Applied Comics Collaborations

three comics creators working with a researcher

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Applied Comics Collaborations is 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 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.

This pilot phase is funded by the ESRC IAA ABC fund (Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Accelerating Business Collaboration) at Newcastle University.


Applied Comics Collaborations 1: Love and Marriage

love and marriage draft extracts


Comics creators:

Raksha’s research found out about the spectrum of arranged marriage practices among British Indians in the North East of England. Her forthcoming book Learning to Love: Arranged marriages and the British Asian diaspora will share this with an academic audience, and making a comic could help share the same research with a wider audience – especially as a resource for young people making choices about their own relationships.

Hannah, Jim and Mark joined this project as experienced comics creators. Individually, they each made a rough first draft of a comic based on Raksha’s research. Together, the whole team developed these ideas further, navigating the detail – and potential risk of stereotyping – in representing the deliberations and negotiations undertaken by individuals and families. Within the team we found ways to tell an intergenerational story about relationships that became stronger through working together.

‘Working with experts has always ended up with a better comic than I could’ve done on my own. Working together we found the centre of the project, in thinking about both content and audience’ (Hannah)

‘This was more engaged, more intensive than other collaborative comics work I’ve done. We were all kind of equal within this relationship’ (Jim)

‘This was different to my work with a regular collaborator on fiction comics – it was good to subsume yourself to what you’re trying to get across with no agenda or ego, just to get the researcher’s content across’ (Mark)

‘This was fantastic, really enjoyable and eye-opening. I’ve worked collaboratively before in writing grants and papers, but this approach to creative collaboration was different. We all wanted to do something together, and with a bit of moderation and structure we found ways to do it.’ (Raksha)



Applied Comics Collaborations 2: coming soon!

Applied Comics Collaborations 3: coming a bit later but still reasonably soon in the grand scheme of things!