*Visible Language Special Issue*
Call for Papers
Submissions open: *1 June 2022*
Submissions due for desk-review: *1st January 2023*
Completed manuscript drafts due for peer-review: *15* *January 2023*
Final manuscript due for publication: *15* *February 2023*
Technologies and more recently, digital technologies, shape the ways in which we communicate. However, with the onset of COVID-19, key sectors like education and healthcare were required to re-evaluate how traditional services and communication models were delivered and to find different ways to remain connected. In many ways this has opened a door to a range of possibilities for communication models, and what has become apparent is just how important reliable and robust communication systems are for the wellbeing of people and societies.
For this special edition, we explore how we might shape future communication in form and structure by considering the opportunities afforded to us by digital and technological networks. Evolving environments and technologies are reshaping sectors like medicine and healthcare,
transport, and education and revealing the importance of connection to the network, but more importantly to each other. It is digital networks that provide us with the means to connect widely and more deeply, and which can keep us safer and improve our wellbeing. However, heavy reliance on digital technologies comes with risk and may introduce new or expand the existing
barriers they seek to dismantle. In this light, critical discussion is necessary about how Communication Futures that are technologically enabled can, and should, be shaped. What seems relatively clear is that approaches to the design of Communication Futures that are people focused and participatory are an opportunity to provide more inclusive and equitable access to communication methods and materials. They are also a means to intentionally connect people and groups that may be marginalised or that experience marginalisation as a result of exclusionary communication systems, practices, and networks.
We invite manuscripts that explore Communication Futures by discussing where they could go, challenging the directions they are going, and/or unpacking the evidence we have, or do not have, to inform responses.
Submissions may evaluate existing methods and systems for communication, report new experimental data, or evaluate the application for use of emerging technologies and communication platforms. They might explore the translation of big data or how information is shared, how people use visual communication within physical and networked environments, the role of visual communication in machine learning and artificial intelligence, or the value of simulations and virtual / augmented realities in communication systems.
We encourage submissions of long papers of up to 6,000 words and short papers not of more than 3,000 words. Long papers will be Research Reports that document new experimental data or evidence, or they will be Informed Hypotheses that present novel, meaningful, useful, and applicable theories for communication by building on existing evidence and/or existing theoretical knowledge – including knowledge from fields outside design. Short papers in the form of Theoretical Hypothesis may be more speculative and present a critical argument for Communication Futures that specify particular gaps in knowledge and point to needed research. Topics may include, but are not limited to, explorations of verbal and/or nonverbal communication systems, changing reading activities and environments, or the wider application of communication systems and technologies in sectors such as education, healthcare, or transport.
It is impossible to escape discussions of the impact of COVID-19; however, we would like to note that this Special Edition does not aim to focus on communication outcomes resulting from adaptation to the COVID-19 world specifically. It does not exclude them, but we think this context has forced a way of seeing that presents an opportunity to rethink and implement new communication experiences. It is these futures we aim to explore here.
Both long and short submissions should present research rigour, detailed methods for data collection and analysis, and evidenced outcomes. *Visible Language* guidelines can be found at
Please submit full papers via the *Visible Language* submission portal:
When submitting an article, please use the Section dropdown menu to indicate ‘Special Issue Article: Communication Futures (April 2023)’.