Sian Hutchings, Fine Art’s Graduate in Residence, has recently been running sonic workshops with BA (Hons) Graphic Design students.

Sian tells us more:

“Gabrielle Hass, who lecturers in Graphic Design, invited me to help work on a life drawing workshop with First Year students. This is one of the first years that Graphic Design students have been able to engage with a Life Drawing class.

I brought along my dictaphone and contact microphone and attached these to the students’ drawing boards so they could ‘listen’ to their drawings.

In my practice, I am engaged with the notion of understanding environments through listening. Even though the eye is ‘seen’ as the dominant sense, we can also learn a lot about our surroundings through listening.

By ‘listening’ to their drawings, students became more aware of their auditory surroundings and how it has an inherent influence on their practice. Graphic design is often seen as a purely visual course, but in fact more students are starting to work on sound design and ‘visual synthesis’.

One student said, ‘By listening to my drawing it actually affected the way that I drew and the sound was guiding my hand‘.

Students could also hear how different mediums sounded when applied to the surface and how this could be an area to expand on.

As well as helping on the Life Drawing class, I also gave a lecture on ‘How we can understand the environment through listening’ as part of Second Year Graphic’s Visual Systems unit. As part of this lecture I worked with Mark Osbourne on a sonic mapping workshop.

In this workshop students were asked to map the university in sound by making recordings around the campus and presenting the work in an installation.”