Elizabeth Dulemba

“living life outside the lines”

My research is entitled Tricksters, Witches, and Warriors: Rewriting a Patriarchal Narrative in Children’s Fantasy Literature. My supervisors are Dr Maureen Farrell, Professor Bob Davies and Dr Rob Maslen.

I’m a mature student, so I am already on my post-graduation path, teaching as Associate Professor of Illustration, currently at Winthrop University in South Carolina (US) and at Hollins University in Virginia in the summers (also US). I continue to write and illustrate children’s books. My latest just came out: On Eagle Cove written by Jane Yolen. Teacup will come out in 2021 under the pseudonym “Bae Broughton” (the street I lived on in Edinburgh). I just sent a storyboard collaboration with Jane Yolen off to my agent, The Lady Leaves. And I plan to do another round of edits on the novel attached to my thesis, Two Lies and a Truth, before I send it to my agent. I’m hoping to focus on an academic text with Karen Coats of Cambridge University: What is Heart Art? What Makes an Illustration Resonate? I’ll also be speaking at the University of British Columbia Children’s Lit symposium this summer where I had two papers accepted (one academic and one creative), and was invited to give two keynotes on “Transitions” at Hollins U this summer as well. Mostly, I hope graduation ceremonies will take place this summer, as I want to fly over to walk around old campus in flowy robes followed by bagpipes! So, I’m keeping pretty busy!

The PhD has changed my life. It has made me a much more desirable hiring candidate and helped secure a higher salary. There are very few illustrators with PhDs in the US, so I am becoming somewhat of an anomaly and specialist in my field. People seem to regard me as an expert and are coming to me with speaking/teaching requests. I expect these to increase once I am officially “Dr. Dulemba.” I would like to position myself as the next Martin Salisbury, as he is the only illustrator that I know of who regularly publishes and worked in academia (he is now mostly retired). He leaves a gap that needs filling in our industry. Few children’s lit academics have a solid footing in illustration – most are focused on the writing and academia because that’s what they are. They simply don’t expound upon the language of illustration to the degree I think they should (Perry Nodelman is an exception). Someone needs to be talking about that side of these books with confidence. I suppose that will be me!

My PhD has changed me completely. I think differently now. I am much more discerning and sceptical of information, where it comes from, and how conclusions are reached. I have a confidence that I did not have before, partly because I deeply understand so much more than I did, but also because I have a better awareness of what it takes to truly know a topic, what questions to ask, how to seek out information, and (perhaps most importantly) how to have realistic expectations of what one person can know and when to ask for help and lean on support from others. As such, it has changed me personally, but it has also changed the way (some) people react to me. I am assumed to be an expert, which is lovely, but also intimidating and carries great responsibility that I do not bear lightly. I never could have imagined how profoundly this experience would transform me.

The first outstanding memory of my time at the University of Glasgow are my colleagues that I shared an office with in the School of Education. We bonded and still talk online in a private FB group we set up, or we Zoom. Even during Covid-19, now that we are spread back out around the world, we stay in touch. I also adore my supervisors – I truly won the supervisory lottery. They have been brilliant, funny, supportive, and are completely dear to me. They are extremely busy people, so I will sincerely miss our supervisory meetings and hope to stay in touch with them. They have been wonderful.