The publication was uploaded to PageMasters, a Southwark-based company, who produced the pages according to the collaborative design. Pages were mailed to students, along with a set of basic binding tools and materials.

In a second online, hands-on workshop, students worked with Rahel Zoller to bind the publication together, with small editions produced in each person’s “studio”. Students documented their work, and were later asked to write a few thoughts about the experience.

Student Voices

Despite experiencing the workshops online, there was no loss of learning and practice as both digital sessions were easy to follow.

— Mary Adekoya, BA Graphic Media Design Year 1

Despite the workshops being held online, Daniel and Rahel provided us with all of the details and informations on risograph printing and bookbinding, while also creating a very welcoming environment regardless of the fact that we all were in different locations and connect through a screen, dedicating time to each and every question we might have. While the publication was a collective work we were given loads of creative freedom in editing our selected photos to become riso prints and as much freedom with the aesthetic of our book. It was especially beautiful to be able to collaborate with other students at this particular time and have a physical final product.

— Marta Ilacqua, BA Interaction Design Arts Year 1

With all the uncertainties and lost opportunities that swept us in the wake of COVID, this workshop was a flicker of hope. Being a person who is perpetually suspicious about virtual teaching, I was more than thankful that I signed up by the end of the first class. During both the workshops, patiently led by Daniel and Rahel, I did not miss being in the workshop in person because it felt like I already was there. From preparing Riso prints (which I have never done before) to stitching a shiny new publication, it was a seamless, wonderful, and definitely a very interesting collaboration. The joy of being able to create in collaboration remotely was both strange and surreal but rewarding.  

— Niharika Mishra, BA Graphic Media Design Year 1

I really enjoyed both parts of the workshop, and I especially appreciated the efforts made towards creating a somewhat ‘physical workshop’ experience for us in such a time. The Riso workshop will definitely be helpful once we are back at school, and the visual style is appealing to me even just as it is digitally – I love seeing how colors affect the overall visual language. And sending us the workshop kit was a great idea! The physical works were what I missed the most. I loved this workshop and thank you all so much for making it happen 🙂

— Mo Zhou, MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Despite being a remote workshop, it felt very personalized. Rahel and Dan were very patient and concerned we understood the entire process

— Karla Zorrilla Vila, MA Publishing

Participating Students
Mary Adekoya: portfolio : @mary_adekoya_
Olga Bartolowicz
Naomi Delorme
Joanna Domagalska
Marta Ilacqua: portfolio : @martacqt
Jessica Miles
Niharika Mishra: @vanillawild
Mo Zhou:
Karla Zorrilla Vila: : @barracuda.k 

Rahel Zoller is the Book Arts Specialist Technician at LCC.
Dan Fletcher is the Print & Finishing Specialist Technician at LCC.
This project has been sponsored by the LCC Technical Resources Department.

A comment on design pedagogy/pedagogy design.

Complex, unusual problem solving, is inherent to life as a technician, no matter the specialism. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown brought to the fore how strong the desire is to continue making, and how deep is the knowledge of our teams to overcome obstacles in order to support student learning.

This project, small and beautiful, and very quiet, is that blend of online, offline, asynchronous, remote, digital, hands-on, and most importantly, inclusive practice that is so fundamental to pedagogy in higher education. It champions collaboration through individual learning, scaffolded with rigorous testing and consultation.

What the students didn’t see, and what the publication doesn’t quite show, are the many, many conversations, test workshops, budget requests, order logistics, trials, IT challenges, and occasional failures, the project underwent through before the call out for participants. This kind of learning doesn’t just happen. I would like to thank Dan and Rahel, for their perseverance, pragmatism, and patience, and especially for their unwavering dedication to supporting student practice, whatever the weather.

– Ling Chiu, Printmaking Technical Coordinator, LCC

DESIGN ACTION is part of 
London Design Festival.

London Design Festival logo in red