Dr Frances Robertson

Job Title:

Lecturer, Forum for Critical Inquiry





Image: Rule & Compass
Dr. Frances Robertson

Image: Rule & Compass


Dr Frances Robertson

Frances Robertson is a lecturer in Design: History & Theory at The Glasgow School of Art. Her main academic research areas cover several aspects of drawing as practice and discourse and include: the history and significance of technical and mechanical styles of drawing in industrial cultures; nineteenth-century visual communication with relation to print technology and industrial methods of working and in relation to associated histories and philosophies of drawing and photography; interactions between artistic, practical and decorative modes of drawing in the training and self-fashioning of draughtsmen and designers; and the interaction between mark making, materiality, and meaning of drawing and print genres, as will be seen in the forthcoming Print culture: technologies of the printed page from steam press to eBook (Routledge December 2012). Her research and writing is cross-disciplinary, working between art and design theory and history, visual culture and histories of science and technology. She has carried out this research since graduating as a mature student from the Department of Drawing and Painting of Glasgow School of Art in 2000, while also teaching and (when time allowed) working and exhibiting as a visual artist, for example in a collaborative project with the poets Gerry Stewart and Nalini Paul. With Art for All funding (2004-6) the project ran workshops with young people and adults (at the Women’s Library, Glasgow and the Hidden Gardens, Glasgow), and developed independent creative work, with a published a volume of image/text works Composition/ Leaf Fall (Grimalkin Press 2005), exhibited at The Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, the Botanical Gardens, Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and the Mitchell Library, Glasgow (2006-7).

In her previous lives, Frances has worked as a theatre technician and designer, historical costume re-creator, community artist, assistant to a small island printer/publisher and sub-editor of scientific journals at Pergamon Press in the pre-Wapping heyday of print union political workplace agitation. Her long experience of costume and textile processes in particular give particular depth to her current conception of material culture and tacit knowledge that informs her current research and teaching—as well as helping to shape her sympathy with subjects that might otherwise appear to be everyday, ephemeral and overlooked.

Frances will welcome research supervision queries on many aspects of drawing practice, such as: drawing conventions, cognition and representation; drawing education and self-fashioning; visual culture and economies in the nineteenth and twentieth century with reference to print mediums; the work of designers, draughtsmen, graphic artists; artists who have developed drawing as a medium in its own right; and the material cultures of drawing.