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Call for submissions (closed)

Academic and professional submissions are invited for peer review for a VaroomLab/Partners symposium in Autumn 2014 and VaroomLab Journal. Venue – Arts University Bournemouth.


An open call is made for contributions that broaden the understanding of how Interpretation is manifested within the language of Illustration.

We welcome a breadth of responses and are keen to involve practising illustrators and commissioners as well as academics and theory and practice-based researchers from within illustration and across disciplines. Deadline for abstracts Monday 3 February 2014 to Jo Davies email here


The place of Interpretation in the commissioning process for lllustration is seldom explored. Illustration not only works to describe textual information in practical applications, but also functions to interpret in narrative, express concepts and convey information. Sometimes error and misunderstanding are factors in the interaction. The relationship between intellect and emotion during the interpretive process is complex and the role of the illustrator’s individual identity and ideology in the theory and practice of?interpretation often hidden.

Submissions may reflect on some of these ideas:

  • The difference in interpretations
  • Narrative interpretation
  • Communication and Language
  • Collaborative understandings across disciplines
  • Propaganda and political voices
  • Response to music/sound/performance
  • Interpretive misunderstandings
  • Error
  • Miscommunication
  • Understanding meaning
  • Empathetic relationships
  • Seeing and not seeing
  • Approaches to drawing and writing
  • Truth and Distortion
  • Style – Expression – Methodology
  • Evolution
  • Function – Form – Medium – Message

The symposium will include a mix of academic papers, professional presentations, panel events and discussions to benefit a broad range of participants.

Professional submissions could reflect on ideas and issues focused around individual practice and experience.

Academic approaches could include semiotic, philosophical, sociological, economic, educational, historical or visual theory perspectives and possibly embrace cross-disciplinary studies.

VaroomLab offers a forum for the exchange of research into illustration, conducted by practitioners and academics situated in all sectors and contexts. The symposium will encourage a diverse audience to share knowledge and experience and open dialogue to facilitate the transfer of critical, empirical, action and discursive research into the subject.

Submission requirements

  • Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, including research question and keywords.
  • Please add a brief 150 word biographical statement.
  • Indicate if you would like to be considered as a paper 4-5000 words or professional presentation (Full papers will be required by 30 April 2014).
  • Selected papers will assessed in a blind review process and successfully peer reviewed papers will be published in VaroomLab Journal.

The first VaroomLab symposium Boundaries, explored a notion that the traditional context for illustration is evolving rapidly, identifying research that locates illustration within the context of rapid technological innovation and cultural development.

The second symposium, Spatialising Illustration, embraced this recognition of illustration as an expanding discipline whilst considering how space and place are encountered through the expanding media or “language of illustration.”

Papers for both events are published in VaroomLab Journal (issues 1 and 2) which can be downloaded free at:

If you wish any further information please contact:

Derek Brazell

Jo Davies



Additional information and Varoom guidelines


VaroomLab was established to provide a platform for exchange and discussion of ideas around the broad subject of illustration. Varoom is a unique publication existing as a vehicle for dissemination of some of this research. VaroomLab on line provides a wide forum to challenge and potentially expand research and hence provide maximum possible impact.

We have married a peer-review process with editorial intervention to facilitate robust evaluation and discourse around articles submitted by the academic and practitioner community for potential inclusion in Varoom and VaroomLab Journal.

The peer-review of each article or abstract will concentrate on objective concerns to determine whether the research article or proposal is sufficiently well conceived, has or has potential to be well executed, and well described to justify inclusion in VaroomLab Journal and Varoom. Through VaroomLab online articles are available for ongoing discussion and the content subject to ongoing peer-review through this mechanism.


This editorial process is overseen by the Academic inputs co-ordinator who will work together with VaroomLab members, the publisher and editor of Varoom to orchestrate the peer-review process. Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by VaroomLab partners.

  • Reviewers will be invited to consider submitted papers on the basis of its content within the light of their own expertise.
  • Each submission will be reviewed against clear editorial criteria. Feedback will be provided.
  • Successfully reviewed papers will be published in VaroomLab Journal. After appropriate consideration for publication inVaroom by the Varoom publishing team a decision will be sent to the author of the article or abstract within a specified timeframe.

Potential decisions in line with recognised peer-review processes

  • Accept in principle
  • Minor revision
  • Major revision
  • Reject

Please note: Submissions must follow Harvard system of referencing.

It is essential that all authors finally provide a thoroughly proof read and checked manuscript along with images in the specified format of 300dpi with a completed copyright permissions consent form for publication in Varoom magazine and VaroomLab Journal, and correct caption and credit information. Additional technical guidelines will be provided by the Varoom publishing team.

Peer Review Panel

The Academic inputs co-ordinator has worked with members of the VaroomLab, the editor and the editorial board in the first instance to identify appropriate reviewers for a particular manuscript or abstract. Reviewers have been chosen according to factors including their expertise, reputation and knowledge. We intend to build a database of academic expertise around the subject of illustration.

As part of our editorial procedure, the Varoom team will brief potential reviewers before sending them abstracts and manuscripts to review and all correspondence will be treated confidentially. Reviewers will remain anonymous during the peer – review process and impartiality will be our aim.


All comments from reviewers to the editors will be treated confidentially.

A good review would answer the following questions:

  • What are the main aims of the article?
  • Are the aims of the piece well situated in the context of any other known research around the subject?
  • Who would find this paper of interest? And why?
  • In what further directions would it be useful to take the current research?

In the case of manuscripts considered for publication in Varoom, we will request additional advice from the reviewer on the following:

  • Is the manuscript written clearly enough that it is understandable to non-academics? If not, how could it be improved?


The review process will be seen as confidential by the Varoom editorial board and reviewers. As the author may have chosen to exclude some people from this process, the reviewer should not discuss nor consult other colleagues or experts about the review unless this has been agreed with the Varoom publishing team. Where appropriate we will request any feedback that might help to strengthen the manuscript or abstract to possibly send to the author.

The editors and Varoom publishers may edit comments made by reviewers. In their comments to authors, reviewers are encouraged to be honest but not offensive in their language.

It will be the responsibility of the Varoom publishing team to send the decision letter to the author of the manuscript or abstract with any reviewers’ comments.

Final publishing decisions are made by the editor and the publishing team. In the event that these are different from the reviewer’s recommendations this will have been the result of a robust process of consideration. Authors of printed contributions will receive three copies of the relevant issue.

Varoom Editor – Dr. John O’Reilly

Varoom Publisher – Derek Brazell (AOI)

Varoom Academic Inputs Co-ordinator – Professor Jo Davies

Varoom Editorial BoardPaul Bowman, Martin Colyer, Jo Davies, Angus Hyland, Ian Massey, Anna Steinberg

VaroomLab member institutions:

The Arts University College in Bournemouth

BIAD Birmingham City University

Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London

Central St Martins, University of the Arts London

University of Derby

London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

University of Northampton

Plymouth University

Swansea Metropolitan University

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