illustrating politics: beyond the clichés john parkinson, associate professor of public policy

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ILLUSTRATING POLITICS: Beyond the clichés John Parkinson, Associate Professor of Public Policy

Post on 19-Dec-2015




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  • ILLUSTRATING POLITICS: Beyond the clichs John Parkinson, Associate Professor of Public Policy
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  • The situation Politics textbooks, websites, lecture slides, brochures and banners all with the same visual material
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  • ... showing a limited idea of politics Legislatures Guns Globes
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  • But politics is more than that Power and influence Institutions, networks, governance, governmentality Ideas, norms, values, beliefs Macro political- economic structures and discourses We undermine this broad conception by the limited visual cues we send
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  • Problem: How do we illustrate ideas like: governance discourse power without resorting to clichs or dull, lifeless images?
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  • Painting Pros Artists often already thinking in conceptual terms Some good digital libraries online (eg, the Tate) Cons Need to pay for the rights and prices vary enormously
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  • Deliberation The Discussion (1959-60) by Renato Guttuso DACS 2006; photo Tate London 2005.
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  • Public space Hard to get it just right Only one person here Illustrates space... ...but not public so well Alcaiz (1961) by Tristram Hillier Estate of Tristram Hillier 2010; photo Tate London 2010.
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  • Tips for using paintings Go modern classical portraits and landscapes dont stand out less likely to get budget approved Go for obscure artists rather than household names more affordable! Secure worldwide, all-format rights costs a little more, but worth it
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  • Photography Pros Commission shots to get exactly what you want Lots of downloadable sources some with free licenses eg, Creative Commons (Wikimedia); Flickr Cons Free shots variable quality not well-composed not well-lit or well-exposed poor resolution not attempting to illustrate a concept Professional work can be expensive (eg, Getty Images)
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  • Control Surveillance cameras, Singapore. Photo by Isderion, licensed by Creative Commons 3.0 Barricades at Union Square, San Francisco BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons
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  • Sharing space Ricoloop at the Bern Street Music Festival 2007. Photo Philipp Zinniker, licensed by Creative Commons. Mission district, San Francisco. Photo Jack Simon, by permission.
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  • Photography tips It is not just about recording an event, it is illustrating an idea Avoid grip and grin Pay a photographer who understands lighting, composition, focus (!), etc Give a sense of place, not just talking heads US Department of the Army award ceremony. Photo public domain.
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  • Other approaches Cartoons Abstract graphics Textual design Graphs Graph of the destruction of Napoleons Grande Arme
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  • It takes time What slows you down Permissions - essential and often overlooked... but in my experience, very often granted Online archive searching pictures rarely categorized according to our categories But it is worth it more effective communication of what we do better sales!
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  • Further reading Edward Tufte Beautiful Evidence (2006) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2001) Envisioning Information (1991)