'Don’t believe the papers' : tales of everyday life interpreted and told through narrative illustration practice

Fauchon, Mireille (2020) 'Don’t believe the papers' : tales of everyday life interpreted and told through narrative illustration practice. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This practice-based thesis presents illustration practice as a transferable research tool to interpret and describe socio-cultural narratives both past and present. Rather than the grand narratives, the histories of interest are the anecdotal and informal stories that belie the experience of the everyday. As an illustrator-researcher I am positioned in the role of involved witness; a subjective researcher, interpreter and raconteur. Auto ethnographic delivery is used to contextualise the research interests leading toward the identification and interpretation of the central case study; the Holloway prison diary and life writings of the Croydon Suffragette Katie Gliddon, held by The Women’s Library, L.S.E. Narrative illustration practice, both written and visual is used to present a story world of interrelated sociocultural narratives describing what is known of the past and how this resonates with concerns of the moment. Here illustration practice is defined as a holistic process including a series of strategic research methods, creative outcomes and dissemination to various audiences. The thesis also addresses how stories that are continually developing might be tangibly recorded in such way that also allows them to remain lively. Furthermore, it is argued that illustration practice due to the qualities of the discipline, such as the explicit intentions to communicate and engage, provides an appropriate tool through which to interpret and describe human relations and their social contexts. This PhD consists of a fully illustrated written thesis and a body of creative practical outcomes. These include physical print based illustrative artworks and an online component. The thesis intends to function as a visual communication artwork, an interpretation of Katie Gliddon’s memoirs, a research study for future social researchers and a contribution of new knowledge to the field of illustration research. The intention is to define a transferable signature creative practice employing the defined methodology to work with archives, heritage centres and communities. The research includes various participatory workshops which are discussed in relation to testing the transferability of the methods used.

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