Over the past three years the Transitions symposium at Birkbeck College has established a presence in the annual events calendar of UK Comics Studies. For an excellent description of how this came to be, the rationale behind the event and of the collaborative DIY-ethos that continues to characterise Transitions I’d like to refer you to ‘The indisciplined middle space’ by Tony Venezia. What Tony wrote a year ago is as relevant now as it was then.
The organisation of this year’s event has been a team effort involving a small group of PhD students at both Birkbeck and the University of East Anglia. Our aim has been to provide a continuation of Transitions, and to maintain the attitude and character of what originated as Tony’s brainchild. We hope that the diverse and promising programme of papers will offer the opportunity to trace some of the current directions as indicated by new research, with the proviso that this selection should be seen as loosely indicative rather than necessarily representative. This year’s keynote, by Chris Murray and Julia Round, will provide insights into the current challenges and opportunities of teaching and researching comics in the academic context. In addition, a roundtable discussion will provide a chance to reflect on the shared scholarly context we inhabit, as constituted by networks of practices and initiatives.