Image credits


A symposium over two days organised by Norwich University of the Arts that will explore the relationship between print and digital, and the coexistence of media in a wider sense; how they combine, and how they provide unique opportunities.

As the design industry embraces dramatic changes in technology, the Cowbird Symposium will look at graphic design as an output, a practice and a profession, exploring the relationships between print and screen-based communication. Guest speakers, all leading thinkers and practitioners themselves, will be invited to comment on the future of the distributed text – the book, magazine, newspaper and poster, as well as the challenge and opportunity afforded by new technologies, tablets, e-readers, smart phones, augmented reality, social media, digital displays, and new practices, crowdsourcing, coding, data sharing, and social reading.

How will the future objects and methods of graphic design and the industries it serves be reconfigured?



Thursday 07 and Friday 08 March 2013


Open, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4SF


Adrian Shaughnessy



Watch a film about the Cowbird design conference organised by the Graphics course at Norwich University of the Arts.

Guest Speakers

Additional speakers to be announced soon.

eMagazine cover

Hamish Muir

Outcast Editions

Hamish co-founded the design practice 8vo in 1985 and was co-editor of the international journal of typography ‘Octavo’. Since 2001 he has worked as an independent design consultant and taught at the London College of Communication. In 2010 together with Paul McNeil, he formed the project-based collaborative MuirMcNeil Design Systems. Hamish is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Tom Roope

The Rumpus Room

Tom is co-founder of Antirom, Tomato Interactive and The Rumpus Room, a company that works with agencies, broadcasters, charities and clients designing and building technology to create social entertainment across mobile, web and real world experiences. Tom recently received the title Royal Designer for Industry, awarded by the Royal Society of Arts.


Michael C. Place


Michael C Place spent 9 years with influential graphics studio The Designers Republic in Sheffield (tDR) producing some of the best known and seminal works of tDR. Michael features in the 2007 film ‘Helvetica – A Documentary Film’, has spoken at conferences worldwide, and has several times been a judge at the prestigious D&AD global awards. Michael is now the Creative Director at Build, London.

Vera-Maria Glahn


Vera founded FIELD in January 2009 creating expressive and dynamic artworks for digital platforms: audio-visual installations, experiences for web and mobile, and shareable digital artefacts. Vera has also co-designed and exhibited interactive installations, both as an independent artist and through commissioned works.

Craig Oldham

Design by Music

Craig Oldham is a designer, educator, writer, procrastinator, artist, publisher, film maker, philanthropist, intervenor, letter writer, theorist, website builder, lamenter, conspiracist, and Yorkshireman. By day he can be found at ideasbymusic.com, and by night at craigoldham.co.uk. He’s worked with a lot of people you will have heard of, and a lot of people you probably haven’t. He’s won some awards, written some articles, been in and written books, worked on TV shows, newspapers and been in and held exhibitions. He sits on committees, global awards juries, educational panels (as well as seats, sofas and chairs).

iPhones displaying app

Vivian Rosenthal


Vivian is the founder and CEO of Goldrun and Tronic Studio a digital media and experiential design company. She has been named one of Creativity Magazine’s top 50 global creatives of 2010 and has spoken at numerous conferences on the intersection of advertising and technology, including the recent CaT conference by Ad Age.

Matt Ward


Matt is the current programme Leader for BA Design at Goldsmiths. He is a practising designer, writer and founding member of DWFE; a post-disciplinary, semi-fictional design syndicate. DWFE’s work searches for meaning in the construction of the extraordinary; they design activities, objects and incidents to reconfigure peoples perceptions.

Augmented reality character

Denise Wilton


Before joining the team at Berg, Denise was Creative Director for the award winning start up moo.com, defining the brand through digital and physical products. Her previous roles have included creative director of special projects at Emap and working freelance for clients including Channel 4, BBC, Optimum Releasing, Nokia and Warp Films.

Frieze Art Fair identity

Andy Stevens

Graphic Thought Facility

Co-founder of Graphic Thought Facility Andy Stevens, graduated in graphic design from the Royal College of Art to form the agency with another graduate Paul Neale. GTF has combined cultural projects for Manchester Art Gallery, the Frieze Art Fair as well as the visual identity of the Design Museum with commissions from Habitat and the design of graphic-based products such as the MeBox storage system.

Creative Review logo


Read a blog post on Creative Review about Cowbird. CR’s editor Patrick is among a strong line-up of practitioners set to talk at the two-day event.

4 pages

Design exhibition

Graphics staff and students at Norwich University of the Arts have been invited to develop work in response to the theme of the symposium. Selected work will be on display at the event.

TO-ING is an artist’s book about how the topography of the self is shaped by the repeated practice of particular activities. This process is visualised through the naming of twenty-four acts of doing which trace a journey through one such topography. These acts of doing represent a personal accretion of history, of going back over many years to a childhood place and the life story that has been formed by choices made. Photographs of a tree which stands in the local park provide a parallel narrative, one of being done unto rather than the decisive and determined act of doing, of being rooted to a certain spot and impervious to the cares and delights of toing and froing. A short text takes the form of a parable about the tree and the man. They both develop incrementally but, for the man, to do is to become.

Rob Hillier has created the design, photographs and the font used throughout the book. TO-ING visits relationship between print and digital, the interface between photography and design, the spectacle of the ordinary, the inner worlds of everyday life and the basic urge to do things. www.robsfonts.com.

It's Nice That logo


Read a blog post on It’s Nice That by Andrew Campbell.

“Everything in today’s world is about connectivity. The questions posed by the symposium at NUA are not just relevant to the designer or creative endeavour, but to every individual. But it’s the search for connectivity, of a complimentary existence, and not the obliteration of one party or a definitive answer which makes Cowbird interesting and important.

It’s not the answer to the question, but the process by which you arrive that’s of utmost importance. And perhaps now more than ever we need this understanding. The Cowbird symposium makes a necessary step towards this, and it’s a pleasure to be involved in that.”

Craig Oldham
Design by Music

D&AD logo

In association with D&AD.

“I have a great deal of respect for NUA as a teaching institution through connections of both family and friends but also to celebrate the memory of Nic Hughes who first asked GTF about speaking at NUA.”

Andy Stevens
Graphic Thought Facility

Twitter bird logo


@NUAcowbird #Cowbird

“The boundaries between the physical and screen based manifestations of visual communication are converging as screen technology improves and evolves towards more portable forms. Is there an ‘object quality’ of screen based graphic design? Is there a ‘making’ for the screen. Does code replace ink? I wrestle with these questions in my work and look forward to discussing the issues and maybe getting some answers within the context of the Cowbird Symposium.”

Hamish Muir
Outcast Editions