Turning the typewriters


It’s weird to think that at this time for the past 2 weeks I was in Uni ‘teaching’. Unfortunately I’m back at home in Cambridgeshire now, so my time as a ‘tutor’ was short lived… (should I just call myself a guest lecturer? I don’t know ha) but the 4 sessions I did help out in were great fun!

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago Lisa & I helped the 1st years work on the early stages of their manifestos for a revolution (Frequency Festival’s 2013 theme) and I also helped Barrie with ‘The Revolution will be’ stall at Frequency’s Artists Market. Well the 1st years have been continuing with their manifestos and working to produce a handmade maze book which can be easily photocopied and distributed – no computers!

So with a ban on computers (The Gestapo will find you!), it was the perfect excuse for Barrie to get his typewriter collection out – lucky 1st years! (I never got this kind of treatment back when I was a student!):

The students could create the design for their manifestos using stencils, handwritten type, typewriters and/or the cut and paste technique using photocopied type sheets – takes me back to Barrie’s circus.

Excited about the typewriters being out of the cupboard, I tried my best to persuade the students to be experimental with the typewriters and try their hand at some typewriter art. What can you do with a typewriter? Well you can just type out text – that looks nice because of the different variations of the ink depending on how hard you press the keys. Or you can try some other things…

Blaise (who has an awesome name and reads my blog – Hi!) played around with the word ‘mistake’ which couldn’t be more fitting for typewriters – once you type it, there’s no Cmd + Z – no going back! How many different ways can you make a mistake spelling mistake?:

Over printing looks good if you ask me, and especially with the red too!

Jordan got creative with the letter V…

I think this is great – it’s so messy, smudged and not perfect. It wouldn’t be right for it to have been clean straight lines of Vs and again, I love the black and red mix. I think it fits the definition of vexed brilliantly – ‘annoyed, confused, or agitated’.

Also throwing some shapes around, George worked on a music note for his Manifesto which includes rules about Dad dancing (see what I did there? Throwing shapes… dad dancing!?)…

… whilst Lewis (who I found out is the creator of the Mid-morning revolution mentioned in this post) was catching some Zzzzs:

Beth shook things up a little…

… and I couldn’t keep my eyes off Georgia’s work:

How great/spooky is that!? So that’s what I did for the first 2 sessions and I loved it. The 2nd week I studio surfed aka went round the class talking about their work, discussing ideas and hopefully helping.

It was a weird experience for me as only a couple of months ago I was a student asking for a tutors opinion – now the tables(or typewriters) had turned and I was offering guidance. On one hand I was thinking ‘Who am I to tell them how to do their work? I’m definitely no design expert and I’ve not even been a junior designer yet!’. But on the other hand, I’ve just completed my degree with good grades and I know exactly what they’re going through. So with that in mind, I tried to help them – recommending designers to look at, offering ideas for different ways to approach their ideas and passing on what I had learnt as a student and also as a graduate.

Some students are easier to talk to and help than others, but you know me, I love design and I love talking to people. I really enjoyed myself – it’s a lot less stressful thinking and playing around with ideas when it doesn’t affect YOUR grade. I also enjoyed talking to the students about what happens when you finish Uni, what I’ve been up to and where I’m going next. As a student I never really got the opportunity to get a real insight into what happens post-degree and I think it’s important to prepare students for ‘the real world’.

And through ‘teaching’, I learnt something about myself: I think I’d like to teach in the future. This is a weird moment for me, as I had never considered teaching before because I don’t really like children – I just don’t know how to act around/handle them, but University students (hopefully) don’t act like children. I mean, I don’t know if I’m any good at being a tutor, but it made me feel really good and I can totally understand why the tutors enjoy teaching. I want to go and design and experience the industry first, but later on I would like to give something back to the youth. I’ve been really lucky to have great tutors both at College and University and if I could inspire students like my tutors inspired me, I’d be really happy. After all, students are the future of design and I’m excited and interested to see where/ what their ideas will lead to!

Thank you to Barrie, Jeremy and all of the 1st years for welcoming me into the studio – it was a brilliant experience and has given me a lot to think about. I’m sad that I won’t get to see how all of the manifestos turn out (if I’d been clever about it, I could have ordered a copy of each) but hopefully I will get to see some on blogs etc. There’s some great characters in the year and I saw a lot of potential shining through already, so I think Lincoln GD’s reputation of having amazing students will be in safe hands for a little while longer!

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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