And now for something different – Poster competitions

Posted: May 25, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The academic poster is one of the different ways you can share information about your subject. For the humanities, a least, this format forces you to really think about how you might convey your topic in a visually arresting way.  The science subjects have had ownership of this part of the academic landscape but things are changing.

The Humanities Resource Centre at the University of York, where I am based, run a competition every year for PhD students to submit a poster which: –

  • Offers a clear ‘taster encounter’ with your research project for a non-specialist audience
  • Has a quickly appreciable dramatic visual impact

I thought, as my research looks at Anglo-American films and anime which have a distinct visual style, this might be a fun way to rethink my research.

I knew from the start that I wanted to design a poster which would emulate, in some way, a movie poster – bit of a no brainer there. I also want to use text in an interesting way. Initially wanted to use a word cloud to present key words from my research, perhaps to replace the face of an iconic figure such as Rick Deckard (Blade Runner.)

posthuman word cloud

Word cloud of key terms related to my PhD

In the end I borrowed the style of text from The Matrix; vertical acid green trails of the film titles in the posthuman noir corpus fill the background of the image. Meanwhile for the main titles I chose a font which would emulate those used on Blade Runner posters in the colour red, which stood out against the dark background and symbolized the violence of the genre.

I also wanted to use images from both Anglo-American film and Japanese anime. I toyed with using one to be a shadow of the other – which didn’t work quite as well as I wanted – but settled on using the two figures as mirror images of each other. For the figures I picked Rick Deckard as the main image and his mirror/shadow would be formed by a robot from Ghost in the Shell.

To match the moody, dark tone of posthuman noir I had to keep my own poster fairly dark – in hindsight I feel was a mistake as it only really reads well when A2 sized or larger.

I’ll let you judge for yourselves whether this image works as a window into my research…

PhD Poster two

My PhD poster


I entered the poster, not thinking it would do well but happy that I had been able to view my research differently. A month or so passed and I found out it had come joint third. Not too bad for my first attempt at an academic poster. If you want to see the poster that won, and other entrants you can here.



  1. shoshin says:

    Enjoyed your presentation and ideas.

  2. shoshin says:

    We met briefly, Bowler Hat. I was thinking about (and thanks for your contribution, I wanted to ask yesterday) Kitsune, and had wondered if mythology plays a part for the machines in your post human world, and if so, was it a human story they were ‘running’. I’d be interested in supporting you in realising your visual idea. I illustrate and have a knowledge of Japanese culture (kana) through Durkheim and Zen, and a fascination with Tengu. I am a second year ba fine art student at Leeds Beckett.

    • Max Gee says:

      Hi Paul,

      I’m glad that you enjoyed my talk. At the moment the more supernatural/mythological elements are not present in the idea I was talking about, although there might be a sense of the non-human animal in the way the robots are constructed for functionality. I’d be happy to talk to you at more length about this and your interesting in helping me visualise the idea. If you’d like to email me some examples of your work to perhaps we can see if this is a project you’d like to be involved with.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s