After Lukas deviated from our usual look back on the last two months of German activities regarding comics and outrageously announced diverse activities in September and October (yes, Lukas, this was cheating!) we would like to recommend the rereading of Lukas’ column and add some updates on events that have not been mentioned yet.
First of all our annual ComFor conference entitled “History in Comics – History of Comics” was held at the University of Frankfurt/M. from September 4 to 6. Although we are excited about each annual meeting, this year’s get-together was a special one: the ComFor celebrated its 10th anniversary. With a record high of 17 panels and roughly 50 talks in three days, the annual meeting in Frankfurt was one of the largest ComFor conferences so far. The four keynotes by Anne Magnussen (University of Southern Denmark, Odense), Stephan Packard (Freiburg), Dietrich Grünewald (Reiskirchen), and Christina Gundermann (Köln) at the beginning set the tone for a conference full of thought-provoking talks, controversial debates, and inspiring conversations among fellow comics scholars.
One month after the ComFor’s annual meeting, the Berlin symposium ‘Science meets Comics. The Anthropocene Kitchen: Designing the Future of Food’ took place from October 5 to 6. Experts in comics theory and comics practice, science communication and nutritional sciences came together and discussed the importance of comics for science communication, intercultural education, and visions of future nutrition. The results of the symposium will have direct effect on the creation of an info comic about the nutrition of the world (‘The Anthropocene Kitchen – Visualizing the Future of Food’).
In Bayreuth, from September 30 to October 3, the annual meeting of the Society for Media Studies (GfM) took place. The conference reconciled different approaches and branches of media studies under the title “Utopias. Ways out of present”. The AG Comicforschung arranged a panel regarding utopia in comics moderated by Laura Oehme (Bayreuth) and with talks by Jeanne Cortiel (Bayreuth), Stephan Packard (Freiburg), and Véronique Sina (Bochum). Since the founding of the AG Comicforschung in 2013 it was the third successful and well attended panel at the annual meeting of GfM in a row.
Besides these academic conferences two other events took place in September that had quite an interesting focus on comics. The first was a one-day workshop for teachers about comics as topic for school lessons at the University of Paderborn. Such workshops show the great interest in the integration of comics into classrooms. Discussions about this topic also exist within the ComFor and will be the topic of the next annual meeting in 2016 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The second event was the first 24 hour cartoon reading festival, which took place in Berlin from September 5 to 6. At first glance it might sound odd to read out cartoons we are more used to reading by our own. However, readings of cartoons by their creators – all of them well-known German cartoonists – are adding a whole new dimension to the funny drawings.
Out of a bunch of exhibitions that started in September there are two on German comic artists that are worth emphasising in particular. The exhibition ‘Ruthe – Sauer – Flix: Das ist doch keine Kunst’ started just recently in Oberhausen. It can be visited until 17 January 2016 and shows works of the three well-known German comic artists Ralph Ruthe, Joschua Sauer, and Flix. Also an exhibition on the German underground comic artist Gerhard Seyfried will be displayed until January 2016 at the Caricatura Museum in Frankfurt/M.
Nina Heindl, M.A., is on the editing board of the website of the German Society of Comic Studies (ComFor) and a member of the Comic Studies Board of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM). She is a doctoral candidate at the department for art history at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. Her dissertation project is about artistic forms of comics based on Chris Ware’s oeuvre and is founded by the RUB Research School PLUS. Recent publications: ‘Becoming Aware of One’s Own Biased Attitude: The Observer’s Encounter with Disability in Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library No. 18’ In: The Review of Disability Studies. An International Journal (2014:10.3&4), pp. 40–51 (http://www.rds.hawaii.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/RDSv10iss3and4.pdf); ‘Die leisen Bildlaute des Chris Ware. Wirk- und Seinsweisen von Sprechblasen und Onomatopöien’ In: Christian Bachmann (ed.): Bildlaute und laute Bilder. Zur ‚Audiovisualität‘ von Bilderzählungen, Berlin 2014, pp. 149–168.