This weekend, I’m off to Philadelphia for the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) annual conference. I was to participate in three sessions, but because of exciting news on the home front (See below), I will be making a shorter trip of it and only making the Saturday and Sunday ones. I’ll be giving away comics excerpts from my dissertation at my sessions – and if you want one and can’t make the session – track me down while i’m at the conference. My colleagues at the Thursday session will kindly be sharing a poster excerpting the work (pictured) as well… 
A quick rundown of the schedule for AERA: 
Session 1: Comics in Education: Innovating Research and Curriculum (roundtable) 
Thu, April 3, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Convention Center, 400 Level, Terrace IV
This was to be a reunion with slight changes of a really enjoyable session from last year’s AERA, featuring Stergios Botzakis, Christy Blanch, Jarod Roselló , myself, and new member Brooke Sheridan, who I first connected to through her podcast on comics and education, and subsequent interview. Due to a number of circumstances – it’ll just be Stergios and Brooke – but their combined experiences teaching comics and teaching with comics should make for a great session for educators. Check them out!

This session brings together scholars and researchers who teach with comics and on comics, practitioners who make comics as a form of research, and those who synthesize all these practices. Recent attempts to create a singular discipline of comics studies have neglected the curricular or educational possibilities presented by the medium. By building on existing scholarship and from our own research and teaching around comics, we showcase a range of possibilities for using comics, offering attendees a sense of existing research, emerging practices, and the ways we’ve all found this medium to be rewarding in our teaching and studies.

Sat, April 5, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Marriott, Fourth Level, 409
This session features Arizona State University professor Donald Blumenfeld-Jones and me discussing the feedback between analysis and aesthetics that drives the process of our arts-based research. A question from Donald in a session I was in last year resonated with me about the nature of my work, and that led to us planning what I expect to be a dynamic conversation. Donald will be sharing dance and poetry and the process, and I’ll be sharing pages from the dissertation, and reflecting on the feedback between image and text, aesthetics and analysis, form and content, and more from which the work emerges.


Session 3: In Symposium: Comics as Research: Toward an Imaginative Methodology (workshop)

Sun, April 6, 4:05 to 5:35pm, Marriott, Fourth Level, Franklin 13

Jarod Roselló and I discuss our comics dissertation projects, and then will lead participants through exercises in comics-making that reflect our particular ways of working and jump-start attendees into thinking about how to engage in this medium. I’ll be doing the exercise I call “grids & gestures,” a sample of which can be seen here from my talk at Microsoft. I’m pretty sure Jarod will have comics to give away, and I will for all sessions. (Page above from Ch6.5 – blank grid and resulting final page.)

Meanwhile, you still have a few days left to leave your footprints in my dissertation! I’m seeking tracings of feet of all shapes and sizes for inclusion in my final chapter. I’ve already gotten feet from across the US and Europe, but I’m still looking for a few more. See details here –  deadline Tuesday, April 8!
Finally, on a personal note – at 2:14am Thursday, March 27 – my wife Leah and I welcomed our daughter Rosalie Anne Goodbear Sousanis into the world. It’s been a thrill watching her open her eyes to the world and each day we marvel more at her. A few years ago, my mom gave me her dog eared copy of Caroline Pratt’s wonderful book on education, “I Learn from Children.” Yes. Wonderful to experience the world alongside her. 
A few weeks to go to the dissertation defense and plenty of pages left to be drawn! But I welcome the chance to share in public forums and form new ideas from the conversation. New to this work? This recent interview in the Chronicle gives a good overview of what i’m up to, and you can find excerpts to the dissertation by clicking the dissertation label to the right. Onward – Nick

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