London’s City Interaction Lab releases free “A Day in Lockdown”, a COVID-19 Response comic

Just launched online is a free comic in both English and Spanish entitled A Day in Lockdown, a COVID-19 Response four-page comic depicting a day in the life of a family with a child with a disability during the first UK Lockdown in 2020.

The opening page of A Day in Lockdown, a COVID-19 Response Comic
The opening page of A Day in Lockdown, a COVID-19 Response Comic

The comic was developed between February and April 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, co-designed with a print comic book format in mind but intended for free digital distribution.

Since the comic tells the story of a London family of Latin American background, the comic is also available in Spanish. It’s a rather lovely spotlight on 24 hours in pandemic-imposed isolation, and worth a look.

Co-designed and edited by Francisco de la Mora, Dr Ernesto Priego and Stuart Scott, with art and story by Francisco de la Mora, A Day in Lockdown is part of a series of comics resulting from autoethnographic, participatory narrative co- design methods and produced as an output of the City Interaction Lab, Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London.

Dr Priego, who led the team, has researched comics since the early 1990s. As a researcher based at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, he explores the role of comics as narrative, conceptual and speculative design tools and applies user-centred, participatory co-design methods to the creation of comics within public health or social interest domains.

A Day in Lockdown follows Community Matters: Please Be Kind, another COVID-19 Response Comic by de la Mora and Priego released in May 2020, focusing on an individual’s experience of social distancing measures in the context of visual impairment in the UK.

City, University of London's Dr Ernesto Priego collaborates with blind illustrator in response to COVID-19 accessibility appeal. Created by Dr Ernesto Priego, Francisco de la Mora and Hugh Huddy
City, University of London’s Dr Ernesto Priego collaborates with blind illustrator in response to COVID-19 accessibility appeal. Created by Dr Ernesto Priego, Francisco de la Mora and Hugh Huddy

A motivation for these COVID-19 Response comics was the April 2020 creative brief from the United Nations, particularly addressing the “Key Messages”, including “physical distancing” and “kindness contagion” (United Nations 2020). The work on these COVID-19 Response comics has been led by Dr Ernesto Priego, researcher at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design at City, University of London.

As a comic, “A Day in Lockdown” is idiosyncratic and subjective; it is based on the personal experience of a London family during the first lockdown, and it does not intend to represent everyone’s experiences nor to make any generalisations. Principles of biographical and documentary comics and autofiction were followed, and ethical guidelines were followed within the iterative participatory design process, including reader-testing and the incorporation of their feedback throughout the life cycle of the project.

In the spirit of open access and open science, “A Day in Lockdown” has been licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, allowing reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creators.

The Day in Lockdown comic is available to download from City Research Online here in English | Spanish

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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