The MRes TD is a new programme, enrolling its first cohort in 2017, that is targeted specifically at experienced, practicing typeface designers who want to develop a deeper understanding of the historical and theoretical aspects of their field, and gain a research-intensive qualification that allows them to teach a postgraduate level. The programme is structured on a hybrid model, over two years of part-time study. This structure extends the core seminars of the residential MATD programme, and integrates intensive sessions modelled on the TDi short course.

Most of the work is conducted online, with three residential periods of two weeks each providing targeted research skills and archival work. The aim is to combine self-directed learning through guided study, discourse development through engagement with peers, face-to-face feedback on presentations and discussion, and hands-on experience with sensitive artefacts.

The programme follows a three term per academic year structure. Students start the course in September of Year 1, with the first residential period at the beginning of the first term (late September). The second residential period takes place in the summer of the first year, at a time that coincides with the vacation period of most HEIs. The third residential period takes place in the autumn of Year 2.

The MRes TD will be ideal for practitioners transitioning to teaching careers, and educators seeking to gain higher qualifications in a research-intensive environment. Graduates can expect to have a deep engagement with the literature in the field, and a unique opportunity to work with archival material. They can also expect to build broader academic skills in research and writing. The main output takes the form of a rigorous dissertation based on original research. We expect the better examples to be of publication quality, and contribute to the nascent scholarship in the field.

French Academy letters

From the students’ point of view the programme will begin with the preparation for the first residential period, which involves some key texts on methodology and resources that help define the discipline. During this period of a few weeks students will also develop skills in using the online channels and the VLE that will be used during the programme.

During the first residential period in September of Year 1, students will focus on working methodologies, writing and critical reading skills, and preparing for studying the thematic seminars. This period combines elements of orientation in the resources available in the University and two series of intensive seminars. The first outlines the themes of the seminars and introduces the relevant key texts, together with a first round of hands-on sessions with relevant archival material. The second series focuses on research methods and academic writing skills. At the end of the two-week period students should be familiar with the Department’s approach to research and study, have familiarised themselves with our resources and made preliminary notes, and established working relationships with core staff. Some of the orientation sessions will be shared with students on the residential MA programmes, helping establish the wider PGT network in the Department. MA Typeface Design and MRes Typeface Design students are colocated in the same studio for the duration of the residential period.

The first online period revolves around the online delivery of the themed seminars. The assumption is that students will be in different time zones, so the key interactions will be asynchronous. The delivery of each theme happens in two phases: in the first, I introduce the key texts and initiate a discussion amongst the group by setting questions to be answered; in the earlier seminars this discussion will be more structured, with a more open-ended approach once the group has established a pattern for working. These contributions are intended to develop students’ methodology and critical skills, as well as establish terminology. Students will contribute short responses and annotations to the key texts, and will elect a topic related to the themes of the seminars for their assessed work. All formative and summative feedback will take place through the VLE. The seminar series will take students into the summer term of the first year, when they will also commence preparation for the second residential period.

Wim Crouwel's new alphabet

The second residential period overlaps with the established TDi summer course, at a time that coincides with the vacation period of most HEIs; in 2018 it will be 9-20 July. The second period coincides with the TDi summer course. The two weeks intersperse lectures, and seminars with sessions involving our Collections and Archives, as well as our workshops that support experiential learning. The students will engage closely with sets of objects (rather than just individual items) which will feed into sessions on curation and the construction of learning narratives in typography and typeface design. Individual presentations and exhibitions will constitute their assessed work during that period. This residential period will also give students the opportunity to discuss dissertation topics with staff in person, and consult our Reading Room for relevant resources.

Entering the second online period, students should embark on research for their dissertation. Their interaction with staff be more individual, and be driven by their needs for feedback on outlines and drafts. The online forum will continue to be used, with staff picking questions from individual students that may be relevant to the whole group, and posting shared responses. By the time of the third residential period, students should have substantial drafts ready for feedback.

Octavo spread

The third residential period will take place in the autumn of Year 2. This structure should help potential students fit the schedule around any institutional obligations. This period will provide the opportunity for further sessions from our research methods schedule that are appropriate to this stage of writing, and especially those focusing on visual documentation and description. It will also give students the opportunity to consult further resources that that are not accessible online. The aim is that by the end of the third residential period the students will have a section of their dissertation in near-final state, so that they will be able to extend this approach to the remainder of their dissertation over the last online period of supervision. During the third residential period the MRes students will be again co-located with the MA Typeface Design students, who will also be working on dissertation-related matters.

The programme is explicitly more collaborative in the first year (with the two residential periods bookending the seminars) and less so in the second half, when students are working on their dissertations. This is intentional, since the work of students is focused on common texts in the first year, but diverges according to their dissertation topic in the second.

For enquiries and any questions, email Gerry Leonidas.