The India Report: Ahmedabad

Andrew Kulman in Ahmedabad

Andrew Kulman in Ahmedabad


Ahmedabad is one of those cities that speaks a thousand languages, its what you want from it and what you make of it. On my first visit I found that everything I had imagined of the place was true yet it could not be summed up in cliched misunderstandings of the culture. Everywhere `I turned was a beautiful photograph yet to be realised. ‘Stop the car i want to take a photo of that!’ you hear yourself thinking if not exactly saying, the textures of the seats of the rickshaws that defy the logic of normal assume there are rules to driving but these are simply never followed. The walls are peeling to reveal history upon history, theres a patina of dirt and dust covering most surfaces yet street cleaners attempt to sweep the detritus from our sight only for a further wave to emerge to cover up their footprints. My Swiss friend Pierre suggests we need to reconfigure our whole notion of order and rules and understand that India is not ever going to be the same.

Andrew Kulman in the Market at the Old Town

Andrew Kulman in the Market at the Old Town


6 Reasons to Study Visual Communication

Vis Comm student

Vis Comm Student

Six reasons we would recommend Visual Communication as the ideal course to study;


1. Visual Communication offers the widest choice of specialist subjects under one collective course; Film and Animation, Graphic Communication, Illustration and Photography.

2. The current undergraduate course team is made up of specialist tutors and visiting professionals from Industry, meaning students are exposed to both well established pedagogic practice and industry up to date knowledge.

3. Every year students from all four specialist subjects are presented with Industry sponsored awards. Past sponsors include Trevor Beattie, Dave McKean and Vaughan Oliver.

4. The resources are first class and the Visual Communication course is now situated in a state of the art building. Within this new space are excellent Printmaking studios, Photographic darkrooms and spacious communal studios.

5. Students are well equipped and prepared for entering the ‘market place’. There are modules that are specially designed to allow breadth of knowledge and experience.

6. Visual Communication promotes inter-disciplinary practice, this means students are encouraged to work across the specialist areas so photographers collaborate with Graphic Designers, Illustrators with animators. Its the way forward and its already happening on the course.


There are many destinations for graduating students, Publishing, Design groups, Photographic studios and Web Companies to name just a few areas of employment.

The Fine Art of Conversation 2

In an ongoing discussion I am looking at how conversation has become an intrinsic part of our teaching strategy in the School of Visual Communication at BCU. Every year we get a growing number of overseas students arriving from an increasing range of countries, China, India, Korea, Japan, Thailand to name just some from the Far East. These alongside European nations and those from North and South America make up a considerable part of our annual student cohort.

With this in mind its important to understand the benefits of clear communication and ways in which we can all deal with complex pedagogic debate. Staff in the School of Viscom have become particularly adept at recognising the benefits of clear visual language as a means to express ideas and thought processes. The development and use of the RVJ, the reflective visual journal has become an indispensable tool to follow and record ideas, often leading to fruitful and engaging conversation. The difficulties of communication can hinder academic development and whilst there are support services available, staff in Viscom have discovered that visual aides such as the RVJ have led to a faster and more ideally suited approach.

Learning and teaching ideas are developing all the time in the School and staff are actively engaged in more and more direct ways of dealing with visual teaching, The fine art of conversation continues unabated as we extend our means and methods to deal with language barriers.

Andrew Kulman looking at an RVJ

Andrew Kulman looking at an RVJ

The Fine Art of Conversation

The first print I ever saw that I really thought was extra special was ‘The Fine Art of Conversation’ by Paolo di Paolo, it was on the wall of Floor 7 H Block, Leeds Polytechnic. This was back in 1982, it made me think how much conversation I’ve had as a result of this wonderful medium.

Now. when I produce work and demonstrate techniques with students I value the engagement of discourse and fruitful conversation. In many ways this can be when the best communication of ideas takes place..’how did you do that?’…’why does this happen?’..

Education is a conversation, we give knowledge through talking, we explain, we critique and we counsel…this is where we need to appreciate the nuances of language. Its part of what my tutor on the PGCE course refers to as Teaching with Emotional Inteligence.

Andrew Kulman's Studio Workshop

Andrew Kulman’s Studio Workshop

The Double Crown Club


Recently I was invited by the renowned illustrator, Christopher Brown to attend the Double Crown Club supper at the Savile Club in London’s Mayfair. This is a long established dining club, founded in the 1920’s, it has provided a meeting opportunity for Designers, Typographers and illustrators to meet and discuss their subjects.. The gathering usually starts with a reception in the Ballroom of the club, a three course meal is followed by a lecture/talk with the opportunity for questions afterwards.

This was an enlightening evening as the guest speaker was Robert Dalrymple, who is currently based in Edinburgh and was known to me prior to his talk as the designer of the book Ravilious and Wedgwood. It charted his journey from working at the Westerham Press to his current projects and pretty much referenced many of the significant artists and designers associated with the DCC during the last Century.

Members I met during the evening included, David Fickling, Brain Webb, Simon Rendal, John Lawrence and several ‘living legends’. David Gentleman and Shirley Hughes.

What did i take away from the evening, well it allowed me a chance to listen to some stimulating conversation, to participate in an informative and well presented talk and to be part of design and typographic history. The menu was a rest and a nice collectible item, there were a few to collect and pass on. DCC menus are highly collectible.

Thanks go to Chris, Brian and the Dinner Secretary, Clive Richards. The evening was chaired by Alan Powers. It remains to be seen if I get asked to attend another dinner but this was certainly a special occasion.

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Review of Visible Signs, David Crow

The third book in my ‘Back to College’ reviews is the Level 5 Illustration core reader, Visible Signs by David Crow. This is the second edition and builds nicely onto the Level 4 core reader ‘Illustration’ by Andrew Hall. 

When choosing a suitable book for second year Visual Communication students we became aware that we needed a book whose material would take readers to a new area of consideration. Visible Signs really starts to ask questions about how we read images and what they represent to other people. Here is whats been said of the new edition

‘Concepts such as signs and signifiers, and language and speech are all explored within the framework of graphic design and fine art. The 2nd Edition features new and revised content from the author, and includes 200 visuals created to illustrate the ideas discussed within the book.Visible Signs tackles this problem by explaining semiotic terms and theories in relation to visual communication, with illustrative examples taken from contemporary art and design.’

I think you’ll find this book an invaluable addition to your library and its certainly stood the test of time because much of the content is relevant in day to day practice.

Review by Andrew Kulman

Visible Signs by David Crow

Visible Signs by David Crow

Workshop Opportunity : NID India

Recently I’ve been asked to come up with ideas for a workshop proposal for the International Open Electives at NID in India. 

I’m looking at running a workshop/s based on Narrative and Sequence and considering the idea of a wordless book or comic strip. This would have universal appeal and could be seen as a challenge in getting people to think in completely visual terms. Here’s an outline brief

Overview of the workshop

The workshop aims to deliver a series of achievable outcomes. Participants will consider the opportunities and limitations of the wordless narrative, they will be enabled to use their drawn imagery to express emotion and drama without the need of explanatory text. The workshop will be open to new ideas and there will be a chance to explain and test out innovative approaches to the tasks given.

These workshops are meant for interested groups of people who are keen to learn ways of developing their visual story telling skills; they may or may not come with a formal background in creative arts, but still look forward to engage themselves with hands-on, skill-based creative activities. Besides providing a platform for participants to gain hands-on experience, the aim is also to enhance the participants’ familiarity with the universal language of sequential art. All practice will be complimented by theoretical lectures and discussion.

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