University of the Arts London
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Jeff Hemmer & Rowena Seabrook - Comics in Human Rights Education - Amnesty International's Approach

Version 2 2020-06-30, 08:18
Version 1 2020-06-29, 15:50
posted on 2020-06-30, 08:18 authored by Jeff Hemmer, Rowena Seabrook

Amnesty International has a long-standing tradition of cooperating with artists from different fields to promote human rights and raise awareness about human rights abuses. In recent years, besides endorsing selected graphic novels relevant to Amnesty's causes, the NGO has come to devise and publish comics of its own. These comics are used very effectively for educational as well as campaign work. Amnesty uses a wide range of genres and narrative approaches to deliver its messages and reach out to different audiences.

The reading materials for this group will include a sample of comics developed by various sections of the international organisation.

For its #SendBackUp campaign, Amnesty UK teamed up with Marvel and DC artist Neil Edwards to present 'The Human Rights Defenders', a series of short superhero comics about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Amnesty Sri Lanka's 'Spectrum: Four Stories of Discrimination Faced by LGBTI People in Sri Lanka' uses a biographical approach to engage its readers.

Amnesty Germany's wordless educational comic 'Who defends human rights?' relies on a simple colour code and multiple converging storylines to transcend language barriers and speak to anyone able to read a sequence of pictures.



Jeff Hemmer lives and works in Germany as a comic artist and workshop trainer. Jeff was involved in the creation of Amnesty Germany’s 2018 W4R educational comics Who defends human rights? and Vitalina Koval and has since become a member of the HRE Coordination Group of Amnesty International Germany. Rowena Seabrook is the Human Rights Education (HRE) Manager at Amnesty International UK. Rowena is particularly involved in creating resources and delivering professional development around children's books. She is currently doing a PhD in HRE and literature with the University of Glasgow.