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You are here: Home / Conferences / Barcelona 2014 / Workshops and meetings

Designing For Endangered Writing Systems

When Wed 17 Sep 0930
Where BAU workshops 2
Who Jamie Marie Kutner

It is estimated that one third of the world’s writing systems are endangered. As typographers, we have the opportunity to apply our skills to this facet of the field, preserving languages that are written with endangered alphabets, and supporting cultures that identify with those languages. Participants in this workshop will examine the formal qualities of Chakma, an indigenous language from south-eastern Bangladesh, which political and cultural influences have confined to limited use. Chakma has its own script, which bears a similarity to Burmese. Literacy in Chakma is low, although efforts are being made to increase fluency in the spoken and written forms of the language. Each participant will receive three hand-written samples by members of the Chakma community. Using varied calligraphic tools, designers will create the beginnings of a lettering hand in Chakma. We will start by searching for core forms and proportions within the writing samples. Beginning calligraphers will choose one sample as the basis of their investigations, while advanced participants may create a hybrid of the examples provided. Next, we will synthesize core strokes to draw characters in the Chakma alphabet. By the end of the workshop, participants will create a collection of harmonious characters and diacritics in the Chakma script. The results of this workshop may be shared with native writers for feedback on legibility. There may be opportunities for future collaboration as research progresses.

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