The 11th Illustration Research symposium was hosted by Kingston School of Art in February 2021 in the first wholly online Illustration Research event. To celebrate the publishing of the landmark book Illustration Research Methods (Gannon and Fauchon, 2021) this year’s Illustration symposium called education into focus. The theme of the conference took a particular critical position - as the traditional role of the illustrator ‘for hire’ diminishes and Illustration practices become ever more chimera-like, the current high demand for illustration courses raises important questions around how we educate a future generation of illustrators and make known their value to employers, collaborators and commissioners, outside of the ‘bubble’ of academic study. We know that the case for criticality in the subject is urgent.

The symposia incorporated presentations from over 70 international academics, professional practitioners and recent graduates as well as a virtual poster forum and an exhibition showcase. 800+ registered to attend the event, making this the largest Illustration research gathering globally. The conference hosted the launch of illustration educators an international network for those who have an interest in the education of illustrators.

As conference organisers, we will guest edit the subsequent two issues of the affiliated Journal of Illustration, drawing from the symposium presentations.