CFP: Perth Comics Art Festival

Perth Comics Art Festival (PCAF) Symposium
June 29, 2018
Stichtag: 05.02.2018

As part of the inaugural Perth Comics Art Festival, an Australian comics symposium will be held at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, June 29, 2018. Researchers of all disciplines, as well as unaffiliated comics artists, comics historians and critics are invited to submit proposals for symposium presentations. Keynote speaker for the symposium will be Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane (University of Melbourne/Comic Art Workshop).

Send a 350-word abstract for a 4000-5000-word article (for a 20 minute presentation) no later than February 5th, 2018. All proposals will be adjudicated by February 19th, 2018. First drafts of accepted papers are due May 1, 2018. Presentation submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed for inclusion as papers in symposium proceedings. Please send your abstracts to Associate Professor Stuart Medley, ECU, via email:

Topics for the symposium include, but are not limited to:

  • Comics as the products of Australian culture(s).
  • Common representations, themes, structures, devices. Is there such a thing as “Australian comics”? Close readings of individual works, including comic strips, comic books and graphic novels are welcome.
  • Comics made by and/or for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; Colonialism in Australian comics, before and after Federation. Continued ties to the Empire and notions of ‘Britishness‘ post Federation. Bushrangers and crime.
  • The feminine in Australian comics; historical surveys of representations, gender roles, feminist critiques of these from the earliest comics to the present; examination and critique of the rise of feminine making and voices in the past three decades; projections for the future.
  • The masculine in Australian comics: historical surveys of representations; the Anzac Myth as masculine, the pioneering spirit; feminist, marginalised and other critiques of; the comics nerd and masculinity.
  • The child in Australian comics. The ‘childhood’ represented by ‚Ginger Meggs‘, ‚Fatty Finn‘, Sunbeams to contemporary depictions; representations of gender and adults/parents; the ‘other’ kids: indigenous, Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, Africans.
  • The Underground comix phenomenon in Australia: presence and distribution of Underground comix, local versions and approaches to the form; analysis of the form; representations, marginalization and censorship.
  • Australian humour in comics: humour as tool to undermine or defend the Australian ‚way of life’; comics as ‘funnies’.

Recent changes in comics reflected in Australia.

  • The growth of historically marginalized Australian voices such as queer, the migrant, the refugee.
  • Applications of comics to other fields/disciplines/professions: Graphic medicine in Australia.
  • Comics and Law in Australia. Presentation of research, contract usage, other strategies to apply comics to law; representations of the practice of law in Australia, intersections and dealings with the Australian justice system, Legal Aid, the law profession, etc.
  • Graphic Social Science in Australia.
  • Comics and Australian Education: history of use as a pedagogical tool; descriptions and criticism of comics pedagogy for all topics at all levels (including tertiary); as a literacy/graphicacy tool; depictions and representations of the education system in Australian comics.

The visual in Australian comics.

  • Questions of visual styles and techniques. Distinct Australian methods of making or composing comics panels and pages.
  • Representations and depictions of Australia by tourists, travellers, temporary workers and other transient peoples past and present; representations of Australia in comics from elsewhere.
  • The Australian landscape, cityscape, light, nature, flora, fauna, weather, etc.; fire and flooding rains and other mythopoeic representations and depictions.

(Im)materiality in Australian comics.

  • Web comics or a return to the hand-made object as part of the zeitgeist.
  • What can be found in the blurry edges between comics, zines, games? The Australian creator as an all-rounder versus their specialist counterparts overseas.

Preserving the history and ensuring the future of Australian comics.

  • The role of libraries, museums, galleries, guilds, associations, and the Web.
  • Who collects Australian comics and what is the role and content of private collections, collectors, private comic and cartooning museums?
  • Australian comics industry: is there such a thing, was there such a thing, can it be defined as such? What does an Australian comics creator look like?
  • Historical surveys of making, publishing, distributing comics in Australia past and present.
  • The current ‘Renaissance’ of interest and readership; where is the money? Audience and fan studies in Australia.

It is the express interest of PCAF to discover what comics scholarship is also being done in Australia beyond Academia. We welcome papers from Independent scholars, historians, collectors, critics and other interested parties who wish to share what they know, have uncovered or feel should be known.

The Perth Comics Art Festival will run from 25 June to 8 July, 2018, incorporating comics exhibitions at ECU’s Spectrum Project Space and Gallery 25, Workshops, Artists’ talks, Australian Comics Symposium (June 29), and a festival day featuring maker stalls and activities for all ages. PCAF is supported by Edith Cowan University and the Comics Maker Network.

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