Presenting at HCID Open Day 2018: On Comics and Collaborative Art Practice as Human-Computer Interaction Methodology

The HCID Open Day 2018 is a mini conference on Friday 4th May run by the Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design (HCID) at City, University of London.

The theme for this year will be ‘Beyond the Screen’ and will focus on designing non screen based interactions, exploring technology that has made the jump from science fiction into reality and how UX thinking can be used for more than just interfaces.

I will present at the HCID Open Day 2018 as part of the knowledge exchange and impact activities around the Parables of Care project. My presentation is titled Meaningful Patterns: Comics and Collaborative Art Practice as HCI Research.’

Recent research has explored the use of collaborative art practice as a Human-Computer Interaction methodology (Kang et al 2014 and 2018; Benford et al 2013; Brynjarsdyttir et al 2013). In this talk I will describe how the Parables of Care project is employing collaborative comics-making as a user-centred methodology as a means to collect and disseminate data, reflect, design and propose strategies for dementia care.

I worked in partnership with Dr Simon Grennan of the University of Chester, Dr Peter Wilkins of Douglas College, Vancouver, Canada, an NHS Trust, and colleagues from HCID, leading the team to produce Parables of Care, that uses comics as a medium to evoke the kind of de-structured and re-structured experience of time that is akin to dementia, to illness, ageing and caring.

Register here:

Hashtags: ;

Parables of Care is a project of the Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London, The University of Chester, UK, and Douglas College, Vancouver, Canada.

Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from City Research Online:

If you live in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

CFP: Comics and Medicine: The Ways We Work (August 16-18, 2018, Vermont)

Call for Papers: Comics and Medicine: The Ways We Work

August 16-18, 2018; White River Junction, Vermont

Via Dr Ian Williams, Graphic Medicine


This year’s Comics and Medicine Conference invites participants to share and reflect upon how graphic medicine works.

In the context of health and its relationship to comics, “work” can refer to a number of activities: the work of medical and related professionals; the functioning of our bodies and minds; the creation or study of artistic and educational materials; the study of the archive or images/texts; work with reader communities; and the organization of collaborative community health efforts. The spaces in which “work” takes place provide another point of reflection: public healthcare centers, classrooms, home studios, private clinics, libraries, and bedsides.

In this relatively new interdisciplinary field, we hope to document and refine—from our various perspectives and experiences—the territory where cartooning and health care intersect.

We invite the submission of a wide variety of abstracts focusing on health, medicine, and comics in any form (e.g. graphic novels and memoir, comic strips, manga, mini comics, webcomics) that examine or showcase topics including, but not limited to:

 • the use of comics and cartooning for clinical interventions and teaching

• navigating institutional headwinds

• addressing time constraints to creative work

• professional development and engagement with graphic medicine

• access to funding sources

• establishing productive collaborative relationships

• planning and completing graphic medicine projects

• engaging communities of care

• work in the context of disability justice and advocacy

• representing the ‘work’ of bodies with relation to diagnosis and treatment

• unseen labor in treatment and care

• spaces of creative production

• creative labor and the tools of graphic medicine

• outcome and efficacy research


Presentation Formats – please read closely as these descriptions have changed.

  • Lightning talks: These 5-minute presentations should provide an engaging and concentrated synopsis of new, ongoing, or completed scholarly, creative, or professional work in Graphic Medicine. This format is designed with the promotion of sustained conversation in mind. 
  • Oral presentations: These 15-20 minute presentations are largely for collaborative,interdisciplinary, or other work that requires and engages a longer presentation format.
  • Panel discussions: These 90-minute interviews or presentations by a panel of speakers are meant to address a single topic from a variety of perspectives.
  • Workshops: These 90-minute, hands-on, activity-driven sessions are for participants who wish to obtain particular skills with regard to comics. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
  • drawing for health 101
  • accessing personal stories
  • comics and storytelling
  • mini-comic tutorial

Proposal abstracts should not exceed 300 words and may be submitted in Word or PDF format. Please include the following information in this order:

• author(s)
• affiliation
• email address
• phone number
• title of abstract
• body of abstract
• sample images or web links to work being discussed (if applicable)
• presentation format preference (see options above)
• equipment needed (e.g. AV projection, whiteboard, easel, etc.)

Proposals should be submitted by January 30, 2018 to:

Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be completed by the week of March 15. While we cannot guarantee that presenters will receive their first choice of presentation format, we will attempt to honor preferences, and we will acknowledge the receipt of all proposals.

Please note: Presenters are responsible for costs associated with their session (e.g. handouts and supplies) and personal expenses (travel, hotel, and registration fees). All presenters must register for the conference. Discounted rates and some limited scholarships will be available for students, artists, and others in need.

Via Dr Ian Williams, Graphic Medicine

#ELPUB2018: Deadline Extended to 31 January


Deadline for submission of extended abstracts for full papers and other
presentations is being extended to 31 January 2018.

International Conference on Electronic Publishing 2018 (ELPUB)
Connecting the Knowledge Commons: From Projects to Sustainable
June 22-24, 2018
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Full disclosure: I am a member of the programme committee.

ELPUB 2018 marks the 22nd edition of the International Conference in ELectronic PUBlishing and the 10th anniversary of the meeting being held in Toronto.

For over two decades, ELPUB has featured research and innovations in digital publishing, with a focus on transforming the nature of scholarly communication. The conference has attracted a diverse international community of librarians, developers, publishers, entrepreneurs, administrators and researchers across the disciplines in the sciences and the humanities.

The theme for ELPUB 2018 is Connecting the Knowledge Commons: From Projects to Sustainable Infrastructure. The question of sustainability in the open access movement has been widely debated, but satisfactory answers and long term solutions have yet to be generated.

Market-driven versions of open access and open science are growing in prevalence, as well as a growing dependence on commercial publishers for the infrastructures needed to openly and democratically create and communicate knowledge.

This year¹s theme challenges us to collaborate on the design and implementation of a sustainable community-driven research communication infrastructure that is also inclusive of diverse forms of knowledge making and sharing.

The conference program committee invites contributions from members of the community whose research and experiments are focused on sustainability models for community based open infrastructure, trust and governance of the Knowledge Commons, and transforming the nature of scholarly communications.

If you are interested in sharing your research, ideas, and tools that contribute to the theme or just join in the discussion, please consider participating!

Learn more about the scope of the conference at:

Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up to date on the latest conference
news: or Follow us on Twitter @elpub_conf.

Conference Co-chairs
Leslie Chan <>
Pierre Mounier <>

HCID Research Seminar: Making Parables of Care

Simon Grennan, Disposession

HCID Research Seminar: Making Parables of Care – Presenting creative responses to dementia care in comic book form

Friday 17 November 2017, 1:00-1:50 PM, A214

Dr Simon Grennan (University of Chester) will present at the HCID Research Seminar series at City, University of London (College Building, Room A214) tomorrow Friday 17 November at 1pm.

All welcome. If you are not a member of City, University of London and would like to join us for this seminar, please contact for further details.

This seminar will discuss the practical rationale, theorisation and production of Parables of Care, a new 16-page colour comic book, which presents creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers, derived from a group of existing case studies available at

Parables of Care is an impact project of the Centre for HCID, City, University of London, the University of Chester and Douglas College, Canada. Distributed as free hard copies and a free download to carers and those engaged in debates about dementia care, the book investigates the ways in which specific habits of reading comics can be activated in order to engage readers emotionally, as well as informatively, concerning the challenges of caring for people with dementia.

Full info at

If you are not a member of City, University of London and would like to join us for this seminar, please contact for further details.

Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from City Research Online:

If you live in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

“Access/Accès”: #DH2017, Montreal, 8-11 August 2017 Tweetage Volume Charts

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 12.03.36

#DH2017 starts today in Montreal.  The theme is “Access/Accès”. Details in the hyperlink. I wish I were there!

I am sure the tweetage will exceed the limits of my poor Google spreadsheet, but as it’s become kind of customary I am attempting to collect as many tweets with the conference hashtag as possible.

Using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS, here’s what the archive looks like as of 6:35:05 AM Montreal time of the first official day (8 August 2017):

Archive for #DH2017, Top Tweeters and 3 day activity, 6:35:05 of day one Montreal time

As of 9 August 2017, 6:11:33 AM Montreal time

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 11.19.25

As of 10 August 2017, 6:07:45 AM Montreal time

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 11.13.54

As of 11 August 2017, 7:12:46 AM Montreal time

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 12.30.08

As of 12 August 2017, 03:11:57 AM Montreal time. (I would have liked to take this screenshot later but I would not be online at that time. Considering the conference had finished by then it will do),

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 08.44.15

As of 13 August 2017, 05:50:54 AM Montreal time

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 11.16.34

On 9 August do note the hashtag went nuclear being spammed, particularly with  annoying ‘trending topics’ tweets, so data could do with some refining. However it does not look, at a quick glance, that spamming was serious. With more time further on and once I have closed the collection I could take a closer look and give an indication of the extent of the spamming. In any case please note as always the counts I am presenting are merely indicative, numbers are not meant to be taken at face value and no inherent quality or value judgements should be inferred from the volumes reported.

As I often state the data presented is the result of the collection methods employed, different methods are likely to present different results.

Note that this time only tweets from users with at least 10 followers are being collected. For the purpose of the archive, retweets count as tweets (this means not every tweet contains ‘original’ content).

It has been assumed that those scholars or scholarly organisations tweeting publicly from public accounts at very high volumes from an international conference do expect to get noticed by the international community for for their tweetage with the hashtag and therefore are giving implicit consent to get noted by said community for scholarly purposes; if anyone opposes to their username appearing in one of the ‘Top Tweeters’ bar charts above please let me know and I can anonymise their username retrospectively if that helps.

This is the first year I manage to archive a more or less complete set. On the one hand it helps that TAGS has improved, that I was able to be collecting and monitoring the collection in real time, and that I set the limit of a minumum of 10 followers for accounts to be collected. It also helped I did not start collecting to far back in advance as I sometimes have done.

I will be depositing a dataset of Tweet ID’s and timestamps, which is the source data for the charts embedded here, next week.

Speaking of “Access/Accès”, here’s a recent post I wrote about access and license types in a set of articles from the Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. In case you missed it (you probably did), it might be of interest given this year’s theme.



Untangling Academic Publishing: Key Recommendations for Universities and Academics

Fragment from the cover design of 'Untangling Academic Publishing' (Fyfe et al 2017)
Fragment from the artwork on the cover design of ‘Untangling Academic Publishing’ (Fyfe et al 2017)

The report ‘Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research’ (Fyfe et al 2017) has been published today.

It’s available for all to download, share and reuse under a CC-BY license from the open access repository Zenodo:

Fyfe, A., et al. (2017), Untangling Academic Publishing: a history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research

The 26-page report is a very welcome addition to the ever-growing evidence-based literature documenting the need for academics to enhance the fairer dissemination of their research work and to reclaim and redistribute ownership of academic content from for-profit publishers.

A significant contribution of this report is its historical perspective. The report shows how the business and practice of academic publishing has changed since the late 19th century, which serves as the basis to discuss how in spite of new technologies, publishing models and cultures have been relatively slow to change. It is particularly important that the report, having provided a thoroughly documented historical account of the transformations of scholarly publishing, presents clear and decisive recommendations for key stakeholders such as the government, research agencies, university leaders, learned societies and academics.

Personally, I cannot but be pleased that the recommendations the report makes to university leaders and academics are very similar to points I (and of course others) have made previously in different occasions, myself most recently during a presentation and debate on 20 April 2017 at Roma Tre University.

I hope that everyone interested in scholarly publishing reads the complete report, but I would like to copy and paste below a selection of the recommendations that I believe we should all work harder to communicate (and, of course, actively embrace) within our own professional and disciplinary networks:

To University leaders

  • Universities should revise their recognition and reward processes to relieve sta from the pressures associated with journal-based metrics (Signing the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment can serve as a clear signal of intent in this regard, empowering staff to challenge the status quo). These revised processes will give staff increased confidence that their work will be judged on its own merits. In this way universities will enable their academics to take fuller advantage of publisher offerings that combine rigorous peer review with increased speed and value for money
  • University leaders should introduce measures (such as the UK Scholarly Communications Licence) to ensure that the copyright in academic work is retained by its creator, rather than being transferred in toto to third-party organisations. This is an appropriate rebalancing that will allow researchers to assume greater responsibility in the dissemination of the fruits of their work
  • University leaders should recognise that, as employers, they are the funders of a large proportion of research in the arts and humanities; with fewer and fewer publishers remaining in the academic book market, universities should shoulder the responsibility for making academic work in those fields known more widely

(Fyfe et al 2017:19)

To the trustees, directors and o cers of mission-driven or discipline-based learned societies (and other representatives of disciplinary scholarly communities):

  • Learned societies should facilitate discussion and greater awareness among their members about the relationship between academic prestige, the publishing industry, and the circulation of knowledge. To inform such discussions, annual reports should explain the organisation’s rationale for the pricing of its book and journals, and how this is justified by the organisation’s mission
  • Societies that co-publish journals or book series with third-parties should reflect on whether the mission and business strategy of the co-publisher is a good fit for the society’s scholarly mission
  • Disciplinary communities should embrace the opportunities for more rapid and widespread circulation of research offered by pre-print servers (such as arXiv and bioRxiv ), and online mega-journals
  • Learned societies should open discussions with other societies with similar interests, both in the UK and internationally, to consider whether pooling resources could enable the creation of a low-cost, sustainable, online and non-profit-driven model of academic publishing

To academics:

  • Those serving as editors of journals and book series, or on editorial boards, should reflect on the ownership and mission of the publishers they are working for, and consider whether they are helping to get the best value for their discipline by serving in these roles
  • In setting up new journals or book series, academics should seek to work with mission-driven, non- profit-oriented publishers or online platforms
  • Senior research leaders should leverage their accumulated prestige to enable their more junior co- workers to balance rigour, speed and value for money in their publishing choices
  • Academics should not sign copyright transfer forms that would give ownership to a profit-oriented publisher if a licence to publish can be granted instead


(Fyfe et al 2017:20)


The report will be launched this evening at the British Academy in London.



Fyfe, Aileen, Coate, Kelly, Curry, Stephen, Lawson, Stuart, Moxham, Noah, & Røstvik, Camilla Mørk. (2017). Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research. Zenodo.

Pint of Science: Comics, Humans and Technology in the Pub! 16 May 2017

I am pleased to announce I will participate at the following Pint of Science event:

Humans and technology: in life and in death

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Doors open 6.30 PM, Event 7.00 PM – 9.30 PM

The Artillery Arms 102 Bunhill Row,
London EC1Y 8ND

Come along and live it up – it’ll be dead fun.  The function room is on the first floor, with no wheelchair access.

Technology is everywhere. Its involvement in our world changes across the lifespan. This evening will explore some of the ways researchers are applying different technologies as we age. You’ll hear how technology can be used both as we live and as we die. Expert speakers from City, University of London will introduce you to a world of smart homes, virtual rehabilitation and mobile phone autopsies – a world where online comics are being used to make sense of both life and death.

Full programme info and registration at

Hope to see you there!

Digital Humanities/Humanidades Digitales/Informatica Umanistica, Rome, 20 April 2017

I am looking forward to participating in the event titled “Digital Humanities/Humanidades Digitales/Informatica Umanistica. An Intercultural Dialogue” that will take place on Thursday 20 April 2017 in Rome, at the Political Science Department of the Università degli Studi Roma Tre.

This event has been organised by Domenico Fiormonte, who like me is a member of the Knowmetrics research project based at the Medialab at the Universidad de Granada, led by Esteban Romero Frías. (For a sample of my ongoing collaboration with Domenico, please see

The speakers at this event will be

  • Barbara Bordalejo, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
  • Manuel Salamanca, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Teresa Numerico, Università Roma Tre.
  • Manuel Portela, Universidade de Coimbra.
  • Ernesto Priani, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Ernesto Priego, City, University of London.
  • Esteban Romero Frías, Universidad de Granada.
  • Nuria Rodríguez, Universidad de Málaga.
  • Amelia Sanz, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

I am hoping to make a contribution from the vantage point of human-computer interaction design applied to the digital humanities as critique and development of alternative, fairer, more open forms of scholarly publishing and assessment. The multilingual, multicultural, multidisciplinary nature of the event should allow for a diverse and thoughtful exchange of perspectives and knowledge sharing.

The event’s abstract and key info can be found below.

The so-called “Digital Humanities” are nowadays more and more spread at international level; institutionally, on the one hand, considering the raising of new centres and organisations, or taking into account the allocation of resources and the financing of the research, on the other, since the “digital” is turning into a privileged component of the project.

Even though the Digital Humanities could be a powerful push towards innovation, it should not be forgotten that any technology is culturally neutral. Hence, this round table seeks to reflect on the DH phenomena from the point of view of the society at large and the culture of the “South”, bringing into discussion the critical adoption of epistemological models coming from the North, at the same time an alternative vision about the relationship between knowledge, territories and digital technology is proposed.

20th april, 2017.
14:30 PM.
Meeting room, 4th floor.
Faculty of Political Science,
Università Roma Tre.
Via Chiabrera, 199 – Roma.

I cannot wait for what promises to be a thought-provoking and productive session.


Las denominadas “Digital Humanities” están cada vez más consolidadas a nivel internacional, bien sea institucionalmente, a través de la creación de nuevos centros y organizaciones, bien en el plano de la financiación de la investigación, pues, cada vez más a menudo, tiende a privilegiarse el componente “digital” del proyecto. Aunque las DH pueden constituir un potente instrumento de innovación, es importante recordar que ninguna tecnología es culturalmente neutra. Por ello, esta mesa redonda se propone reflexionar sobre el fenómeno de las DH desde el punto de vista de la sociedad y de la cultura del “Sur”, sometiendo a discusión la adopción crítica de modelos epistemológicos provenientes del Norte del mundo, y ofreciendo una visión alternativa sobre la relación entre saberes, territorios y tecnología digital.

20 de abril, 2017.
14:30 horas.
Sala de reuniones, cuarta planta.
Facultad de Ciencias Políticas,
Università Roma Tre.
Via Chiabrera, 199 – Roma.


Le cosiddette “Digital Humanities” si stanno sempre più affermando a livello internazionale e istituzionale. Attraverso la creazione di nuovi centri e nuove organizzazioni attraggono risorse e finanziamenti, giacché sempre più spesso nei progetti di ricerca umanistici e sociali viene privilegiata la componente “digitale”. Ma se le DH da un lato possono essere un potente di strumento di innovazione, dall’altro occorre ricordare che nessuna tecnologia è culturalmente neutra. Questa tavola rotonda intende riflettere sul fenomeno delle DH dal punto di vista delle società e delle culture del “Sud”, mettendo in discussione l’adozione acritica di modelli epistemologici e culturali provenienti dal Nord del mondo e offrendo una visione alternativa del rapporto fra saperi, territori e tecnologie digitali.

20 aprile, 2017.
Ore 14.30.
Sala riunioni, IV piano.
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche,
Università Roma Tre.
Via Chiabrera, 199 – Roma.


Mexican Comics at TORCH Oxford

Cover of an issue of Mexican comic Pepín ('a graphic novels journal'), 1936-1954
Cover of an issue of Mexican comic Pepín (‘a graphic novels journal’), 1936-1954

Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form is a new interdisciplinary network and seminar series promoting the academic study of comics at Oxford. It is hosted at TORCH, which stands for The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

On Thursday 16 February 2017 TORCH will host an event on Mexican Comics.

I will participate in this event along curator Marisol Rodríguez and comics artist, editor and publisher Francisco de la Mora. We will discuss the current state of Mexican comics in a panel chaired by Jessica Fernández de Lara, University of Cambridge.

This event is open to all.

Date and time: Thursday, February 16, 2017 – 5:15pm
Location: Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building,                                                  Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

To join the seminar mailing list, please email network convener Dominic Davies at or

Click here to download the Comics and Graphic Novels termcard [PDF].