Linda Scott, Senior Lecturer on BA(Hons) Illustration, has recently returned from Northern Portugal, where for the fourth year running she has had a paper accepted by CONFIA, an Illustration and Animation Conference hosted by the University IPCA. Here she talks about the importance of her continued research in Illustration to her teaching of Falmouth’s undergraduates.
‘CONFIA is unique in being one of the few conferences of its kind dedicated to the subject area of illustration. The range of themes within the broader subject, however, is eclectic, and researchers present topics that range from social, political and cultural themes to the more technical and methodological aspects of illustration and animation.
The research I have undertaken over recent years has been fundamental in deepening my appreciation of and understanding of the important role illustration has in the communication and dissemination of challenging themes. Participating in international conferences has exposed me to a range of perspectives and Illustration practices previously unconsidered and the knowledge acquired is invaluable within my teaching practice, which covers both studio based teaching and theoretical dissertation supervision. Sharing my evolving knowledge of the subject with students has lead to stimulating conversations and often reciprocal sharing of books about challenging themes, which currently is an area many students are reflecting upon.
My own research pathway is currently driven by political, ethical, environmental and philosophical analyses of illustration, from historical and current perspectives. In particular I have explored the role that illustration and arts activism might play within the field of bird conservation. My starting point for that was a trip I made to the hunting grounds of Malta with a group of artists, illustrators, musicians and film makers headed by documentary maker Ceri Levy; I had previously participated in a group exhibition collective known as ‘Ghosts Of Gone Birds‘, which showed its first exhibition in the Rochelle Gallery in London.
In recent years, I have been drawn time and again to uses of Illustration as a vehicle for powerfully communicating challenging themes. My presentations at CONFIA over the past four years have included themes embracing climate change, the use of illustrated picture books to teach philosophy and critical thinking skills to primary aged children and in July 2018, my presentation focused on the challenging themes of Colonialism and Imperialism within illustrated books, as viewed through a ‘post colonial‘ lens.
In November 2017 I travelled to Nancy, France to make a presentation at ‘Illustrating Identyties‘, a conference hosted by the University and conceived of with founding members of The Journal Of Illustration, an important peer reviewed publication. The theme of this presentation was about challenging themes within children’s picture books and included subjects such as death, domestic violence, feminism and environmentalism.
My own exploration of the importance of the role Illustration plays in illuminating challenging concepts, ensures I can encourage my students to continue to deepen their own relationship to the practice of illustration and the understanding that it can be a powerful tool for social , political and cultural change’.