Professor Alan Male: Principal Keynote at CONFIA Braga, Portugal, 10-12 April 2015.

Professor Male was invited as Programme Chair and Principal Keynote at a leading international conference in illustration and animation at Braga, Portugal, 10-12 April 2015. Organised by the Institute Polytechnic of Cavado and Ave, CONFIA 2015 is the third edition of what is now considered Europe’s premier conference for illustration. The Scientific Committee, published authors and delegate attendees represent a global community of scholars, academics and practitioners from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Italy and many other countries. This was the second invited keynote at CONFIA for Alan and further establishes Falmouth University as a key player regarding illustration on the international stage.

Alan’s lecture was entitled The Power and Influence of Illustration: A Future Perspective. He discussed how an increase in multi-culturalism, globalisation, political and environmental change will affect the future needs and expectations for professional visual communication. He also analysed censorship, freedom of expression, ethical and moral responsibility and which professional contexts of practice might diminish or increase.

Linda Scott, Senior Lecturer in Illustration further enhanced the Falmouth University presence by presenting her published paper entitled Illustrator as Activist: Conservation of Endangered Species and the Role of the Illustrator.

Professor Male has recently been approached and contracted to edit a 600-page volume to be published internationally in both traditional book form and digitally by the leading US educational textbook publisher Wiley Blackwell. Provisionally entitled Illustration: Art and Theory, Alan’s remit is to create a benchmark reference volume that is to set the agenda for the subject and to influence the shape of the intellectual conversation around the subject moving forward. Ambitious in scope it aims to make the most significant statement about the subject in a contemporary context. There is no comparative volume currently available.

Having already established the book’s Table of Contents and Philosophy, Alan will now commission approximately 25 specific and appropriately themed 10,000 word essays/chapters from an ‘A’ list roster of international scholars, authors, academics, illustrators, art directors and other creative practitioners.

To be published early 2017.

Professor Male’s first book about his subject entitled Illustration: A Theoretical and Contextual Perspective (AVA 2007) is to be revised and published as a Second Edition, January 2016 by Bloomsbury. This has been prompted by the book’s huge success in terms of its international standing and sales. It is widely regarded as the principal reference for illustration in the United States and has been cited in literally hundreds of dissertations, PhD theses, academic papers and articles. The book contains numerous works by Alan’s Falmouth colleagues and former students and provides a significant statement regarding the quality and status of the Illustration Programme at Falmouth University

Professor Male’s published paper Communication Arts and the Polymath Principal: Intellectual Multi-Tasking and the Creation of Knowledge Bearing Imagery was first presented at the Critique 2013 conference at the University of South Australia, December 2013. It is now to be re-published internationally by Routledge in a Research Monograph entitled Critique-ality through/of/in Art, Architecture and Design. The overall publication is to contain approximately ten of the best and most original papers. Alan’s original thesis was a provocative one, advocating a need for illustrators and other professional visual communicators to acquire a greater knowledge base through focussed scholarship and an increase in intellectual capacity.

A specific practice-based research project by Professor Alan Male is being advanced in collaboration with the British Museum of Natural History in London. It involves the analysis and visual reconstruction of palaeo-invertebrata, species recently discovered or evaluated and never previously illustrated, the imagery contributing significantly to new knowledge related to evolution and the origins of life in the universe.

The case study shown is the first illustration of so-far unidentified microscopic zooplankton, analysed from the observation of particles and sediments from a sea-bed fauna-bearing ecosystem, dredged from the deepest known part of the North Atlantic Ocean by the HMS Challenger Expedition of 1873. At the time, scientists believed there to be no life on the ocean bed. Species shown are representative Forimanifera; crustaceans, copepods, isopods.

The original illustration artworks are to form part of an exhibition at the Yale Art Gallery, USA and to be published in National Geographic.


unidentified microscopic zooplankton, analysed from the observation of particles and sediments from a sea-bed fauna-bearing ecosystem, dredged from the deepest known part of the North Atlantic Ocean by the HMS Challenger Expedition of 1873.



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