Call for Papers: The Function of Folk

Call for Papers: The Function of Folk

3rd International Illustration Research Event: Exhibition and Symposium
November 8th and 9th 2012, Krakow, Poland




The traditional artist is being transformed into the designer because he works in such a way as to re-establish contact between art and the public, because he has the humility and ability to respond to whatever demand is made of him by the society in which he lives, because he knows his job, and the ways and means of solving each problem of design. And finally because he responds to the human needs of his time, and helps people to solve certain problems without stylistic preconceptions or false notions of artistic dignity derived form the schism of the arts. (BRUNO MUNARI, Design As Art 1966)

Following on from the international symposium in 2011 ‘Illustration and Writing’, The Illustration Research event this year will explore the idea of the illustrator as popular or ‘folk’ artist, taking Noel Carrington’s definition of popular art as a starting point, ‘art produced by and for the people among whom the artist lives and works.’

We are interested to explore the idea of the illustration as a contemporary folk art, a vernacular expression of community and identity. This could be work that has been produced to express local cultures, stories and the needs of local businesses, work that has a decorative utility in the domestic environment, work that has been made with skill for a particular purpose or responding to specific cultures, beliefs and customs, and work that has a function within the community it was made for.

Papers /artwork responding to the following subjects are invited for consideration for inclusion in the programme:-

  • Illustration as an expression of collective memory, the illustration of ‘local’ stories and events
  • Illustration of ‘folklore’
  • Illustration within folk cultures/visual epistemologies of folk culture
  • Magic realism and/or ritualised illustration
  • Illustration in domestic and everyday contexts
  • ‘Fake folk’: the commodification and exploitation of authentic popular culture
  • Democratic and sustainable modes of production – hand skills, ‘lost’ skills
  • Socially engaged illustration, illustration as political (/apolitical) activism
  • Urban Pastoral
  • The role of illustration in establishing community identity within global contexts
  • The social value of illustration

There will be an exhibition to accompany the event.

We welcome submissions that are sympathetic to the theme of the conference that are visual and/or performative.

We will be producing a collaborative publication during the event, and will also be documenting the symposium on film.

Please send outline proposals (500 words) and up to 5 images to
Desdemona McCannon () and Amelia Johnstone ()

Deadline for abstract submissions: Friday 6th July

Please register with the Illustration Research JISC mail network to be kept up to date.