Good morning it’s very good of you to get up and so well then come here and hear our little duet it’s a great delight to be here in Antwerp again and a real honor to be invited to present our research project a women in type here at a type I so this is the University of Reading project funded.
By the levy Hume Trust which we feel aligns particularly well with the conference’s theme type legacies and which.
Draws on our experiences as type historians and designers.
This slide there are three of us in the team and today at least and I would like to discuss discuss some key aspects of this interdisciplinary project these include the origins of the project the rationale behind our choice and scope of subject matter our research objectives our.
Research methods and finally our envisaged outputs and as we speak here in Antwerp Helena Lucca is speaking this morning.
On this topic at the women in print conference at Birmingham in the UK so the project officially started in the spring of this year but our interest in this topic obviously stems from previous research.
And experiences as a start of my own PhD research which I had presented in part at a type I in Barcelona in 2014 so that research helped me understand the key role played by drawing offices in the making of typefaces in particular in the hot metal and phototypesetting era and being.
A woman and a typeface designer myself the fact that these drawing offices were essentially staffed by women attracted my attention and made me keen to learn more this interest converged with Fiona’s experience both as a practitioner and a researcher having joined Linotype UK.
In 1978 fiona came to manage for over a decade the department of typographic development which included the type drawing office and is revealed in this picture the drawing office was exclusively staffed by women for many years so through her PhD research and her later position at the University of Reading Fiona has also come to develop over the years her own research methods where.
She derived information about the type design process through close observation of drawings and of other materials I would also like to add that this project follows in the footsteps.
Of other design historians and.
Critics who have advocated more research of this kind over the last 30 years Martha Scotford for instance.
Stated in 1994 that as an antidote to the conventional focus on heroes and the important addition to our knowledge of women in design would be attention.
To the not-so-famous the non name designers their conditions their experience their impact on their clients and communities if not on the design world our interest in developing a research project into this topic was prompted by a number of events including mentions of women working in drawing offices in some talks and discussions that confirmed a.
Need to establish an accurate account of their roles and contributions to type design and to.
Quote June sorry June Purvis as well we would like to integrate women’s experience into mainstream accounts and more importantly to.
Question the terms end points of reference of the established male oriented historiography itself there are also initiatives such as the launch of alpha Betty’s in 2015 and that convinced us that this topic could be of interest to the.
Type community at large we so we carried out a university funded pilot study in 2016 which helped us establish the scope of the project and its visibility so we focused on the monotype cooperation and the study confirmed the availability of relevant material and key personnel for interview it also strengthened our proposal proposal to the libyan.
Trust for funding what has now become this three-year part-time research project so overarching objective is to provide the first socio-historical account of women’s role and responsibilities in tight drawing studios from 1910 to 1990 as experienced within the two leading tight manufacturing companies in Britain the monotype Corporation and liner tighten Limited also known as.
IO tight Paul and lino tight pal and this also includes Ilana type and machinery Limited shown here why these dates well as Alice who.
Is the principal researcher on the project has stated the pilot study confirmed the presence of women in the monotype drawing office from its inception in 1910 so that’s a date which therefore naturally forms the starting point of our study and the date of 1990 also forms a natural conclusion to the project it’s the time when tight manufacturing had been transformed by digital technology and when the mana tight cooperation was about to go into receivership and.
Also lana type 2 clips british operations of one a time limited so when viewed in a wider cultural context the period under scrutiny is of particular socio-historical significance for british working women since it begins.
Before women received the vote it encompasses two world wars that greatly affected women’s working lives it sees the emergence of the women’s liberation movement and witnesses the first woman to win a case under the.
Amended Equal Pay Act in 1988 on the left here you can see spare rib which was despite the image on the front a vehicle for women’s liberation movement in the 1970s so to speak plainly our project is concerned with women and industry and for whom the designation designer is for the most part a misnomer we are interested in the lived experiences of women working in the drawing offices and.
We’re seeking to produce an accurate account rather than a romanticized view of their contribution so this involves delving into what Martha Scotford has termed messy history I will read this so neat history that is.
Conventional history involves a simple packaging of one designer explicit organizational context one client simple statements of intent one design solution a clearly defined audience expected response and in contrast you contrast this with messy history designers who do not work alone but in challenging current collaborations and that messy.
History is what we are interested in so we’re therefore going to extend the approach we adopted for the pilot project we intend to derive data from interviews historical records material history and previously recorded oral histories now our initial investigation and.