Using narrative to convey the experience of dementia care-giving: I Know How This Ends: Stories of Dementia Care

I Know How This Ends cover (2020)

Today I announced the release of a new output in the Parables of Care series:  I Know How This Ends: Stories of Dementia Care (2020).  This is the second volume in a series that started with Parables of Care: Creative Responses to Dementia Care (2017).

Drawn by Peter Wilkins and Melissa Martins, designed by Simon Grennan and edited by Yours Truly,  I Know How This Ends is a 16-page comic book resulting from collaborative narrative research and co-design sessions with participants.

The book presents, in synthesised form, stories crafted from narrative data collected via interviews with professional caregivers, educators, and staff at Douglas College in Vancouver, Canada, who have cared for relatives and people with dementia in hospital.

[Personal warning: where Parables of Care was a tender, sympathetic and even funny collection of practical strategies,  I Know How This Ends may prove a tougher, darker read. As Peter Wilkins put it in a message to the team, “all of the interviews were about incredible weight, abandonment and suffering”. A someone whose late father had dementia I can relate to such feelings around the care-giving experience, and I Know How This Ends indeed does attempt to represent and interpret the experiences of the care-givers the project team talked to. We believe there is no way to make up the stark reality of dementia, its difficulty and emotional intensity. It would be unethical to do so. Some readers may be disappointed not to find more hopeful optimism in the book. In I Know How This Ends stories are being told and shared, and feeling and emotion, however difficult, are being channeled and processed. I see in this act of storytelling a significant source of hope. Personally I hope the book helps communicate the problematic and painful intensity of the experience of care-giving, saying to those that might be struggling that they are not alone].

The previous volume employed the form of the parable to tell individual stories based in real-life cases as told by carers. As the foreword explains, this new comic is structured like a classical Greek tragedy – with a prologue, three episodes, and an epilogue –because the stories the team worked with had the elements of tragedy: inevitability, stratagems to avoid fate that merely bring it on, and catharsis of negative emotions.

The intention of the book is to show the importance of feeling in care-giving, the professional aspects of which are sometimes at odds with the family systems aspect of dementia.

As we state in the foreword, by 2030, 82 million people are anticipated to have dementia and 152 million by 2050. With this project we aim to continue making a contribution to widen the dissemination of one of the key challenges of our time, following user-centred design and narrative research design methods.

  I Know How This Ends: Stories of Dementia Care  can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from

As this is a publication made for print please note the PDF file is 130MB; mobile users might prefer to download it and view it from a laptop or desktop.

The free print version of the comic will be available soon and you can request free copies via this form.

My gratitude to all the members of team, as well as other colleagues, friends and family members whose direct and indirect support throughout the development of this phase of the project was essential and is sincerely appreciated.

For a list of credits and thank you’s please look inside the book. ;-)

We look forward to hearing what you think.

Stories of Designs Past: Narrative Design Transmedia Archaeology

I published the following text on the HCID Comics, Games & Media Research Group blog.

Star Trek Spider-man 7" records (front)

Star Trek Spider-man 7" records back

Star Trek Spider-man 7" records  (vinyl, labels)

[Provisional draft notes shared as a prompt for future research group discussion]

My interest in the sociology of texts, transmedia storytelling and the role of materiality in the reading/collecting/reception/user experience, particularly in the case of comic book cultures, originally found a welcoming conceptual framework within the digital humanities. Recently, my interest has been evolving towards exploring the role of media archaeology within human-computer interaction design.

Media archaeology, as discussed by Jussi Parikka (2011), is a branch of media history that studies contemporary media culture by looking into past (also called “residual”) media technologies and practices. Media archaeology takes a special interest in practices, devices and inventions that may be now otherwise forgotten. It addresses the rapid obsolescence of software and hardware, and poses that their collection, preservation, conservation and study can provide important context for multidisciplinary analysis and innovation.

In particular, I have been recently drafting arguments and potential methodological and domain approaches to critical narrative design and speculative design (sometimes also called “design fiction”, though both terms are not always used to mean the same thing). Needless to say, all these terms have specific meanings and require further clarification and discussion, even for the initiated, let alone those new to them. For an intro into the relationships between the terms “critical design” and “speculative design”, I recommend  Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby’s books, Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects (2001) and Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming (2013).

According to Henry Jenkins (2007), “transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” Transmedia is a mainstream term within contemporary literary and cultural studies, but its application and study goes beyond the mainstream humanities.  Interaction designers are well aware that humans “are increasingly living their lives […] in multisensory, narrative driven ways” (Spaulding and Faste 2013).

I took the photos above of two items in my record collection. They are two 7″ vinyl records containing the audio recordings of two stories based on characters, situations and fictional worlds at the time (late 1970s) mostly developed through comic books (today it would probably be film, rather than comics). I played them the other day and I was once again amazed at how immersive and engaging (in spite of some unavoidable and fully expected silliness that hasn’t aged well). As storytelling, both recordings qualify as fully immersive devices that expand fictional universes beyond their original media and that stimulate the imagination via different senses in a media-specific way. (For more context on these records and the label that released them, see Ettelson 2015).

This brief note is meant to share my interest in continuing exploring how media archaeology approaches to examples like these audio comic books in 7″ vinyl,  can help us understand better how “residual media” could offer valuable context into the affordances of transmedia in both a pre-digital and in a fully networked, digital, cloud-based eras. This implies that “transmedia” is (of course) not only a 21st century phenomenon.

Within the field of HCI it is now well known that storytelling is a critical design tool in human-computer interaction, in particular by addressing how an exploration of potential futures can inform strategies around the problems of the present (see for example Dow et al 2006). How do form and content, materiality and information, inter-relate to participate in the user experience?  Storytelling can also be a powerful strategy to understand the designs of the past, and to understand how these designs always-already include future designs- what can we learn from the design of things past, what stories do these objects tell, and what kind of insights can we obtain from them to design the present and the future?

Hoping these brief notes help as a starting point for further discussions between members of this research group.

 

Abstract for Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020: DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

I am delighted my paper for the Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020- BEYOND Symposium at the University of South Wales: Cardiff Campus (Monday 6th – Tuesday 7th April 2020) has been accepted. I am looking forward to participating.

Below I share a slightly revised version my abstract.

The Blank Page (page 4), London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious. London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious.
The Blank Page, page 4 (2014)

Abstract

DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

Dr Ernesto Priego, Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London

In this presentation I will discuss examples of the poetry, autobiographic and non-fiction comics that I have been producing through purely digital means since ca. 2006.

The usual assumption is that a precondition of comics is drawing or illustration, particularly in some traditions. For instance,  bande dessinée in French means “drawn strip”, whereas in other languages terminology refers to tone or genre (“comics”, originally referring to the content being comical), length or cultural status (“historietas”- meaning little or pseudo stories) or layout features (“quadrinhos” literally meaning little boxes, panels; “fumetti”- literally little puffs of smoke; balloons). It is interesting that in the English language, the term “fumetti” is frequently used to refer to photo comics, regardless of origin or language.

I grew up surrounded by comics and fotonovelas or photo-comics (see, for example, Priego 2011), and though this fact most have defined my experience of graphic storytelling up to a certain extent, my work making comics without drawings has been more properly inspired by the collaborative nature of, initially, the craft of DIY fanzine making (I co-founded and edited Hemofilia, a horror comics fanzine [see Trujillo 2020], when I was 15), and, later on and more recently, the Web and Internet-mediated collaboration.

I will show examples from A Life Deferred (2006-2008), The Blank Page (2014), The Strip Hay-na-ku Project (2008-2019) and stand-alone examples such as “Addressing Sylvia” (2019a) and “Salut, Notre-Dame…” (2019b) and discuss how I have repurposed writing and images created by me and others, and how that practice fits in with my long-time interest in the comics grid (the array or layout of graphic panels; the specific distribution of images on a comic book page) as a poetic force, as a space for poetic revelation (Priego and Wilkins 2018). These are comics made with computers to be shared via computers (and of course mobile devices) that nonetheless are also embedded in the tradition of DIY fanzine making that, though digitally-mediated, still aim to achieve the feel and should I say “aura” of mechanical reproduction*.

I am interested in discussing the affordances of contemporary off-the-shelf software as a continuation and transformation of material practices of cut-and-paste and détournement, as exemplified by my own attempts at graphic storytelling with digital means.

 

*At this stage the Benjamin citation is not really needed, is it? ;-)

References

Priego, E. 2008. A Life Deferred Book 1. Issu. https://issuu.com/ernestopriego/docs/alifedeferredbook1  [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2011. “¡Santo!”: The Stuff of Legend. The Comics Grid blog. http://blog.comicsgrid.com/blog/c2a1santo/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2014. The Blank Page. Everything is Connected. https://epriego.blog/tag/the-blank-page/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. and Wilkins, P., 2018. The Question Concerning Comics as Technology: Gestell and Grid. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 8, p.16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.133 [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019a. Addressing Sylvia. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7803530.v4. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019b. Salut, Notre-Dame…. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7999418. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019c. The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics. California, USA: Meritage Press and L/O/C/P. ISBN 9781934299135. http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/21927/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Trujillo, R. 2020. HEMOFILIA, fanzine de comics y terror. 5 January 2020. https://ideacomics.blogspot.com/2020/01/hemofilia-fanzine-de-comics-y-terror.html [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Bio

Ernesto Priego is a lecturer at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London. With a background in English Literature and Cultural Studies, he completed a PhD in Library and Information Science at the Centre for Digital Humanities, University College London, focusing on issues of comic book materiality in the digital age. In 2009 he co-founded The Comics Grid as a peer-reviewed scholarly blog. With Ernesto as Editor-in-Chief, the project was rebranded as The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship in 2013, becoming a fully-fledged peer-reviewed open access journal. The Comics Grid is now published by the Open Library of Humanities.

@ernestopriego

https://epriego.blog/

https://www.comicsgrid.com/

Who Are You and What Are Your Superpowers? Creating Student Trading Cards

This term I am leading a “supermodule” (undergraduate and postgraduate students combined) on User-Centred Systems Design. We had our first session on Monday morning first thing.

Sometimes we may underestimate the importance of ice-breaking activities and of getting to know each other at the beginning of a course/module. I feel like the increased costs of higher education have created a perception that any activities done in class that do not appear to be immediately related to the content of the lecture are a “waste of time”. However in order to make the most of an educational experience we need to attempt to design such experience by helping to create the circumstances that will allow students and staff to make the most of it.

It is hard to expect student engagement (their focused attention, participation via comments and questions, effective working in pairs or groups) if we haven’t made an effort to learn about each other (even if to a limited degree) and try to create an environment of trust. This trust will need to be developed over the term but we can begin to do that by making the time to introduce each other and to learn a bit more about our general and specific expectations.

Activities where students are asked to meet each other (let alone work with each other) can be very hard for different students for a plethora of reasons (I won’t go into those here). In my experience it does help if the activity introduces them to the skills and strategies that are included in the module’s learning objectives. It also helps if the activity is structured, rather than left to the students’ own devices (“talk amongst yourselves”).

Since the module I am leading provides an introduction to User-centred Design Activities, I aimed to fulfill various objectives in one through a “student trading card” creation ice-breaking activity.

The motivations behind the activity were:

  • To contribute to breaking the ice between students and staff through a dynamic, engaging activity
  • To prompt students to talk to each other in order to get to know each other better beyond those they already know
  • To help me as module leader to know my students’ needs better
  • To prompt students to reflect on the relationships between information architecture and layout, and between form and content- how the design of a template demands a particular type of data entry
  • To introduce students to qualitative data collection via an in-person interview
  • To prompt students to reflect on three personal and/or professional “superpowers” i.e. something they feel they are good at, prompting the rehearsal of positive thinking by focusing on diverse skills
  • To prompt students to reflect on a personal and/or professional “weakness” i.e. an area of activity, knowledge or skill they wish to improve

With this requirements in mind I designed the activity reusing a very basic blank “trading card” template, which I printed out copies of, to hand them out to students, one each. I also had extra A4 blank paper to hand out and pens in case they were needed.

I introduced the activity and provided a summary of the instructions on the screen as a slide:

Trading Card activity slide

While I introduced the activity I got students to reflect on where they thought each answer should go on the form. No one, for example, suggested the name should go in the bottom box- but there were different views on what the top left circle and top right rectangle could contain. By doing this we were already very loosely anticipating content we will see later in the course, such as hierarchical analysis and user research activities such as semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and data collection.

What we meant by “superpowers” and “weaknesses” had to be defined- things we felt we were good at and things we though we needed/wanted to improve. It was important to not constrain these too much, allowing students to reflect on their own views on what their three “superpowers” and one “weakness” could be and to feedback each other about them. For example often during the conversations “weaknesses” could be turned into superpowers under the right circumstances. The main thing is to focus on the positives and to instill a sense that improvement is possible.

It was great to see the students engaged with the activity and ended up collecting more student trading cards than the single one I initially anticipated. As we were pressed for time we did not follow up the activity by getting students to actually “trade” the cards as a way to then find the students they represented, nor did I encourage students to draw “profile pictures” of their interviewees (some students did this without being prompted to).

I asked volunteers to feedback on the activity. They shared they found it enjoyable, had met colleagues they had not met properly before. I asked them about what they had found challenging about the activity, and indeed they shared that some had found it way harder to think of their own strengths and easier to think of their own weaknesses… or easier to think of personal “superpowers” than strictly “professional” ones. Feedback agreed that students “felt better” once they had their own cards read back to them.  Some students regretted we had not had time to be more creative designing each other’s trading cards, adding illustrations, colour, etc.

We discussed how even those “superpowers” we ourselves could think of as not relevant to our professional practice could be easily transferred or useful to enhance it. I emphasised how they all had collected data from fellow participants using a standardised data collection template following a semi-structured interview, and that though this was an informal exercise giving us but a tiny glimpse of what talking to people for research purposes could be like, the module will go into detail on how to conduct user research using a range of practical methods. We also drew parallels between the trading card template and other user-centred design activities we will cover during the module, such as personas and wireframing.

What I wanted to do was to apply interaction design principles to the activity. As in that session we would cover usability and user experience, I wanted the activity to be enjoyable, fun, entertaining, motivating, aesthetically-pleasing and rewarding. The positive feedback from students during and after the lecture gave me an indication we might have achieved precisely that!

For this activity all you need is sheets of paper and pens- students can sketch their own templates. Unidrectional, hierarchical, non-dynamic classroom activities can be disempowering- and students of different educational levels (for example undergraduate and postgraduate) can feel apprehensive about their own skills,  and most of the times do fail to make students become protagonists (“heroes”) of their own stories, making them feel dependent on external guidance and afraid of taking independent decisions. Allowing a safe space to reflect on our individual abilities (“superpowers”), to see each others as heroes of our own stories, without forgetting about those areas we would like to improve, can hopefully provide an initial step towards greater student empowerment.

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.

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.

Salut, Notre-Dame (A comic)

Salut. Etymology 1.From Old Occitan salut, from Latin salūtem, accusative singular of salūs (“greeting, good health”), related to salvus (“safe”). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *solh₂- (“whole, completed”).

From https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/salut [Accessed 16 April 2019].

 

click on image to access
Priego, Ernesto (2019): Salut, Notre-Dame…. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7999418

 

I made another comic thingy. I deposited it on figshare:

Priego, Ernesto (2019): Salut, Notre-Dame…. figshare.

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7999418.

 

What the Grid Reveals: An Introduction to The Strip Hay(na)ku Project

Copies of The Strip Hay(na)ku Project (2019)

Here I share with you the Introduction I wrote for The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics (Meritage Press & L/O/C/P, 2019). It’s been lightly reformatted for this blog.

If you can please buy the book; it’s nice to hold and reads better than on the screen. Each copy will be printed out specially for you. If you are into limited edition comics, mini-comics, fanzines or poetry chapbooks it’s the kind of printed artifact you’d like in your collection methinks.

“Hay naku” is a common Filipino expression covering a variety of contexts—like the word “Oh.” The “hay(na)ku” is a 21st century poetic form invented by Eileen R. Tabios. It is a six-word tercet with the first line being one word, the second line being two words, and the third line being three words. Poets around the world have used the form and have created text and visual variations of the form, including the “chained hay(na)ku” which strings together more than one tercet as well as the reverse hay(na)ku where the word count is reversed. I started co-creating “strip hay(na)ku” poems in 2008, inspired by examples of Slovenian “strip haiku”.

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“The hay(na)ku’s swift popularity would not have been possible without internet-based communication,” Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Eileen R. Tabios and I wrote in the introduction to The Chained Hay(na)ku Project (Meritage Press and xPress(ed) 2010). We had posted the call for contributions to that book on the project’s blog on June 24 2007[1].

I may be misremembering, as more than a decade has now passed, but if the metadata from the media library of the Strip Hay(na)ku Project blog[2]  is correct, by February 2008 I had already co-created all the comics-poems/poems-comics in this collection. I remember first trying out one by myself, with my own images and words, and then realising the whole experiment could better be extended to become what we called on the project’s blog “a collaborative experiment on sequential graphic poetics”. It was all part of my own attempt to borrow the hay(na)ku experience, make it my own—I mexicanised it calling the form “jainakú”, to refer to the way I’d pronounce it in Spanish, and to reflect the fact that this was a poetic form that had a sense of humour and resisted the rigidity of snobbish seriousness. In fact, the original file names for all the strips contained in this book included the term “jainakú” to identify them.

The Strip Hay(na)ku Project sought to extend the collaborative, sequential/chained nature of the hay(na)ku to the realm of comics, abstract comics if you will, repurposing writing and images created by what then was a creative online community, what was a mutual, reciprocal blogroll of poets and artists who were bloggers and bloggers who were poets and artists (no one remembers what was first—did the order matter?). I have had a long-time interest in the comics grid (the array or layout of graphic panels; the specific distribution of images on a comic book page) as a poetic force, as a space for poetic revelation. It took me years to be able to formulate that the comics grid reveals, and to suggest that what the grid reveals is enabled by the spaces between images, by the quality of the presence and absence of panel borders, of what they contain and what they exclude.

As in poetry, in comics space and silence matter and communicate, express ideas, emotions, stuff. There was such richness in the materials created by the community represented in our blogrolls at the time—an intensity of creative feedback that the rise of social media dissipated and never managed to replicate. “I ask the woman”, “And then”, “The body remembers”, “A white page”, “Last night we”, “A wicked likeness” and “The things words” were indeed collaboratively submitted to The Chained Hay(na)ku Project call, with materials sourced from the contributors’ blogs, and were published in the collection (pages 30; 36; 45; 59; 77; 93; 96). That was the only printed record of this experiment until now: the present edition contains all the strip hay(na)kus we created during January and February 2008, and had never seen the light of the printed page before.

The strip hay(na)ku included here were not merely about exploring what happened when previous content was manipulated and rearranged in a specific panel layout that followed the rules of the hay(na)ku (1, 2 and 3 panels, or the other way around). The collaborative nature of the comic book (editors, writers, pencillers, inkers, colourists, etc) was definitely an inspiration to attempt a similar collective workflow, where there was not a single ‘author’ but a network of authors, each contributing an important element or process.

And indeed in the Strip Hay(na)ku Project an important goal was to focus on process, on the spaces and relationships between people located in specific -distanced- geographical and temporal points, expressing themselves in changing modes, with words or images, and in my case here, with layout design and word and image editing. If I used the term “sampling” at the time, it is because I was inspired by electronic methods of music composition and remixing, thinking of forms of digital collage and curation as poetic practice.

With the hindsight of more than ten years, I think some of these pieces were successful in what I thought they should have achieved, and that was to repurpose messages and to create new ones. I suppose the goal was to propose the hay(na)ku as a poetic theory and practice of space, and more specifically as a grid structure, a network, an infrastructure for poetic revelation.

In this sense I see the hay(na)ku, and the strip hay(na)ku in particular, as poetic expressions deeply rooted in Internet-mediated collaboration, poetry made with computers to be shared via computers (and now mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets). At the same time, and I hope this is materialised in the fact this is meant to be a print publication, my own approach to the hay(na)ku as a collaborative, multimodal poetic form is also embedded in the tradition of DIY fanzine making that, though digitally-mediated, still aims to achieve the feel and should I say “aura” of mechanical reproduction.

In creating the new pieces for the cover (also reproduced twice, in two sizes, inside) and back cover, words are missing on purpose, as an invitation to the reader to try to recreate it or augment it with their own lines. My hope, in rearranging my own work and the work of others in specific forms, was to reveal interconnections, juxtapositions, contradictions and new visions.

I would most surely do things slightly different today, but if I’m honest not drastically different, so I am still proud of what we were doing those ten years ago, at that specific time and place. I am, of course, immensely grateful for the generosity of all those who collaborated in the strips, because the work is ours and yours, because they and I and you gave it away to the page and the future. The work included in these pages still speaks, and perhaps, sometimes, even sings, even in what it does not do or fails to do, in the framed and unframed blank spaces between the ones, the twos and the threes.

November 2018

[1] Available at https://chainedhaynaku.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 18 November 2018].

[2]  Available at  https://thestripjainakuproject.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 18 November 2018].

Reference

Priego, E. (2019). The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics. California, USA: Meritage Press and L/O/C/P. ISBN 9781934299135. http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/21927/

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Spring has sprung: The Comics Grid Volume 9 (2019) so far

[Comics Grid Spring 2019 Newsletter text below]

Please note our 31st March deadline has now passed.

Due to the high volume of submissions, please note that we are now closed for submissions until 1st November 2019.

Below you will find a listing of the articles published so far in Volume 9 (2019).

We will continue publishing throughout the year as part of Volume 9- keep an eye on the journal’s site (https://www.comicsgrid.com/) and our Twitter account (@ComicsGrid) for new article updates.

Volume 9 (2019) so far:

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

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

You can catch up with our Volume 8 (2018) here: https://www.comicsgrid.com/7/volume/8/issue/0/

 


We are always in need of more expert reviewers. If you are a self-defined comics scholar or scholar with an interest in comics, have a PhD or are about to get one, you can do peer review for us.

Please register here indicating your areas of expertise.

If you are an author interested in submitting an article for consideration to The Comics Grid, you can start by learning about our submission guidelines. We will re-open our call for submissions on the 1st of November 2019.

Subscribe to the Comics Grid Newsletter at http://eepurl.com/iOYAj

We will continue publishing throughout the year as part of Volume 9- keep an eye on the journal’s site (https://www.comicsgrid.com/) and our Twitter account (@ComicsGrid) for new article updates.