This is the second post in a series of short interviews with renowned writers about the field of Writing & Commentary, a new category in the Core77 Design Awards. Peter Hall is a design writer, author and senior lecturer at Griffith University Queensland College of Art who has been a contributing writer for Metropolis since 2000 and has written widely about design for publications including Print, I.D., The New York Times and The Guardian.
Core77: How important or valuable is it to honor design writing and criticism with an awards program?
Peter Hall: It's a good way to try to stimulate discussion and better writing, though I do think more needs to be done to raise the standard and stakes of design writing and criticism. More design criticism, theory, history or design studies programs at universities and art colleges, and a representation at high schools would help. Awards can sometimes seem a little self-aggrandizing, but if they're part of a larger educational stimulus package, they're great.
Which qualities do you most appreciate in writing about design and architecture and what kinds of writing do you hope will surface from this call for entries?
I appreciate thorough research and reporting that reveals legwork as opposed to armchair criticism. I'd like to see a lot surface from this call for entries, particularly evidence that people are moving beyond the burden of influence from art history and art criticism. I think it's increasingly problematic when people write about design like it's a fixed, finished artifact, or in terms of style movements, rather than taking its entire lifespan into account—who made it and why, how did it come into being, where is it going, etc, the whole production-consumption-disposal lifespan. Also I'd like to see us shake off the feeling that design writing exists to constantly promote professional design practice.
Name two writers, perhaps one historical and one contemporary, that you are influenced or challenged by.
Charles Dickens and Bruno Latour.
Tell us about a publication that features writing about visual culture, design, or architecture, that you're enjoying reading right now.
Visit the Writing & Commentary on the C77DA site to learn more about the category and jury. Entries for the Core77 Design Awards close April 10. Core77 recognizes that many design writers work freelance and if you feel you qualify for special consideration pricing for your entry, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.