Last week (10/10/14), I participated in the #remixthediss event on New Dissertation Models at the CUNY Graduate Center here in NYC. It was a terrific gathering, invigorated live audience, and it was live-streamed to audiences around the country and the globe – and in many sites they hosted their own parallel discussions. Primary organizer, Professor Cathy Davidson now of CUNY called it not an event but the start of a movement. And as part of that, a publicly editable document was made available for listeners to ask questions and presenters answered them live and have continued to build on the document since. You can see that document here, and watch the recorded video of it right here. (If you came to hear me, I’m around the 50 minute mark). Reflections and resources from it are posted on HASTAC’s site here. Cathy Davidson was featured in Inside Higher Ed this week and speaks about the event movement in the interview. (This resonates with previous panels on new forms of scholarship that i’ve been involved in from Expanding Forms of Scholarship to Beyond the Protomonograph).
This week, I’m off to Michigan State University to present at the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies annual conference. I’ve been fortunate to participate with this inclusive organization for about six years now, and this time around I’ve been invited to give a few remarks about my work at the opening, as well as my individual session, which will also include a comics-making workshop!
And in early November, I’ve been invited to give a keynote talk/workshop at the International Visual Literacy Association’s conference at the Toledo Museum of Art. Looks like a fascinating gathering and I’m honored to be partaking in it. You can get a little sense of some of the things I’ll be talking on from this poster I made for the Oxford Illustration Symposium last year. The Chronicle’s feature on my work is another good way for those unfamiliar to get up to speed.

 

I want to close this post by sharing some process sketches. I’ve been scanning all the sketches that went into the dissertation (for inclusion in the book version!), and that’s led me to reflect further on my process and how ideas emerge between the collaboration of thoughts in our heads and sketches on paper. It’s something i find that makes my work in comics smarter than I am on my own. Anyhow, what follows are a slew of sketches that went into making a page on comics and multi modality from the third chapter of the dissertation, which sets out to theorize on how comics do their work. I posted them here in what in pretty close to the order they were made. You can see that my initial idea was going in a totally different direction (though i still like the idea of talking about omelets as a kind of multimodal process). I then came up with a concept that is more or less what i went with, but then you see all the attempts to get the composition to flow correctly. This culminates in transforming the large hand on the “keyboard” into an arrow of sorts that helps move the reading eye back up after going down for the initial content. Anyhow, I think this offers a sense of the thinking that goes into a page. I’m frequently asked how long pages take to make – and while the drawing in many cases can take a long time – for me, it’s always the thinking, how to orchestrate the page to embody the ideas. It’s a journey of wrong turns and surprising discoveries. Which is what I feel research always ought to be. – Nick
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