Close to the Heart Comic Launch

Inspired by the memory of her beloved father, University of Dundee PhD student Megan Sinclair has created a new comic that explores bereavement while raising both awareness of heart disease and funds for vital medical research.

Close to the Heart will be launched at a symposium at Dundee Comics Creative Space on Wednesday 21st November. The publication centres on the sudden death of Megan’s father, George, who suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep at the age of 53 in April 2014. She says the event turned her family and life upside down but her determination to do her father proud helped drive Megan towards First Class Honours and a Masters degree with distinction before embarking on her PhD in Comics and Education.

Despite its origins in tragedy, Megan says the overall message of Close to the Heart, which explores the importance of communication in helping people cope with grief, is one of hope.

Wednesday’s symposium focuses on public information comics produced by the Comics Studies team at the University in collaboration with academic and non-academic partners and aims to explore the impact of comics as a mode of public engagement as well as a research methodology.

The event begins at 10am with guest speaker Nicola Streeten, an illustrator, graphic novelist and author of Billy, Me and You, discussing her own experience of comics and grief. Other talks centred on graphic health will follow, along with a workshop, and roundtable discussion.

Close to the Heart will be officially launched at 7pm that evening and members of the public are welcome to attend both the symposium and the launch event. The comic is free but donations, which will be given to the British Heart Foundation, are welcome.

People can register for the symposium here and to attend the launch of Close to the Heart here.

Fibromyalgia and Us

On Friday December 1st we were very pleased to host the launch for a new comic raising awareness of fibromyalgia. Produced by the University of Dundee and our very own Ink Pot Studio, the comic illustrates the ongoing life transitions of those who have fibromyalgia as well offering information about the condition.

FIBRO COMIC cover small
Cover by Ashling Larkin, coloured by Rebecca Horner

Project lead Professor Divya Jindal-Snape explains how the comic came about:

A pain clinic psychologist recently said to me that more needs to be done to raise the awareness of health care professionals about fibromyalgia. With some progress in research, there is a better understanding of fibromyalgia compared to what it was even two years ago. However, whether your own doctor, physiotherapist or other professionals understand this complex condition, still feels like a lottery. So one day lying in bed, with a fibromyalgia flare up, I started thinking of creating a comic about it. I fired off emails to a few people who all thankfully came on board.

This comic has been designed with the purpose of raising awareness of fibromyalgia amongst professionals, families, and communities. It illustrates the ongoing life transitions of those who have fibromyalgia as well as its impact on significant others. It highlights the importance of a strong support network to enable people to adapt to the multiple transitions triggered by fibromyalgia and flourish despite its substantial challenging consequences.

As well as Divya the contributors included health professionals, other people with the condition, comics scholars, and artists: Andrew Keiller, Lynn Kelly, Judith Langlands-Scott, Christopher Murray, Anj Snape, Jonathan B. Snape, Nik Snape, Freddie Warden, Bryan Whittingham, Elliot Balson (Artist), Zu Dominiak (Artist), Damon Herd (Artist), Rebecca Horner (Artist), Ashling Larkin (Artist), Norrie Millar (Artist), Helen Robinson (Artist), Letty Wilson (Artist).

The comic can be downloaded from the University website. If you would like a print copy please contact press@dundee.ac.uk