Engaging in conversations with plot holders at an allotment in Tonbridge, Kent – situated experiences of place are explored as we reflect upon plots, produce, and the pandemic. Through observation, making and exchange, I research the customs, actions and rhythms within and around the site, addressing how the processes of working, growing and community are practiced and performed since the advent of Covid-19. As I dig, plant, embed and grow drawings – the contingent local material and organisational language of the allotment is embraced for its potential to reconsider methods of dialogic communication.
Kam Rehal is a PhD Candidate in the RCA School of Communication and Programme Leader for Graphic and Digital Design at the School of Design, University of Greenwich. His research interrogates emerging perspectives of place – encountered within the current social and political context – and questions the role and responsibility of the subjective researcher within local communities. Through his research-practice, Kam explores design, writing and making, situated within the theoretical and material contexts of conversation, environment, participation and performance.
In 2019, he designed, co-edited and contributed works to the flash fiction collection ‘Story Cities: A City Guide for the Imagination’ – engaging the physical printed book to facilitate reading as a narrative spatial practice.
Since 2018, as part of an EU (£4m) research project funded by Interreg Europe, Kam has been working with colleagues at the University of Greenwich, leading on the development of a co-design research methodology to engage Academic and Social Partners across North West Europe – the Ruhr area, Greater London, Flemish Triangle, European Metropolis of Lille, and Tilburg. The ‘Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurial Skills’ project aims to produce a common (EYES) approach, communications and digital tool that can be implemented across regions to support Coaches, Volunteers and Young People in addressing educational, employment, training and entrepreneurial needs.
Prior to his academic appointment he led the graphic design team at the Natural History Museum and was senior designer at Imperial War Museums. Kam’s professional design experience covers environmental graphic design for museums, galleries and physical spaces, book and editorial design for publishing, art direction and design management, and frequent collaborations with other artists, writers, researchers and makers.