CFP: Graphic Horizons: The Future of Comics and Creativity in an Intermedial World”

University of Adelaide 
Thursday, September 14 - Friday, September 15, 2023 
Adelaide, South Australia  
Stichtag: 2023 06 09

The futures of comics, graphic narratives, webcomics and related intermedial forms are rapidly transforming. Digital technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence are impacting the ways we imagine visuality, storytelling and creativity. Alongside the still-emerging potentials of smart phones, social media and streaming media, there is a shifting, dizzying horizon for the future of creating and consuming graphic/visual narratives.

Whether created to be read on smartphones and tablets, or on ink-printed pages, comics facilitate exchanges between media in the form of transformations remediations and intermediations. Digital technology often informs the way that modern comics are drawn, published and experienced. Meanwhile, the poetics of comics underpin everyday digital communication: text messages are stylised as speech balloons, emoji characters adapt manga conventions, and the visual/verbal fusion of memes may be indistinguishable from comic strips.

This intermediality not only opens up new transmedia possibilities, but facilitates transnational and transcultural exchanges, from the global adoption of manga to the growing influence of the Korean webtoon platform. In Australia, Safdar Ahmed’s graphic novel Still Alive, based on his webcomic ‘Villawood’, and Matt Huynh’s immersive digital comics like ‘The Boat’, ‘Cabramatta’, are particularly revealing examples of this transnational/transmedia transformation. They are transnational narratives of migration and displacement which draw attention to their own intermedial construction.

To better understand these graphic horizons, we invite proposals for creative and critical papers to be part of a symposium about the recent and future-focused developments in comics and related intermedial forms. This may include a focus on new and developing visual narrative technologies, theories and distinctive cultural practices of reception, production & distribution of comics. Papers that combine cultural analysis and creative practice are particularly encouraged. We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate candidates, early-career researchers and established academics, as well as creative practitioners at all levels.

This conference will be held in person on Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15 at the University of Adelaide, in South Australia, with the possibility for online/hybrid presentations depending on the proposals received.

We are pleased to announce that this conference will be held in conjunction with the Paper Cuts Comics Festival (September 16-17) and the Comics Arts Awards of Australia ceremony (the evening of September 15), for what promises to be an invigorating celebration of comics culture and scholarship in Adelaide, Australia’s Festival City.

The conference is co-sponsored by the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, and the Department of Media, School of Humanities, and Faculty of Arts, Business and Economics at the University of Adelaide, as well as the Creative People, Products and Places Research Centre at the University of South Australia.

Potential paper topics could include, but is not limited to:

  • Transmedia
  • Transnationalism
  • Digital Humanities
  • Webtoons
  • VR and AR
  • Memes and Social Media
  • Digital comics and embodied storytelling/materiality
  • Comics and digital archives
  • Multimodality
  • Comics audiences in the developing world
  • Audiences in Australia & the pacific
  • Southern perspectives on comics
  • New production models for comics
  • Contemporary collaborative authorship models for comics
  • New technologies for reaching audiences (including haptic comics, online interactive documentary comics & comics art installations)
  • Indigenous comics
  • Intermedial comics in graphic medicine
  • The democratisation of contemporary comics
  • Contemporary comics & conscientisation Design perspectives on comics

Please submit a 250-350 word abstract, along with a 100 word bio to and by Friday 9 June, 2023. Include the subject line “Graphic Horizons”.