Big Pictures: Murals, Billboards, and Urban Interventions - Conference

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Call for Papers
January 16, 2023 to March 30, 2023
British Columbia, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies, Fine Arts, Communication, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Call for Submissions ~
Big Pictures: Murals, Billboards + Urban Interventions Conference

May 5 to 7, 2023
Wilson School of Design, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Richmond / Vancouver, BC 


Big Pictures: Murals, Billboards, and Urban Interventions is a conference of art and design taking place at the Wilson School of Design at KPU, Richmond, and in venues around Vancouver, BC from May 5–7, 2023.

The prevalence of imagery in the built environment plays a meaningful role in our experience of urban space. The nature of that imagery — the content depicted, colours contrasted against sky or concrete, text displayed to sell, alert, or inspire — all works to construct how we understand the values and expectations of our surroundings. Who gets to create that imagery? What narratives and voices are amplified?

What opportunities and interactions can be created through big pictures, subversions, or interventions? With keynote speakers, presentation panels, and digital projects, this conference aims to bring together multiple disciplinary approaches including advertising and graphic design; visual culture and criticism; architecture and urban studies; augmented and virtual reality; and public art practices. Presenters from a wide range of creative and academic focuses, as well as practitioners from related industries are invited to share work in this inclusive, dynamic environment.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to tour Vancouver murals, billboards and urban interventions, including works presented as part of Capture Photography Festival and Vancouver Mural Festival.

Submission Guidelines

In January, we will be opening submissions for 300-word proposals presenting projects or research for our in-person panels. In addition, we welcome pre-recorded digital submissions of project-based work. These will be projected during the conference, as well as available for viewing on the Big Pictures website. Video submissions should be a maximum of 5 minutes in duration.

January 16, 2023
Submissions open

February 17, 2023
Deadline for proposals (Round 1)

March 2023
Deadline for proposals TBD (Round 2)

Potential Themes

  • Festivals, exhibitions, and inspiring interactivity
  • Decolonizing urban space, images and indigenization
  • Urban interventions and community building
  • Creating a sense of place, local voices and collaborative projects
  • Billboards, advertising, and imagery that sells
  • Screens, projections and transitory visuals
  • Heritage, personal narrative, collective memory
  • Media and augmented reality projects in the built environment
  • Architecture and unexpected imagery
  • Messages in neon, signage, and text installations
  • Living walls and immersive landscape
  • Placemaking through Play
  • Making data visible
  • Activating temporary and transitional public spaces

For more information and to join our mailing list, please email:

Conference contacts: Erin Ashenhurst and Carley Hodgkinson, Faculty, Wilson School of Design @KPU


At Kwantlen Polytechnic University, we work, study, and live in a region south of the Fraser River which overlaps with the unceded traditional and ancestral lands of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem peoples.

Wilson School of Design @KPU
5600 Kwantlen Street, Richmond BC
Located at Lansdowne Station on the Canada Line Skytrain between Vancouver Airport (YVR) and Vancouver City Centre

The Wilson School of Design is fully accessible