Home / Announcing: ATypI Working Seminars

Announcing: ATypI Working Seminars

Gerry Leonidas

Participant of ATypI Working Seminars holding Bayer’s Universal Alphabet

Learning is at the heart of ATypI’s mission. We provide a space for research, practice, formal education, and life-long learning to come together and support our rapidly evolving field. Our annual conferences always involve local design schools, we have a large community of Country Delegates, and we endorse many events that promote the exchange of ideas among professionals, educators, and students.

In order to extend ATypI’s engagement with global audiences, we have decided to start a new series of annual Working Seminars, in addition to our main conference. We aim for each Working Seminar to focus on a topic that relates to education and its interfacing with professional, technological, and business aspects. This will underline the engagement of educators with other agents in the wider visual communication sphere, and develop opportunities for collaboration and growth.

The location and timing of Working Seminars will provide counterpoints to the main conference, and allow ATypI to have a stronger presence in regions that the main conference is not scheduled to visit, or has visited already. The Working Seminars will also enable the Association to develop its engagement with local communities of educators and professionals, as well as support a more decentralised efforts by Country Delegates and members.

This is not a new initiative: in the 1970s and 1980s, when computers began to take over the typesetting world and typefaces migrated to optical and eventually digital formats, ATypI was at the centre of discussions about the impact of the new technologies on design. In addition to (and separately from) the annual conferences, ATypI hosted eight Working Seminars, in Basle (1974), Reading (1976), The Hague (1978), Mainz (1981), Stanford (1983), Hamburg (1985), Gdansk (1988), and Budapest (1992). These events were modest in scale, and structured so that attendees could engage and interact. They also left records behind, like the well-known Visible Language special issue of 1985, which drew on papers from the 1983 Stanford Working Seminar (which Ferdinand Ulrich recently wrote about in “From punch cutters to number crunchers”, in Eye 94).

We envisage a single-track, two-day event, with a cap on the number of participants, and a priority on seminars and workshops, rather than more formal lectures. There will be three objectives to the events:
• community building: to promote interaction and active learning for all participants;
• wider impact: to produce an online record of the proceedings that can be useful for other educators, professionals, and researchers; and
• leanness: to make the event happen with the absolute minimum of expenditure, drawing on coordinated work by participants, local support, volunteers, and sponsorship so that we can maximise flexibility on where we hold the events.

We will expect every Working Seminar participant to contribute some knowledge, experience, or reflection. In return, we aim to provide a stimulating environment for transformative learning and community building.


Since the announcement above there have been three Working Seminars. Please click the titles below for a page devoted to each, containing a review and videos of the talks.

Working Seminar Colombo 2019

22–23 March 2019, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Working Seminar Puebla 2019

17–18 May 2019, Puebla, Mexico

Working Seminar Amiens 2020

6–7 February 2020, Amiens, France