University of the Arts London
IGCNN 20 presentation_AM .mp4 (842.59 MB)

Alessia Mangiavillano - Leaving the Mediterranean behind: migration, vulnerable voices, and comics

Download (842.59 MB)
posted on 2020-06-29, 21:44 authored by Alessia Mangiavillano
Understanding migration in the Mediterranean region begins by improving our knowledge of it. I focus on two Italian examples of comics journalism, Salvezza (Salvation) and …A Casa Nostra. Cronaca da Riace (…In our own country. Chronicles from Riace), to argue that both works play a crucial role in conveying migrant voices often neglected in the mainstream media. I will be engaging with the work on authenticity in comics journalism and the scholarship of documentary comics to illustrate how the stories conveyed in both comics allow to access and share real-life experiences of people who fled Africa and crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. Drawing on the theoretical approaches discussed by Weber and Rall, Chute, Mickwitz, Singer and others, I consider how the medium of comics can ‘map’ voices to otherwise invisible groups of people obscured in the media. I further explore how the authors leverage comics as a mode of social investigation, put perspectives of migrants who fled human rights abuses at the heart of the narrative, and suggest reflecting on the politics of the crossing of borders in the Mediterranean region through the dialogues of their characters. These stories offer a space to appreciate the complexity of migration and challenge the dominant narratives on migration which seems to be a feature of contemporary political and media discourse. This presentation further explores audience and responses from the readership.



I am a PhD researcher in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. My research aims to investigate comics as a creative, versatile form of communication that conveys the stories and voices of refugees and migrants. I am currently studying the process and procedures that NGOs go through when designing and producing comics for refugee and migration advocacy. Before starting my PhD, I worked in several international contexts in the UK, Italy, and Mexico, where I covered a number of roles in the fields of communication, education, and intercultural mediation. As a human rights graduate with a background in arts and humanities, I have used visuals extensively when designing and delivering activities and workshops. Throughout my previous roles, I developed a deep interest in comics as a medium and powerful engagement tool. In my research, I enjoy navigating the space where comics and human rights storytelling cross paths.