This talk took place on June 19, 2016 in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union as part of the Type@Cooper Herb Lubalin Lecture Series.
In this lecture Ewan Clayton asks if writing will survive the digital transformation of our culture and more fundamentally what is writing and what work does it do for us? He sets in context the various crises that surround the order of the written word. Drawing on his previous experience as a consultant to Xerox PARC (the lab where much of our current information technology was first conceived), Ewan argues that we have under-conceived what writing is: it is irreducibly pluralistic in nature and not to be equated with any one technology. If true this has implications for how we read the future and for how we educate ourselves as literate citizens.
Ewan Clayton is a calligrapher and part-time Professor in Design at The University of Sunderland where he co directs the International Calligraphy Research Centre. He grew up associated with a community of craftsmen at Ditchling in Sussex founded by Eric Gill. Ewan has enjoyed a varied professional career working as both a calligraphy teacher and a consultant to Xerox PARC, and he is currently a core faculty member at the Royal Drawing School in London. In 2013 he was awarded the first Karl-Georg Hoefer prize by The Schreibwerkstatt Klingspor for his work in calligraphy and education. His book on the history of calligraphy and typography The Golden Thread is out in paperback this year in the USA and has recently been released in Spanish and Italian translations.