Writing in the twenty–first century: practice, purpose, products.



From the dawn of the mechanical age to the advent of the computer, ways have been sought to improve, hasten and democratise the process of handwriting by incorporating the methods of script production into the mechanics of technology. From the introduction of steel pen nibs and the adoption of carbon paper through to the launch of the Apple Pencil, technology has been adapted to the production of writing with not only aesthetic but also economic, cultural and social consequences. This thesis will consider the evolving relationship between the traditional art of handwriting and prevailing technology in the twenty–first century. 


The aim of this thesis is to assess the role, relevance and relative importance of handwriting in the twenty–first century in order to ascertain whether handwriting remains a fundamental skill of whether it has simply be relegated to the level of curiosity. This will be achieved through:

  1. investigating the changing approaches to the teaching, learning and practice of writing;
  2. exploring the evolving purpose and application of handwriting in both the public and private domain;
  3. documenting the development and production of writing devices, both analogue and digital;
  4. assessing contemporary writing devices against three criteria: purpose, need and practice.

Members involved in this research

Vincent Connare

Research Projects