Call for papers


An international conference organised by IDEA, Illustr4tio and Illustration Research Network

8th-10th November 2017, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France


Keynote speakers

Prof. Alan Male

Sophie Herxheimer

This conference invites participants to explore the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural means through which illustration, in all of its forms, contributes, and has contributed historically, 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. Papers may cover any form (book illustrations, extra illustrations, press cartoons, digital art, etc.) or type (decorative, narrative, scientific, technical, historical, educational, satirical, etc.) of illustration from the Early Modern period or Renaissance to the present day.

Subjects for discussion may address (though are not limited to) the following themes and questions:

  •       The political agenda of illustration/illustrators: illustration as critique and social or political protest
  •       The illustrator as agitator, mediator, witness and/or opinion former
  •       The performance and performative aspects of illustration
  •       Illustrating identity/ies and changing technologies
  •       The participation of illustration in the construction and definition of individual identity
  •       The participation of illustration in the construction and definition of collective / cultural / social / political / ethnic identity/ies
  •       The illustration of historical and ‘grand narratives’ relating to national identity/ies

Please submit 300 word proposals for a 20 minute presentation to Nathalie Collé (IDEA & Illustr4tio) at and Desdemona McCannon (Illustration Research) at Proposals for workshops and poster presentations are also welcome.  Deadline: Monday 15th May 2017.



IDEA, Université de Lorraine


Illustration Research



EA 2338 IDEA, Interdisciplinarité Dans les Études Anglophones, Université de Lorraine

EA 4182 TIL, Texte Image Langage, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté

EA 4343 CALHISTE, Cultures, Arts, Littératures, Histoire, Imaginaires, Sociétés, Territoires, Environnement, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambrésis

EA 4363 ILLE, Institut de recherche en Langues et Littératures Européennes, Université de Haute Alsace

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