Re-contextualising Illustration to Inform Sexual Consent - #JustSoYouKnow

David Wood

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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This paper will discuss two illustration projects that helped Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) expand their outreach across the North East of England. These were Hope Solidarity Liberation (2017), and #JustSoYouKnow (2018), which ran consecutively over 12 months with 2nd year illustration students. The first project was to produce merchandise illustrations to help RCTN to fund-raise. RCTN ran this as a competition challenge to the students, with the winning illustrator’s work being made into tote bags, mugs, and other merchandise. All the participating illustrators were rewarded with a gallery exhibition where the students could sell their work, and raise additional funds for RCTN. The second project called #JustSoYouKnow re-contextualised some of the illustrations from the merchandise competition into a new campaign to aid RCTN’s outreach work. The aim of this second project was to counter young people’s misdirection on understanding sexual consent, and to challenge prevalent myths about what constitutes rape. The illustration project lead chaired an inter-disciplinary steering group, to advise RCTN on re-contextualising the illustrations as the core for a new RCTN information pack. This steering group’s inter-disciplinary team to help develop the information pack came from design, illustration, law, forensic science and social science. Through the collegial alliance in the steering group, many new perspectives were discussed that enhanced the visual communication of the sexual consent information cards. This paper will outline how the same sets of illustrations worked across two different contexts, to positively impact on the visual communication of two different RCTN messages in support of women. Throughout these two projects, the illustrators learnt how their skills as visual communicators could be positively employed, and how a re-contextualisation of purpose opened up new communicational situations for their illustrations within real-world social issues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Specialist publicationMessage Graphic Communication Design Research
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020


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