In November 2016 ECA's Illustration department was delighted to host the 7th International Illustration Research symposium and to welcome lots of researchers and practitioners to Edinburgh.

This year’s event took ‘landscape’ as a starting point, inviting illustrators, mapmakers, printmakers, travellers, tourists, antiquarians, ethnographers and experimental archeologists to share their journeys through Illustration.

Speakers at ‘Shaping the View’ explored complex and various interpretations of Landscape in research, academic study, and professional practice. From an international submission of abstracts, Jonathan Gibbs and Desdemona McCannon chose 37 academic papers for presentation over two days at ECA.

Five key speakers enhanced this discussion and debate and the symposium concluded with musical pieces, projections and installations of landscape themes in the Wee Red Bar.

As a postscript, Saturday’s site-specific workshops added a new dimension, using the city of Edinburgh to explore further aspects of time, space, and location.

The complementary exhibition in the Sculpture Court has enabled all students and staff to show their work alongside invited artists, leading exponents of Illustration. The exhibition demonstrates a high level of academic study, research, and professional practice.

An international selection of work has been curated for a wider understanding and appreciation of Illustration.  Shaping the View has been made possible by research funding from the University of Edinburgh and by our studio assistant Saskia Cameron’s excellent design work of all the exhibition pieces.

MFA2 Illustration student Elizabeth Dulemba reflects on her experience of the event:

“SHAPING THE VIEW was a marvelous opportunity for us to explore and experience a world-class symposium celebrating the academic relevance of illustration. I enjoyed several of the speaker’s talks. The symposium helped develop my awareness of illustration as a valid field of study deserving respect on the world stage. I so enjoyed the seriousness with which the speakers discussed their research and relayed their ideas to the audience.

Organiser Desdemona McCannon’s efforts to bring together the illustration world into one of respected community both through the symposium and the peer-reviewed Journal of Illustration is respectable and formidable and I felt a new pride in being a part of this rapidly developing industry through the world of academia.

The symposium had a profound impact on me and how seriously I discuss what I do. I’m so glad it was available to us at ECA!”