1st seminar_seeing the invisible

14th March 2023

Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto




It is proposed that illustrators select two proposals from those presented to illustrate.

The time available is two hours.

The illustrations may be analogical or digital, or hybrids. Any scratching materials deemed necessary may be used.

The dimensions of the illustrations are indicated in the proposals and may be done in a proportional dimension.



The 1st Seminar of the [in]visible project grounded a diverse set of theoretical possibilities to think about the exercise of illustration as an identity discursive practice and a place to face the critical complexity imposed on contemporary art education.

The illustration of 1st-year middle school textbooks, constituting a device from which the visual regimes of universality and singularity emerge as cultural texts in struggle, put us before the need to question belonging to a space considered consensual, certain, rational and expectable.

If on the one hand, we witnessed a somewhat contradictory logic about the expectations of textbook illustration pointed out by illustrators, editors, and researchers, on the other hand, it is at the expense of this same logic that the research team found questionings now anchored in a work of analysis and critical interpretation of our investigative assumptions. How can we decolonize stereotypes outside the mechanisms of narrative stereotyping? Given the conditions imposed by textbook editors on illustrators, how can the exercise of illustration emerge as a power of agency, a reconstructor of realities, capable of challenging the grammar of normalization? And how can the educational act, focusing on the specificity of childhood, critically subvert the instrumentalization of cultural differences at school?

Also: in what way does the gesture of illustrating a textbook, which is a gesture of making discourse, in what way, in this gesture that is simultaneously unique and communal, establish a craft beyond the informative and expressive? And from what naturalizations are our current discourses in art education produced in the face of the visual and cognitive capitalism of images in circulation in the lucrative world of learning?

Seeing the Invisible, the 1st Seminar of our project, established in us new formations of commitment, whose theoretical concerns came to transform the area of action of the [in]visible into a territory open to the production of knowledge within the tensions between illustration, counter-hegemonic practices and educational experience. 

Paulo Nogueira (CIIE/i2ADS)

This exposition is funded exclusively by national funds through the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology within the project «2022.05056.PTDC»