Interrelated Histories, Practices, and Forms of Communication: Using Arabic Calligraphy to Learn Arabic Typography
Description: In this self-study inquiry, I studied my graphic design practice in a professional setting, focusing on my Arabic typographic skills and knowledge. My roles as researcher and design educator indivisibly intertwined throughout this research. I worked to understand the value of calligraphy in art and design education, highlighting its power as an art form while also emphasizing its pedagogical potentials. I utilized two theoretical approaches suited to investigating and understanding the Arabic letters as text and image, Ibn Arabi’s science of letters, or 'ilm al-hurûf, and semiotics. I applied my theoretical framework to three distinctive artworks to investigate their uses of the Arabic letters, contemplating their roles in modern and contemporary Arab art. Essential to my research was learning Arabic calligraphy through two approaches: 1) I attended a calligraphy workshop, and 2) I conducted three self-study experimentations. I analyzed my experience through visual representations, commentary, and narrative inquiry to assess Arabic calligraphy’s significance for graphic design education. As such, my experimentations confirmed Arabic calligraphy’s aesthetic and educational value. I employed my findings to create a contemporary Arabic typography curriculum suitable for university-level students. This curriculum is built on learning theories such as visual culture analysis, semiotics, constructivist theory, play principles, and critical thinking, aiming to situate Arabic calligraphy as a modern learning model significant for typography education. Finally, I constructed a basic course for Arabic typography to support students’ development of Arabic typography fluency.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Al-Ansari, Banan Ahmed
Partner: UNT Libraries