In Memoriam Pleasures of Past Times

“…for more than thirty years my happiest dreams have been of second-hand bookshops…”

-Graham Greene, 1973, in Reflections, 1991

 

One of my favourite things of London is its second-hand shops. Over the years I’ve developed personal routes where, when I have the time (read: make the time for it) I walk from one to another in a sort of individual pilgrimage often including book shops, record shops, comics shops and other pop culture memorabilia, maps, stamps, all sorts of print and material culture shops.

These establishments (without them necessarily knowing it) become a type of friend, someone you get to know intimately who can offer just the right thing to satisfy a particular need at a given moment in time. This need is not only materialistic or consumerist. It’s not what people call “retail therapy”. It’s more like a type of emotional, spiritual counseling or mentorship- one pays a visit to these shops because they offer, like libraries, serendipitous journeys of discovery. One steps into them often without looking for something very specific in mind- it’s not the item that gets you there but the place itself, its reputation as the consequence of careful or accidental curatorial work. The drive to visit them can be described as a very particular type of physical and intellectual hunger for a special, unexpected artifact waiting for the right collector to appreciate its relative rarity or uniqueness, a star in a constellation with links waiting to be traced, a lost piece in the ever-growing jigsaw puzzle of who we have been and are in the process of becoming.

Over the years I have seen many of these establishments close down. The other day I added another one to my own personal graveyard of closed shops- Pleasures of Past Times (PoPT), on 11 Cecil Court, which had stood in that same location since 1967, as its store sign proudly announced.

How can one explain the feeling of loss when one arrives to a location and finds it empty and closed for good? This feeling can be easily dismissed as conservative, retrograde and dangerous nostalgia. This is not to deny it is a nostalgic feeling: it is, of course, since we are talking about second-hand shops of a particular type, a feeling always-already embedded in nostalgia understood as an ongoing attempt to recover, as collector, what one always wanted and never had, or what one feels deserves appreciation, for one reason or another, beyond its relative obsolescence or even practical meaninglessness in the contemporary world. I’d argue that it’s not necessarily toxic or dangerous to feel a sense of loss when we witness a transformation in the urban landscape, particularly when it is tied to changing paradigms in our relationships to otherwise symbolically meaningful objects that increasingly are thought of as obsolete.

Can such contradictory, complex emotion be entertained or described? Benjamin’s theses on the philosophy of history, his reading of Klee’s Angelus Novus? I feel like there can be a type of critical, self-aware nostalgia that, rather than idealising a mythical past, performs itself as a critique of “progress” disguised as higher rents, the rejection of the symbolic in favour of the strictly practical (estate agents, food and clothes, not print books, music in physical formats or non-digital art) as expressed by the ongoing demystification of material culture, accelerated by the belief that all experience can be digitized, that material objects are clutter, etc. A kind of “progress” defined by an ethos of individualism and isolation: why go anywhere if you can just get it delivered to your own home?

Storefront of Pleasures of Past Times,  11 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ
Pleasures of Past Times, 11 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, now closed
11 Cecil Court blue plaque, "In a building on this site W.A. Mozart and his family lodged in April-August 1764
11 Cecil Court blue plaque

Checking PoPT’s website I realise it is now only an online shop- which is better than the worse alternative of its total disappearance, and a fate many other similar shops have had of late. The sense of loss for its brick-and-mortar address is not necessarily for the items it used to stock, buy and sell, but for the social, collective, cultural experience it contributed to as part of a bigger formal or informal network of similar shops. I could never afford to spend much money at PoPT, and I must say I used to find it a tad intimidating- my limited budget meant sometimes I just looked at its window and marveled at much stuff I would have loved to add to my collection.

In what could potentially be called today a “psychogeographic” essay titled “Second-hand Bookshops” (1973), Graham Greene describes evocatively his passion for these establishments. “I don’t know how Freud would have interpreted them”, writes Greene in the opening line, “but for more than thirty years my happiest dreams have been of second-hand bookshops” (I personally rarely dream of bookshops, but indeed for more than thirty years my happiest memories include them).

Greene also describes the always-changing landscape of second-hand bookshops in London:

“No, the West End is no longer my hunting ground any more than Charing Cross Road, but, thank God! Cecil Court remains Cecil Court…” (Reflections, 1991).

In a way, Cecil Court still remains Cecil Court. But it is rapidly changing. Without PoPT Cecil Court is, for those of us who have visited it over the years, significantly different- Pleasures of Past Times will be missed as a shop that once made Cecil Court remain Cecil Court.

Scraps- Quick Drafts

Via Google/Oxford Lexico

Most of my personal journal writing, as well as many of my blog posts, tends to be self-reflective and self-referential, often musing on the nature and challenges of writing. It’s writing about writing, or, often, about being unable to write. Why do we write? Why do many of us feel like we need to write? What do we write about? Does it matter?

After more than two decades of blogging, I still believe I should blog more. I realise it’s perfectionism what often stops me from writing publicly more. I also know that becoming a full time academic also meant being in the crossfire between my ideals for the future of scholarly communications and the conventional expectations around academic “productivity”. When time is poor, it may seem as a waste of time and effort to spend time writing in a format that will not “count” nor satisfy others’ expectations.

However as I find some rare reflective time this Saturday I would like to say I still find it essential to be able to have different channels for expression, sandpits where ideas can be rehearsed and, why not, anxieties exorcised.

As usual (it’s not the first time I write this) I’d like to use this blog for more than making announcements, and to rehearse, to experiment, to “test the quality” of some rough ideas and intuitions. As a way, why not, to remain present and out there, but mainly as a way to train the writing and thinking muscles, and to remain motivated. We’ll see.

This was 2019 in The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship (Vol. 9)

Comics Grid logo

It’s that time of the year and at The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship we are closing our 9th volume, corresponding to 2019. We are getting ready for the holidays and next year.

Here’s a listing of the articles we published during 2019 by section:

Research

Lipenga, K.J., 2019. The New Normal: Enfreakment in Saga. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.2. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.161

Davies, P.F., 2019. New Choices of the Comics Creator. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.153

Grant, P., 2019. The Board and the Body: Material Constraints and Style in Graphic Narrative. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.145

del Rey Cabero, E., 2019. Beyond Linearity: Holistic, Multidirectional, Multilinear and Translinear Reading in Comics. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.137

McGovern, M. and Eve, M.P., 2019. Information Labour and Shame in Farmer and Chevli’s Abortion Eve. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.158

Hornsby, I., 2019. …Comic Books, Möbius Strips, Philosophy and…. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.151

Pickering, T., 2019. Diabetes Year One. Drawing my Pathography: Comics, Poetry and the Medical Self. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.147

Hagan, R.J., 2019. Touch Me/Don’t Touch Me: Representations of Female Archetypes in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.148

Misemer, L., 2019. A Historical Approach to Webcomics: Digital Authorship in the Early 2000s. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.162

Tan, X., 2019. Guoxue Comics: Visualising Philosophical Concepts and Cultural Values through Sequential Narratives. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.149

Austin, H.J., 2019. “That Old Black Magic”: Noir and Music in Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s Blacksad. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.156

Kottas, L. and Schwarzenbacher, M., 2019. The Comic at the Crossroads: The Semiotics of ‘Voodoo Storytelling’ in The Hole: Consumer Culture Vol. 1. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.13. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.150

Dodds, N., 2019. The Practice of Authentication: Adapting Pilgrimage from Nenthead into a Graphic Memoir. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.154

Manouach, I., 2019. Peanuts minus Schulz: Distributed Labor as a Compositional Practice. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.139

D’Arcy, J., 2019. Troubling Boundaries and Negotiating Dominant Culture: Fun Home as a Transmedial Text. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.146

Review

Evans, J., 2019. Challenging Adaptation Studies: A Review of Comics and Adaptation. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.159

Commentary

Christmas, S., 2019. The Citi Exhibition Manga マンガ (British Museum, 2019). The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.181

Creating Comics, Creative Comics

As you can see from the list above for us in the journal our 9th volume had a strong focus on the Special Collection: Creating Comics, Creative Comics.

The collection expanded on the themes of the symposium held in June 2018 at the University of South Wales, Cardiff.

Edited by Geraint D’Arcy (University of South Wales), Brian Fagence (University of South Wales) and Yours Truly (City, University of London), this collection sought to explore the dilemmas and potentials of construction and creation, ideology and authorship, philosophies and embodiment, histories and practices. It’s been both a pleasure and an honour to collaborate with Geraint and Brian and all the authors and reviewers. An editorial rounding up the collection is forthcoming next year.

Articles published in this collection were listed at https://www.comicsgrid.com/collections/special/creating-comics-creative-comics/.

Contribute

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship seeks scholarly submissions on the technical, theoretical, cultural, and historical aspects of comics studies that gives vitality to the form and challenges readers’ assumptions about it.

Our current call for papers was published on 30th October 2019 on the journal web site and it is available to download as a PDF from figshare:

Priego, E.; Wilkins, P.; Dunley, K. (2019): The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship: Call for Papers 2019-2020. City, University of London. Online resource. https://doi.org/10.25383/city.10100252.v1

If you are interested in submitting work for review or you just want to find out more about the journal, or catch up with all our previous volumes, please do click on https://www.comicsgrid.com/!

It must be said again: the Journal is only possible because of the work volunteered by our editors, reviewers and authors: thank you all!

I would also like to thank the Open Library of Humanities (https://www.openlibhums.org/) for their ongoing support: without their funding we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

We always need academic reviewers. If you would like to become a peer reviewer, please register, including enough details of your areas of expertise, at https://www.comicsgrid.com/author/register/reviewer/.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and an excellent new year 2020! Looking forward to The Comics Grid’s 10th volume!

Podcasting for Research Dissemination: Launching the City Interaction Lab Podcast

Panel by Peter Wilkins, from I Know How This Ends
Panel by Peter Wilkins, from I Know How This Ends

City Interaction Lab Podcast – Episode 1 – Discussing Graphic Medicine and Co-Designed Comics 

Earlier this week we launched the City Interaction Lab Podcast with an inaugural episode where we talk about graphic medicine with Dr Simon Grennan (University of Chester) and Peter Wilkins (Douglas College, Vancouver Canada).

Brought to you by City Interaction Lab and the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design at City, University of London, the City Interaction Lab Podcast will be a series of thought-provoking design-focused audio episodes featuring interviews and opinions hosted by Stuart Scott and myself.

In this inaugural episode we discuss work co-designing the comics ‘Parables of Care‘ and ‘I Know How This Ends’ centred on dementia care. These complementary issues shine  light on those living with dementia and their carers.

We are aware of the issues with audio levels in this episode; we’ll do better next time!

Our gratitude to Professor Martin Eve for allowing us to use his track The Learning Experience as our podcast theme track.

The original audio file of the podcast has also been deposited in City Figshare.

Citation:

Priego, Ernesto; Scott, Stuart; Wilkins, Peter; Grennan, Simon (2019): City Interaction Lab Podcast – Episode 1 – Discussing Graphic Medicine and Co-Designed Comics – Parables of Care. City, University of London. Media. https://doi.org/10.25383/city.11347799.v1

More on Parables of Care

Parables of Care explores the potential of comics to enhance the impact of dementia care research.

The 16-page publication presents in comics form true stories of creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers, adapted from a group of over 100 case studies available at http://carenshare.city.ac.uk.

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

If you work in a library, hospital, GP practice or care home- or care for someone with dementia in the UK, you can order a free copy of Parables of Care here: in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

From the original post at https://blogs.city.ac.uk/hcidcomicsgames/2019/12/09/launching-the-interaction-lab-podcast/

Inaugural meeting of the Comics, Games & Media Research Group & First Blog Post

Panel from “Traitors to the Earth”, Captain Science #1, November 150; pencils by Gustav Schrotter, edited by Adolphe Barreaux. Public domain.
Panel from “Traitors to the Earth”, Captain Science #1, November 150; pencils by Gustav Schrotter, edited by Adolphe Barreaux. Public domain.

We had the inaugural meeting of the City HCID Comics, Games & Media Research Group this week!

The Comics, Games & Media Research Group is dedicated to exploring the interconnections between interaction design and narrative media.

The Group’s membership is comprised by academic staff and research students at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design and the City Interaction Lab at City, University of London.

The group is particularly interested in narrative and speculative design activities that employ a variety of comics, games and related media as components of interaction design thinking.

The first session of the Comics, Games & Media Research Group took place on Wednesday 20th November 2019.

I have set up a blog for the group and made a first post to document our first meeting. More updates lined up.

I have copied and pasted the text of our first post below.

Launching the City HCID Comics, Games & Media Research Group

Photo of the inaugural meeting table on 2019-11-20 at 15.15.41

On Wednesday 20th November 2020 we held the inaugural meeting of the Comics, Games & Media Research Group at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design at City, University of London.

This is a busy time of the academic year and we had a quorum of 6 members of HCID, with the membership still being dynamic and open. We took the opportunity to discuss our expectations for the group, our respective backgrounds and interests in the domains relevant to the group and discussed the next steps.

The launching of this group follows the beginning of the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Project in partnership with the British Library, “UK Digital Comics: from creation to consumption” last month (there will be updates about that on this site soon).

Founded by Ernesto Priego and Stuart Scott, the Group is particularly interested in narrative and speculative design activities that employ a variety of comics, games and related media as components of interaction design thinking. (There will also be updates about that!)

The Group has clear objectives of research grant capture, developing scholarly outputs, and organising and hosting academic and enterprise events.

Stay tuned, for there will hopefully be more news soon.


 

Now Receiving Full-Text Submissions. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship: Call for Papers 2019-2020

The Comics Grid logo

I am very glad to share here that The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is open for submissions once again.

Our Call for Papers 2019-2020 for our tenth volume includes detailed information about the scope of the call, our selection, editorial and peer review processes, authorship attribution guidelines,  information on copyright and licensing and archiving information.

I would like to emphasise the following section of the Call:

We invite energetic writing that is theoretically and interpretively bold. While academic rigour, the inclusion and close discussion of images and citational correctness are important to us as a precondition, a key feature our editors and reviewers will consider is the argument, the discovery, the evidence-based eureka moments conveyed in economical, precise, and, ideally, subtle prose. We believe academic writing about comics should be as striking and immediate as the medium itself.”

I have published our Call for Papers 2019-2020 in the Humanities Commons CORE repository. Metadata below.

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship: Call for Papers 2019-2020

Author(s):
Kathleen Dunley, Ernesto Priego , Peter Wilkins
Date:
2019
Group(s):
Comics Scholarship/Comics Studies, Digital Humanists, Medical Humanities
Subject(s):
Comics studies, Publishing, Research, Media studies, Comics, Graphic novels, Popular culture, Visual culture
Item Type:
Online publication
Tag(s):
Digital Comics
Permanent URL:
http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/jwm3-9k54
Abstract:
The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship seeks scholarly submissions on the technical, theoretical, cultural, and historical aspects of comics studies that gives vitality to the form and challenges readers’ assumptions about it. This document is the full call for papers published on 30th October 2019 on the journal web site.

Sobre co-diseño para recursos digitales en el sector cultural – Rostros del tiempo, 2o Coloquio de Vida Cotidiana en México

Hoy martes 3 de septiembre del 2019 participaré en el Segundo Coloquio de Vida Cotidiana en México, “Rostros del tiempo” a las 13:30hrs, en el Museo de Arte de la SHCP, Moneda 4, Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México. Entrada libre.

Mi presentación sintetizará aproximaciones de las ciencias sociales, el diseño interactivo o diseño centrado en el usuario (HCID) y las humanidades digitales explorando qué métodos podemos utilizar para buscar integrar más sustentablemente la vida cotidiana en México y los recursos digitales abiertos en el sector cultural mexicano.

Las principales preguntas que guiarán mi presentación serán:

 

  • ¿De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de “recursos” digitales en el sector cultural?
  • ¿Qué tipo de contextos, y qué tipo de instituciones y recursos digitales tenemos?
  • ¿Cómo puede contribuir la disciplina del diseño interactivo, o diseño centrado en el usuario (HCI; UX) a ‘conectar’ los recursos digitales con el público en su vida cotidiana?
  • ¿Qué significaría diseñar para conectar con usuarios de un modo sustentable y específico al contexto local?

 

 

El programa completo abajo.

Rostros del tiempo. Programa. Talleres.

Rostros del tiempo. Coloquio. Programa

Es un honor estar de vuelta en México para participar en este evento.

This was January-August 2019 at The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship

Comics Grid logo

Here’s a listing of the articles we have published so far in 2019 in the journal (our 9th volume!) until the 30th of August 2019.

Research

Lipenga, K.J., 2019. The New Normal: Enfreakment in Saga. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.2. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.161

Davies, P.F., 2019. New Choices of the Comics Creator. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.153

Grant, P., 2019. The Board and the Body: Material Constraints and Style in Graphic Narrative. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.145

del Rey Cabero, E., 2019. Beyond Linearity: Holistic, Multidirectional, Multilinear and Translinear Reading in Comics. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.137

McGovern, M. and Eve, M.P., 2019. Information Labour and Shame in Farmer and Chevli’s Abortion Eve. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.158

Hornsby, I., 2019. …Comic Books, Möbius Strips, Philosophy and…. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.151

Pickering, T., 2019. Diabetes Year One. Drawing my Pathography: Comics, Poetry and the Medical Self. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.147

Hagan, R.J., 2019. Touch Me/Don’t Touch Me: Representations of Female Archetypes in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.148

Misemer, L., 2019. A Historical Approach to Webcomics: Digital Authorship in the Early 2000s. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.162

Tan, X., 2019. Guoxue Comics: Visualising Philosophical Concepts and Cultural Values through Sequential Narratives. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.149

Austin, H.J., 2019. “That Old Black Magic”: Noir and Music in Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s Blacksad. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.156

Kottas, L. and Schwarzenbacher, M., 2019. The Comic at the Crossroads: The Semiotics of ‘Voodoo Storytelling’ in The Hole: Consumer Culture Vol. 1. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.13. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.150 

Dodds, N., 2019. The Practice of Authentication: Adapting Pilgrimage from Nenthead into a Graphic Memoir. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.154

Review

Evans, J., 2019. Challenging Adaptation Studies: A Review of Comics and Adaptation. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.159

Commentary

Christmas, S., 2019. The Citi Exhibition Manga マンガ (British Museum, 2019). The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.181

Creating Comics, Creative Comics

As you can see from the list above for us in the journal this year has had a strong focus on the Special Collection: Creating Comics, Creative Comics.

The collection expands on the themes of the symposium held in June 2018 at the University of South Wales, Cardiff.

Edited by Geraint D’Arcy (University of South Wales),  Brian Fagence (University of South Wales) and Yours Truly (City, University of London), this collection seeks to explore the dilemmas and potentials of construction and creation, ideology and authorship, philosophies and embodiment, histories and practices. It’s been both a pleasure and an honour to collaborate with Geraint and Brian and all the authors and reviewers.

Articles published in this collection are listed at https://www.comicsgrid.com/collections/special/creating-comics-creative-comics/ .

More articles to come!

Please note that we are currently closed for submissions until 1st November 2019. Please keep an eye on Twitter and our journal web site for news. We are currently working in drafting our new Call for Papers with revised guidelines.

If you are interested in submitting work for review or you just want to find out more about the journal, or catch up with all our previous volumes, please do click on https://www.comicsgrid.com/!

We always need academic reviewers. If you would like to become a peer reviewer, please register, including enough details of your areas of expertise, at https://www.comicsgrid.com/author/register/reviewer/.

 

On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers: Presentation Report from #GM2019 at the Parables of Care blog

This post was originally published on the Parables of Care project blog and the images are hosted there. Copying and pasting here for self-archiving purposes.

The City, University of London and Douglas College, Canada research team collaborating on comics and creativity for healthcare were present at the Graphic Medicine 2019 international conference in Brighton, UK, hosted by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, 11-13 July 2019.

The title of this fully multidisciplinary conference this year was Queerying Graphic Medicine – Paradigms, Power and Practices.

A full report of the conference is outside the remit of this blog post. However, you can catch up with the conference hashtag on Twitter- to make that easier I created a searchable archive of the #GM2019 tweets here. There’s some excellent photos, sketches, comics, links and information that give a rich collective view of what went on.

Abi Roper (City)  Marie-Pier Caron (Douglas), Ruhina Rana (Douglas), Peter Wilkins (Douglas) and myself (City) presented in a panel in the Paradigms Panel at Room M2 on Friday 12 July 2019, from 4 to 5:30 pm. The title of the session was “On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers. The Specificities of Form and Genre in Comics about Dementia Care”.

The presentation slides have been deposited on figshare and can be downloaded under a CC-By license as

Priego, E., Wilkins, P., Roper, A., Caron, M., et al. (2019) On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers. The Specificities of Form and Genre in Comics about Dementia Care. Presentation. [Online]. Available from: doi: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8863448. [Accessed: 16 July 2019].

The audience included health care professionals, academics and artists also working on dementia, aphasia and mental care, with the conversation between audience and presenters extending beyond the Q&A and the session allocated time and offering a valuable networking opportunity to continuing or initiating further collaborations. We were all very grateful for the attentive and engaged audience who attended our session, and for their important questions and feedback.

The team also distributed free copies of both Parables of Care and the INCA Project‘s MakeWrite poetry booklet (in a limited and numbered edition handmade by Abi Roper specially for the conference). This happened both at the panel session itself and throughout the whole conference thanks to the generosity of the Waterstones table (Richard- if you read this, thank you!).

Table at conference panel room
Conference Waterstones table

The Brighton conference was a unique opportunity for the team to work together (for once not mediated by computers nor geographically separated by the 7,573 km distance between Vancouver and London, UK), to get to know each other better and strengthen our research ties. Though Simon Grennan was unfortunately unable to make it due to work commitments, he was in touch with us throughout and before the conference had ended he had already shared with us the proofs for the Parables of Care Spanish translation, which we will release before the end of the Summer. (We missed you, Simon!)

Priego, Roper, Caron, Rana, Wilkins at GM2019
Left to Right: Priego, Roper, Caron, Rana, Wilkins

The conference provided plenty of further evidence that our previous and ongoing work fits within a larger, fully international and multidisciplinary, dynamic and exciting network of individuals and organisations focused on advancing the case for the use of comics and other multimodal storytelling media within healthcare. I think it is fair to say that all of us had the most fantastic, nurturing, fun and thought-provoking time.

Thank you very much to all the GM2019 organisers, as well as all our fellow presenters and attendees, for an incredible conference.

The GM2019 conference organisers announced the Graphic Medicine will return to Toronto next year. See you in Toronto for GM2020 maybe?

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

If you work in a library, hospital, GP practice or care home- or care for someone with dementia in the UK, you can order a free copy of Parables of Care here: in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

#DH2018 and #DH2019 Twitter Archive Counts. A Comparison

Background

My interest in documenting the scholarly activity on Twitter using conference hashtags is not new; for the digital humanities I have been looking into it since 2010. Searching on this blog or googling related keywords may throw some results to those interested in background. I have been archiving conference hashtag archives for a while now, often depositing them as part of the scholarly record, blogging and giving workshops about my objectives and methdologies, etc.

I like sharing results in real time while conferences are taking place or shortly after. Therefore any results shared are always-already provisional, perfectible, and unfinished. I have always believed that a signal is better than no signal or having to wait 3 years for one, therefore I insist in sharing any quick insights that I can get rather than not sharing them at all or having to wait until I miraculously find the time to do it differently (which I am not likely to, so I’d rather take any opportunity I have to share something). Hopefully someone finds it helpful in some way.

Once again I have also been critical of the metrication of scholarly activitiy so the fact that I share quantitative data from the archives collected does not mean I think this metrication is always-already something to aspire to or that it means anything in particular. I see it as an ethnographic means to document the existence of scholarly activity on Twitter around academic conferences in specific fields, and perhaps as an entry point to assess academic and public engagement on Twitter with academic hashtags and the events they represent, and/or possibly any increase or decrease or transformations in this type of activity on Twitter. For example, it is possible to gain insights of Twitter user settings preferences, as in the case of the language users have set up, as I looked into this post on user_lang in #DH2018 tweets.

The Methods

The metrics compared here are the result of a double method of collection as a means to ensure the validity of the collected data. I used a Python script to collect both archives, and then set the parameters as those for archives I collected using TAGS (see Priego 2018). Even if the collected data still needs to be refined, when the counts are the same or very semilar I get a degree of certainty the data collected via TAGS from the Twitter Search API is close to being as reliable as it could be.

For 2018 and 2019 I managed to get the settings and timings right to achieve what looks like a complete set of #DH2018 and #DH2019 tweets. Below I share a comparative table where the main metrics can be compared. As indicated in the table, it must be noted that there are important differences in mainly a) the number of days before and after the conference days included in the archive and b) the number of days each conference was held on according to their respective web pages / programmes (I seem to remember the Mexico City conference had activities at least one day prior to the date indicated on the main web site but I may be misremembering- need to check).

The Basic Counts

Needless to say most interesting or useful insights from looking at these archives would be qualitative data and not necessarily quantitative data as the one presented here. The RTs and @ replies stats can give an indication of the level of interaction in between accounts, and the number of accounts tweeting with each hashtag each year could be seen as an indication of the interest in the conference or hashtag (this indication may be misguiding due to spamming or confusion due to hashtag overlap, and of course one would need to know which accounts are included and not included in each one).

There is a series of analyses that can be run with the full data collected and I hope that now that I have a more solid longitudinal dataset of yearly archives I may be able to do that with more roubstness soon. In the meanwhile then, for what they are worth here are the main archive stats compared for last year and this year.

 

#DH2018 #DH2019 Notes
First conference day according to programme 26/06/2018 08/07/2019
Last conference day according to programme 29/06/2019 12/07/2019
First Tweet Collected in Archive 24/06/2018 06:19 29/06/2019 02:13 Local conference time zone
Last Tweet Collected in Archive 30/06/2018 06:17 14/07/2019 22:56 Local conference time zone
Days collected 6 days 16 days
Number of collected tweets (includes RTs) 13858 14101 Data might require refining and deduplication
In Reply Ids 564 1091
In Reply @s 747 812
Number of links 4312 9061
Number of RTs 8656 8650 Estimate on occurrence of RTs
Number of unique accounts 2329 2157
Conference location Mexico City, Mexico Utrecht, the Netherlands
Priego, E. (2019): #DH2018 and #DH2019 Twitter Archive Counts. Summary Comparative Data Table. figshare. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8918810

 

Insights

Even if I collected #DH2019 during a longer period (ten days more than the #DH2018 archive), there were fewer unique user accounts using #DH2019 than #DH2018. And taking into account the #DH2019 archive included more collection days and therefore more opportunity for interactions, the #DH2019 archive showed more replies, mentions and links than the #DH2018 one. The number of tweets and RTs in both archives (again, taking into account the differences in collection days) remained very close. It could be argued the Twitter activity does not indicate an increment nor reduction in engagement (as manifested through tweets or RTs) with the conference hashtag, while showing that this year fewer accounts participated. What follows is refining and deduplicating the data if required, in order to limit the archives to the same data collection timings, revise the initial insights, and then perform qualitative text and account analysis in order to determine amongst other things if any differences in unique accounts using the hashtag were relevant to the field, or were simply bots or other unrelated accounts like spam bots. That qualitative refining could give us greater certainty about any changes in the demographic engaging with the conference hashtags over the years. This needs to be done carefully and following ethical standards.

A Polite Request

If you are interested in this same topic and you read this please do not disregard this output only because it’s not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. If you get any type of inspiration or value or motivation from this post, my tweets about it or any other blog posts about Twitter archiving, please do cite these outputs- not only is it good academic practice but a way for us to know about other responses to the same issues and to continue building knowledge together.

References

Priego, E. (2018) Archiving Small Twitter Datasets for Text Analysis: A Workshop Tutorial for Beginners. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6686798
Priego, E. (2019): #DH2018 and #DH2019 Twitter Archive Counts. Summary Comparative Data Table. figshare. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8918810

 

Oligopolies of Knowledge, {Digital Humanities} and Open Access: Looking at Scopus from the Global South… [form the North]

Oligopolies of Knowledge, {Digital Humanities} and Open Access: Looking at Scopus from the Global South… [form the North]

 

To download and cite the slides: Priego, Ernesto (2019): Oligopolies of Knowledge, {Digital Humanities} and Open Access: Looking at Scopus from the Global South… [form the North]. figshare. Presentation. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8850863

Presentation for P-11: Society, Media, Politics, Engagement Time: Wednesday, 10/Jul/2019: 4:00pm – 5:30pm Session Chair: Amelia Sanz DH2019 Conference, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Location: Pandora Zaal Part of the panel: Twining Digital Humanities and Humanidades Digitales: A set of actual experiences from the South.

All the slides from the panel can be viewed and/or downloaded and cited from:

Fiormonte, Domenico; Numerico, Teresa; Priego, Ernesto; Rodríguez-ortega, Nuria; Sanz, Amelia; Sapiera, Eugenia (2019): Twining Digital Humanities and Humanidades Digitales: A Set of Actual Experiences from the South [Slides]. figshare. Presentation. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8874998