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Desdemona McCannon MA

Senior Lecturer
Contextualising Practice

Desdemona McCannon has two first class degrees - one in English Literature and one in Graphic Design/Illustration, as well as an MA in Sequential Design and Illustration. She has worked for twenty years as a freelance illustrator, writer and designer, including writing and illustrating children’s books, creating illustrations for book jackets and editorial illustration for a diverse range of clients.

Desdemona is a founding member and on the steering committee of the ‘Illustration Research’ Network, and has been proactive in establishing a series of symposia and publications widening the discourse around illustration theory and practice - ‘Illustration and Writing’(Manchester, 2011), 'The Function of Folk' (Krakow, 2012), 'Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge (Oxford, 2013) and the forthcoming 'Itinerant Illustrator' (Bangalore, 2014). She is the principal editor of the peer reviewed 'Journal of Illustration' published by Intellect books.

Desdemona convenes the 'Folk' research strand within the Design Research Group at MSAD, and is currently studying towards a PhD within MIRIAD.


Enid Marx and her Contemporaries: Women Designers and the Popularisation of 'folk arts' 1920-1960

An Academic Symposium held on Friday 13th September, at Compton Verney, Warwickshire Organised by Desdemona McCannon, Rosemary Shirley, Jane Webb, Penny Sexton. http://folkartdesign. Details…

Illustration Research

I am on the steering committee of the 'Illustration Research' network, organising three international academic events, editing proceedings, and managing the JISC mailing list. http://illustrationresearch. Details…

Journal of Illustration

I am the principal editor of this peer reviewed journal. http://www. Details…

The Function of Folk

Ethnographic Museum Krakow 8th and 9th November 2012 This Symposium explored the idea of illustration as ethnographic practice and considered positioning the illustrator as 'folk' artist. It was held at the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow in November 2012. Details…

The Itinerant Illustrator

JOURNAL OF ILLUSTRATION/ /ILLUSTRATION RESEARCH/ /INDIA 2014 The Itinerant Illustrator Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India 18th and 19th December 2014 The 5th International Illustration Research event joins forces with the peer reviewed Journal of Illustration and is hosted by Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. The symposium this year will focus on the praxis of illustration in an expanded field, including histories of local/regional illustrative practices and the traversing of diverse media platforms. Details…

Women in Print: Print as an Agent of Change 1920- 1965

Talks and debate presented by a panel of writers and academics: Carolyn Trant Peggy Angus: Art for Love Carolyn Trant is an artist and the biographer of the painter, designer and educator Peggy Angus (1904-1993). Trant was Angus’s pupil and apprentice and took dictation for ‘Art for Love’ published by Incline Press in 2004. Details…


Desdemona McCannon is a member of:

A selection of recent research outputs.


Hicks-Jenkins, C., 2017. Imaginary Landscapes, The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, 21/10/2017.

McCannon, D., 2017. Made in Translation, Portico Library Manchester, 27/4/2017.

McCannon, D., 2013. 'And Also', Oriel Wrecsam, October 2013- January 2014.

Miller, M., 2012. The Function of Folk, Krakow Ethnographic Museum, 8th November 2012 - 30th December 2012.

Arne's Progress

McCannon, D., 2012. The Function of Folk, Ethnographic Museum, Krakow, Poland, Nov 2012- Jan 2013.


McCannon, DR., 2018. 'Illustration for 'The Clearing' an online journal published by Little Toller Books',

McCannon, DR., 2018. 'Illustration for 'The Clearing' an online journal published by Little Toller Press',

McCannon, DR., 2018. 'Illustrations for 'The Clearing' , and online journal published by Little Toller Boos',

Ministry of Frogs

McCannon, D., 2012. 'Ministry of Frogs', 2012.


McCannon, D., Thornton, S., Williams, Y., 2008. 'Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books', Bloomsbury London.

Journal Articles

McCannon, DR., 2018. 'The time-travelling antiquarian: Illustrated tourist guides to North Wales from Pennant to Piper', Journal of Illustration, 5 (1), pp. 39-59.

McCannon, DR., 2017. 'A History of Everyday Things in England: Illustrators of mid-twentieth-century social history books', Journal of Illustration, 4 (1).

McCannon, DR., 2016. 'The jobbing artist as ethnographer: Documenting 'lore'.', The Journal of Illustration, 3 (1), pp. 107-128.

McCannon, D., 2013. 'Editorial', Journal of Illustration, 1:1, pp. 3-8.

Manifesto of Illustration

McCannon, D., 2011. 'Manifesto of Illustration', Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 4:2, pp. 261-272.

McCannon, D., 2011. '‘Towards the hybrid essay: The ‘Visual Essay Project’’', Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 4:2, pp. 131–140.

Other Outputs

McCannon, D., 2011. 'Folk Art and the Illustration of British Identity', Fifth Global Conference in Visual Literacies.

McCannon, D., 2011. 'Illustration and Gnosis', Second Illustration Research Symposium: Illustration and Writing.

McCannon, D., 2011. 'Lacking Vision'.

McCannon, D., 2010. 'Character Based Learning', Design for Children (Conference Proceedings).

McCannon, D., 2010. 'Towards a Visual Poetics: Illustrating Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’', First Illustration Research Symposium: Shadow Play.

From Folk to Modern British

McCannon, D., 2009. 'From Folk to Modern British', Varoom Magazine.

McCannon, D., 2009. 'The Private Life of the Doodle', Varoom Magazine.

McCannon, D., 2009. 'Visualising the Essay - Using information graphics to facilitate critical thinking within an art school', Third Global Conference in Visual Literacies.