Research and curate – Forming and projecting a new future, referencing and process

Module 2. Brief 2. Week 6.

Last week I started my visual writing project. Through investigating tone of voice in visual writing I learnt about how you can gain different audiences attention and also make them feel a new and interesting way about a subject purely by the way you portray the story. 

Last week I wrote the first 400 words of an article about the climate crisis. However, we see everyone talking about it nowadays, how do we make this stand out to the crowd. I wrote this in the style of a diary entry. Very innocently spoken and simple terminology. Speaking from thoughts came quite easy to me as instead of speaking to a large crowd it was as if I was talking to myself. This innocent tone of voice works in the same way to gain the audiences seriousness as Greta Thunberg’s presence. Highlighting how the younger generations are the ones who are at risk. 

This week I will be developing the idea of using tone of voice to help write an article from the viewpoint of my city, town or local. Contextualising the interplay between social, provenance and history when writing a visual culture article about my locale. Define and distil my research to gain new insight and critical understanding of visual culture, myth or story in my area. Ultimately delivering an ‘elevator pitch’ presentation to clearly articulate the subject of your long form 3,000 word article.


Stuart in conversation with Andrew Sanigar.

Ethnographic Research – This is cultural research. Gaining insight into a new and interesting location, new consumer patterns and understanding, or provide a voice for social or cultural groups. The two key points to mention here are trust and consent, as for this method of research you will be up close and personal with people and invading their own personal and private lives and homes. 

Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe and/or interact with a study’s participants in their real-life environment. Ethnography was popularised by anthropology, but is used across a wide range of social sciences.”

Richard Mosse went into The Democratic Republic of Congo, this was an expedition that lasted 5 years. This is a serious duration of time, however, he wanted to truly understand their culture. Being within their daily lives and seeing the conflict that is daily nature for them makes it so much more real. How can you portray a way of life without fully understanding it yourself? 

Corruption is a livelihood there and it is not understood until you are living in that environment. The project, INFRA, stemmed from the use of infrared light to find camouflage. Mosse took this war tool and used it to make the landscape look beautiful. Displaying a warzone as something pretty. The colour pallet it creates makes the scene more visceral.

Andrew Sanigar, commissioning editor at Thames & Hudson. Known as a ‘museum without walls’. They work with design, photography, archaeology, architecture, fabrics, ceramics; however they are know as specialist illustration publishers. 

There is a lot that goes into the design of the book, it’s not just what is going to go in it. The layout, the bind, the colours, the paper quality and material, the cover, the sleeve, the illustration style, the ink style, and so much more. There is so much that goes into it that each area when designing a book for a project all of these areas have to be thought about.

Personal Research.

As I will be writing and designing a lengthy article, I thought it would be best to look into companies that I should be inspired and aiming towards.

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Grafik – A physical and digital journal of stories. Their narrative with visual and written language is one to be inspired by. 

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Colors Magazine – An interesting array of stories and visual assets to work alongside them. Stories that stand out from the crowd.

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Port Magazine – Slightly more upmarket than the last, these articles are also something to aspire towards.


How can you research and define a topic that reveals a new insight and critical understanding of visual culture, myth or story in your area?

Looking at your area or location to find inspiration or story can be extremely difficult. I have found while trying to come up with a number of ideas that although both the town I live in and work in has rich history and heritage, this doesn’t make for a unique story. These are not things I can talk about with much knowledge.

Talking to Stuart on this one I found that the best way to discover a topic that I can talk about is to go around the question slightly differently. Asking myself, what three things am I passionate about, or failing that, am I interested in as a hobby, skill, or spend my doing in my spare time?

To answer the question, I said:

  • My job (website design and branding) – Ultimately, this is why I’m doing this course
  • Football – This is what my project was based on in my last module
  • IBD Support group.

This final point, the support group I run in my area for people with the common disease that I have. This made me realise that this is a topic, not only in my area but is something I am passionate about. Being passionate about a topic means that I have a lot to say about it. For this module, this is exactly what I need as I will need to speak a lot about this topic. 

So, overall, it is a matter of looking at the question in a more loose and vague way to get the response that you need. Thinking outside of the box.


This week we want you to explore how to research and define a topic that reveals a new insight and critical understanding of visual culture, myth or story in your area.

Please note, this is a key research phase for a longer, three-week project.

The findings of your research will inform the next stage of production and we expect you to utilise a variety of research methodologies (e.g. primary, secondary, ethnographic).

Please remember, it is imperative you gather enough initial material to develop your final 3,000-word article.

1. Research and find two possible stories that reflect a viewpoint of your own town, city or locale.

2. Create one image to represent both initial story concepts, using a variety of methods, which must be original and not sourced from the Internet or a third party.

3. Present two short proposals with title, original image and a short 100-word synopsis (elevator pitch) about the concept of your article. Please note, we will provide a prepared Keynote slide template for you to present your findings.

From my initial thoughts when answering my response question I found that I will be talking about my local IBD Support group and the role I play within it. The article I write can be anything relating to this topic. From my initial idea I thought of these two points:

  • Raising awareness for local support groups such as Frimley IBD Group
  • How to support and boost morale for people in the same boat as you? 

Both are unique ideas that also allow me to have a lot to say about them.

Raising awareness for local support groups such as Frimley IBD Group

For this article, I will be looking into how support groups have a positive effect on those suffering from physical or mental conditions. Why they are formed, whether they are virtual or in person, in which case where are they hosted. Who runs them, who attends and what actual difference they make to the people that do. Is it just for the patients or is it also for their families? I will talk about how they reach out and help inspire fellow patients to join them. I will use Frimley IBD Group as an example and interview a patient that attends and possibly a family member of a patient.


How to support and boost morale for people in the same boat as you? 

For this article, I will speak about how patients with physical or mental conditions connect to support and help each other going through the same struggles. Being able to talk to someone about what is keeping you down allows a place to vent and makes you feel better. For people suffering from a condition it can be difficult to talk to people that don’t understand what you are going through. This is one of the main reasons there are so many virtual and physical support groups. I will be looking at the many ways people connect, from blogs to Facebook groups, to physical support group meetings.

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This week I looked at how I can come up with a topic that relates to my area that I can write an article for. This is all in preparation for the 3000-word article that I will begin writing next week. Articles need to be informative enough for the reader to be interested in learning or knowing what it is you are writing about. This also needs to be interesting, as I do not want the reader to lose interest once they start reading or be so disinteresting that they do not find the article’s title enough to grab their attention.

I believe these two article topics both have quite a lot of potential to develop into a successful 3000-word article.  Next week I will begin writing this and I am very excited to take one of them on.

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