Be spoken to: a highly disciplined cross-disciplinary project

Ms. Caren Florance (University of Canberra)
2016 Conference

My practice inhabits the Venn overlaps of art, design and craft, using traditional and contemporary technologies to tease out connections between art practice and writing practice. My research project involves active collaboration with four poets to make works on paper (and sometimes off paper). Each poet has their own distinct methodology which I endeavour to engage with in a bespoke manner as both artist and designer. I teach book arts and graphic design both materially and theoretically across two institutions; I have found that my work with poets and their interaction with my material processes enriches and enhances my teaching methods.

This paper presents a case study of one of the collaborative projects. I worked together with poet Melinda Smith on a site-specific residency project in 2014 within the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House, Canberra. We wanted to test how our respective working methods could combine, and aimed to engage a broad spectrum audience with a poetic situation. That project is now moving/growing into/through two other publishing artifacts: a chapbook (for a poetry audience) and an artists’ book (for a visual arts audience). Some of the techniques that we explored together within the project’s development may provide new affordances for visual art, design and writing education and practice.

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About the author


Caren Florance is a research student and sessional design tutor in the Faculty of Arts & Design at the University of Canberra, Australia. She often works under the imprint Ampersand Duck, and is an artist whose work focuses on the book and the printed word, using traditional letterpress and bookbinding processes along with more contemporary technologies. She also teaches at the ANU School of Art and is collected by national and international institutions, mostly libraries.