We are delighted to announce that Diagrams 2021 will have five outstanding Keynote speakers. These include two speakers who could not deliver their Keynote presentations in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and we are especially pleased that they are available for Diagrams 2021.

Diagrams 2021 will also include an Inspirational Early Career Researcher Invited Talk. The invitation to deliver this talk is reserved for an active Diagrams researcher, within approximately ten years of their PhD, who has demonstrable potential to be a major leadership force within the community. The Inspirational ECR talk will feature as part of the Graduate Symposium and be open to the entire Diagrams delegation.

Our Keynote speakers are Shaaron Ainsworth, Daniel Rosenberg, Katharina Scheiter, Atsushi Shimojima, and Frederik Stjernfelt. The Inspirational ECR speaker is Francesco Bellucci.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Shaaron Ainsworth, University of Nottingham

Shaaron Ainsworth is a Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Her background is in Psychology, AI and Cognitive Science and her present appointment is in the School of Education. Her research interests centre on representational learning as she tries to understand how interacting with representations develops understanding at every level (neuronal to cultural) and every time scale (millisecond to millennium).

Talk:  Why and How Should we Draw to Learn

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in asking learners to draw diagrams for themselves. There is good evidence that it can be an effective way to enhance learning in many domains. However, most studies have focussed on a narrow range of pedagogical practices. In this talk, I argue that to move the practice of drawing to learn forward, it is crucial to develop a synthetic theoretical framework that understands learning at multiple timescales (from the millisecond to millennium ) and levels (from the neuron to the society). In so doing, it leads to considering a wide range of purposes for drawing that influence what learners should be asked to create (a quick sketch, a formal diagram, a graph), when they should do so (e.g., before, during, or after studying), and whether and how their products should be assessed? It considers if everyone can draw to learn and what help they may need to succeed. In evidencing these points, I will draw on studies in diverse disciplines (chemistry, physics, fashion design, medicine, and story-telling) with participants aged six to sixty, in formal and informal education, working singly and collaboratively and with devices that includes pencils and digital tools. I’ll end with open questions about what we don’t yet know about drawing diagrams to learn.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Daniel Rosenberg, University of Oregon

Daniel Rosenberg is Professor of History at the University of Oregon. His publications include Cartographies of Time (Princeton Architectural Press) and Histories of the Future (Duke University Press). He is also editor-at-large at Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture. His awards include fellowships from Stanford Humanities Center, ACLS, and NEH. Professor Rosenberg writes on a broad array of topics ranging from art to technology. His current work focuses on the history of data.

Talk: Mapping Time

Diagrams are historical objects. We can analyze them as visual tools, but we can also study them to understand their moment. In this talk, I examine the history of one of the most consequential and enduring diagrammatic forms of the modern period, the straight, measured timeline. Though ubiquitous today, this visual device is of remarkably recent vintage, dating only to the middle of the eighteenth century. Its story helps us understand at once the revolution in historical ideas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the revolution in visual methods in the same period that initiated the modern era of infographics.


Keynote Speaker: Professor Katharina Scheiter, University of Tübingen

Katharina Scheiter is head of the Multiple Representations Lab at the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (Knowledge Media Research Center, IWM) and full professor for Empirical Research on Learning and Instruction at the University of Tübingen in Germany. She investigates cognitive processes underlying learning from multiple representations as well as means of supporting these processes. Results from this research are used to design digital resources for education. Katharina is Co-Director of the LEAD Graduate School and Research Network (Learning, Educational Achievement, and Life Course Development; GSC 1028).

 Talk:  Learning from visual displays: processes and interventions

In education, visual displays are ubiquitously used to teach students. Visual displays typically consist of multiple representations such as combinations of written explanations and illustrations (e.g., diagrams, pictures, animations, or simulations). I will refer to three potentials of visual displays for education, which are particularly relevant in many STEM domains: representing visuo-spatial information (visualization), enabling interaction with real-world phenomena (exploration), and augmenting phenomena beyond the observable (abstraction). To help students learn from visual displays, it is necessary to understand the learning processes that are linked to student achievement. In my talk, I will present studies that investigated said learning processes using eye tracking, log file analyses, and verbal protocols for different types of visual displays. A main finding of these studies is that learners often fail to apply effective learning processes spontaneously. Understanding these learning processes builds the basis for developing at least two types of support aimed at fostering their use: First, the design of the visual display can be optimized so that it will nudge students in applying helpful processes during learning. Second, trainings or processing prompts can be used to convey knowledge on learning processes and promote their application during learning from visual displays. In my talk, I will provide examples for both intervention approaches as regards their development and application in education.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Atsushi Shimojima, Doshisha University

Since he wrote his doctoral thesis in 1995, Atsushi’s research interest has always been in the cognitive functions of diagrammatic representations. His approach is largely semantic, investigating the characteristic ways diagrams carry information, as opposed to the ways linguistic representations do so. He authored the book Semantic Properties of Diagrams and Their Cognitive Potentials (CSLI Publications, 2015). He is currently professor and dean of Faculty of Culture and Information at Doshisha University, Japan.

Talk: A Philosophical View of Fundamental Properties of Diagrams

I will discuss systems of diagrams that may seem ridiculously simple but, in my thought, have some of fundamental properties of more complex graphical systems. These systems serve as an illustration of these properties themselves and, hopefully, of a general account of why they are fundamental to graphical systems. The properties in question are the potential of free rides, over-specificity, and auto-consistency. The account is an extension of that given in Shimojima (2015) and work in progress with Dave Barker-Plummer. According to it, additional meaning relations hold in a diagrammatic system as logical consequence of its basic semantic conventions. Under these additional meaning relations, information is carried by properties of diagrams other than those designated in basic semantic conventions, and different ways in which these additional meaning carriers are related to basic meaning carriers are the basis of what we call the “proxy logic” in that system and account for the three fundamental properties.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Frederik Stjernfelt, Aalborg University Copenhagen

Frederik Stjernfelt is a Full Professor of semiotics, history of ideas and philosophy of science at  Aalborg University Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Danish Society for Science and Letters.  His post-doctoral dissertation Diagrammatology appeared 2007. He has worked intensively on Peircean semiotics and philosophy of logic. Other interests include the intellectual history of the Enlightenment, most recently a 2020 two-vol. work on the Danish “Press Freedom Period” 1770-73 (with historians U.Langen and H.Horstbøll).

Talk: Diagrams and Dicisigns – the interrelations of Peirce’s doctrines of propositions and diagrammatical reasoning

Famously, Peirce ascribed to diagrams a very central role in his philosophy and semiotics. Mathematics is possible only by the manipulation of diagrams, and simultaneously all deductive reasoning is taking place by means of diagrams. This implies, of course, that wherever, in the special sciences, in applied sciences and everyday reasoning where deduction takes place, mathematical diagrams, simple or complex, are at work.

But reasoning, deductive or not, has to do with truth-preserving derivation of propositions. How does that square with diagrams? This paper makes the claim that diagrams form stylized iconic predicates of propositions. A corollary of this is that diagrams in use are typically involved in propositions, that is in stating some truth about some state-of-affairs, indicated by the addition of subject indices to the diagram. This Peircean idea I shall discuss with a number of examples.

Inspirational ECR Speaker: Professor Francesco Bellucci, University of Bologna

Francesco Bellucci (born 1983) has a PhD in Semiotics (University of Siena, 2012) and is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Bologna. He has worked at the Tallinn University of Technology between 2013 and 2017. His work focuses on Peirce, the history of semiotics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of notation. His recent publications include Peirce’s Speculative Grammar (Routledge, 2017) and Charles S. Peirce. Selected Writings on Semiotics 1894–1912 (De Gruyter, 2020).

Talk:  What is a Logical Diagram?

Diagrams have been systematically used for the representation of logical relations and inferences since the 17th century and even earlier. But what is a logical diagram? I think we have a pre-theoretical intuition of what a logical diagram is but no scientific definition of it. In this talk I suggest that in order to provide a definition of “logical diagram” we should adopt the following method: we first determine objective criteria or parameters that differentiate logical languages in general, independently of whether they have been or are considered diagrammatic; if then languages are found which we pre-theoretically classify as diagrammatic which exhibit some properties, we make the hypothesis that those properties somehow characterize logical diagrams. I explain what I mean with “objective criteria” (I mean criteria that have something to do with what is representable in the language) and offer two instances of properties that I think characterize diagrams. These are: i) non-linearity; the linearity/non-linearity divide is “objective” in my sense (linear languages differ from non-linear in what they allow to be represented); ii) occurrence-referentiality; the type/occurrence-referentiality divide is also “objective” in my sense (type-referential languages differ from occurrence-referential ones in what they allow to be represented). I explain that occurrence-referentiality, as I define it, comes in two varieties (at the predicate/class level, and at the quantificational level), and I argue that languages that we pre-theoretically tend to regard as logical diagrams are both non-linear and occurrence-referential at some level of analysis.