Meghan Ferrill
1255 North State Parkway 5B
Chicago, Illinois 60610
United States of America
T +1 312 497 1994
mferrill@uic.edu

Biography

Meghan Ferrill (*18 August 1957) has a passion for literature, especially poetry, and an enduring interest in graphic design. Born and raised in Chicago, she lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 1991-2005, where she worked as a creative writer/conceptual text designer, guest curator, and teacher. In autumn 2005, Ferrill relocated to Chicago where she worked as Creative Director of Language at Studio/lab until August 2013, when she accepted a full-time teaching position in the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ferrill remains a consulting partner of Studio/lab.

Throughout her tenure in the Netherlands, Ferrill worked in collaboration with graphic designers and design-oriented businesses, creating compelling visual and verbal stories on a variety levels.

Ferrill’s work includes the conceptualization and authorship of special edition books and monographs, as well as the creation of identities through story. Ferrill’s literary sensibility and poetic style lends itself to imaginative, spirited communication. Her aim is to give clients a voice. It is our voice, she contends, and ultimately our story that distinguishes us; not per se what we do.

In addition to her activities as a creative writer and conceptual text designer, Ferrill initiated and curated “Poetry in the Stedelijk” (1993-1996), an unprecedented series of poetry and typography exhibitions for the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, then under the inspired directorship of Rudi Fuchs. The series featured poets Seamus Heaney (Ireland), Wislawa Szymborska (Poland), Joseph Brodsky (Russia/USA), Gwendolyn Brooks (USA), Peter Reading (Britain), Gerrit Kouwenaar (Netherlands), Remco Campert (Netherlands), and Hugo Claus (Belgium); and Dutch typographers Karel Martens, Walter Nikkels, Tessa van der Waals, Wigger Bierma, Anthon Beeke, Kees Nieuwenhuizen, and Polish typographer Woytek Freudenreich. Her work as guest curator has since been fully documented by the Department of Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

The Stedelijk series spawned a new inter-curriculum, Poetry in Urban Space, in the international Masters of Design program at Sint-Joost Academy of Art in Breda, the Netherlands, where Ferrill taught as a guest lecturer 1996-2009. In association with fellow teachers, design theorist (and polymath) Hugues Boekraad, graphic designer Gerard Hadders and exhibition designer Edith Gruson, she helped develop a method of teaching that points up the dialectic between language and form; between saying and seeing; concretization and abstraction; knowledge and intuition.

Ferrill has conducted creative writing workshops for graphic designers and fine artists at Escuela de Arte N°10 in Madrid, Spain (2008); and at Hebei University in Nanjing, and Shijiazhuang, China (2007). In the period 1992-1995, Ferrill taught creative writing in the Masters of Design Research at the Design Academy Eindhoven, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

From 2001-2004 Ferrill represented the Lannan Foundation as a trustee of the Dia Art Foundation, New York, NY, chaired at the time by Leonard Riggio. She served as the first Literary Director of the Lannan Foundation (presently located in Santa Fe, NM) from 1987–1991, where she formulated its objectives and worked to establish its literary grants program, including the now prestigious Lannan Awards & Fellowships in support of established and emerging writers of exceptional merit. Ferrill also produced the foundation’s initial broadcast-quality literary readings, now a growing series of nationally acclaimed digital podcasts, featuring writers such as Octavio Paz (Mexico), Yehuda Amichai (Israel), and Czeslaw Milosz (Poland/USA), among many others.

Ferrill completed graduate work at Northwestern University (2012-2014); read English literature for a summer at Exeter College, Oxford University, Oxford, England, in 1996; studied with Temple University Masters in London, England (1979-80); and earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (1979).

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Meghan Ferrill
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