Live briefs, research and community engagement

We’re often told that research informs teaching, but what does that really mean? Here’s a great example of how the research undertaken by academic staff supports innovative teaching methods and informs teaching.


Senior Lecturer in Comics and Graphic Novels , Julian Lawrence is an award-winning cartoonist and educator specialising in comic books. Julian’s work concentrates on the undercurrents of communication through gesture in the medium of comics.

In June 2021 Julian presented his conference paper, 21st Century Winter Journey, at the Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association Conference (MeCSSA). The paper introduces his visual essay book chapter describing a collaborative comics-based research (CBR) project between a homeless charity and a cohort of 2nd-year university students. The 21st Century Winter Journey project explores the status of community art education (CAE) in Middlesbrough UK, and the ways learning and making comics impacts communities locally and internationally.

Cover by Julian Lawrence

The project challenged Year Two students in Comics & Graphic Novels at Teesside University to make comics, do research beyond the classroom boundaries, and explore the surrounding local community. Academics and students partnered with staff and homeless members of Streetwise Opera (SWO) who were staging a performance of Schubert’s opera Winterreise. SWO provides resources and community support to people affected by homelessness across the UK. The task as a class was to collaboratively develop the opera into a narrative with SWO and adapt the libretto into a graphic novel.

Traditional comics-making methods informed the foundation of the project’s artistic practice:

• Rough sketches and thumbnails based on research
• Cleaner pencil drawings and lettering
• Rendering inks and colours
• Final, camera-ready artwork.

Following each iteration, SWO and Julian (as tutor) gave students feedback and revisions.

Page by Ebonny Cavanagh

Julian suggests that analysis of the project widens conversations in CAE through Research Informed Teaching (RIT), Just-In-Time Teaching (JITT) and Paolo Freire’s “conscientizaçāo” (awareness). RITT, JITT, and awareness triangulate and locate learning in a community’s relational and public spaces. In applying these theories with cartooning practices, a powerful pedagogical tool emerges. When students become researchers and make comics they negotiate their understandings of community, their identities, and their futures. These observations are evidenced in the reflections students wrote as well as in the finished comics they submitted at the conclusion of the project. RIT, JITT, awareness, and cartooning guide the flow of artistic practice through shared group experiences within community spaces.

Page by Mia Redfern

Forms of comics such as comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels are recognized internationally. Creative practices of making comics and cartooning are transferrable to schools, community centres, universities, and care homes everywhere. As such, the medium of comics functions as a transversal language and participatory culture that links people and communities together.

Tragically, the global pandemic hit as students were developing the comic, and all teaching migrated online. Despite increased pressure to self-isolate, socially distance, and learn online the 64-page graphic novel was successfully completed and deliverd as Christmas presents in December 2020.  Julian continues to use live briefs to encourage research and create meaningful and community-based learning in and outside of the classroom for students.

The School of Arts & Creative Industries offers both a BA Comics & Graphic Novels and an MA Comics & Graphic Novels

 

2022 Graduate Showcase – a Sneak Peek!

May is the month of the Graduate Showcase in the School of Arts & Creative Industries and with just two weeks to go, we’re so excited about the incredible work that we have seen, that we just can’t help but give you a sneak peek…

P.S. Shout out to Becky Thomas, 3rd Year Graphic Design & Illustration student, for the fabulous Graduate Showcase promo artwork! 🙌


Each year, students from the School of Arts & Creative Industries submit their finest pieces of work, the culmination of three years of study, for inclusion in THE event of the year. This year’s Graduate Showcase opens on Monday 16th May and is open to anyone who wishes to come along to see the work of our students. Check out the full programme of events here.

Unlike the 2021 Degree Show which was all online, this year we’re thrilled to be opening our doors to students, families, friends, employers, schools, colleges and local organisations that wish to come along to applaud the achievements of our final year students.

A full printed programme showcasing student work will be available for visitors, along with a showcase of our film and media work on a digital platform. But you don’t have to wait – here’s a taster of what’s in store for you! For each course we’ve randomly selected just one amazing piece of work to show you, to help whet your appetite for more!

BA (Hons) Comics & Graphic Novels

Student Sophie Poole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BA (Hons) Fashion

Student Grace Goodfellow-Lovlo

 

 

 

 

 

BA (Hons) Product Design

Student Scarlett Bonas

 

 

 

BA (Hons) Graphic Design 

Student Jue Shuen Soh

 

 

 

BA (Hons) Fine Art

Student Amelia Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BA (Hons) Interior Design

Student Lauren Bailey

 

There’s much, much more to see when we open our doors on 16th May AND watch this space for information about where to find work from students of our Music & Media Production Courses, which will be available to view on our TUxtra platform. You’ll see some incredible work from students on the following courses:

Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek and look forward to welcoming you during Graduate Showcase week, 16th – 20th May.

International Collaboration on World Storytelling Day


To celebrate World Storytelling Day 2022 the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Teesside University held a special international celebration of creative storytelling with participation from alumni, partners, our staff and  students. We asked everyone to join us in celebrating World Storytelling Day 2022 using the theme ‘People and Places – Lost and Found’. Participants were asked to tell us what it is like being a global creative student or creative professional, to share their stories about where they live and the people around them., to tell us their stories of people and places in their your way – video, images, words or music.

A digital live 48 hour event was staged across global timezones using our TUxtra platform, to stream and build digital content  sharing live on social media. The resulting 48 hours of streamed and hosted content with participation from our international friends, partners, alumni and our students at Teesside students can be seen below.

The Man Who Wouldn’t Look Up

WECreate Memories

Obama 100 Days

Being an International student at Teesside University

The Deer Rising

In conversation with Feride Cicekoglu

Fashion Students collaboration with Marmara University 

Lonely Planet

 

Jane O’Neill, Editor at Commercial Interior Design

Being a Global Creative Today

Alice tells her Teesside Story

Study and Life at Teesside University

Jackson remembers Teesside University

A Story of Retired Teachers

Running in the Dark

Fashion Students collaboration with Marmara University – Part 2

From Teesside to Australia

The train to Kherson, Ukraine

In and around the Tees Valley

Photography Students Celebrate World Storytelling Day 2022 

 

Courses in Art & Design

 

Courses in Media & Journalism Courses in Music Technology