2019 Illustration Across Media Symposium

Posted by Stephanie Schlaifer February 28, 2019


For event locations and times, and to register for the event, please visit the conference website>>

This spring, the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library and the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies at the Norman Rockwell Museum will bring leading scholars and artist practitioners together for the Illustration Across Media: Nineteenth Century to Now symposium at Washington University in St. Louis. The symposium will explore the significance of American illustration and its impact on perceptions and attitudes across time.

“The symposium is the culmination of a two-year project at the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies,” said deputy director and chief curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett.

Panel discussions featuring noted scholars and artist practitioners, led by Rockwell Center Society Fellows and Sam Fox School faculty members, will focus on the integral nature of illustration across disciplines, in society, history, literature, and the world of art. Topics will range from historical subjects and evolving practices, to illustration as it relates to race, gender, and cultural identity. More than 30 panelists, including noted scholars, authors, artists, and graduate students, will present their research during this three-day program.

Though omnipresent in design, advertising, publishing, and entertainment, illustration as a field of study remains relatively unexamined. The conference will connect scholars, researchers, and artists from across multiple fields to spur dialogue about illustration as a cultural force across time and platforms, from printed mass media in the mid-19th century, to digital media prominent in the 21st century.

The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies at the Norman Rockwell Museum and the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University in St. Louis have worked closely for more than a decade to preserve, share, and inspire engagement with the art of illustration—imagery created expressly for the covers and pages of books, magazines, and other publication platforms, rather than for the walls of galleries and museums. Collaborations have included such exhibitions as Ephemeral Beauty: Al Parker and the American Women’s Magazine, 1940-1960; publications like Stick Figures: Drawing as Human Practice by Sam Fox School professor D.B. Dowd; and the Society of Fellows, an illustration think tank at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

At the conclusion of the conference, a roundtable discussion with Rockwell Center Society of Fellows members will explore the future of illustration, with an emphasis on advancing the nascent field of Illustration Studies.

Four Rockwell Center Society Fellows members worked with Rockwell Museum and University staff to design the three-day program:

D.B. Dowd, Senior Fellow, is a professor of art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and serves as faculty director of the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library.

Professor and award-winning author Michele H. Bogart, PhD, has taught art history and American visual studies at Stony Brook University since 1982.

Associate professor of English and American Studies at Perdue University, Christopher J. Lukasik, PhD, has been published in over a dozen journals and has received over twenty fellowships for his research.

Award-winning author Erika Doss, PhD, is a professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Register for the Conference

Registration and additional information, including the full conference schedule, can be found here>>

Partner Organizations

About the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library
The D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University is comprised of original art and printed material from many fields of popular American pictorial graphic culture. Focusing on twentieth-century illustration, the collection includes artists’ working materials and sketches as well as original artwork from books, magazines, and advertising.

About the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies
Since its inception, the Norman Rockwell Museum has explored the impact of illustrated images and their role in shaping and reflecting our world through changing exhibitions, publications, and programs. Dedication to a deepened understanding of the art of illustration has led to the formation of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. The first of its kind in the nation, this research institute supports sustained scholarship and establishes the Norman Rockwell Museum's leadership in the vanguard of preservation and interpretation relating to this important aspect of American visual culture.

About the Norman Rockwell Museum
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2019, the Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to education and art appreciation inspired by the legacy of Norman Rockwell. The Museum holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to Rockwell’s life and work, while also preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting a growing collection of art by other American illustrators throughout history. The Museum engages diverse audiences through onsite and traveling exhibitions, as well as publications, arts and humanities programs, including the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, and comprehensive online resources.