Hugely talented comic creators Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec are applying for a grant to upgrade and professionalise their terrific web site Graphic Medicine – and they need your help.
Ian Williams, a physician and artist from North Wales, started Graphic Medicine in 2007 – a project that has gone on to see the development of numerous Graphic Medicine conferences, put together with international colleagues, and the release of numerous Graphic Medicine books.
The title “graphic medicine” is a handy term to denote the role that comics can play in the study and delivery of healthcare.
Now based in Brighton, physician, comics artist and writer Ian Williams took postgraduate studies in fine art and then an MA in medical humanities after training in medicine. He’s taught at both medical schools and art schools and written book chapters, scholarly papers for various journals and articles for broadsheet newspapers.
He started making comics under the nom de plume Thom Ferrier in 2007 but have since reverted to using his real name. His fantastic, thought-provoking and funny debut graphic novel, The Bad Doctor, was published in June 2014 by Myriad Editions.
In 2012 Ian joined forces with MK Czerwiec, RN, MA to upgrade and relaunch GraphicMedicine.org, amalgamating part of MK’s site which hosted the Graphic Medicine Podcasts and conference information. MK, whose clinical experience is in HIV/AIDS and hospice care, has been making comics under the pseudonym Comic Nurse since 2000.
In 2009 she received an MA in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern Feinberg Medical School, where she then served as Artist in Residence.
“The faculty there has consistently been supportive and encouraging of my work,” she says on the Graphic Medicine site. “Catherine Belling and I developed a seminar called ‘Drawing Medicine’ for M1 and M2 students, and I teach it each winter.”
MK presented her work and teaching in comics and medicine at the first Graphic Medicine conference in London in 2010, where she met Ian, Susan Squier, Michael Green, and Brian Fies who together we organized the second Graphic Medicine conference in Chicago in 2010, which was generously supported by the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern Feinberg Medical School.
She currently co-writes for the Graphic Medicine website, hosts the Graphic Medicine podcast and is currently working on other Graphic Medicine-related projects and teaching.
“We run Graphic Medicine as a labour of love, and, although we have gratefully received sponsorship in the past to cover web hosting and maintenance, it costs us in time and money to keep it going,” Ian explains, “and we are both increasingly busy with freelance work, which is what keeps a roof over our respective heads.
“We rely on the good will of guest reviewers and bloggers to contribute without reward, or in exchange for a review copy of a graphic novel, and we would like to remedy this and pay community members for generating copy.”
As part of the application Ian and MK need to demonstrate the importance of the website, so they need your words.
How has Graphic Medicine contributed to your understanding/ enjoyment/ interest of all things comics and medicine?
If you haven’t already (why not?) check out the site at www.graphicmedicine.org and send one or two quotable lines, ASAP, to ianATgraphicmedicine.org
“Don’t think too hard,” says Ian, “just say what you feel.”