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Blog: Frame:Works

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This weekend just gone was a LOOOONG weekend, full of incident and excitement, and it begane on Friday morning at Central Saint Martin's college, where I was co-running a COMICS SYMPOSIUM.

This is something that myself, Mr G Lawley and Mr T Yu-Kiener have been organising alongside our comics-based PhDs at UAL. It was called Frame:Works and the idea was to get a bunch of speakers from different areas of comics to come and talk about working within RESTRICTIONS. We had a GRATE list of people talking, a good batch of tickets "sold" (it was free through Eventbrite), so all we needed to do was make it happen!

It all started very well with a trip to WAITROSE to get DRINKS for the attendees. Waitrose is a 20 second walk from UAL's Granary Square building where we were holding our event, but we had a LOT of liquid so asked if we could use a trolley. A chap called Michael from the customer service desk very kindly came with us (he had a GIZMO which unlocked the wheels when you left the shop), helped us unload, and then took the trolley back for us. I do like Waitrose!

We got the room sorted out, checked our tech, and met with Professor R Sabin and Dr I Horton, our shared supervisors and all round GOOD EGGS who had suggested we DO this thing. Speakers gently arrived, and at this point the usual Conference Issues arose and, also as usual, were solved. We couldn't get some videos to play that were part of Ms Emma Hayley (of SelfMadeHero)'s presentation, so she rather brilliantly suggested putting a small speaker's microphone next to the output on her laptop. This worked PERFECTLY and I spent the rest of the morning being impressed! At around the same time noted comics writer Mr Al Ewing arrived, and told me that he had spilled hot coffee on himself on the train that morning. He was telling me this while we were GETTING some coffee, which he immediately spilled all over his hand. He dashed to put it under a cold tap and I RAN back round to Waitrose to get some Soothing Hand Cream!

Apart from all that things went very well. Of the 60 tickets we'd "sold" around 40 people actually turned up over the course of the day. I was quite surprised that so many didn't come, but apparently this is normal for such things. We had a morning session on Publishing, which was dead interesting, and then after lunch it was time for MY session. The three of us were basically running a session each, with guests we'd chosen, and I'd managed to get Al for mine, along with Ms Josie Long, to talk about moving from FANZINES to mainstream work (Marvel for Al, The Guardian for Josie). I was interviewing them both, and so was VERY nervous, even though I had written up a long list of questions, but it seemed to go OK. Al's bit was pretty easy as he was happy to talk at length and in depth about what I asked whereas Josie's section was more nerve wracking as she was so ENTHUSIASTIC that she kept on answering my planned questions before I'd even got to them! I had a GRATE idea to ask, about halfway through, whether Jeffrey Lewis had been an influence on her cartooning, for instance, but she ROMPED through all that within the first five minutes!

The best bit was at the end where we did a mini-panel with both of them answering questions from the audience, and they got to swap THORTS on each other's area of expertise. I do believe this is what your modern academics call TRANSECTIONALITY!

After that there were more discussions, including a history of QUEERZINES (which was ACE, although a bit weird to find that the Riot Grrl scene wot I remember is now An Historical Event) and some STATISTICAL ANALYSIS on whether comics really are the best way to get people to remember information. Turns out it is!

For the final session Mr John Miers did a SKETCH RECAP of everything we'd seen - it was amazing, and you can read about it on his website!

At the end Guy, Tobias and I were given PRESENTS by Ian and Roger to say "Well Done" for putting it on, which was completely unexpected, and then we got another FREE GIFT when we went to the bar for a much needed DRINK. A young woman on the door said "Are you going to the bar?" and then gave us all BEER TOKENS! I have absolutely no idea why, but wasn't complaining.

It was a FAB day and well worth all the effort and work what had gone in. As we sat around the table there was talk of doing it again next year - if we do I shall know to buy LESS orange juice beforehand, and MORE first aid!

posted 20/6/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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