Facilitator, Interpreter & Archivist: Generating Vernacular Histories Through Participatory Illustration Practice

Mireille Fauchon


Exploring how a sense of history can be preserved both knowingly or otherwise through storytelling this practice-lead research seeks to establish the use of illustration as a transferable social research methodology through which vernacular histories, concepts of heritage, memory and contemporary folklore can be investigated and communicated.


Often working in response archival material as well as anecdotal and aural histories a particular type of narrative has always appealed – the fantastic or unexpected event within seemingly familiar settings. It is not the rigour of accuracy that captivates but the ambiguities that can ensue form the converging of fact and fiction as details distort through continual recounting; this is ‘history’s nether-world – where memory and myth intermingle, and the imaginary rubs shoulders with the real.’ (Samuels, 1999:6)


A series of case studies will place the illustrator within the role of an involved witness representing social and cultural narratives in such a way that draws reference to how these stories appear to manifest. The intention is to give voice and validity to experiences that might otherwise be difficult to engage with or access while also producing creative outcomes that can contribute to more formally recognised historical and cultural documentation.


Furthermore this body of research seeks to establish illustration practice as a tool through which to preserve and document historical knowledge and anthropological information examining human relations and their social contexts and testing, through participatory practice, whether visual storytelling can be used to facilitate the sharing of experience and foster a sense of community.