Applied Comics Collaborations: Ways for humanities and social science researchers to work together with comics creators is a new, free comic which offers advice exactly as stated in its title, from Applied Comics, created by Lydia Wysocki with Adam and Lisa Murphy, building on a team project over the past year.
For those who came in late, applied comics are comics with a specific job to do. Think of an aeroplane safety card. It uses words and pictures to communicate step by step information to readers who are unlikely to read a health and safety manual. Now, instead of aeroplane safety, think of any other complex information. Instead of a folded card, think of any other print or digital publication.
With that in mind, Applied Comics make terrific comics that communicate specific information and they have done some brilliant stuff, including My MRI! Informing children about MRI scan procedures, Strike comics, comics made as part of industrial action (making strike comics is probably the greatest form of political cartooning), the Spineless: The Newcastle Science Comic, and much much more.
Applied Comics Collaborations is all about working together to make good and useful comics. In each project, three comics creators work with one academic researcher to make one collaborative draft of a comic, aiming to agree a way through the multiple possible ways of making a comic that communicates specific information to a target audience.
Each project ends with a draft comic that the researcher can then take forward towards a plan for further work.
The new how-to guide comic – available as a digital download, and in print on request, too – was made by Lydia Wysocki with Adam and Lisa Murphy, with Carol Moxam also on board as an advisor.
This pilot phase was funded by the ESRC IAA ABC fund (Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Accelerating Business Collaboration) at Newcastle University.
“This comic sets out a model of collaboration for researchers and comics creators to work together in making applied comics – comics with a specific job to do – especially in humanities and social science research,” Lydia explains. “By working as a team and focusing on a draft, we’ve been able to explore multiple possibilities before committing to final artwork.
“This opens the possibility for new ways of working that emphasise building the trust needed to do critical and sensitive work, incremental approaches to doing ambitious and rigorous work in a time of uncertainty, making meaningful new connections, and acknowledging the realities of how people make creative work.
“This is the first time we’ve set up a way for you to request a free print copy of one of our comics,” Lydia reveals. “We’d usually be getting out and about at in-person events, so we’re trying a way to keep that same spirit of sharing. The comics are free (including postage), while stocks last. We’ll post you two comics: one for you, and the second is for you to give to someone else. So you get a free comic (yay!), and you get a warm fuzzy feeling that you are helping to spread the word about our ACC project in a safe and physically-distanced way (double yay!).”
• Check out Applied Comics Collaborations: Ways for humanities and social science researchers to work together with comics creators by Lydia Wysocki, Adam Murphy, and Lisa Murphy,here: ppliedcomicsetc.com/collaborations