University of the Arts London
2 files

John Miers & Paul Fisher Davies - Absent friends: the challenges of continuing a conversation through cartooning

posted on 2020-06-29, 15:48 authored by Paul Fisher Davies, John Miers, Thierry Chessum

02/07/2020 11:00 Room 2 #abschi

In 2018 Thierry Chessum, Paul Davies and John Miers recorded a conversation aimed at uncovering disagreements and compatibilities between theoretical frameworks developed during their PhD research, and implications of these for our approaches to comics, intending to adapt this into comics. These frameworks derive from, respectively, Deleuzian psychosocial research, functional linguistics, and theories of metaphor and depiction.

Thierry passed away some months later, with the project still to complete. We faced challenges of representation and appropriate ‘honouring’ of our friend’s work, whilst acknowledging both his absence and our relationship to him. His partner Sharon Finmark joined us in developing the project; through his and our personal relationships, we seek to represent Thierry with our best attempts at honesty and authenticity.

The project is informed by Top Shelf’s ‘Conversations’ series, the use of comics to express and embody scholarship in the journal ‘Sequentials’, and our use of sketchnoting to record conference presentations and interactions. This paper will outline the format of our discussion, and its comics adaptation, in detail, arguing that these methods constitute a means of conducting and communicating theoretical research that is unique to comics scholarship, not least in its incorporation of the human element of scholarly dialogue.



Paul Fisher Davies: Paul gained his Ph.D. in 2017 in the school of English at University of Sussex. His monograph Comics as Communication: A Functional Approach was published by Palgrave in December 2019. He has published in Studies in Comics, the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and The Comics Grid amongst others, including academic work in comics form. He teaches English Language at East Sussex College in Lewes, UK. John Miers: John Miers completed his PhD at Central Saint martins, University of the Arts London, in 2018. That year he began a postdoctoral residency at in UAL’s Archives and Special Collections Centre, during which he began applying his theoretical work on visual metaphor and depiction to the production of autobiographical comics dealing with his experience of multiple sclerosis. He currently works as lecturer in illustration at Kingston School of Art, and associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins.