It is time to ReOPeN graphic novels and comics (GNC)!

What is ReOPeN Graphic Futures? 

ReOPeN Graphic Futures is based at Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures, and co-directed by Dr Nataša Lacković (Educational Research) and Dr Andrew Tate (English and Creative Writing). It is an award-winning interdisciplinary and international research-pedagogy-engagement project. It brings together researchers and teachers across the Institute for Social Futures and different disciplines and centres across Lancaster University and beyond, to explore and develop the relationships between “futures”, “the social” and “the graphic” (graphic narratives, methods, novels, illustration, sketching and comics). 

Our Work – Developing Diverse “Graphic Fields”

We work across a number of areas and themes such as wellbeing and health, various literacies (language/eco/multi), authentic narratives, modern languages, diverse sciences, educational designs/research, communication and creative writing. That means that we are contributing to different  graphic fields, genres and communities, such as “graphic medicine”, “graphic social sciences”, “graphic journalism”, “graphic memoir” and “applied comics”. 

ReOPeN Graphic Futures aims to act as a connective tissue among academia, authors/artists working in those unique media and art organisations/industry/public services/charities to collaborate on existing and future research – new data collection methods and areas of research and theory, including teaching and learning and in response to community needs.

We have realised a number of distinct projects with the graphic medium. We helped communicate health inequalities and developed graphic methods for data collection pertinent to health inequalities with community representatives across English counties. We were pivotal in leading to a collaboration between an artist and Lancaster University health team that won the North West Coast Research and Innovation Award 2019. We led a project with two local schools that won the North West Cultural Education Award 2017: Arts Partnership Award, having raised pupils’ interest in reading by 100% as reported by the teacher, in collaboration with a local theatre and artist. We developed a highly acclaimed cross-subject teaching resources to critically engage learners in the topic of war and peace building on the graphic anthology Traces of the Great War, endorsed by Horrible Histories‘ Greg Jenner and Comics Laureate Charlie Adlard. We participated in a project that developed a digital comic app for inclusive English language learning. We organised or contributed to graphic narrative and art exhibitions and symposia, and we are publishing the world’s first graphic novel about student wellbeing and mental health “Things and the mind” that is co-created with students. Further info/resources: Projects and News.

Our key partner is LICAF The Lakes International Comic Art Festival – together we have organised public and faculty lectures, teacher workshops with the Comics Laureate, teaching materials, LICAF events and Comics Up Close (CUC) – a unique event that engages academics and artists, open to wider public. 

Get in touch to join our mailing list and become an Associate Member.