studio catherine griffiths


Locating our feet

by Catherine Griffiths


In the 1980s, Shed 11 was re-envisioned as an art gallery, an outreach space of the National Art Gallery, thanks to then-director, Luit Bieringa. I recall the newly restored shed’s sizeable timber doors, painted a striking mid-tone blue, and streaked with two enormous vertical brush strokes of white paint to form the number ‘11’.

This lofty abstraction insinuated innovation and ripeness, a comment on the art vision for the shed itself, and perhaps Wellington, and even New Zealand. The shed became associated with art of consequence. Of course, this idea, along with its typography of substance, went the way of many a good idea. But this part of the shed’s collective memory sits well with TypeSHED11.

TypeSHED11 aims to raise the stakes of typography’s role in New Zealand – socially, politically and culturally. With typography the thread, TypeSHED11 will provide an international and uncompromising framework for content and meaning, leaving ground for practitioners, students, academics and theorists to clutch a rare opportunity, both formally and otherwise, to tease out ideas and critical thought, to participate in rigorous debate and dialogue.

A remarkable group of some of the key figures in world design and typography will be here, along with new and future names. They will intermingle with New Zealanders and those at TypeSHED11 from around the globe, where, beyond the formal presentations, serendipity and the unexpected will play a part in reinforcing a foundation for New Zealand to participate in the global typography debates.

TypeSHED11 is a one-of-a-kind moment for New Zealand to be exposed to fine and informed minds on the subject of typography and its place. It is typography – letterforms, their combination and sequences – that carries the weight of written meaning into our lives. Considered typography must fill that space between content and its audience.

As New Zealand endeavours to locate its typographic feet, TypeSHED11 will be a concoction of clued-up commentary to fire up a sense of purpose and expression.

Catherine Griffiths / 2009


Catherine Griffiths organised, together with Simone Wolf of Typevents Italy, TypeSHED11, an international typography symposium held in New Zealand.


Photograph: Guy Robinson, 1986

04 writing & critique


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Threaded, NZ, Oct 2008

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ProDesign, NZ, Apr 2007

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Print, New York, Sep-Oct 2006

Writing by Types
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Artichoke, Australia, Apr 2003

For the record

by Catherine Griffiths

Introduction to For the record, the programme for TypeSHED11, 2009

related links

Wellington Writers Walk


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