Graphic Engagement Workshop – Dec 6th, 2018

Join the University of Birmingham Public Engagement with Research team (Dr Caroline Gillett & Dr Leah Fitzsimmons) for the first in our new series of standalone creative workshops aimed at showcasing how innovative collaborations between researchers and others artists/creatives/makers can open doors to engaging new audiences with the amazing work that researchers do.

This workshop focuses on ‘Graphic Engagement’ i.e. collaborations with graphic artists, illustrators, comic enthusiasts etc. You’ll hear directly from four University of Birmingham researchers already carrying out such collaborations, though all are at slightly different stages of development. Some are still starting out, whilst others are building on previous work that has been successful.


University of Birmingham researchers include:

  • Prof Jonathan Reinarz (History of Medicine) – discussing his Forged by Fire project that covers research on burns injury and identity in Britain c.1800-2000.
  • Dr Christalla Yakinthou (Political Science) – discussing her short graphic novel which focuses on storytelling & conflict transformation in deeply divided, post-war countries.
  • Dr Tom Dunkley Jones (Earth & Environmental Science) – discussing his work with a manga artist to bring to life the evolution of the Earth’s climate & marine ecosystems.
  • Dr Amaury Triaud (Physics) – discussing how bandes dessinées (comic strips) and graphic design can bring recent Astronomy discoveries such as TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets to a novel audience, engaging them with the research content.

In addition, we are pleased to also welcome Pen Mendonça an independent graphic facilitator and cartoonist with over 20 years’ experience of facilitating public engagement. Pen has just submitted her PhD which developed the new mode of ‘values-based cartooning’ as a research method, employed here for a study of single motherhood. She will share insights on this alongside our researchers.

Image Credit (Header): Graphic facilitation by Pen Mendonca at Southwark Untold with Pempeople and LITC, Tate Modern, London 2018.

WHEN: Thursday 6th December, 2018

WHERE: The Civil & Mechnical Engineering building, room G36 – this is located in Yellow (Y3) the campus map visible here. More general directions on how to travel on to campus y bus, train or car can be found here.

TIME: 11:45-15:00, starting promptly at noon.


11:45 Arrivals / Registration (we will begin promptly at 12 noon)

12:00 –13:15: Show & Tell with Q+A

Short introductions from each researcher, followed by a Q&A panel where the audience are encouraged to ask questions. How do you get started? What’s it cost? Is it worth it? What do you get out of it? How long does it take? What’s the public’s feedback?

13:15 -13:30 Short break with networking

Light refreshments served; with an opportunity for some speedy networking (bring your business cards!)

13:30 -15:00 Have-a-Go Graphic Facilitation Workshop:

During Eventbrite registration you can sign up for an optional 90 minute graphic facilitation workshop led by Pen. This will allow attendees to collectively get hands on and have a quick go at graphic engagement linked to their own research or arts practice. We hope this will be a fun ‘taster’ session that will leave attendees inspired; it is obviously not intended as a one on one in-depth consultation with the artist.


We want researchers to leave inspired to consider incorporating creative engagement methods into their future public engagement activity, whether this is perhaps through working with a graphic artist or looking into other appropriate collaborators. We also hope that attendees will leave knowing more about the public engagement work being carried out within the University of Birmingham research community and that they feel able approach relevant contacts for peer-to-peer advice or potential collaborations. We also hope to learn of other researchers and artists carrying out exciting engagement work linked to research, so that we can share these stories with others through future events. We hope to run our next event in early 2019, tentatively titled ‘Interactive Media & Public Engagement’ (focused on games / apps for public engagement), watch this space.


Places are limited. We often get asked about the target audience for our events. For this event we aim to encourage attendance from the following:

  • University of Birmingham researchers (Postgraduate to Professor) interested in developing public engagement and research impact
  • Graphic artists, illustrators or makers from inside/outside the University who are interested learning more about collaborating with researchers

As such the session is not open to Professional Services staff unless they work in a brokering role, in which case please email the Public Engagement with Research Team to be placed on a reserve list (as we plan on prioritizing UoB academic and artist attendance in the first instance). You can email us via Currently this event is not open to researchers from other institutions, unless you are in receipt of Wellcome Trust funding, if so please go ahead and register using the relevant ticket type.

We ask that attendees sign up individually so that we can capture accurate information on dietary requirements etc. Therefore please encourage colleagues wanting to attend to sign up for themselves.