Fewer people are writing by hand, but does it matter? With cognitive neuroscientist Karin James, author Mohsin Hamid and calligrapher Paul Antonio.
Can keyboards and touch screens harm our development and creative wellbeing. There is new research to suggest it might. To discuss handwriting, cognitive neuroscientist Karin James, award winning author Mohsin Hamid, and professional calligrapher Paul Antonio.
(Photo: Written illustration by Paul Antonio)
Professor Karin James
Why handwriting is good for brain development
Why handwriting can insulate us against becoming too machine-like
60 Second Idea
Why ‘magic paper’ might help us reclaim creative privacy
Why calligraphy is deeply meditative
Dr. Karin James is Associate Professor at the Cognition and Action Neuroimaging Lab at Indiana Bloomington University in the United States. Dr. James' overall research centres around the idea that learning about objects in the world is shaped and changed by the way humans interact with the world through their bodies. At present, she is especially interested in whether the use or non-use of handwriting in pre-reading children might affect their later reading development.
Mohsin Hamid is a Pakistani author best known for his novels Moth Smoke (2000) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). Mohsin is interested in how connective technology, whilst liberating in many ways, can also lead us to become machine like and place our thoughts in a space that is far from private. He believes that writing by hand is not only useful in terms of privacy and solitude, but may actually help him write, if not better books, in a very different way.
Paul Antonio is a professional calligrapher originally from Trinidad who lives and works in London. Paul thinks that writing by hand can be a profoundly meditative experience that can also help us with essential hand, wrist and arm motor skills. He is interesting in both the history and practice of calligraphy which stretches back many thousands of years. You can see some of Paul's handwriting in the gallery on the right of the page.
60 second Idea to Change the World
Magic Paper. Mohsin Hamid wants to write, with pen or pencil, on paper that feels looks and sounds like the real thing, but can store words in such a way as to allow him to edit and amend his work.
Photo by Shan Pillay