This conference invites participants to explore the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural means through which illustration, in all of its forms, contributes, and has contributed, through time, to the shaping of ‘identity/ies’.
The study of illustration provides powerful insights into not only the representation, but also the construction of identity – including gender identities, national and political identities, subcultures, hybrid identities and performative identities. Illustrators as cultural agents have the power to both reinforce and problematise ‘the visual vocabulary of politics’ (Steven Heller, Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State, 2008; rep. 2010) through their use and manipulation of cultural narratives and stereotypes.
Illustrators often navigate several personas when creating artwork – for example the desires of the client, the reception of the audience, and the voices within the text. They may also produce highly personal and subjective work documenting emergent or performed identities in relation to historical, geographical, social, cultural and phenomenological matrices.
We are keen to encourage critical and theoretical frameworks which foster understanding of the cultural relevance of illustration, and to examine the links between book history, print and digital culture and identity. Both practice-led and theoretical papers are welcome.