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Title: An unruly parliament of lines : the dialectogram as artefact and process of social engagement
Author: Miller, Mitchell
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 2552
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: Glasgow School of Art
Date of Award: 2016
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The PhD research asks what insights the dialectogram and its methods of depicting space, place and social networks offers to the development of socially engaged practices in illustration. The term ‘socially engaged’ is somewhat under-defined and indistinct in Illustration contexts. Mario Minichello used the term to describe contemporary political and propagandic illustration (2013). This definition seems very different to its use in fine art or design contexts and does not address the participatory or dialogic principles that define ‘socially engaged’ practice. In general, illustrators are still determining what socially engaged means in/for their discipline (Vormittag, 2014). My original contribution to knowledge is the dialectogram itself, in particular, the participatory methodology used to create these illustrative works. A dialectogram is a neologism made from adding dialect/dialectic to diagram and borrows from practices in anthropology, ethnography, architecture, cartography and sequential art. They are large-scale illustrations of a location in aerial view that map out the narratives, imaginative associations and the ‘tactical consumption’ through which its inhabitants make a place for themselves in the world (Certeau, 1988). A dialectogram documents the process of engagement and discussion through which it is created, by its focus on artefact creation also stimulates it. The dialectogram methodology in place at the beginning of this research resembled the socially engaged practices explored in largely fine art contexts, but has, through the practice-as research process of the PhD, come to incorporate democratised practices in design through Bruno Latour’s notion of the Thing as a socio-material assembly (Thompson, 2012:19, Björgvinsson et al 2012: 104, Latour, 2005a: 24). I varied the degree of collaboration and altered project structures to test the limits, and potential of the dialectogram. Taking inspiration from the ‘Art of Inquiry’ coined by Tim Ingold (2014), the dialectogram now emphasises learning from a context rather than about it, encouraging the participants to guide the process and lead the illustrator as to how they can, or should, frame the drawing. I will argue that the dialectogram is an example of an emergent illustrative practice that I have termed social text illustration. This thesis presents the ‘documentary trace’ of the dialectogram as a messy and tangled line of inquiry, less a route to be followed than an unruly parliament of lines where debate and creative exchange can find its place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available