Tobias Yu-Kiener - Dutch Social Impact and PR Comics: Celebrating the Past to attract the Audiences of the Future
presentationposted on 29.06.2020 by Tobias J. Yu-Kiener
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In 2005, the Dutch government became concerned about the lack of a distinct Dutch social, cultural and political identity among young citizens, which led to the creation of the Dutch Canon. In 2009, the government provided a dedicated fund to promote Dutch culture (inter)nationally through comics.
This paper shows how in response major Dutch museums, art institutions, and cultural funding bodies joined forces to provide artistic, political, financial and promotional support, resulting in biographical graphic novels, such as Vincent (2012), Rembrandt (2013), and Jheronimus (2015). The portrayed artists are positioned as essential elements of Dutch artistic heritage. Through the Dutch Canon, they have also become part of the national school curriculum, and have long been assimilated into popular perceptions of ‘historic Dutchness’.
Co-commissioned by major Dutch art museums, the graphic narratives targeted a traditionally difficult-to-attract audience of teenagers and young adults. The comics attempted to engage young visitors through the re-discovery of Dutch heritage, culture and art, in telling re-interpretations of the lives of iconic Dutch artists in the comics medium.
Furthermore, most comics featured in accompanying exhibitions, increasing their impact on audiences. Numerous foreign language editions furthered the great success of those publications, making them transnational PR products.