Visual Rhetoric in the Art and Design College 4Cs 2010 (St Louis)

full name / name of organization: 
Susanna Kelly Engbers/Kendal College of Art and Design
contact email: 

Visual Rhetoric in the Art and Design College

Taking "gateway" as its key metaphor, the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication invites us to consider the ways in which various modes of communication are "becoming new rhetorical and informational gateways." Visual communication is one such mode that most composition instructors in 2012 are dealing with in some fashion, but for those of us who teach rhetoric and writing at art and design colleges, this process is particularly complex.

On the one hand, as specialists in rhetoric and composition, many of us are teaching students about visual rhetoric—either as elements of first-year composition courses or in stand-alone courses on the topic. On the other hand, our students are budding experts in creating visual communication (usually not called rhetoric, even if the term would be apt) in their various disciplines--graphic design, painting, interior design, photography, and so on. And, generally speaking, those of us in rhetoric and composition speak another language than those in the visual disciplines, despite the fact that we share so much common terrain. As a result, we miss out on some fruitful connections.

This panel is for teachers of rhetoric and composition at art and/or design colleges who are interested in the relationship between our field (visual rhetoric in particular, or rhetoric/composition generally) and the fields of our art/design colleagues and students.

Papers on this panel might address theoretical questions such as:

  • What are some of the salient philosophical connections between the teaching of art/design and the teaching of visual rhetoric/composition?
  • In what ways might more common ground be mined between the teaching of art and design and the teaching of visual rhetoric?
  • and so on

Or papers might focus on more pragmatic questions of pedagogy and/or politics at your institution. For example:

  • As a faculty member at an art and design college, how do you approach the teaching of writing and rhetoric?
  • What unique assignments do you have for this population of students?
  • What particular challenges or accomplishments have you seen at your institution insofar as the teaching of rhetoric/composition?
  • and so on

Please email a brief CV and 200-word proposal to Susanna Kelly Engbers, Kendall College of Art and Design ( by May 5.