Cholera Commotions

“Cholera is like tourists: they come, they annoy us, then they leave.”

Cholera Commotions is a comics anthology collaboration created by Berwick Academy students, Northumberland Archives, Museums Northumberland, Applied Comics Etc, Newcastle University and Printspot.

The anthology was created over three days in summer 2018 as part of a Learning Arc: Archives Education Group project. We began by exploring archive materials – and a nearby graveyard – to find about the history of cholera in Berwick upon Tweed. By day two we started planning a comics anthology to share this history with a teen/young adult audience, then on day three we created final artwork ready to be setup by Printspot’s graphic designer. Berwick Academy students made decisions at each stage of the project.

Come to our Cholera Commotions launch events as part of Berwick Literary Festival:
  • ‘From Cholera To Comic’ talk by Linda Bankier, Jane Miller, and Lydia Wysocki. Fri 19th Oct, 4-5pm, Holy Trinity Parish Centre, Berwick upon Tweed 
  • Cholera Commotions exhibition of artwork, The Guildhall, Berwick upon Tweed

List of chapters:

  1. Pablo’s Problem by Joe and Albie
  2. Bizarre Cures for Cholera by Katie and Amy
  3. Ode to Maysie by Aimee, Emily, and Jaimee
  4. CSI Berwick by Bobby, Jessica, and Alex
  5. From Lonely to Dead by Rebecca and Kaitlyn
  6. True or False by Jessica and Alex
  7. Curse of Queen Cholera by Abi, Jen, and Charley

Thank you to everyone who helped make this comic:

  • Abi, Aimee, Albie, Alex, Amy, Bobby, Charley, Emily, Jaimee, Jennifer, Jessica, Joe, Kaitlyn, Katie, Rebecca and Mr Bosanquet from Berwick Academy
  • Linda from Northumberland Archives, Jane from Museums Northumberland, and Helen (volunteer)
  • Lydia from Applied Comics Etc
  • Ulrike, Sara, Gillian, and Lindsey from Newcastle University
  • Kevin from Printspot




Group exhibition ‘Idea of North’ (2018)

Our comics are on show in BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art as part of Idea of North, a curated exhibition as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. The exhibition is on until 30th Sept 2018. Head to the far left corner of the big gallery on level 4 to see:

It is super exciting to have our work on the wall of such a prestigious gallery. High fives to all at BALTIC for their support in making this happen.

DIY Comic (2017)

We worked with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books in preparation for their 2017 exhibition Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art at Seven Stories.

Overall, the exhibition features process and final artwork by a mix of old and new comics creators, with a huge focus on supporting children to make their own comics. Our contribution was in two parts:

  • designing and making the DIY comic, a ‘have a go’  for young visitors to use in the gallery and take home to continue making their own comics (see more here) (free download of the DIY comic, notes for adults, and gallery guide activities on the Seven Stories website)
  • working with the Learning and Participation team at Seven Stories to develop workshops to be delivered in-house as part of their schools and public offers, and training Seven Stories’ front of house Storycatcher staff to deliver these.

Exhibition: The science of comics (2013)

To celebrate the launch of Asteroid Belter we curated a dual-site exhibition. In Newcastle City Library we focussed on the science of how comics are made, with original artwork and process pages from our contributors and our young Science FACT-ion competition winners. At Newcastle University we took a closer look at some of the scientific objects – ancient fossils, gory samples, and shrunken polystyrene cups – that helped inspire comics in Asteroid Belter.

Newcastle Science Comic (2012, ongoing)

Newcastle Science Comic is our heading for all things science + comics: Asteroid Belter, Science FACT-ion, The Science of Comics exhibitions, and other workshops.  We sometimes still do projects as Newcastle Science Comic, but we’re not only Newcastle Science Comic.

Since 2012 we’ve broadened our horizons to include other subject areas.  We began with Newcastle Science Comic so it’ll always have a special place in our comics collections.  Hearts.  In our hearts.

Academic publications about Newcastle Science Comic: