Freedom City Comics (2017)

Freedom City Comics anthology presents snapshots of the history of civil rights and politics on Tyneside. Each chapter focuses on a different era of the history of people and events in Newcastle and the North East. The 7 chapters are linked by the themes of freedom highlighted by Dr Martin Luther King Jr in his 1967 Newcastle speech:

“There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face not only in the United States of America but all over the world today. That is the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war…” Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Speech on Receipt of Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law, November 13, 1967, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Made as part of Freedom City 2017, our 16-page comic is a collaboration between comics artist-writers and academic researchers:

The full digital comic is available FREE to read online http://research.ncl.ac.uk/fccomics/readthecomic/ . Look out for each standalone digital chapter, too.

The full printed comic is available to pick up FREE at libraries, cultural venues, and other events around Tyneside as part of Freedom City 2017. More info and venues list: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/fccomics/venues/

We’re also working on a learning framework to support schools and other groups to use this comic.

Press release: http://ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2017/09/freedomcitycomics/

Olaudah Equiano - Patrice Aggs, working with researcher Brycchan Carey

Joseph Cowen - Mack Chater and Ian Mayor, working with researcher Joan Allen

Ellen Wilkinson - Sha Nazir, working with researcher Matt Perry

DIY Comic (2017)

We worked with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books in preparation for their 2017 exhibition Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art at Seven Stories.

Overall, the exhibition features process and final artwork by a mix of old and new comics creators, with a huge focus on supporting children to make their own comics. Our contribution was in two parts:

  • designing and making the DIY comic, a ‘have a go’  for young visitors to use in the gallery and take home to continue making their own comics (see more here)
  • working with the Learning and Participation team at Seven Stories to develop workshops to be delivered in-house as part of their schools and public offers, and training Seven Stories’ front of house Storycatcher staff to deliver these.

Gertrude Bell: Archaeologist, Writer, Explorer (2015)

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Born in Washington New Hall in what was then County Durham, archaeologist Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) had a remarkable life. She travelled round the world twice, investigated archaeological sites through the Syrian Desert to Asia Minor, and became a powerful force in Iraqi politics. Gertrude established the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, and served as the Honorary Director of Antiquities in Iraq.  

Gertrude Bell: Archaeologist, Writer, Explorer uses digital comics as entry points to original archive materials. The online-digital-hyperlinked comics are all free to read online: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/gertrudecomics/ 

The seven digital comics by cartoonist John Miers present snapshots of Gertrude’s life and work. Click on the circular hotspots to see the photos, letters, and other artefacts that inspired each comic. These original materials include digitised artifacts in the Gertrude Bell Archive, and other collections of key sources.

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Your feedback will help as we continue to develop this project with the School of Archaeology at Newcastle University.‌‌ Please fill in our short reader questionnaire. Phase 2 will support people who aren’t archaeologists or subject specialists to further explore the Gertrude Bell Archive, with these comics as a starting point.

Look out for our printed preview version, too!  Of course the hyperlinks are only in the online comics, but the printed preview has more detail on where in the world Gertrude lived and worked.

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We’re grateful to young people from the Newcastle Young Archaeologists’ Club for their help in refining these comics. We went on site at their summer dig at Derwentcote Steel Furnace, for feedback on drafts of each comic and opinions on art style. Then in autumn 2015, YAC tested our hyperlinked comics and helped us decide what could be developed further as phase 2 of this project.

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Gertrude Bell: Archaeologist, Writer, Explorer is a collaboration between:

This project is supported by Newcastle University’s Institute for Creative Arts Practice

Please note that we are not responsible for the content or reader-friendliness of external archives and websites.

True War Stories (2015)

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For this project we worked with the Thomas Baker Brown Archive, Newcastle University Library Special Collections Education Outreach team, and artist-writer Terry Wiley.

Thomas Baker Brown was a man from North Shields, Tyne & Wear, who served as a signaller in World War I. His son donated his archive to Newcastle University Special Collections, and we have used the letters, documents, and artefacts in the archive to better understand his WWI story as a ‘typical Tommy’ from our local area.

Thomas’ story forms the heart of this project. His archive includes original comics
from WWI, so we used comics as a method to help local high school students understand how archives help us write history. Visit the True War Stories education outreach webpage to read and download free comics:

  • True War Stories No.1: Thomas Baker Brown, a 12-page biographical comic written and drawn by Terry Wiley
  • Draw More Comics: The Thomas Baker Brown World War I Comics Anthology, an anthology of local students’ comics based on archive materials
  • downloadable panel templates, archive resources packs, and a how to draw guide to use alone or with students

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COMICS: Newcastle, Gateshead, and Stockton Libraries (2014)

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In summer 2014 Newcastle, Gateshead, and Stockton Libraries joined forces with local comics creators to host a great comics festival for children and young people.

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Applied Comics Etc took part in the festival by running our infographics workshop. Then we were invited back for more. In partnership with the libraries and with Tyne Bridge Publishing we published a souvenir book, celebrating the work created by everyone involved.

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The souvenir book was a way for participants and their families to remember their shared experiences and comics-making fun (and hard work). It was also a way to show others what the festival achieved, and to say thank you to local arts organisations, local councils, the British Library, and Arts Council England for supporting the festival.

The festival linked with the 2014 British Library exhibition ‘Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK’ and the festival competition winners won a trip to the British Library. The magic of ISBNs means that this souvenir book featuring their comics is now part of the British Library’s legal deposit collection.

Click here to read the full souvenir book on Newcastle Libraries’ website.

Sparks: Comics and collaboration (2014)

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We led a workshop for scientists, researchers, physical/digital makers, and artists who took part in the Science Collider run by Sparks North East .  Collaborators arrived not knowing what data they’d be playing with or who their teammates would be.  We focussed on how comics could help them get started and keep things on track, and provided a workbook to keep things on track.

Science FACT-ion (2013)

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Ahead of the British Science Festival 2013 we developed a downloadable activity pack available as a PDF from the Teachers’ Toolkit. Download the kids’ pack and adult helpers’ pack here – the competition has closed but the activities remain awesome.

Science FACT-ion drawing challengeScience FACT-ion used the medium of comics to show 8-13 year olds how science fact and science fiction are both separate and interrelated, then check this understanding.  We also challenged readers to design their own inventions, with the winning drawings published in Asteroid Belter and exhibited at Newcastle City Library.

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Newcastle Science Comic (2012, ongoing)

Newcastle Science Comic is our heading for all things science + comics: Asteroid Belter, Science FACT-ion, The Science of Comics exhibitions, and other workshops.  We sometimes still do projects as Newcastle Science Comic, but we’re not only Newcastle Science Comic.

Since 2012 we’ve broadened our horizons to include other subject areas.  We began with Newcastle Science Comic so it’ll always have a special place in our comics collections.  Hearts.  In our hearts.