Illustrating Futures is an ongoing collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Comics Youth focusing on the relationship between comics and mental health. https://comicsyouth.co.uk/aboutif We have collaborated on the project a number of times, most significantly with Tate Liverpool.

Our collaboration examines the narrative potential of comic book and zine art to explore the links between comics and mental wellbeing. Comics have a unique capacity to communicate complex issues relating to discrimination, marginalisation, health and wellbeing, and this will be used to engage audiences and get them involved in creative process.

Dr David Hering, the project lead, is a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Liverpool. Comics Youth is a CiC that delivers comic and zine reading and creation workshops to disadvantaged and marginalised young people aged 8-25 within the Liverpool City Region.

So far, the collaboration has delivered three successful projects looking at how comics and zines can be tools of expression whilst improving literacy and overall wellbeing.

Image credit: Comics Youth.

The series of activities use this narrative potential of comic book and zine art to explore the links between comics and mental wellbeing, and tackle isolation by asking young people to turn their stories, thoughts and feelings about loneliness and exclusion into a pop up at the Tate Liverpool exchange space.

Dr David Hering said, “Illustrating Futures 2018 was a great success for us at the University of Liverpool and Comics Youth CIC. The Tate Exchange allowed us to present an exhibition of work that underpins our current research into the efficacy of graphic medicine (the use of comics and sequential art in the treatment of mental and physical health) and enabled us to communicate our research to a large public audience, including schoolchildren, teachers and university students and staff.”

There’s a YouTube film on the project here: https://youtu.be/T82G8Issa5c

About Comics Youth: Comics Youth was founded in 2015 and is a creative community organisation led by young people, for young people. Their aim is to empower youth across the Liverpool City Region to flourish from the margins of society: Harnessing their own narratives, finding confidence within an inclusive community, and developing the resilience to succeed on their own path.

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