Sarah Martin is an MFA candidate in Art, Art History, and Design, with a concentration in visual communication design. The Nanovic Institute awarded Sarah a Graduate Professional Development Grant to attend the 2nd Global Conference: The Graphic Novel, sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s At the Interface hub. Sarah recently wrote about her experience:
Thanks to support from the Nanovic Institute, I was able to present my paper, “Bad Things Happen: Navigating Graphic Narratives, Fairytales, and Morals in New Spaces” at the 2nd Global Conference: The Graphic Novel, sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s At the Interface hub. This international conference took place at Oxford, England between September 21-25, 2013, and my research was presented during the session entitled “Graphic Novels in the 21st Century.” I received invaluable feedback on my research from Oxford and Cambridge scholars, in addition to international academics like Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, renowned creator of experimental digital hypercomics and web comics pioneer. The feedback was incredibly positive, and I am now fortunate to have made useful connections with writers and artists around the world. I networked with graphic narrative practitioners and researchers who are equally interested in European fairytale and myth-making for children. I was invited to submit my work to other international conferences that discuss the issue of contemporary graphic narratives as well. From this professional development opportunity, my paper will be published in a peer-reviewed e-book, plus it has the opportunity to be published in hardback later this year.
Because of this opportunity, I gained experience chairing a session at a conference, which was a completely new undertaking. For the session entitled “Adaptation and the Graphic Novel,” I introduced speakers, panels, and presenters, while also chairing the question session and mediating the clock. Also, I now have a comfortable understanding of the way international conferences work in terms of academic ethos and panel discussions. For example, I had the extreme fortune of attending a conference that was very open-minded and idea-friendly. Plus, I was also able to build on my summer research in Nepal by attending and participating in sessions like, “Graphic Myths and visions of the future,” “Other cultures, other voices, other words,” and “Cultural appropriations, east to west and globalization.”
In my down time I researched the academic environment of Oxford. I visited the Ashmolean Art Museum and Exeter Hall, the home of other great myth-makers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll. The history of fairytale and story-telling is rich in Oxford, England, as every building has a deep and sometimes magical history. I was able to briefly research old English fairytale in archaic books and collections at the Ashmolean, while also viewing an installation of a camera obscura – a traditional device once used for renaissance drawing.
Without support from the Nanovic Institute, I would not have been able to cover the costs associated with airfare, conference registration, room and board, and domestic travel. I am therefore writing to thank you for your support at a critical time in my professional development.