Monday, 24 May 2010

Find of the week: Graphic Medicine

The popularity of comics and graphic novels about coping with illness both mental and psychical (both from the point of view of the sufferer and those close to them) has been soaring for quite some time , and perhaps in response to this Ian Williams (who did a MA in Medical Humanities(*1)) has set up this site. The purpose of the site is to review graphic novels and comics that have a central medical narrative, but with a bit more of an expert view on the medical issues at hand. Williams also aims to promote the use of the arts and humanities in order to give a fresh perspective on the treatment of various medical conditions, encouraging a more humanistic approach to medicine. It is a great resource for beginners, and features web comics and educational comics beyond more well known titles such as David B's Epileptic and Harvey Pekar/Joyce Brabner's Our Cancer Year. The site has met a positive response from many people employed in the medical profession and inspired real action, one example being the inclusion of graphic novels in the library of Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, London. Williams has also set up a conference in London on the subject of Graphic Medicine with keynote speeches from the likes of Brian Fies (Mom's Cancer), Paul Gravett, and Marc Zaffran, as well as a discussion between Philippa Perry (Couch Fiction) and Darryl Cunningham (Psychiatric Tales). This conference talks place on the 17th of June at The Institute of English Studies, University of London, Senate House and tickets are limited and cost £25. More details can be found of the website here.

(*1) The discipline of Medical Humanities encourages the study of modern and classic literature in order to understand the human condition, and with this site Williams is hoping to show that comics have just as much potential to help us understand illness and our mental state of being

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