The Annotated Sketchbook; Historical and Modern Insights

In 2013 I submitted a research proposal for the Wisconsin “Posters on the Hill” session. Although it was not accepted, this project is a representation of my passion for research, my drive to expand my knowledge of the world, and my interest in how interior design can be used to achieve humanitarian goals.

2013 Posters on the Hill – Proposal by Carolyn Matthews

Research poster presentation: Arts & Humanities
Disciplinary Significance: Interior Architecture

Proposal Title: “Annotated Sketchbooks; Historical and Modern Perspectives”


The annotated sketchbook has been a fascination of many over hundreds of years. Even now, illustrated journals continue to be presented by renowned research organizations. The value of this type of work is underestimated by today’s design profession, often appearing only in the sidelines. Through research and education I hope to change that perception.

The creation of these accounts has historical use, but it also has a profound effect on the individual. This poster presentation will cover my research starting with the question – how extensively does sketching influence our sense of place, and what is the depth of its value for understanding the experiences created by the places we design. This research is important because American culture is steadily becoming one experienced only through the screen of a television or the lens of a camera. Sketching shifts the focus; forcing us outside the frame to confront movement and atmosphere, while allowing us to become an active part of the natural and built environment, instead of remaining a passive observer. The manifesto of sketchers is closely entwined with the idea of savoring senses that has become a talking point in relation to the Slow Food movement.

This poster will demonstrate critical components of sketching a place using a case study of my experience creating a travel journal while studying in New Zealand, and will analyze those journal components in relation to their practical design use as well as their aid in understanding/creating a sense of place in the built environment.

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