Ms Mireille Fauchon

Research project: Parallel Narratives: Interpreting Vernacular Histories through Participatory Illustration Practice.


This practice-based research seeks to establish narrative illustration as a transferable social research tool through which to explore sociocultural narratives.

Here illustration practice is defined as a holistic process including a series of strategic research methods, creative outcomes and dissemination to various audiences. The research will define a discipline specific methodology situating the illustrator in the role of a subjective researcher, interpreter and raconteur.

Research interests lie in how storytelling is used to aid understanding of lived experiences – to enable us to ‘make sense' and negotiate ourselves in relation to others and our surrounding as well as our positioning within wider social contexts.

Rather than the grand historical narrative it has always been the anecdotal or ‘vernacular' history that has compelled; the informal story that belies the experience of the everyday.

The intention is to explore how and why specific knowledge is preserved, what is deemed to be worthy of documentation and how this information is then archived and utilised. Common themes include extraordinary lived experiences, particularly female narratives, within seemingly mundane or familiar locations, usually urban or residential areas.

Archival research features prominently within this study. The specificity of the specialist or local heritage centre is also pertinent as this research is site specific exploring how lived experiences are understood and recorded within that locality. This research project also explores how illustration, through participatory workshops can facilitate engagement and contribute to the developments of archival collections.

Having been applied to a series of case studies the research will from now on be focused around one archival collection; the papers of Suffragette Katie Gliddon held by The Women's Collection at the L.S.E, specifically the Prison Diary describing a period of detainment in Holloway prison where she was imprisoned due to her involvement in the mass window smashing demonstration of 1912.

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: Parallel Narratives: Interpreting Vernacular Histories through Participatory Illustration Practice.
  • Research supervisors:


I am an illustrator and educator. I have presented and published papers internationally about contemporary illustration and have taught widely in higher education and am currently visiting lecturer on the M.A Communication programme at The Royal College of Art. My creative practice is concerned with narrative illustration as a tool through which to describe and share social narratives. I often work on location specific projects working in response to personal and anecdotal histories usually with the support of local heritage organisations. As part of my research I have worked in collaboration with the Wandsworth Heritage Service, Croydon Museum and Bishopsgate Institute. Heavily informed by literature and I often publish illustrative interpretations of poetry and short stories. In 2011, I illustrated The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope as part of the Four Corners Books Familiars Series. I am currently the commissioning illustration editor for the literary journal Ambit.

Areas of research interest

  • narrative illustration
  • social history
  • archival interpretation
  • participatory illustration practice
  • narrative theory
  • design ethnography
  • heritage studies


  • M.A Communication Art & Design, Royal College of Art London
  • B.A Graphic Design, Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Funding or awards received

  • London Doctoral Design Centre (LDoc) award, AHRC


Fauchon, M. (2017) 'A trial of women', Journal of Illustration, 4 (2), pp. 153-171.

Conference papers

(selected conference and symposium presentations)


A Tryal of Witches: Isolation and the Other within Lowestoft's Narrative Landscape

Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration, Illustration Research Symposium, Edinburgh College of Art


The Priory Tunnels

‘Theoretical Architectal Group (T.A.G) Conference',

University of Southampton

Blessed Land: Legacy and loss within Lowestoft's Narrative Landscape

‘Poppets, pins and power: the craft of cursing',

The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic, Boscastle

Sugar Sugar Bitter Sweet Tales

‘Illustrating Identity/ies' ies', IDEA, Illustr4tio and Illustration Research Network,

Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France.

The Illustrator in the Archive,

‘Artists in Archives; For Interest Only',

Digital Women's Archive North [DWAN], International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester


The Manifesto for Illustration Pedagogy: A Lexicon for Contemporary Illustration Practice.

ICON The Illustration Conference, Detroit, MI, USA