Sunday, 5 October 2014

Tell me about it

A wee* round up of us talking about comics (or if you prefer, us disseminating the work done by our editors and collaborators on Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic).

Comics Forum
Open access to comics scholarship?  Part of Thought Bubble?  Yeah, we like that. Our editors Lydia Wysocki and Mike Thompson's paper EPIC THEMES IN AWESOME WAYS: How we made Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic, and why it matters is now up on the Comics Forum blog.
Graphic Medicine
Healthcare professionals, academics, comics creators, and other folks?  With a conference at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland?  Yeah, we like that too.
Our editor in chief Lydia gave a presentation on Epic themes in awesome ways, or the wee and guinea pigs in Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic, looking at the wee (urinary tract infections) and guinea pig (cancer drug trials) pages as case studies.  This focussed on how our collaborators made these comics, and what making these comics meant to our collaborators.

National Coordinating Centre for Public 
The Engage 2013 conference for people involved university public engagement?  In Bristol?  Yeah, we'll go for a bit of that.  Our editors Mike and Lydia led a workshop about using comics in public engagement.
Sparks Science Collider 
Giving coders, artists, and artist-coders (coder-artists) a chance to play with scientific data?  In Newcastle?  Aye, go on then.  Our editor in chief Lydia gave a presentation on comics-science collaboration, and led a workshop using comics to set up creative collaborations.
Comics conventions
We had stalls at Thought Bubble comics and sequential art festival in Leeds, Comica Comiket in London, and Canny Comic Con events in Newcastle.  We gave free copies of Asteroid Belter to comics fans and creators, met some of our awesome collaborators (some new friends, some old friends), and talked with people about our project.  

Our editor Lydia and our friend Ernesto Priego co-authored a letter in response to Matthew Reisz's piece The hero in all of is (Times Higher Education, 24th July 2014), and shared it on The Comics Grid academic blog.  Ermesto and Lydia clarified the difference between on the one hand academics and academic researchers as characters in comics, and on the other hand combining academic research with comics.  They also highlighted some key comics, events, and academic journals in this field. 

And finally
We haven't listed all the conversations, presentations at Newcastle University events, emails, meetings, 'can I just ask you a quick question' chats.  These all mean just as much to us as the conference presentations and academic paper.  We're still knocked-out delighted every time people tell us they've read Asteroid Belter, and are proper chuffed that it's still being read and shared online (click on the top right of our homepage).  If you haven't already read it, this corking review from Richard Bruton on Forbidden Planet International tells you what you're missing out on.

We might even have enjoyed talking about Asteroid Belter.  If you ask nicely we might even talk to you about it: at an event, over a cuppa, by email... we're versatile.

We're setting up new comics + research projects and will tell you about them just as soon as we can. Hopefully these links will keep you busy until then.

*haha very funny

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Well now that was informative.

Here’s a quick roundup after our infographics workshop at Newcastle City Library as part of the Comics Chaos festival on Saturday 9th August 2014.

We used examples from digital and print media to identify exactly what what makes good, bad, and misleading infographics.  Our infographicers were great at spotting what it is that makes an infographic a infographic. 

Then we focussed on what comics can teach us about combining words and pictures.  Yes, panel grids are part of this, and there’s a heck of a lot more besides. 

By the time it came to making their own infographics our infographicers (if I keep writing it it’ll become a real word, right?) were rather too good at, umm, not exactly telling lies with information, but certainly being selective about what they chose to emphasise.

Thanks go to our anonymous evaluation form filler-inners for the positive and encouraging feedback.  This is a workshop we can adjust to fit different groups’ needs*, so your comments will help with the fine tuning. 

Thanks also go to our friends at Newcastle City Library for coordinating the Comics Chaos Festival.  There are other comics events for children and for adults throughout August – pick up a festival guide at the library for more information.

Thanks also also go to our friends at CCCCCCC (The Canny Comic Con Comic Chaos Creative Collaboration).  @CannyComicCon’s twitter feed has a rundown of cracking ideas for comics to read, as a good and true record of the Best Comic You’ve Never Read debate. 

*aye, that’s an advert.  You’re welcome to get in touch to to discuss the comics + science (or comics + scientists) workshops we could run for you.  We have many, we do bespoke workshops, and we'll have a web page all about them soon.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sparks Science Collider

Sparks North East are running a Science Collider, you say?  Heck yes we're interested!

We'll be running a workshop for scientists, researchers, physical/digital makers, artists, and anyone else who takes part in the Science Collider.  This aims to get collaborations off to a sparky start: collaborators will come in not knowing what data they'll be playing with or who they'll be collaborating with, so we'll focus on how comics can help them get started and keep things on track.

Contact Sparks North East for FREE event tickets.  This is an 18+ event.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Infographics workshop + Comic Chaos

Well now here's some excitement.

Newcastle Science Comic have again teamed up with Newcastle Libraries as part of Comics Chaos, a programme of awesome summer activities linked to the British Library's Comics Unmasked exhibition.

Join us on Saturday 9th August from 11am-12.30pm at Newcastle City Library for a FREE hands-on workshop on infographics.

Newspapers, websites, and documentaries love using graphs, symbols, and pictures to present information.  Do these infographics help us understand complicated information?*  Are they a way of playing tricks with numbers?**  Is anything that combines numbers, words, and pictures an infographic?***

We will:

  • understand what makes good, bad, and misleading infographics
  • see what comics can teach us about combining words and pictures
  • make infographics, choosing to use our skills for good or for evil.
This workshop is suggested for ages 14 to adult.  You don't have to be good at maths or art.  You do need to ask questions about information that is presented to you, and think about what information you want to present to other people.  

The workshop is FREE but places are limited - you can book your free ticket online:

Get in touch if you have any questions about this workshop: newcastlesciencecomic [at] gmail [dot] com

*sometimes **often ***no

And that's not all!  The Canny Comic Con Comic Chaos Creative Collaboration will be running FREE drop-in activities all day for all ages, ending with a debate to finally answer the question 'What's the best comic that you probably haven't read?'  Head over to their website for the latest news on all things CCCCCCC.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Widcombe Junior School Comics Week

Year 5 students from Widcombe Junior School in Bath took part in a comics week with Hannah Sackett of Archaeological Oddities last month. With expert guidance from Hannah and the wonderful teachers Rebecca Cartwright and Jo Everritt they created some fantastic comics inspired by Asteroid Belter.

Year 5 have been working on the topic of space, so they took the Supernova Splashdown comics (by Paul Duffield) as a model and wrote their own comics on the same theme. As previous topic work they had all invented their own planet - describing plants and animals, geology, atmosphere, etc, so their brief was to have their spaceships land/crashland on these planets.

Click on the pictures to see larger versions. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Our Launch in Photos

Our launch was quite some time ago now, we thought it was about time we shared some photos of the day with you. Yay.

Young artists getting stuck in with the big drawing wall. How wonderful.

Comics for all ages. I can report that the adults enjoyed this just as much as the kids.

See what I mean? That puzzle on the back is pretty challenging. Have you solved it yet?

Aliens, laser, robots, mutation, clone? What could be going on here? Is this a famous Art Heroes Workshop?

Nigel Auchterlounie and team getting to business. Serious comics business. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Thought Bubble You Rock

This weekend we attended the Thought Bubble Festival, we also did our talk at the Comics Forum. Editors Lydia Wysocki and Michael Thompson presented our talk to Comics Forum entitled Epic themes in awesome ways, or how we made Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic. It seemed to go rather well, if anybody happened to record any of it we'd love to see/hear it.

Jess Bradley's poo comic was a favourite among the Thought Bubble gang. I have a poo sticker and badge now, which is grand.

Sarah McIntyre took a great photo of the Science Comic team for her blog, thanks Sarah. We hope you enjoy the comic.

We have been judged and found guilty of comics. Oh no.
Paul Thompson took the fall while another culprit fled the scene.

If you visited us on Sunday it's very possible that you witnessed Lydia's mad knitting skills. She was making gloves, I've never really got to grips with knitting but it is certainly very scientific and involves a lot of counting. It looks a lot like being a human printer. 

Massive thanks to Thought Bubble, we gave out over 600 comics and we hope you all enjoy them. Yes, even you. Leeds, you were grand. Now we shall rest a bit.