The Atlantic Sans Condensed font recreated by Matt Holmes, you can see the individual letter on blocks that will be used for printing

Our Journal

Knowledge Exchange funding at Arts University Plymouth

Expert staff from across Arts University Plymouth are engaged in a wide range of activities in collaboration and partnership with people and organisations outside of academia, working to share skills and knowledge in a way that benefits society and the economy.

At the end of 2021, Arts University Plymouth received £200,000 funding from Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Funding for Small Providers. Staff members were invited to create proposals for projects that share our expertise and engage with people outside academia to develop mutually beneficial collaborative partnerships that provide innovative solutions to real-world challenges. The aim of this work is to share Arts University Plymouth’s knowledge, including research, expertise and physical assets with non-academic communities.

Matt Holmes and Alan Qualtrough stand in front of The Truth Wall.  Behind them you can see posters printed with slogans for change

Matt Holmes (right) and Alan Qualtrough stand in front of The Truth Wall

The first four successful partnerships that have been created as part of this funding are underway, comprising activities that include; minimising the impact that waste dyes from the textiles industry will have on the environment; exposing hidden stories of marginalised cultures and movements within historical archives; using digital methods to revive historical print fonts; and using visual methods to support local communities and organisations to articulate their ideas and messaging.

This Knowledge Exchange work is the latest strand of Arts University Plymouth’s work in a range of externally facing initiatives. Other recent partnership projects include Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs, Green Minds, iMayflower (including Smart Citizens and the IGNITE Festival of Creativity), and British Art Show 9.

This new stream of Knowledge Exchange funding is only a small part of larger plans that sees Arts University Plymouth sharing its expertise and knowledge. Over the next few weeks, we will share more information about our other Knowledge Exchange Projects from the 2021-2022 funds and we are pleased that we have received a further £193,000 for activity in 2022-23 Academic Year. Across these, we will be working with a diverse range of external partners to create sustainable, mutually beneficial, societal and economic gains.

Read on to find out more about the first four staff Knowledge Exchange projects:

Lecturer and MA module leader, Charlotte Warren is partnering with pioneering clothing manufacturer Finisterre to initiate ‘dye mapping’ within their supply chain. The textile dyeing industry contributes to approximately 20% of global water pollution and overall the production of textiles is second to the oil industry for pollution. Finisterre is keen to assess how efficient and responsible their dyeing system currently is.

Charlotte seeks to arm Finisterre with the knowledge to enable them to make better informed decisions in relation to textile dyes, ultimately leading to more sustainable and conscientious dyeing decision making.

Matt Holmes is seen delivering his talk to a group of people.  He is talking in front of a large screen where you can see some examples of the font he has revived

Matt Holmes delivering a talk at the Print in Action festival at Ocean Studios

Fab Lab Plymouth’s Technical Demonstrator Matt Holmes has used digitally fabrication techniques to rebuild a version of Atlantic Sans Condensed with Kiss & Bite Press. The original typeface is thought to originate from the 1930's, produced by Delittle Wood Type of York.

Members of the public were invited to use the typeface to produce posters for a Truth Wall installation, giving the local community a voice to protest. The Truth Wall references successful historical campaigns which gave voice to marginalised people, such as the “I AM A MAN” campaign of the American Civil Rights movement and the Atelier Populaire movement in Paris. During October's ‘Print in Action’ festival at Ocean Studios, Matt also gave a presentation about resurrecting the font.

An excerpt from the toolkit designed by Mel Brown and Sam Rowe. A large colourful graphic featuring figures asks "What Are You Looking At?"

An image from the toolkit from designed by Mel Brown and Sam Rowe

Assistant Dean Mel Brown and Senior Lecturer & Course Leader Sam Rowe are establishing an online resource designed to develop people's visualisation skills. The project explores how an illustrator's approach to the relationship between text and image can support and benefit professions outside of the creative industries.

They have teamed up with Diversity Business Incubator to devise resources that help users visually communicate ideas across a range of contexts, from posters through to social media campaigns. Working alongside students Charlotte Leadley and Julia Tokarska, they will create a newspaper which functions as a guide for online workshop content that users can access independently.

The colourful graphic cover of Mel Brown and Sam Rowe's "Shaping Thinking" guide

The colourful graphic cover of Mel Brown and Sam Rowe's "Shaping Thinking" guide

Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader for Postgraduate Studies Dr Steven Paige, is developing a network of key regional cultural institutions and local community organisations to address experiences of the archive from multiple social and cultural perspectives. This project focuses on what needs to be reconsidered to reveal social, diverse, authentic and sometimes problematic narratives, and how this can be creatively manifested.

Steven’s activity will draw on archive resources from local museum and heritage partners. He will devise three workshops using the themes of Communities, Activism, and Artists to expose hidden stories from LGBTQ+, marginal cultures, social movements, narrative and legacy.