More Eyes, Different Eyes

Timeframe: 2018

This is a published, double-blind peer reviewed position paper for the Journal of Illustration edited by Dr Jaleen Gove. In this work Leishman offers a reflection on the issues around institutionalization of theory in the higher education of Illustration. This contribution is based on 14 years of lived experience as Head of Subject. This method provides needed insight derived from a longitudinal and experiential understanding of the changes in both the sector, institutional and learner contexts. After establishing the historical journey and the complexities in the backdrop of a once ‘traditionally vocational’ subject Leishman goes on to propose a porous pragmatic approach for further debate, discussion and testing. Citing the work of Mick Peter (The Regenerators 2018) alongside Rebecca Davies’ and Eva Sajovic’s People’s Bureau (2018) Leishman details how this approach allows illustrators to draw on other disciplines whilst redefining themselves as a form of social scientist who can actively relate with and communicate for others through expanded illustrative practices. Leishman argues the benefits of adopting this approach is a positive tempering of mainstream media’s modus to oversimplify human experiences and offer limited social stereotypes alongside the pedagogic value of actively encouraging students to reflect on and share their own lived experiences; which re-aligns the authoritative role of the ‘lecturer’ as site of all knowledge. Leishman also advocates that this approach creates a new critical space in which the volatile and changeable socio-political conditions (and the implications/opportunities for the subject area) can be more actively engaged with and worked through for student, researcher and teacher alike. The paper ends by deploying theoretical concepts as practical ideology; Nietzsche’s (1887) notion of ‘perspectival seeing’ which acknowledges the irreplaceable value of each individual and the value of differences and diversity – as an apt descriptor/method of approach for the international illustration community.

Leishman, D. (2018). More eyes, different eyes. Journal of Illustration 5(2), 191–205.