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.
The FaSMEd project invited us to work with children at George Stephenson High School in Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, as part of their larger European research project. Their team is investigating Raising Achievement through Formative Assessment in Science and Mathematics Education – working with teachers on new-style maths and science lessons.
What does all that have to do with comics? We set up a lunchtime comics club, making comics as a way to reflect on these new-style lessons. Each child planned and made their own one-page comic, presented as part of an anthology with more information on what FaSMEd is about.
Here’s what the FaSMEd team wrote about this mini project in their newsletter:
“Research at its very best is all about trying out new ideas and the team at Newcastle University have been trialling an innovative approach to eliciting the views of students who take part in research projects. Over a period of 4 months eight students, who had taken part in FaSMEd maths lessons, worked with the Newcastle team and Lydia Wysocki, researcher, and founder of Applied Comics Etc. During weekly lunchtime sessions the students learnt about comic making and then used this knowledge to create their own individual comic strip. They were asked to choose an aspect of their FaSMEd maths lessons that they had found interesting and enjoyable and use this as the focus for their work. The final comic strips were then put together in one comic which also included contextualising information i.e. examples of the maths activities, images of the comic making process as well as quotes from the students about their views of the FaSMEd activities.
On Tuesday 21st June 2016 the printed comics were presented to the students, their maths teacher Jen Heslop and the Deputy Head Teacher Tracey Anderson. The delight and pride of the students at seeing their work published was clear to see and they all took the opportunity to take home several copies to show their families.”
For this project we worked with the Thomas Baker Brown Archive, Newcastle University Library Special Collections Education Outreach team, and artist-writer Terry Wiley.
Thomas Baker Brown was a man from North Shields, Tyne & Wear, who served as a signaller in World War I. His son donated his archive to Newcastle University Special Collections, and we have used the letters, documents, and artefacts in the archive to better understand his WWI story as a ‘typical Tommy’ from our local area.
Thomas’ story forms the heart of this project. His archive includes original comics
from WWI, so we used comics as a method to help local high school students understand how archives help us write history. Visit the True War Stories education outreach webpage to read and download free comics:
- True War Stories No.1: Thomas Baker Brown, a 12-page biographical comic written and drawn by Terry Wiley
- Draw More Comics: The Thomas Baker Brown World War I Comics Anthology, an anthology of local students’ comics based on archive materials
- downloadable panel templates, archive resources packs, and a how to draw guide to use alone or with students
Newspapers, websites, and documentaries love using graphs, symbols, and pictures to present information. We delivered a workshop for Newcastle Libraries about understanding what makes good, bad, and misleading infographics. We explored what comics can teach us about combining words and pictures, and challenged participants to make their own own good (or evil) infographics.
We led a workshop for scientists, researchers, physical/digital makers, and artists who took part in the Science Collider run by Sparks North East . Collaborators arrived not knowing what data they’d be playing with or who their teammates would be. We focussed on how comics could help them get started and keep things on track, and provided a workbook to keep things on track.
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: