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Visionaries – Call for submissions

Autumn 2015 symposium – Birmingham City University

An open call is made for contributions that consider the theme of Visionaries and how this is manifested within Illustration. Successful contributors will be invited to present at the Visionaries symposium held at Birmingham City University in 2015.

Abstracts deadline 2 February 2015 to Jo Davies (j.davies@plymouth.ac.uk) What is an abstract?

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.


A Visionary is characterized by vision or foresight, given to apparitions, prophecies, or revelations. One who may have speculative but imaginative new ideas, envisioning things in perfect form, possibly having the nature of fantasies or dreams.

Submissions may reflect on some of these ideas or identify other areas in response to the theme of Visionary: 

  • The Illustrator as visionary
  • Narrative developments
  • Pollination and Collaborative understandings across disciplines
  • Communication and Language
  • Anticipating the future
  • Mavericks and pioneers
  • Magic, invention or formula
  • Vision and Propaganda
  • Innovation, revolution and discovery
  • Crossing over into music/sound/performance
  • Working on the edges of disciplines
  • Breaking the rules/ making the rules
  • Looking beyond the obvious
  • Future thinking in educational or professional developments
  • Evolution – where are we heading?

The symposium will include a mix of academic papers, professional presentations, Pecha Kucha 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.

Pecha Kucha Presentations: we will consider short Pecha Kucha presentations on the Visionaries theme. These are presentations of 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide. Maximum length 6 mins 20 seconds.

Submission requirements

  • Academic submissions Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, including the research question and at least five keywords. If selected, completed papers should be 4 – 5000 words. Full papers will be required by mid July 2015).
  • Professional and Pecha Kucha presentations Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and include theme or title of presentation and at least five keywords.
  • All submissions should include a brief biographical statement.
  • Abstracts will be considered and selected in a blind review process by VaroomLab partners. Selected papers will assessed in a blind peer review process and successful papers will be published in VaroomLab Journal.

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.

The most recent symposium Interpretation in 2014 considered the themes around Interpretation and misinterpretation, sometimes error and misunderstanding are factors in the interaction. It considered how the role of the illustrator’s individual identity and ideology in the theory and practice of ?interpretation is often hidden.

The second symposium, Spatialising Illustration in 2013, embraced the recognition of illustration as an expanding discipline whilst considering how space and place are encountered through the expanding media of illustration.”

The first VaroomLab symposium, Boundaries in 2012, 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.

Papers for all events are published in VaroomLab Journal (issues 1 and 2) which can be downloaded free at: www.varoom-mag.com/?page_id=315

Abstracts deadline 2 February 2015 to Jo Davies

If you wish any further information please contact: Derek Brazell Email or Jo Davies Email

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