British Comics Rock! Conference announced for June 2012

After a successful two years at Manchester Metropolitan University, the next International Comics Conference is heading to the seaside next year and the call for papers has just been announced

The Third International Comics Conference: ‘Comics Rock!’ will take place at Bournemouth University on 28-29th June 2012. Organised by Studies in Comics and the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, the team are now inviting proposals for papers, posters and workshops on:

• Comics and Education (Thursday 28th June 2012) 
Including the first UK screening of Todd Kent’s film Comic Book Literacy (which was Best Documentary Winner at Phoenix Comicon 2010) and additional speakers tbc.

There is an increased interest in using and teaching the comics medium in schools, colleges and universities.  There is also an increasing use of comics in support of other areas of the school curriculum.  However, there are also many challenges for teachers regarding how to use and teach comics in the context of schools and they often have to contend with continuing perceptions of the medium as problematic.  Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of the increased use of the medium in school settings and libraries are often instrumental in initiating reading groups.

Papers are invited that discuss any aspect of comics in education, including but not limited to the following:

  • teaching comics at various levels and within different disciplines, e.g. issues, theories, effects, current debates
  • using comics to support specific elements of the curriculum (e.g. Raymond Briggs’ Ethel and Ernest in relation to English history)
  • comics, graphic novels and manga used laterally e.g. manga as a way of learning about elements of Japanese culture, or superheroes in PSHE; or using titles in a range of languages to encourage reading for pleasure; or Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland as local history
  •  using comics to support literacy development (history, practice and controversies)
  • comics in school libraries and classroom collections e.g. wider reading, reading for pleasure
  • school and library manga and graphic novel reading groups
  • children and young peoples’ awards for graphic novels and manga run through schools and libraries e.g. the Stan Lee Excelsior award
  • creating comics, e.g. as assessment (formative or summative), or elsewhere in the curriculum (from short strips to publications like Fool’s Gold, a school project from Dearne High Specialist Humanities College in Rotherham that produced a book available for purchase – see review here)
  • the use of comics-related software in the classroom e.g. Comic Life
  • Studying comics as comics, e.g. approaches to graphic novels and manga, illustration, writing, the practice/theory crossover, history, notions of canon and so forth
  • educational and online resources, e.g. availability, usefulness, other associated issues (The Maryland Comic Book Initiative, S.A.N.E., Comics in the Classroom)
  • associations and forums, e.g. their structure, purpose, strategies (America’s National Association of Comic Art Educators, The Comix Scholars List, The UK Comics Scholars List)

Comics and Multi-Modal Adaptation (Friday 29th June 2012) 
Keynote industry speakers tbc.

Adaptations seem to saturate the mass media and this conference will examine recent debates focusing on comics.  The most prevalent comics adaptations are those of the superhero; whose emphasis on spectacle and special effects seem especially attractive to film and television companies.
However, in her Theory of Adaptation, Linda Hutcheon proposes we think beyond the originality of an adaptation and instead regard adaptation as a central issue within storytelling.  The adaptation can then be located within the contexts of its production, reception, and the constraints and possibilities of media forms.
This conference aims to take the debate beyond superhero movies by focusing on other genres and media and examining some of the more unusual aspects of adaptation.

Suggested topics include:

  • comics and film, e.g. autobiography (American Splendor, Persepolis), drama (A History of Violence), history, documentary, biography
  • adaptations of comics from and to other media, e.g. comic to video game
  • historic adaptations, e.g. the output of Gold Key and Dell
  • fairytale adaptations, e.g. Fables, The Unwritten
  • new ways of promoting or pitching a story, e.g. the use of comics as a way into film and television (30 Days of Night)
  • audience experiences of the adapted text, e.g. the effects of primacy and familiarity, experiencing the adaptation before or after the source text
  • adaptation as a creative act
  • responses to an adaptation, e.g. fans, creators (Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman’s criticisms of Hollywood adaptations), writers, artists
  • tropes and devices incorporated into comics, e.g. Choose your own Adventure, pop-ups
  • use of a comics aesthetic in other media
  •  comparative studies, e.g. in contrasting representations of icons (Walk the Line versus Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness)

Please contact with expressions of interest (initial deadline for paper proposals is 31 December 2011). Visit the conference website at for details of deadlines, updates, early bird ticket prices, keynote speakers, journal subscription offers, and much much more…

Categories: Comics Education News, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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1 reply

  1. Thanks for posting!

    In addition, David Lloyd (Kickback, V for Vendetta) and Steve Marchant (The Cartoonist’s Workshop) are now confirmed as our keynote speakers for the Education day, and will be talking about their Cartoon Classroom project (

    Hope to see as many people as possible there!

    Julia Round

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