Newsletter No.6 (April 2013)

This Spring’s NNCORE activities consist of an international conference to be held at Helsinki University, Finland, May 23-25, and the last of the sequence of thematic seminars, this one about comics and didactics in Copenhagen on May 30. For information about both events and the possibilities of participating in them, please see below.

Helsinki International Conference, May 23-25, 2013

We are very excited about the conference and the program looks very promising. It consists of three plenary addresses; a series of panel debates and interventions on comics theory, on comics and intertextuality, and on the comics medium’s future. And not least, there are 16 thematic sessions and a PhD seminar. To see the full program, please go to NNCOREs website, www.sdu.dk/nncore.

Most of the NNCORE Advisory Board members will be attending the conference, and we are truly happy that Ann Miller, Thierry Groensteen, Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff, Roger Sabin and Jan Baetens will all be participating, either as plenary speakers or with other interventions. Scholars from the Nordic countries are of course well represented in the program, but we are happy that the conference has also attracted participants from other parts of the world. We are especially pleased to have a strong representation of PhD students. The German comics research organization, ComFor, is also represented, which is a great opportunity to strengthen and broaden a Northern European comics research connection.

The combination of renowned comics scholars, the up-and-coming generation of young scholars and representatives from different regions and organizations will hopefully lead to exciting discussions about comics, but it will also be an important step regarding the subject of the next section in this newsletter, i.e. the future of NNCORE.

For more information about participation in the conference, please contact Kai Mikkonen, kai.mikkonen@helsinki.fi, Associate Professor at Helsinki University and part of the NNCORE steering group, who is the main organizer of the event.

 

NNCORE’s future – up for debate

One of the key issues up for discussion at the Helsinki conference is the future of a Nordic network for comics research. After the conference there will be one more thematic seminar, and then the funding from the Danish Research Council will have run out. The last one and a half years have shown that there is a considerable group of comics researchers, from PhD students to professors, across the Nordic countries and in different research institutions, departments and centers. With NNCORE, this group has become better acquainted and the result has been a series of exciting initiatives and projects. We hope to continue this process beyond September 2013, but it requires that we rethink and renew how to organize the cooperation.

At the conference we will have a special session on the subject, and it is a priority that we find a way to continue NNCORE. Another, related but probably more difficult, issue is to figure out how the many comics research organizations and networks across different regions and countries can best work together. This is of course a complex question that includes many people, interests and entities, but in Helsinki we have representatives from several organizations and networks, so the debate will not only be about NNCORE, but also about NNCORE as part of a bigger network.

 

Research Invitation: Representing Enemies and Allies in Popular Culture

The Dutch historian Kees Ribbens (NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam / Erasmus University, Rotterdam), NNCORE project manager Anne Magnussen (University of Southern Denmark) and NNCORE steering group member Michael Scholz (Gotland University) would like to discuss the possibilities of initiating a new interdisciplinary research project. The aim of this project is to study comics and other popular media in the 20th and 21st century in order to see how the Second World War and more recent large scale conflicts have been represented for a variety of audiences across Europe in different media. The focus would be on how the visual and textual representations of friends and foes have changed over time ever since 1939, how these often internationally distributed representations, originating in a specific country, were adapted elsewhere based upon the (perceived) characteristics and demands of the political and cultural contexts, the specific – but highly interrelated – media (comics, films, games, novels and others) and the intended audiences.  What was the impact of the Cold War and the post-1989 situation? How do these popular representations relate to elements like politics, propaganda, censorship and educational aspects ? And how do they fit within national and transnational memory cultures?

We would like to see whether it is possible to organize an exploratory workshop in 2014 on the ‘Representing allies and enemies in popular culture’ with Dutch, Nordic and other researchers. The final goal would be to apply for funding (European Research Council, European Science Foundation) for a long term research project. NNCORE members and others attending the upcoming conference in Helsinki who are interested in participating are encouraged to contact prof dr Kees Ribbens, k.ribbens@niod.knaw.nl. At the Helsinki conference, there will be two sessions named Controlling the Message that in different ways, empirically and/or theoretically, refer to the subject described above. We hope that this project will function as a reference point in these sessions so that they can contribute to develop it further. Kees Ribbens, Michael Sholz and Anne Magnussen will all participate with presentations in these sessions.

 

NNCORE Workshop in Copenhagen, May 30

The thematic group, Learning from and through comics: Comics as a didactic tool is organizing a workshop in Copenhagen on May 30. The organizer Marianne Eskebæk Larsen has planned it so that it coincides with the Copenhagen Comics festival that will take place June 1-2. For more information about the festival, see http://copenhagencomics.dk/.

The NNCORE work-shop will have an informal structure, based on the discussion of texts and ideas rather than formal presentations. The objective is to have a lively discussion of the participants’ ideas and challenges concerning their own research or teaching. The program is open for suggestions.  To start off the workshop, Marianne Eskebæk Larsen has invited Karin Kukkonen to present her upcoming textbook Studying Comics and Graphic Novels, and the cartoonist Erik Petri http://www.erikpetri.dk/about/ who will talk about his work with process visualization and the didactic potential of graphic facilitation within the education system.

The workshop is open for everybody. For practical reasons it is necessary to register, so please contact Marianne Eskebæk Larsen, mary_e_larsen@hotmail.com or mael@ucc.dk, before May 15. For more information about time and place, you can also contact Marianne.

Apart from the workshop Marianne Eskebæk Larsen is responsible for a seminar focusing on comics for children/YA and comics didactic, which will take place the day after the workshop, i.e. on May 31. The seminar is free and open for all.  The speakers at the seminar will be a mix of researchers, writers, illustrators and teachers. For more information about the program, time and place, please contact Marianne Eskebæk Larsen mary_e_larsen@hotmail.com or mael@ucc.dk.

 

This was all for now. If you have any questions about the particular events and initiatives, please contact the persons mentioned in the texts above. If you have questions about NNCORE or if you have suggestions as to the content of future newsletters, please do not hesitate to contact Anne Magnussen (magnussen@sdu.dk)

Edited byAnne Magnussen

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