Title: Movements and Migrancies Graduate Conference

Client: University of Toronto English Department
Date: January 2016—ongoing
Tools: CSS3, Squarespace, Illustrator CC, graphite
Format: Website and Poster
Audience: Academics and English students  


INTRODUCTION:
The Graduate English Association at the University of Toronto’s English Department holds an annual academic conference. They approached me to create a poster and website that would represent their chosen theme for the year: movements and migrancies.  

PROBLEM:
During my own academic experiences, I’ve found that many conference websites are quite hard to navigate. For a conference dedicated in part to movement, I wanted to ensure that the movement through the site was seamless. Also, as the conference is interdisciplinary in nature, I wanted to make sure to draw inspiration not only from the literary world. 

RESEARCH:
I was given the committee’s Call for Papers (CFP) as a basis from which to develop a series of visual representations. One of the CFP’s epigraphs, a quotation from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, mentions “lines of flght”; I was drawn immediately to the possibility of representing migrations through the non-human, animal world. In particular, I learned that the European starling’s existence in North America is tied to a Shakespeare enthusiast who wanted to transplant across the ocean all the animals that appear in Shakespeare’s plays. The bird struck me as a link to a literary past, as well as a contemporary entrance into discussions of immigration, refugeeism, migrancy, and invasion. 

SOLUTION/RESULTS:
The starling under dissection forms the basis of the poster, and the starling itself has become the thread that draws through a connection between the poster and the website. Whereas the poster represents the individual starling, the website tries to visualize the movement patterns of starlings in large groups, a movement known as a murmuration. As a movement in tandem, the murmuration resonates with the website as a digital space, open to multiple points of access.