Social Baking

I’ve started to think about the parallels between making as a social activity and eating as a social activity. Food and eating has always played a big part in my family’s social life, and is a natural catalyst for interaction and connection.

With this in mind I tested out an initial idea for social making/baking at coLAB last week. As the lunch at the event participants were invited to take part in collaborative sandwich making, with each of us passing around our plates and adding elements to each other’s food. Daunting to begin with this became an interesting way to create a social atmosphere, definitely requiring further investigation.


coLAB, Riso, Print

coLAB is less than three weeks away! I’m looking forward to a day of discussion, distraction and pot luck dining, and maybe gaining some insights into collaboration in Manchester.

Risographed flyers are now around the Northern Quarter, to entice passing creative types, and below you can see a sneak peek of the day’s program…

Lots of planets have a LAUNCH

Last night I went along to the launch of Lots of planets have a North at The Tetley in Leeds, where Claire and Emma introduced the publication with a series of readings by contributors.

It was great to share the finished publication with the contributors and audience, and share a few drinks and our thoughts about the North.

If you’d like to get your own copy of the publication, or share your North with us, head to


Social Making : Final Monograph


cover of final monograph, titled 'social making' inside spread of monograph

For the final write up of my MA course we are required to submit a written monograph digitally. While this is quicker, easier and more efficient I just don’t feel like a piece of work is finished until it is printed and bound. I’m old-fashioned like that.

So, I’ve printed and bound my final monograph, and added a foil-blocked cover for added interest. So much more satisfying than a .pdf.

Make Your Own People’s Guide

The People’s Guide Project, a collaborative project between myself, Chloe Hamill and the People’s History Museum, had a launch of sorts today as we invited visitors to the museum to join us in making their own guides and highlighting their favourite exhibits.

I’ve been a big fan of maps lately, and for the People’s Guide workshops we’ve been using them as a way to collect together reactions to the museum. Below you can see some of the responses on today’s maps.


table with large maps, showing written reactions by participants

workshop participant's response added to the collaborative map

knotworkshop LAUNCH POST

This is strange. knotworkshop, the collaborative, online, zine making project I launched a couple of weeks ago has now come to an end. Contributors added their thoughts and images, I fiddled with the design, it all came together.

And now it’s finished… as a .pdf file on my hard drive. This does not feel like ‘finished’ usually feels. I’m used to trimming, folding, stapling, and holding the ‘finished’ product in my hands. This ‘finished’ product cannot be held!

So I can conclude that my relationship with digital practice remains complicated, perhaps even a little standoffish.

Although that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this project. Aside from certain issues of access, using a purely digital workspace allowed me to reach a wider audience and experiment with tools in a different way. knotworkshop has helped me appreciate the place of online tools for actual making, as well as social and promotional uses.

Click here to download your own .pdf copy of knotworkshop/Community to preserve for all time on your hard drive:


Forming/Storming/Performing Event 3 : Return to Manchester

Last night saw the return of Forming/Storming/Performing, a one-night zine-making party, designed to explore making as a social catalyst.

Last night’s event was held at Sandbar, aka the centre of MA Design and Art Direction’s social world, and much of the activity focused on drawing games, including Exquisite Corpse and Pictionary.

poster showing forming/storming/performing event information

As well as the concept for the event, I designed information posters and ‘Creative Games Compendium’ booklets to help spark participants’ ideas, and pulled together all the contributions into one online zine. I see the parameters applied to the event (materials available, style of promotion, suggestions of activities) as part of what defines my work as design, as they all allow me to exert some influence over the final output (for example, black and white, hand drawn content).

f/s/p participants drawing

The final zine, made during the evening, is available online right here, and a limited-run print version will be available in the next few weeks.

f/s/p participants talking

Upcoming Events…

Time is passing at an unbelievable speed, and now it is Testing Time!

Testing Time is part of the Manchester School of Art MA program, a kind of interim, work-in-progress exhibition, with added crits and tutorials. Very civilised.

During Testing Time I have two events coming up, knotworkshop and Forming/Storming/Performing. knotworkshop is an online project exploring digital collaboration, inviting participants to contribute to an online zine. Forming/Storming/Performing follows the theme of previous events, using a social setting (Sandbar, the MA bar of choice) as site for social making – in this case a zine to be completed in one evening.

As with every project, it’s a little nerve-racking (will anyone contribute? will I be sat all on my own in Sandbar? will the internet break midway through??) but I’m really excited about these two projects. It’s an added bonus that they’ll provide a handy basis for comparison (is online collaboration as satisfying as offline? do we interact in the same way?).

All the links

Contribute to knotworkshop

See the knotworkshop progress 

Join us at Forming/Storming/Performing

And feel free to use some hashtags – #knotworkshopMCR, #FormStormPerform