Saturday, 28 November 2009

Talks on National Identity

As mentioned in the I Like local* guide to Design Week, the work of iconic British post-war graphic designer Abram Games is being exhibited in NCAD Gallery until January 2010. Although Games is probably best known for his work in Britain, creating identities for the London transport system and the Festival of London, the exhibition on Thomas Street puts an emphasis on Games' work for Irish companies such as Guinness (above, picture via The Small Print) and Aer Lingus.

In conjunction with the exhibition, NCAD Gallery are hosting a number of talks on the graphic design of the time in Ireland, by Games, by Irish designers and advertisers, and by a generation of Dutch designers living and working in Ireland in the 50s and 60s. The talks will serve to contextualise the work on display, and take a look at how graphic design and advertising served as a contsruction of national identity (a subject I always like stroking my chin over) in the mid-twentieth century. Alas, I missed the first talk in the series, by Dutch designer Jan de Fouw and Irish designer Conor Clarke, but I've marked the rest in my diary:

Tuesday 1st December, 6.30pm: • Dr Linda King (IADT): Politics, Pragmatism and Visualisation of National Identities: The Legacy of Aer Lingus Advertising.
This talk will examine the importance of the airline in disseminating concepts of national identity for both national and international audiences. The design output of both Abram Games and a generation of Dutch designers working in
Dublin in the 1950s and 60s will be explored in this context.

Tuesday 15th December, 6.30pm: • Wendy Williams (NCAD): Instruments of Mass Persuasion: War posters in the 1930s and 40s.
The poster became an increasingly eloquent means of engendering a proactive mindset during the Second World War. In this talk selected works, including those of Abram Games, are examined in terms of motivations, ideologies and responses.

Tuesday 5th January, 6.30pm: • Mary Ann Bolger (DIT): Round towers, West Brits and the ‘Battery Hens of Moscow’: some issues in the ‘professionalisation’ of post-war Irish graphic design.
This paper will examine the generally overlooked influence of British models, including Abram Games, on the establishment of an Irish graphic design profession and the development of an indigenous design vocabulary. It will also examine the pivotal role that advertising designers – often maligned as apolitical, commercial jobbers – played in directing the course of modern Irish graphic design.