CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Public Journal of Imaging America


Special Issue: Digital Engagements – When the Virtual Gets Real

Now accepting one-page proposals at
Full submissions accepted August 1, 2016 – February 1, 2017 via the OJS submission portal.

For this special issue of PUBLIC, we invite artists, activists, designers, and scholars to explore the potential of digital technologies and practices to inspire creative, interactive, collaborative work for public engagement and the pursuit of social justice. The issue asks how engagement–the affective and embodied knowledges people gain in their everyday lives–can animate our virtual lives.

Technologically enhanced projects–digital archives and scholarship, social practice art, site specific installations, performance-based technologies, mobile applications, social media, and emerging experimental forms–are often touted as the new public commons. But how are artists, designers, and scholars committed to civic engagement creating virtual spaces that are interactive, a necessary condition for publicly engaged arts and scholarship?

We know the bad news. Virtual spaces have been hit by cyber-bullies–“Gamergate” is just one example. Digital access can be blocked by commercial gate-keeping. Gender, class, age, and other differences impact access to technology. What are the alternatives? Social media connects artists, academics, activists, and a broad public across the globe. Visualizations cut across language communities. This special issue of PUBLIC seeks to document, question, reflect upon, and advance projects in the digital arts and humanities that are designed not simply to be “in public” but also to engage diverse audiences and inspire collective action.

Possible Topics

We invite contributors to discuss the impact of projects that embody “digital engagements,” moving beyond description to the value, limitations, and potential impact of projects and practices. To suggest a few of the innumerable questions the issue might address– How can technologies activate diverse audiences, muster and support communities, and promote democratic practices? What new forms of collaboration are emerging in digital work? When does technology inhibit, change, or inspire cross sector partnerships–including campus/community partnerships–and how are artists, designers, and scholars tackling those obstacles? How are people from rural areas, inner cities, and developing regions participating in digital arts and humanities projects? How are artists, activists, scholars, designers, and developers overcoming social, economic, and technical obstacles? We also welcome projects focused on innovative research methods, syllabi, assignments, et cetera, at any level and proposals for reviews of studies, sites, art works or installations, conferences, blogs, etc. More generally, how do the resources and limits of virtuality change the assumptions and practices of artists, designers, and humanists?


Submissions can take diverse forms as long as they are linked to the theme of the issue. For example, discussions of principles and practices might be critical pieces in multiple media, single or collaboratively authored, narrative or interview format. Reflective case studies might link to online projects that ask what “engagement” means practically and philosophically in existing projects. Feel free to propose experimental or collaborative formats that capture your work most vividly. We can accept a wide variety of formats for consideration; if you have any questions, please contact the guest and design editors.

Submission Process

We are currently accepting one-page description of the topic and format you are considering. Please email proposals to  Full submissions are due February 1, 2017 for peer review through our online submission portal at The guest editor and design editors will work with authors of accepted submissions through a process of revision and digital design in preparation for publication.

Contact guest editor Teresa Mangum ( if you have questions or submit proposals directly to