write on! handwriting as memory

In this thesis, I examine the handwritten letters from my past as a lens to understand the role of handwriting as a technology in the present moment. My motivation is spurred by my own personal archive of handwritten ephemera. The handwritten, signatures for example, have not been totally replaced by digital methods of verification. Our handwriting is tied to our identities in both positive (self-expression) and negative ways (shame and punishment).

Handwriting connects us to the touch world. In graphic design, I examine the use of handwritten digital fonts as well as handwriting in DIY publications.

My methods are based in both autoethnography and research. This thesis posits that there continues to be a place for the handwritten. Digital technologies to reduce bureaucracy will replace burdensome paperwork. This will be a relief. However, our fascination with what is handwritten, seeing the hand of the maker, binds us in a common humanity.

My wish is that this thesis is of interest to you and how you define your relationship with your own handwritten artifacts and personal archives. Perhaps you are in custodial care of such ephemera.

Sarah Patterson

Thesis advisor:
Yoon Soo Lee

This work is about handwriting as memory, self-expression and connection. How handwriting has been wielded as a tool of punishment and shaming as well as joy and giving voice. The making took the form of a daily writing and drawing practice.

Write to me:
235 Wagner Road
Jersey Shore, PA
17740 USA