Dialectic: Call for Submissions

A Call for Submissions for Possible Publication in the Next Issue of Dialectic (v3, I1), the Scholarly Journal of the AIGA Design Educators Community

Authors are invited to submit works for the FIFTH issue (volume 3, issue 1) of Dialectic, a biannual journal devoted to the critical and creative examination of issues that affect design education, research, and inquiry. Michigan Publishing, the hub of scholarly publishing at the University of Michigan, is publishing Dialectic on behalf of the AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC). The fifth issue will be published between August 13 and September 10, 2021. The deadline for full versions of papers and visual narratives written and/or designed that meet Dialectic Issue 05’s categorical descriptions (see below) is: 5:00 pm CDT, Friday, April 9, 2021.

Dialectic’s fifth issue seeks papers and visual narratives that critically examine, interrogate or reveal how and why design processes informed by various aspects of making have affected (or should affect) the workings of complex systems wherein people “actively participate in generating the content and quality of [their] experiences.” (excerpted from Armstrong, H., Blume, M., Chochinov, A., Davis, M. et al “The AIGA Designer of 2025,” published by AIGA, NY, NY, USA, 2017). Papers and visual narratives that explore design’s evolution from being rooted in the making of artifacts and messages to its expansion into making more human-centered endeavors rooted in experiences, services, interactions and even public policies are welcomed. Submissions are also encouraged that effectively document how design processes can or should affect collaborations that involve broadly informed, egalitarian conversations-cum-collaborations.

Within the theme described above, Dialectic’s fifth issue also seeks to publish work that explores what the near-future of design research, scholarship and educational inquiry should or could possibly achieve (and why). In this context, “near-future” specifies the span of time that begins with our target publication date of the late summer of this year—2021—and the late summer of 2025 (or sooner). Contextual frameworks for what will be published in our fifth issue could include, but are not limited to, 

  • the effects of recent, globally ubiquitous events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-cultural, economic and public policy ramifications, 
  • recent political paradigm shifts in countries on each continent save Antarctica, 
  • calls to re-imagine and re-shape a broad amalgam of social, technological, economic, environmental and political issues and conditions within and across many of the world’s societies to make them more diverse and inclusive, and
  • what—if anything—design research scholarship and education can do to address the growing threat of global warming and its many consequences.  

Dialectic’s Editorial Board hopes that AIGA DEC “SHIFT” and “MAKE” conference attendees will consider submitting papers based on their conference presentations and Proceedings publications. We also invite other design educators, researchers and practitioners from around the world who wish to share scholarship, research or criticism that aligns with the themes described above to submit their work for possible publication in our fifth issue. These include, but are not limited to, members of the Design Research Society and/or presenters at their recent conferences and events, members of Cumulus and/or presenters at their recent conferences and events, members of the Interaction Design Association and/or presenters at their recent conferences and events,
and members of the User Experience Professional Association and/or presenters at their recent
conferences and events.   

Authors planning to contribute to this issue are reminded that their work should be framed in one of the submission types described in the “categorical descriptions” section that appears later in this communiqué. All submitters are hereby notified that all work we publish MUST satisfy our editorial guidelines (https://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dialectic/policies-guidelines), and MUST ABIDE BY FORMAL PARAMETERS SUCH AS WORD COUNTS (see below). Prospective authors should note that submissions that require extensive, line-by-line editing will be rejected!

Each piece that Dialectic will publish must be based on fundamentally sound scholarship and inquiry, and be written or designed so that is broadly accessible, and be focused on topics relevant to our audiences. 

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Dialectic’s web address for submissions:


Submitters are hereby advised to peruse the contents of the entire Dialectic website to ensure that their submissions meet ALL of Dialectic’s criteria for publication BEFORE they submit work for consideration. Reading the rest of this communiqué CAREFULLY and THOROUGHLY is also STRONGLY encouraged.

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Dialectic’s past issues are FREELY available to anyone with electricity and an internet connection (and a functional computing device and a web browser) at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dialectic/past-issues

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All submissions to Dialectic MUST be made through the “Janeway” website hosted by Michigan Publishing listed above. Please DO NOT attempt to send any type of submission as an e-mail attachment to any of Dialectic’s Editorial Board members, its Producer, its AIGA DEC liaisons, or members of its Advisory Committee (doing this will cause your submission to be rejected). Instructions for formatting ALL types of submissions are embedded (per category) in this Janeway website. Submissions that are NOT formatted according to these instructions will be rejected. All submissions must be created in keeping with the editorial policy of Dialectic, which is articulated here: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dialectic/policies-guidelines.

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Categorical descriptions of the type of content Dialectic publishes

Dialectic will publish visual essays/narratives and papers that satisfy the following categorical descriptions:

Original visual essays/visually based narratives/visual storytelling: Dialectic invites submissions from designers or teams of designers that are comprised primarily or solely of imagery (photography and/or illustrations), typographic structures, “type-as-image,” or some combination of these that visually communicate one or more types of narrative/storytelling. The logistical criteria specified in the “Submission Instructions” section of the Dialectic website (https://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dialectic/submit) must be met (re: image resolutions, physical sizes, bleeds, etc.), and submissions that are assessed by the Editorial Board and/or external reviewers to be visually compelling and conceptually provocative will be considered for publication, pending the availability of page space in a given issue.

Research papers (3,000 to 6,500 words): These articles will recount how designers and design teams 1) identified a situation that was problematic, 2) formulated and operated research to understand the various factors, conditions and people involved that were affecting the situation, and then 3) used their analysis of the data gathered from this research to guide design decision-making toward improving this situation. This type of writing should be grounded in evidentiary processes and a viable theoretical approach, and should clearly explicate a hypothesis, as well as posit and support a methodology and some form of a measurable data set. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 6,500 words will be rejected.

Long-form case study reports or case series reports (3,000 to 6,500 words): These articles will describe how a particular person, group, project, event, experience or situation has been studied and analyzed, using one or more methods, during a specific span of time. These contributions should posit insights that exist as logical subsets of a larger category, and that are at least tangentially generalizable to this category. A case series report collectively describes how a group of individuals have responded to a particular type of treatment, experience or interaction. They can be used (for example) to help analyze and assess the responses of a cross-section of individual users to one or more iterations of an interface design, or an environmental graphics or wayfinding system, or a series of data visualizations. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 6,500 words will be rejected.

Position papers (2,000 to 4,500 words): These essays will present the readership of Dialectic with an opinion—of the author, or of a specified group of people or organization—about an issue or set of issues in a way or ways that make particular values and the belief systems that guide them known. Poorly structured and extended argumentative prose will be rejected; submissions in this category that exceed 4,500 words will be rejected. 

Design criticism (as long-form essays of between 2,000 and 3,000 words): The goal of these pieces is to critically analyze design decision-making, and the affects that making and using what has been designed have on the operation and evolution of social, technological, economic, environmental and political systems. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 3,000 words will be rejected.

Reviews of books, exhibitions, conferences, etc. (750 to 1,500 words): These shorter articles are written to critically analyze the efficacy of the structure, content, style, and relative merit of their particular subjects in ways that combine the author’s personal reactions and arguments to it with his/her assessment of how effectively it fulfilled or failed in its purpose. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 1,500 words will be rejected.

Survey papers (2,000 to 3,000 words): These pieces are written to clearly summarize, organize, and analyze a select, topical grouping of scholarly articles, research papers, or case studies in a way that integrates and adds to the understanding of the work in a given discipline or field of study. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 3,000 words will be rejected.

Theoretical speculations (3,000 to 6,500 words): These contributions will consist of attempts by their authors to explain a particular phenomenon, set of circumstances, or situational construct based on their ability to utilize observations rather than hard evidence to fuel speculative thoughts and suppositions. These contributions should be grounded in a viable paradigm, or use theory as a viable justification for what has been observed, and should be internally coherent and advance logical conclusions. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 6,500 words will be rejected.

Editorial responses from Dialectic readers (750 to 1,200 words): Dialectic encourages its readers to submit critical responses to specific articles, editorials, or visual pieces that have been published in previous issues. Authors are also welcome to write within this category to bring any issues that they believe are pertinent to the attention of Dialectic’s readership. Editorial commentary relative to specific published articles and pieces will be sent to their author(s) so they can respond. Please note: submissions in this category that exceed 6,500 words will be rejected.

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Important dates

The deadline for full versions of papers and visual narratives written and/or designed that meet Dialectic Issue 05’s categorical descriptions is: 5:00 pm CST, Friday, April 23, 2021.

Initial/Desk reviews of submissions to Dialectic Issue 05 complete: April 30, 2021

External reviews of submission to Dialectic Issue 05 complete: June 4, 2018

Authors responses/revisions to external reviewers’ suggestions re: their manuscripts due: July 9, 2021

Dialectic Issue 05 published: August 13–September 10, 2021

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Dialectic’s managing editor:
Keith M. Owens, The University of North Texas

Dialectic’s producer and co-managing editor:
Michael R. Gibson, The University of North Texas

Dialectic’s editorial board:
Keith M. Owens, The University of North Texas
Heather Corcoran, Washington University at St. Louis
Kenneth FitzGerald, Old Dominion University
Deborah Littlejohn, North Carolina State University

AIGA national staff liaison:
Lee-Sean Huang, AIGA National HQ, New York, New York

Dialectic’s principal designer:
Laura Rossi Garcia

Dialectic’s AIGA Design Educators Community liaisons:
Meaghan Dee, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Meena Khalili, University of South Carolina
Liese Zahabi, University of New Hampshire

Dialectic’s advisory committee:
Brockett Horne, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Ann McDonald, Northeastern University
Elizabeth Resnick, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt)
Holly Willis, The University of Southern California

By aigaeducators
Published March 10, 2021
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