Staff Profile:Professor Eric Kindel

Professor Eric Kindel
Job Title:
Head of Department

In addition to my role as Head of Department, I teach studio-based design practice and lecture on topics across the undergraduate programme, supervise BA and MA dissertations, and supervise research students. I also serve as curator of the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection.

I am a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council Peer Review College.

Areas of Interest:

My research takes in several areas of interest: the graphic design of information, with an emphasis on aspects of Isotype; informal and alternative print methods, with a specialism in the history of stencils and stencilling; and the inventive intersection of design and print production.

Graphic information. Between 2007 and 2011 I served as Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded project 'Isotype revisited' (together with Co-Investigator Prof. Sue Walker). The project's main outcomes included Otto Neurath's From hieroglyphics to Isotype: a visual autobiography (Hyphen Press, 2010), the exhibition 'Isotype: international picture language' (V&A, 2010-11), and the multi-authored Isotype: design and contexts, 1925-1971 (Hyphen Press, 2013). During the project my own research focused on Isotype activities in British colonial West Africa. This research is summarised in 'Isotype in Africa: Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and the Western Region of Nigeria, 1952-8', a chapter in Isotype: design and contexts.

Research in this area is presently focused on Isotype contributions to British publishing in the context of postwar reconstruction and economic development, with an emphasis on 'Future Books' and Future magazine (1946-52). The research encompasses a comparative study of graphic information made by leading designers for other mid-century periodicals, most notably Fortune magazine in the USA.

Stencils and stencilling. Research into the history of stencils and stencilling as used principally for lettering and marking out texts has been in progress since 1999 and is wide-ranging. My aim is to establish a reliable account of such work across a wide expanse of time, context and location. I regularly publish investigations into individual episodes of stencil work that will eventually form a summary history. The research has extended to collecting artefacts and reconstructing techniques to support historical and physical interpretation. Aspects of the research have been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, American Philosophical Society, Printing Historical Society and University of Reading's Research Endowment Trust Fund, and has involved long-term collaborations with Prof. James Mosley and Prof. Fred Smeijers.

Research in this area is presently focused on two topics: the development of stencil making in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, highlighting the work of Jean Gabriel Bery, a maker active in Paris in the 1780s; and the emergence of the stencilled poster in France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. For a presentation on early stencil makers in Europe, see here.

Research groups / Centres:
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