Call for papers- Deadline 7th July 2016


Shaping the View : Understanding Landscape through Illustration
7th International Illustration Research/ Journal of Illustration Symposium

Illustrators, Mapmakers, Printmakers, Travellers, Tourists, Antiquarians, Watercolourists, Ethnographers and Experimental Archeologists are invited to share their journeys through Illustration at our meeting place, Edinburgh College of Art, 10th & 11th of November 2016.

The 7th annual Illustration Research Symposium takes the idea of ‘landscape’ as a starting point. Academic papers, visual presentations, interventions and excursions are invited to explore, map and interrogate the ways that landscapes are conceptualised and understood through illustration, both in contemporary practice and historically.

From topographic engravings in 18thc travel guides to pen and ink hand drawn maps in the endpapers of classic detective fiction, the mass produced illustrated image mediates our collective understanding of place. In recognising a view as ‘romantic’, picturesque or even as abject, an illustrated image often lurks at the edges of our idea of landscape, prompting these taxonomies of place.

National and regional identities are depicted through illustrated representations of ‘chocolate box’ country villages, highland castles or welsh valleys. On biscuit tins and place mats, bookjackets, wallpaper and food packaging these are images in everyday use forming the background to our daily lives.

Geographies of the last wild places- the prairie, the artic tundra, the rainforest, the moon- exotic landscapes often encountered only via the pages of an atlas or picture book. Our popular awareness and understanding of these places is mediated through the commissioned, constructed image.

The landscape itself is often illustrated – think of the long man of Wilmington, and the ‘wild signs’ of graffiti on buildings, trees and stones. History is enscribed into the landscape, and read out from archeological data drawings and ethnographic documentation.

Future landscapes are imagined through the paratexts of book, poster and colour plate. Science fiction illustration creates a set of cultural blueprints for a utopian/dystopian vision on the horizon, but also creates spaces to enact contemporary anxieties about the natural world and our place within it.

The residing ‘genius loci’ or spirit of place is personified- for example in Studio Ghibli’s ‘night walker’, or the ‘Green Man’ who stalks through the forested collective unconscious of British folklore, the idea of nature as sentient, knowing and seeing, pervades the literary and visual cultures of landscape around the world.

Dreams and memories are often sited in particular places, and locating the inner landscape through illustration is a form of liminal practice connecting the imagined and the real. Conversely, illustrating using the materiality of place is a form of alchemical practice, sealing the world into an image, mustering a place into the picture plane.

Illustration both enables us to ‘see’ landscape and positions us within it, enscribing meaning and value into certain kinds of landscape, creating cultural habitats for personal and collective memory.

Papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following subjects:-

– Topographical and cartographic illustration
– Antiquarian landscape illustrations
– Relational and performative approaches to illustrating
the landscape
– Illustrating with the landscape
– Mapping non- spaces, edgelands and ‘the wild’
– Landscape as palimpsest
– Folklore and landscape
– ‘Nature’ personified
– Landscape and memory, psychogeography
– Illustrating the sublime
– Illustrative responses to urban landscapes
– Imagined villages, rural idylls
– Dreamscapes, imagined landscapes
– Realities & fictions of landscape in literature
– Narratives of the journey
– A sense of place
– Pigment, mark, and sign
– Experience and knowledge of landscape in childhood

300 word Proposals for 20 minute academic/practice based
presentations to Desdemona McCannon [] and Jonathan Gibbs [] by July 7th. Speakers will be notified by August 1st.

Proposals for excursions, workshops and
performances also welcomed.

An exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art will run from the 7th- 16th November.

Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in the peer reviewed Journal of Illustration.