CFP: Comics & Medicine Conference, “Access Points”, Seattle

CFP: 2017 Comics & Medicine Conference: Access Points

Location: Seattle Public Library Central Branch

Date: 15th – 17th June 2017

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Rupert Kinnard created the first LGBTQ-identified African American comic strip characters in his groundbreaking series Cathartic Comics. His comics work—including his much anticipated memoir-in-progress LifeCapsule Project—spans all facets of his personal identity, from race, gender, and sexuality to classism, ageism, and disability. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Arts Foundation in 2013.
  • Georgia Webber is a comics artist, craniosacral therapist, meditation facilitator, and radio producer living in the cities of Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario. Her most notable comics series, Dumb, chronicles her severe vocal injury and ongoing (sometimes silent) recovery.
  • Hillary Chute is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia UP, 2010), Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists (University of Chicago Press, 2014), and Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form (Harvard University Press, 2016). She has also co-edited two journal special issues: Mfs: Modern Fiction Studies on “Graphic Narrative” (2006) and Critical Inquiry on “Comics & Media” (2014), and she is Associate Editor of Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011).

Call for Papers:

This year’s Comics & Medicine theme is Access Points. We invite participants to consider accessibility as a crucial aspect linking comics and health. Comics—a medium broadly characterized as “accessible” because of its ability to reach diverse audiences and to provide a platform for marginalized voices—can make visible and reflect upon the urgent subject of health access. Comics can explore the issue of accessibility in past and current practices of health care and can point to imaginative solutions for extending and expanding health care. We invite the submission of a wide variety of abstracts focusing on health, medicine, and comics in any form (e.g. graphic novels and memoir, comic strips, manga, web comics) that examine or showcase topics including, but not limited to:

  • Comics depictions of disability
  • Visual depictions of systemic and structural inequities in health care and social determinants of health
  • Use of comics to provide health education for or about under-served communities
  • Comics representations of physical or geographical spaces related to the delivery of medical care
  • Collaborative comics projects that create access points between patients, healthcare providers, community organizations, and/or institutional stakeholders
  • Use of comics to access new understandings of bodily/mental states
  • Therapeutic uses of comics and cartooning
  • Use of comics to encourage conversations about accessible spaces/events
  • Innovative uses of comics to access diverse health experiences
  • Use of comics to visualize ideological and/or political boundaries and access to medical therapies
  • Comics and environmental health
  • Ethical implications of creating comics for patients, physicians, or institutions
  • Trends in, histories of, or the use of comics in health care and public health

Presentation Formats:

Lightning talks: 5-minute presentations with up to 15 slides. This concise format is meant to encourage submission of short presentations to share your work (e.g. comics, new research projects, new ideas).

Oral presentations: 15- to 20-minute presentations.

Panel discussions: 90-minute interviews or presentations by a panel of speakers

Working Groups: 90-minute sessions to discuss short or long term collaborative projects in graphic medicine or to lead focused discussion of books and/or issues related to the conference theme. If accepted, the planning committee can work with the proposer to establish an audience. Suggested topics include:

  • community outreach and comics
  • sexual health/violence prevention and comics
  • health education and comics
  • teaching and learning with graphic medicine

Workshops: 90-minute sessions intended to be “hands-on” interactive, creative workshops for participants who wish to obtain particular skills with regard to comics. Suggested topics include:

  • drawing for health 101
  • accessing personal stories
  • comics and storytelling
  • mini-comic tutorial 

Submission Process:

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

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

Proposals should be submitted by 30th January 2017 to:

Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be completed by the week of March 1st, 2017. While we cannot guarantee that presenters will receive their first choice of presentation format, we will attempt to honor preferences, and we will acknowledge the receipt of all proposals.

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

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