Amy Goodwin

Student, Arts University Bournemouth & Plymouth University

Amy Goodwin

Amy Goodwin

Reframing & Showcasing Archival Research as Illustrative Practice: A Critique


Embedded within fairground heritage my upbringing has established an appreciation for its rich history, reflected in my practice which blends traditional signwriting and illustrative storytelling. My Practice-Led PhD re-establishes the identities of five fairground females through the construction of an archive as illustrated space. This critically developed system exists as a development of thinking where illustration may be used as a tool in the archive, demonstrating how illustration research can contribute to the expansion of the historical record.

Part of the Practice-Led PhD utilised the method of illustration research as practice to demonstrate how new findings, collated from both archival and oral history research, could be both creatively and analytically communicated. This concept evolves critic Kenneth Goldsmith’s suggestion that artists show their research material as work, instead of the work itself, through considering stances from Christopher Frayling, Henk Borgdorff and Carole Gray. A premise of this method was to demonstrate how illustrative practitioners can consider and evolve their approach to organising and redeploying the (archival) material they intend to creatively reconstruct or reframe, by showcasing their illustration research as practice.

This paper will be used as a platform to:

  • discuss how a method for practice-led illustration was created in order to produce visual works which document research findings.
  • critique the illustration research as practice exhibition to determine how the visual outcomes, with regard to the field of illustration, exist as a three-dimensional archive
  • demonstrate how a practitioner is afforded possibilities to foreground their archival research within illustration contexts.


Dr. Amy Goodwin is a traditional signwriter and lecturer. Her work is heavily inspired by her upbringing travelling steam fairgrounds in the West Country, and she now works to commission in the fairground, circus and heritage industries. This craft-based practice is complemented by her work on BA Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and the University of Plymouth.

In 2020 Amy was awarded a Practice-Led PhD from Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). She is currently working towards a solo-exhibition at Cecil Sharp House, London, to be installed in April 2021.