Academic Life – Professor Alan Male

Academic Life

Teaching and Scholarship

“I have worked for many years in higher education, originally as a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at the Faculty of Art and Design, Cornwall College, England and then for nineteen years as Head and Leader of the Illustration Programme, Falmouth University. During this time, I expanded and developed the undergraduate course to become one of the most reputable in visual arts and communication with an international reputation for excellence, distinguished alumni, a recurrent roster of awards, an increasing level of demand and a continuous vindication from industry.

A specific aspect of my academic directorship facilitated a non-discriminatory approach to visual language along with a contextually inclusive and multi-disciplinary framework that exemplified the porous and cognate nature of the creative, media and communication industry. I also introduced creative writing as an important feature of the syllabus.

Another major aspect of my teaching philosophy underpinned the currency of employability as a proactive element within the curriculum, fully evidenced by the breadth and quality of student achievement and by the growing and eminent alumni. Specific initiatives included an outward-facing national and international reach and collaboration with industry and other institutions. This involved integrated, curricular and assessable final year Professional Practice visits to New York, London and other appropriate venues.

Another initiative was the publication of a programme specific illustrated themed source book; commended by industry it provides a showcase for the work of graduating students, the programme and institution.

In recognition of my international research, authorship, exhibitions and awards profile, my academic and strategic leadership and contributions to the life and work of the university I was conferred Professor of Illustration, January 2009. Upon leaving the institution in December 2015, I was awarded Emeritus Professorship of Falmouth University. My Inaugural Professorial Lecture was presented on the 26 November, 2009 and was entitled On the Visualization of Species: A Natural Selection of Original Expositions into the Evolution of Life through Illustration”.

A set of BA(Hons) Illustration, Falmouth University illustrated themed source books



The Retrospective Exhibition of Illustration Alumni from Falmouth University, Illustration Cupboard, London, 2011



Education: Ambition and Education: An article published in the international magazine Eye, concerning “polymathic” approaches to curricula and syllabi for illustration and visual communication. The Polymath Principal has featured in most books, journal articles and keynote lectures by Alan Male.



Invited Keynote Presentations and Guest Lectures

  • ‘Research: The Future for Teaching Illustration’
    Bi-Annual Education Symposium, Society of Illustrators, New York 9 Oct 2010
  • ‘Illustration, Authorship and the Polymath Principle’
    CONFIA- First International Conference on Illustration and Animation, Ofir, Portugal, 01 Dec 2012. Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave
  • ‘The Power and Influence of Illustration: A Future Perspective’
    CONFIA- Third International Conference on Illustration and Animation, Braga, Portugal, 11 April 2015. Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave
  • ‘Dangerous Precedents: Freedom of Expression or Censorship and Discrimination’
    Illustrating Identities: Illustration Research Network International Conference,
    University of Lorraine, France, 09 Nov 2017
  • ‘Books about Illustration: Conception, Authorship and Publication’
    CONFIA- Seventh International Conference on Illustration and Animation, Viana do Castelo, Portugal, 15 June 2019
  • ‘The Precious High Ground versus Unpretentious Reality: The Conflict Between Fine Art and the Applied Arts’
    Fifth Annual International Conference, Society of Paragone Studies: Rivalry in the Arts, Manchester Art Gallery, England 23 Sept 2016
  • ‘Illustrating Prehistory: The Visual Reconstruction of Previously Unknown Species’
    ‘Illustrating Non-Fiction Books for Children’
    ‘Effective Promotion for the Illustrator’
    Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Annual Conference, University of Denver, Colorado, USA, Aug 2003
  • ‘Illustration, Authorship and the Polymath Principle’
    New York University, Fashion Institute of Technology, USA 28 Oct 2013

Chaired Panel Event: Bloomsbury Institute in Collaboration with the London Design Festival. Invited Speaker and Panelist
‘Design as a Force for Social Change: Can Design Change the World and should it?’
London, 25 September 2017



Delivering an invited lecture at CONFIA, Seventh International Conference on Illustration and Animation.
‘Books About Illustration: Conception, Authorship and Publication’
Viana do Castelo, Portugal, 15 June 2019