Monday, 21 January 2013

Super Mash-Up!

On Wednesday the 16th January Newcastle Science Comic had a Super Mash-Up, the first meeting of artists, writers and scientists interested in contributing to the comic. Science and comics aren't naturally considered a good match but they're both used to explain things. Comics are a fantastically accessible way of telling a story and science is full of fantastic stories that really need to be told, the ideal match!

We kicked off the event with a little activity that will probably look familiar to anybody who's been near the internet in the last year. What do people think you do? It was interesting to see that most people's mothers couldn't really keep track of what they do. It also seems nobody actually does what they think they do.
What people think I do - post it note version - photos by Mike D, drawings by a scientist.
Science, the great employability machine - photos by Mike D, drawings by a scientist.
The words in balloons - photos by Mike D, drawings by a writer.
Born free - photos by Mike D, drawings by an artist.

The event got off to a great start and collaboration was already in the air. Newcastle Science Comic's chief editor Lydia Wysocki made a presentation on comics and their usefulness for communication and explaining. Some examples included Will Eisner's How to Strip your Baby, a page from his M-16 U.S. Army Rifle Maintenance Booklet (commissioned by the U.S. Army) and the safety instructions on the back of an airplane seat.

We also heard from Dr Mike Jeffries, an ecologist who researches pond life; water beetles, dragonflies and the like, how they come and go over the years and in response to changing landscapes. Dr Jeffries uses comics to raise awareness and explore environmental themes related to his research. He also encourages his geography students to make comics to explore their personal worlds, making geography unique and relevant to their lives and surroundings.

Friendships were made, pictionary was played and some of our artists found their scientific soul mates. Not everybody could make it to Newcastle on the day so we had some online portfolios to show off too, technology is a wonderful thing, thank you science. The next few weeks will be all about putting our teams in touch with each other and bouncing even more scientific ideas back and forth.
Artists and scientists playing pictionary - photo by @EngageNE.
Communicating in words and pictures, that's a comic that - photo by @EngageNE.
If you were at the mash-up and drew a thing or took a photo of a thing then please do share it with us, we'd love to show it on our blog. We've got some more "What people think I do" sticky notes to share over the next few days and a fantastic giant collaborative drawing by everybody at the mash-up to try and fit in a scanner.

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