Spencer / Dissertation

April 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

This morning’s lecture was just answering some general questions about the dissertation stuff.


If my dissertation has a good set of empirical data (such as if I were to have a lot of statistical information), it can be quite tricky to frame it/contextualising it. But you’ve got to be able to frame your topic/question in a way that works for you; depending on the kind of dissertation you’re creating.


Why am I actually writing this? Why is it significant? What’s at stake in the debate? Map the context onto a healthy debate, what are the stakes in the debate, and what’s the significance?
While thinking about my dissertation, project forward and think about what I can project out of it – how can my project work relate to my dissertation? How can I create an interesting project from my research and theory?

Is there going to be an empirical dimension to my dissertation? (Empirical evidence is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical evidence is information that justifies a belief in the truth or falsity of an empirical claim)


For the dissertation proposal form:

– (Already structured) 500 words.

– Very loose look at what my dissertation will be.

– What the general topic I’m focusing on is.

– Aims & objectives (to do with what’s at stake).

– Possible content

– Suggested methodologies: is there a particular study I’m going to do, or is it about looking through literature? (I could do a dissertation purely with literature). I must justify and methodologies I use.

– Possible conclusions: any hunches I have (Never embark on research in a sort of carefree manner, always be upfront).

– Where’d I look to find my info: e.g. Google scholar. Things I’d look at: Key theorists/ key perspectives/key texts/key practitioners / key works/ contemporary /current discussion of the topic. Any new research I’d be conducting in relation?

– Any possible problems I may run into?


There’s not really a set structure to the dissertation, all are different, usually containing broad sections/territories. A literature review is usually framed as the general context of the work – key text / key theorists / key works etc. to do with the general topic, also looking upon a contemporary aspect of it.

Think about the angle I’ll be approaching things from: cultural, psychological, philosophical, physiological, economical, environmental perspective etc. There may also be another position I frame my dissertation upon, giving a good overview of the stuff I say, giving it a frame work, then talking about why it’s relevant today (any stakes embodied in it?).


In my literature review, it’s a good idea to try and establish a discipline, framing an argument, and pulling together two slightly different contexts/issues, making novelty in the dissertation, ultimately making it interesting


Separate section for methods/methodologies


Three chapters (or so), stages or phases for an argument, developing a position, trying to focus on one core thing for each chapter, then bringing all these chapters together to bring across my main point.


Visual disciplines – when I’m arguing in terms of design and animation, sometimes I’ll be using logical forms of argument, sometimes being persuasive using imagistic stuff to persuade, alternating between structured argument and persuasive ‘massagy’ stuff.


Structuring of dissertations vary slightly, with ordering of chapters varying.

Always give a good sense of the context at the start.

Always remember that you’ve got to be nice to the reader. Think of a room mate who’s smart but doing a totally different subject to you, you’ve got to explain, helping them understand, not making them feel like an idiot.


Presenting contrast in my work?


Cultural context? (aims and objectives)


Guest Lecture / Spin (Unit Editions)

March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Spin  /  Unit Editions


This guest lecture, led by Tony Brook and Klaudia Clat of London based Spin design studio (also Unit Editions publishing), was a lovely insight into the working the design agency, looking upon their work of the creation of various books, with specific focus on Herb Lubalin, and their design ethos.

The lecture was introduced with previous work done by Spin, looking upon their journey, and how they’ve evolved from very little to where they’re at currently. From previously having books and work printed, they were losing out on a fair margin of money, from this they decided to birth Unit Editions, their very own self-publishing company.

Unit Editions book design is led by Spin, with Adrian Shaughnessy writing. The resulting collection of this is thus far pretty strong, comprising of such works including Type Only, which also has it’s own tumblr page; Herb Lubalin, which I’ll talk of; the Spin series editions, of which contain reading lists of designers (many unknown), as well as insight into famous designers work, and general design based stuff, all very handy. Their books are made for graphic designers, by graphic designers.

Tony mentioned the book How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy, which is a must read.

Type_Only_Cover_1_full product_optimised2

Spin’s Inspirations
/ Herb Lubalin
/ Karel Martens
/ Neue Grafik – Josef Müller Brockman

When creating their Unit Edition books, they only choose subjects they love, things they want to share that will inform and inspire. Their books have a contemporary edge.

The contents of their Herb Lubalin book was sourced predominantly from the Cooper archive in New York. Much 0f the book’s colour comprises of orange, the source and context of this is from the archived work folders Lubalin would keep his work. When designing books they try to give things as much context as possible, looking at the origin of design (such as in this case), they may look at design colour schemes from designers works, or maybe the context is more subliminal at times, but there is usually some context or idea running behind something. They like to have this idea/connection in their work, for exactly that, the connection between the artist and the book, or the subject; it’s a very important aspect to use.


Your obsessions, passions and interests are what make you a good (or not a good) designer, with no room for apathy in graphic design. Listen to the voices in your head.

They also have a digital publishing of a Wim Crouwel issue of one of their Spin editions.

In their book Studio Culture, which looks upon designers working practice and their motivations.

Peter Norris / Geopolitical Futures

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

 Looking at the world in a much wider context!

What is the world?

Wealth is not equal on the planet, the UK is the 5th wealthiest economy in the world – we have lots of things that are taken for granted.

Geopolitical futures are about understanding where we are, and what others don’t have (countries) looking at problems. For example, the Middle East produces the majority of all the oil in the world, and oil has touched us in one way or another, through technology, clothing, electricity etc.

The UK is one of the most densely populated countries in the world; this is because it’s an attractive country, with all its benefits. I have to be aware of all this.


These are the two economies that have great protection; they outnumber us by a massive extent (population). There are different parts of these countries, some very Westernised metropolitan areas, and others more rural. These Westernised areas are very keen on trade, almost too keen, as a result, British designers are highly sought after in these places since they require Westernised lifestyles, and I can supply Westernised design. We know about this part of the world, so they require these skills and influences; I need to consider that beyond these countries borders there are employment opportunities. For example China recently has had a lot of Western workers come over and create for them, with design etc. as the ‘Westernised’ things the Chinese produce are badly produced.

The problem that China is facing is that it’s so incredibly vast, but is run under one state/government that doesn’t change, unlike ours. There are lots of areas of China that want independence (so this is a problem), breaking away from Mainland China. The second problem is social unrest amongst different social classes, wealth is distributed unevenly, in Beijing you can find millionaires and billionaires everywhere, though move 50 miles out of Beijing and you see real abject poverty, there’s a huge difference. This is when social unrest occurs. These factors will ultimately affect the economic structure of the country, but how is this managed? If it’s market opens up some more then it will accept more Western workers, if it closes however it will have the opposite effect.

I need to be aware of the problems that are faced in these countries. These sort of problems and issues need to be recognised.

In the less economically developed areas of Eastern Asia, the cost of living is far cheaper due to the poorer state of the country, where you can live with very little money for quite some time. This is another factor I need to consider, how do I get round this?

Population density > Thomas Malthus (influential in the fields of political economy and demography), having very pessimistic views:

Where there is poverty, with populations in dense groups in close proximity, there’s a problem with illness, pestilence, plague, death, famine, starvation, health issues, where as in this country we have the national health system. Either you can feed all these people, or you let what would subsequently happen, happen. Mathus view was that this is an automatic correction that the weak are sifted out. In the UK we have the National Health Service (NHS), however, before this, such as the outbreak of Spanish influenza and the bubonic plague, you could see how much of the population would be decimated as a result, up to 60/70%! With poorer people not being able to afford some basic hygiene, all living in close proximity, this is when problems arise. Another issue to think about.

Poor / Wealthy – Poor usually are in abundant numbers in comparison, and get unruly, they start to wonder why they have to live in these conditions when there are others with stupid amounts of money, then they get unruly, and begin attempting to take by force. Law enforcement can only go so far to stop this, when numbers get large, then politics comes into play;

Politics = keeping the mob happy. If you can keep them happy, you’ve got control, and no problems.

Flash Points

These are areas in the world that are currently marked as being potentially dangerous

–       The Middle East – ill feeling here (mainly over the setting up of Israel), lots of conflict – wealth, power, and poverty, all of this coupled with different opinions has meant that the area is heavily affected by conflict. This region may become an even worse flashpoint as resources diminish.
Most Middle East countries face these problems and are trying to resolve them before they occur, trying to make the most out of what they’ve got.

–       Crimea (most current) – this is more of an issue related to Russia; they were slowly and manageably coming out of communism, but then everything started going backwards. Part of the problem is that Russia is so big, being made up of lots of smaller states, which are forcibly held together under the control of one centralized government. Russia needs to try and relinquish the control that other countries have, but keeping order at the same time, stopping other people from moving in. With Ukraine, half of it wants to go West, and the other East, but Russia doesn’t want to lose it, Russia is scared, since if it loses Ukraine then what happens to the other neighboring countries? They want independence also, ultimately meaning Russia loses power and control.

–       Georgia and Sochi + terrorism

–       China (which will eventually see the same problems as Russia)


–       Terrorism

–       Poverty (Malthus issues)

–       Pace & Change

–       Lack of Education

–       Market Movements

–       Technology

Terrorism – No longer is it expected that there’ll be massive wars such as the World Wars, but instead localised warfare, and terrorism. This is difficult to find out when and where. The trick is to figure out where and when these affairs are likely to happen. These terrorist actions are a trouble in the East and the West.

Another political issue here in order to prevent terrorism is obtaining information. Freedoms, duties and responsibilities – look at the USA for example with looking at emails etc. to prevent terrorism. People don’t like this however and don’t as it’s breaching their privacy, so this is an issue, it’s a difficult balancing act.

Minor and Major Changes: Major – major changes are where people have to be educated on something, something that’s changed the way people do.

Incredible amounts of money are lost from education, or more lack of education, which is the bigger problem. If people were more educated they wouldn’t be doing half the stuff they’d be doing, they’d first think about it. While simply trying to survive [in certain countries], it’s a quite a lot harder to learn something… This is a massive problem, a key disruptor. If education were available all across the globe, the world would be a much better, and peaceful place.

Pace & Change – People naturally don’t like change, and as we get older, we like it even less; when we get to the age of 65/70, we lose certain proteins that allow us to accept a change (physical problem); this is another issue. My generation on the other hand wants fresh things; it is fonder of change compared to previous generations. Not so long ago laptops and smart phones were quite uncommon to find on students, however now it’s quite the opposite, there’s only a small percentage that don’t have these things!

Market Movements – We know simply from looking at the market collapse that this causes a lot of problems for a lot of people, serious problems.

Technology – Technology can output lots of good things, but anytime something new is invented, there are usually 10 more problems arise; this is the real problem with technology. For example, computers, people and physical problems such as neck and back problems – these problems need to be identified when new technologies are introduced. How’s it going to work? Do we need extra time for this? Can everyone engage in the technology? These things tend to be much more driven by businesses, people who are involved in trade and business.

With all this considered, when I go work or travel abroad, I need to consider all of these flashpoints and disruptors, not engaging with companies that are going to cause a problem or get themselves into trouble. I need to keep in the know, I need to keep an informed and educated decision in projects.

Spencer Roberts / Dissertation Introduction

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

In the last 4 weeks of the semester we’ll be concentrating on dissertation stuff, dissertation proposal exercise

Submitting a 500 word dissertation proposal

Today we’re getting a general idea of how a dissertation works, topics, how to approach and get started, and also to start looking at the general context of design research.


The theory side of the course this year, philosophical / sociocultural / physiological / business, allows me to look in a more rich way into a topic of my choosing; connecting the work of artists/designers/practitioners, referencing them as a sort of case study approach (almost as evidence).

Contextual studies, contextualizing my ideas throughout the dissertation.

The structure of a dissertation varies greatly, we can combine the frameworks we’ve been using, or solely use one: data gathering exercises etc. but this all comes down to the question I set myself, a personally driven goal, that greatly interests me.


Word count for dissertation is 6000 words, with a likelihood of it increasing to 7000 next year.


How the dissertation fits into next year’s study:

three things in final year, which I want to try and align with one another as much as possible

1. Dissertation

2. Technical study – Detailed investigation of a process/technique

3. Major Project – addresses the thematics of the dissertation through the process/technique/technology of the technical study

These should all have aspects of one another, forming one another and relating.

(1) – The dissertation is the general conceptual research element, the stuff relating to the perspective I’ll have (from the lecture program), theoretically bulking things out, also doing empirical research, and maybe doing some interpretation work where by I’d read lots of previous texts; all subject to the topic I choose.

(2) – Focuses on a particular process / technology / some technical aspect of graphics / animation. If there’s something I like, such as a printing technique, some sort of style etc. (innovative techniques. One of the things I can do is look at contemporary methods of old techniques) something fresh/new, possibly traditional with a contemporary twist, relating to the traditional aspect of it. Looking at a small aspect of a practice, but in detail.

(3)- major project will (hopefully/look at) embody the technical study and the dissertation. Thematically it will hopefully deal with the issues I talk about in my dissertation, in the project playfully engaging in the context I’ve set. This will gain a very strong submission, as it is very coherent, focused, and detailed, with myself becoming an expert somewhat in that particular area.

All of these things are about focus, about getting the scope of something right, not talking about the whole of anything, but rather talking about the small aspect of the thing I’ve identified, then the combination of the three related aspects that I’ll have a strong body of work.

– All of this is really self-driven; I’m exploring my own set of interests, where tutors simply sign off the work (making sure it’s ok to go through)

– Start thinking about topics I could explore

A lot of this stuff ^^ is about the form of my work, being proficient about what I’m examining.
Supervisors will be there to guide me through the process, it’s important to bring a lot to it, ask questions, make sure it’s all good. I’m developing an expertise that I’ll know the most about, the supervisors will only respond to the stuff I bring (material, theory, references etc.). I want this to be my study, and not someone else’s, this means independence. As a result, I need to a lot; otherwise I’ll have nothing to show with my supervisor.


”Is it written like a personal essay, or a report?”

It’s both: it’s a report that takes a position, but also an essay. I need to ground my study in a lot of report based subjective stuff, while contextualising what I do, what’s been done previously, what are the key writings and practices; this is all very report based. However it’s only the first couple of chapters of the dissertation that will talk about this, what I want to do then is use that as a basis to say something fresh, these are the foundations I’ve laid that will be useful for me to talk about and reference for my own work, working with the material, combining stuff, such as combining two different things and then talking about what happens when you do. In one sense I want to be creatively handling the materials, and on the other I’ll be interpreting things, which is where it gets more personal, creating an interpretation based on the materials I’ve gathered.

The golden goal for this is that I’m making a contribution to knowledge and an expertise, it has it’s own style and position. Looking academically rigorous, but being unique, not sounding like anything else, taking it’s own position. This is backed up all they way, justifying it throughout, referencing other practitioners, notifying when I mention something that’s similar or in line with what someone else has said, but maybe reflecting them in some way, with my own take.


The initial gathering of stuff is quite easy now with the internet, the harder part comes 2/3s of the way in when I begin working with material.




Techniques for quickly gathering information and data:
there are loads of online sources that takes care of referencing and sourcing

– For APA6, the above thing can accommodate 95% of my referencing

What are the main sources and references in papers I’m reading, so I can use them also.

– Search on Google scholar, this uses citation counts that link to other similar papers, which I can use also.



Animation example titles:

–       Disney’s women : changes in depictions of femininity in Walt Disney’s animated feature films

–       Transdisciplinarity and the expanded comic form

–       Beautiful things in the world: a semiotic analysis on Disney and Japanese 2D feature-length animation through creative practice

–       Doubling the duality : a theoretical investigation into materiality and embodiment of meaning in the integration of live action and animation

–       Walt Disney and Europe : European influence on the animated feature films of Walt Disney

–       The place of animation within Film and Media Studies : a theoretical and pedagogic approach

–       CGI – The maker of breaker of films in the 21st Century

Graphic Design example titles:

–       Graphic design as urban design : analysing graphic objects in urban environments

–       Rebranding vs Reimaging

–       30 years of agitprop : the representation of ‘extreme’ politics in punk and post-punk music graphics in the united kingdom from 1978 to 2008

–       An investigation of the representation of smoking throughout history

–       Desire for the handmade : An investigation into the resurgence of printing methods

–       The Sublime and the Subliminal in advertising

All generally slight modifications of each other. They are all very specific, mine won’t be this specific in the beginning, I’m trying to simply gain a general area of where I’ll be heading.

Picking up on key words and terms in my title to flesh out my dissertation, the title sets it all up, basically a short introduction.

You’d probably only write the title at the end, since it’s so specific, right now I’m just getting a general understanding.

Reactivating something that’s old, but now there’s modern versions, a way for it to flourish


> Initially Google around for dissertation topics to see what people are talking about

Make sure I know my interests; it may be helpful to ask friends and family what my interests are, since I may struggle myself. Others can give a good push in the right direction.


> Google Scholar focuses on academic research, referencing periodicals and books mainly, as well s the Internet “Cited by #” is what I’m looking at, high citation counts give me the best relation and help to my topic, gaining books, people, themes, things that other people are referencing also.


> ethos.bl.uk (electronic theses online service)

gain invaluable resources, themes, titles etc. gaining an overview of a topic and material.


> citationmachine.net

has a nice system for referencing, just need to fill out some data, then it generates the reference for me – gives  a bibliographic reference and also a text citation. This is quick and easy, making a tedious task automate.


Be careful with plagiarism ^^needs to be cited^^

Paraphrasing should be done rather than huge blocks of text. If something I say references someone, ensure that I credit them.

Brief: Project Management + Seminar Notes

February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today we were assigned a new brief by Pete, this project focuses on project management, testing our knowledge on what we’ve learnt in his previous business lectures. We have been given two options to choose from, both of which require a project management file, showing a clear planning or resources, financial structures, and time management.

Hand in for project is the 26th March, submitting it in person at the usually lecture location [Canal Side East lecture hall], I can hand it in early, but the latest possible time is 4pm on that day (supposed to hand it in during lecture).

These are the notes I acquired from the lecture:

– Aim of assessment is to gain a better understanding of project management – all about planning.
– All justification based – rational answers, ask ‘why?’
– Must be bound in folder
– Must supply a digital copy also (to be put on a memory stick which will be passed round)

For both of these options I want to firstly get the aspect of time out of the way, then look upon  resources and finances

There’s no real word count, just required to create a detailed report

Option A / Business:

Resources – computer, programmes, desk, room (location), supplies, will my current resources (such as macbook) be enough, or will I need to upgrade? Need to discuss the costing of all of this.
– How will I initially afford all of this?
– Realistically how much work will I receive?
– What are the good/bad/ugly situations (gaining work instantly vs. no work for 6 months)?
– How many hours will I be working per week?
– When and where?
– Must plan for contingencies (saving 10% of budget for emergencies)
– Networking: talking to other businesses, establish relations, gain the benefits of networking, external input
– Must plan all cash flow
– (small business) loans
– external income e.g. part time jobs
– generation of revenue and profit
– need to understand all issues that need planning for
– Develop my unique selling point (USP)
– understand what I’m good at/strengths
– why should people come to you?
– SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
– real world problems I could run into
– What’s the competition like in my local area?
– what can I offer/do to better them?
– How will I promote myself?
– portfolio; showing people, online portfolio
– networking
– Time
– how long will it take to gather all the elements for the business?
– business cards, portfolio, speaking to people etc.
– Can create a simple list of dates & actions or a graphical plan
– *action* > *comment*, *problem* > *action* > *comment*
– timeline to initially see what I’m doing
– ALL of this must have justification
– and all in a logical format
– Cover everything up until business opens at my decided date


Option B / Gap Year:

This option is considered the more difficult one, as it requires more tedious planning.

– Where?
– A to B to C etc.
– When?
– Passport & visas: do I need to get these?
– how will I obtain these?
– how long will it take? time lag
– where?
– prices?
– how long will it last?
– Funding
– travel
– jetlag
– accommodation
– MUST be realistic (as if I were really doing this)
– Can’t realistically travel to a different country everyday
– Locations of choice
– what are the implications of that destination?
– policies, rules, regulations, laws, politics e.g. calm & relaxed country such as Italy, or Egypt, where there’s lots                  of turmoil
– Insurances
– travel insurance
– item insurance (for valuables)
– Planning of:
– transportation
– journeys
– flights, airport travel > from airport to hotel + other locations of importance
– buses / trains / public transport
– Money
– required amount for stay in different countries
– overall cost
– cost of food, travel, spending money, emergency money etc.
– different currencies
– carrying money
– keeping money safe
– support/backup plan?
– Risks
– How do I fit things in?
– people
– places
– jobs
– money
– times
– events
– Leeway
– parties / festivals : how to fit it in (justify + implications) (maybe not relevant to gap year?)

The project doesn’t require the execution of the plan, just needs the plan itself – assume what’s going to happen (not dealing with it hands on)

The suggested format of the project is to begin with an introduction, then plan, explanation, resources, and finally finances. This will show I have an understanding of project management issues.


Seminar Notes:

For the introduction of the project I discuss the question that I’ve answered, then the intent of the plan is to ‘…’. ‘I’ve chosen this option, I plan on doing this type of gap year…’

Use a graphical method to display the finance (sheet) layout

Finances – Income, how to pay, how I’m meeting my goals
– What must I do?
– Resources needed, where are they coming from?
– Job
– Interferences e.g. visa’s time to obtain
– process (going places like the bank, embassy etc.)
– what are these things?
– what do I have to do?
– Where am I going to be?
– Accomodation
– Costs

What I’m doing + Where I start = fundamental

Mind map of stuff I need to do
sequence stuff – to meet a deadline (deadline for this being going abroad)
– Times (working backwards)
– Things that can be done together

Take out weekends / bank holidays / graduation / holiday / birthdays / festivals / family
Stick all of ^^these^^ days in > this is what planning is about
– Logical structure + things that will/can go wrong

How will I take my money? How do I protect it and myself?

Go over my plan several times (3/4?) to get a solid plan and understanding of it.
Get the sequence right, then justify it – money, resources etc.

Explain what I’m doing in a gap year,and how I intend to tackle it:
– am I packing on the go (buying en route)? Heavy? Light? – bag size. Am I bringing clothes to dump later to pick up souvenirs and new clothes? Electronics (?): laptop/tablet (?), phone(s), camera (multiple storage discs?)
– voluntary work?

Resource based issues that could occur + how to tackle this
– when/if bringing electronics such as camera, laptop etc. then these things need to be looked after, and monitored, as in if I were staying in a hostel then I’d need to look after it, maybe purchase a locker, have an individual room (this goes against sharing and meeting new people though) vs. dormitory? Security issues.
– uploading images to cloud/dropbox etc. to keep data up to date on not just my person, then if I lose my camera/break storage, then I’ve got it backed up
– understand the problems before I go, so I’m ready for them

Medications & vaccinations:
– What do I need?
– How long do I wait to get them?
^^all of this goes in plan^^

Who / What / When / Where / Why / How

Ask myself ‘What if?’ > for the plan/journey.

Have a plan B also, e.g. volunteer, work, work on farm? What if I don’t get a job/volunteer work I wanted?

Look and think about the wrinkles and creases in my plan and journey

Pete just wants to see a project management plan, not a business plan.


Peter Norris – The Client and You

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment


Design > Ability related to the job
Health of relationship between you and the client

Commissioning manager
Reason for work > Market/Finance/Management
Corporate ethics

The longer the project the more likelihood that it will get cancelled, e.g 3 months.
Keep a strong record of cost and time spent, will get projects that get cancelled and you need to make sure they pay you for what you have done which is why it’s important to keep costings.

Place in Economy – Micro & Macro issues
Government attitude – Help or Hindrance? Regulations?
Financial strength of firm
True market standing
Intent of project – Link to other aspects?
Attitude/ethics of management & company

Capability of firm
Capability of designer(s)
Risk understanding
Project management abilities
Financial strength
Ethics and attitude
Other work

Design Phase – You/others?
Execution phase – Others? If so, who? How long? Their work load? Priorities?
Implementation Phase
This infers CONTRACTS

When talking to people who may want to take you on you have to show confidence in what you do so they have confidence in you.
Be yourself, dress yourself, be comfortable/smart and you’ll be relaxed and it’ll show in the interview.

Tracy Lannon / The Creative Brain

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Talking about work placements, doing research to find what is available out there, I want to do something that genuinely interests me. The dynamicity of graphic design is big, there’s a whole world of design out there, with many career paths to take other than free lance work. I don’t wish to pursue a freelance career, so it will be refreshing to hear about other options. I can concentrate my work somewhere by possibly taking an MA after my degree, if I want to do that.
Tracy’s PHD – in design can introduce us to learning and educational programs, interface design, design for interaction gaming and play.
The physical structure of the brain
Neuro-Plasticity; Sensory Brain Maps Localisation / plastic / changeable / evolving / re-wiring
Our understanding of cognition (thinking, perception, understanding etc.) is that it physically changes in response to learning; continuously practicing a new skill strengthens the connections within the brain. Over time, without practice anything new, our mental skill will deteriorate, this is why it’s so important to be constantly learning. If we don’t practice our mental skill, becoming creatures of habit, the mapped areas in our brain changes it’s function; for example, if we were to lose our sight in one eye, the neurons would then move to the sensitivity in the shoulder, putting them to use elsewhere. By mentally training, it increases our brain’s capacity, replicates, and extends neurons, helping them increase in size, branching out. Constantly stimulating our brain with new education allows for the development of new branches and neural pathways, allowing for more knowledge to be stored; the older one becomes, the slower the process becomes, however.
Michael Merzenich
  • Learning to learn
  • Brain training : restructuring brain anatomy
  • Practicing new skills
  • Lasting plastic change
  • Increased brain capacity

“We’re natural born cyborgs” – Andy Clark We adapt, especially when we’re young.

With these points stated, one needs to be open minded, experience and learn as much as possible to allow our brains to be freed up.
Paul Bach-y-Rita
  • Sensory devices for brain rehabilitation
  • Brain rewiring
  • Late recovery
  • Alternative
  • Neural pathways
  • New functions

Bach-y-Rita’s father had a stroke; he was taught, by his son, how to properly live again, with constant training from his sons.

We see with our brains, not our eyes. The brain reorganises itself using a brain-machine interface.
Bach-y-Rita developed a chair, where the back was made of moving pins, which would press the shape of an object into the back, the person then recognising the object in question. This has also been created as a miniature version for the tongue, which is far more sensitive to touch; this allows for a revival of vision in the brain for people, but through an alternative sense. This is called a ‘Brain Port’
Hubel & Weisel

  • Micromapping
  • Visual cortex (by environment)
  • Shaped by experience
  • Rewiring visual information


  • Constraint induced therapy
  • Learned non-use
  • Long term neglect
  • New learning
  • Intensive training

These guys performed experiments that would be heavily frowned upon in today’s society; they would sew the eyes of kittens together, finding out how they’d react; these experiments were all about the rewiring of visual information.

Another patient we looked at had lost all the nerves within one arm; going to an intensive therapy programme where she would be forced to use her unable arm, whilst having her fully able one strapped behind her back, the result of this allowed for her to retrain the brain to use this arm:

The brain doesn’t see, the eyes send the information which is why we can retrain people to see again, through other means.


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