Comics as Active History: The Graphic History Collective

Active History is proud to present a video each week from New Directions in Active History. The conference took place at Huron University College on October 2-4, 2015 and brought together scholars, students, professionals and community members to discuss a wide range of topics pertaining to active history.

In this week’s video, we hear from Sean Carleton and Julia Smith, PhD Candidates at Trent University, as representatives of the Graphic History Collective. The Graphic History Collective is a group of activists, writers, artists, historians, and researchers who are passionate about comics’ history and social change. Sean opens by discussing the history of comics and the emerging style of writing through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and ties that history into the establishment of the Graphic History Collective group. Julia then discusses their newest project, titled “Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle,” its origins and the themes that drive it. The comics contain important lessons in history, highlighted by the Graphic History Collective’s work to emphasize hope in their stories. Over all, what emerges in the Drawn to Change collection is a clear picture of the strength and perseverance of working people in the face of different types of adversity. Designed to be short, easy to read entertaining comics, these stories are also inspiring: one of the Collective’s goals is to assist others in creating their own comics based on historical events.

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