Ralph’s career path can be dived into two parts. During his first twenty plus years, he worked in the creative industry, and since 2005, he commenced his second career as an academic.
Ralph’s career began with a four-year apprenticeship as a typesetter. During that period, he also completed a foundation course in art and design. Afterwards, he worked for two years in the profession, and then in 1987, commenced four years of study in typography and visual communication design at the Basel School of Design. During the last year of his study, he engaged with a type design research project in collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Ralph then went to London, where he was employed as a graphic designer at Newell and Sorrell and, afterwards, as a typeface designer at Monotype. After a teaching assignment at Ravensbourne, he returned to Switzerland, getting employed as a designer for Allcomm, a design consultancy which predominately handled creative and communication accounts for the international pharmaceutical corporation Novartis. One year later, Ralph moved to Hong Kong, implementing the visual identity system for the former joint venture Ciba in South-East Asia. In 1994, he returned to Switzerland, founding a network of creative professionals that specialised in developing corporate communication and adverting projects. During that time, Ralph also worked as a freelancer for various design studios and advertising agencies, such as cR DDB Basel. Ten years later, he decided to change the direction of his career to become an educator because he had a desire to pass on his experience to the next generation of creative professionals.
After completing his first course in adult education, he coached unemployed people to be re-integrated into the workforce. In the same period of time, he was invited to facilitate seminars and workshops at various institutions, such as the Merz Academy in Stuttgart and SAL, a college for applied linguistics in Zurich. Still being passionate about graphic design, Ralph was offered a lecturer position at the Australian University of Ballarat in 2005, where he also completed his Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary Education). During the two years in Ballarat, he began to produce a substantial body of artwork. In 2008, Ralph then accepted the offer of a one-year contract, lecturing graphic design BA and MA students at the Queensland College of Art, Australia. Increasingly focussing on his artistic practice, in 2009, he enrolled in the research Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice (Fine Arts) at the Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland. After completing his degree, he accepted a 4 year, fixed term contract as a senior lecturer in graphic design at Swinburne University of Technology at its Sarawak Campus in Bornean Malaysia. In 2014, his increasing fascination in artistic research motivated him to commence his doctoral candidature to study towards the Doctor of Arts Degree at Aalto University, Helsinki. After almost 30 years from his first stay in London, in 2016, Ralph returned to England to commence his appointment at AUB.
- Society for Artistic Research (SAR)
- International Association of Art (I.A.A. UNESCO)
Ralph’s ongoing doctoral research is practice-based leading towards a dissertation in fine arts that comprises both a body of artwork and a written thesis that emerges as a reflection of his practice.
His artistic practice can be described as post-disciplinary, experimenting with different media such as video, animation, spoken and written language, performance art, photography, sculpture, computer graphics, sound and music. His artwork negotiates spaces between real and imagined worlds, where he creates tangible and intangible experiences, and meaningful and meaningless artistic propositions. The notions of the defunct, of paradox and of playful arrangements sporadically occur in his artwork, particularly in his sculptural works. His artwork has been exhibited at various events in the international art world arena.
In his thesis, Ralph’s research addresses the challenges of translating his artistic practice into language. Thereby, he relates and contextualises both his process and outcomes to various concepts, such as Bergson’s process philosophy, Moon’s self-reflection in education, Ellis’s auto ethnography, the Socratic method, art history, art criticism and literary writing. His thesis leads towards methods, both contributing to art education and suggestions for practising artists, concerning the use of linguistic artefacts to position their artwork in the art world. The thesis is as framed in a qualitative research paradigm, with interpretative and evocative outcomes. As an early career researcher, he has started publishing journal articles and presenting at conferences.
The following linklog leads to documentations of his artistic research: