Still Curious S1E6 - Peter Gilderdale
Peter Gilderdale

I got out of the university sector because it is such a constraining thing the disciplinary apparatus just shuts down free thinking and innovation in my experience. And then the, dreaded learning outcomes thing came in and you have to figure out what it is that you want students to get at the end of it, so you can measure it. And that is not my experience of learning.

My experience of learning comes from getting people excited about things. and then Waving goodbye as they go sailing off into whatever it is they're interested in and good art and design education has always gone down those tracks

Danu Poyner

You're listening to the Still Curious podcast with me, Danu Poyner. My guest today is Peter Gilderdale, who is a writer, calligrapher, and recently retired lecturer in design history at Auckland University of Technology. I first met Peter when we were both working at AUT and he was serving as head of research for the art and design school.

In this episode, we discuss what good education looks like in design, what universities do well, but also how they can shut down free thinking and innovation and why they may be writing themselves out of being relevant. We explore how assessment gets in the way of learning the difference between pursuing excellence for yourself versus being part of a place that exudes excellence and how to keep the university system happy without losing it.

Peter talks about what's involved in being a professional calligrapher. What's driving a recent resurgence in interest in calligraphy among young people and why it is that so many good calligraphers also turn out to be so good at playing golf. We hear about engaging with the past as a way of finding other people and how doing a PhD about Edwardian postcards helped Peter to connect with his family's history as immigrants.

And we also learn how a timetabling clash led Peter to discover one of the world's oldest signed works of art while working on an archeological dig in Egypt. Finally, we discuss what it's like to be an insider outsider in the art community and why one of the top results when you Google Peter's name is an article about why he can get stuffed.

This episode is slightly longer than some of the others. And while Peter's dog eventually loses patience with the discussion, I hope you will find it enjoyable and interesting throughout its many tangents. It's Peter, Gilderdale coming up right after the music break on today's episode of the Still Curious podcast.

Hi, Peter. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. How are you?

Peter Gilderdale

I'm good. Thanks.

Danu Poyner

Oh, that's good to hear. Lots to talk about. I'll jump straight in if that's okay. Yep. So you describe yourself as a specialist in typography and design history with an interest in user experience design and until recently you were lecturing in communication design.

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