Illustration is one of three Pathways within the Visual Communication programme, alongside Graphic Design and Experimental Communication. It explores and extends current territories for contemporary Illustration practice within the interdisciplinary context of Visual Communication, opening conversations with anthropology, sociology, performance and beyond. Fundamental to this approach is an understanding of the context of our work and how ideas can be framed, transmitted and received by our intended audiences.

Finding a critical way into image making that explores individual enquiries and positions is integral to what we do. The fabrication of the image encourages an exploration of diverse ranges of technique and technology, medium and material, creating a platform for interaction with the world. 

There are two main subject clusters within the pathway. Narrative Contexts focuses on the way we gather information to understand, share or speculate on our lives. Situated Illustration explores the relationship between illustrative practices and spatial practice. The Pathway is supported by critical making workshops shared with the Experimental Communication and Graphic Design pathways.

Narrative Contexts 

Narrative illustrators bring personal origination and enquiry to their storytelling abilities, whether this is the interpretation of existing stories or the creation of their own. They recognise the semantic complexity of storytelling and the viewer’s role in the reinterpretation of word-image relationships via materials, language, sequence and space. This area explores social, cultural or political understanding of subject matter through the lens of illustration and considers opportunities that are offered by hybrid practices and emerging technologies and contexts. Giving importance to the ways in which stories are gathered, understood and shared, we approach illustrative practice as authors, commentators and speculators. Areas of focus include; autobiographical narration, literary interpretation, visual essay, speculative histories, performative debate and augmented reality.

Situated Illustration

Situated Illustrators create work to exist in, and respond to, a certain location, space, museum or archive. They take site into account while researching, planning and creating the work, and are interested in the connections that surround practice and place. The way these complexities are understood and are reflected in the work demonstrates a contextual awareness, and considers the effects that the work has on the locality, spatially and psychologically. This area explores the artistic, social and cultural issues surrounding place and the development of engaging and persuasive interactions with public audiences. It includes work that revisits and challenges traditional academic notions of ‘museums’ and ‘archives’ and seeks to expand their relevance to wider groups of people through visual creative practice. Key areas of exploration within Situated Illustration include site-responsive practice, immersive and interactive spaces, museum commissions, visual anthropology, architectural narratives and public engagement.