The title of my thesis is Comics: The (Not Only) Visual Medium.
Comics studies tends to privilege the visual, and some scholars, like Scott McCloud believe that comics are solely visual. However, as Ian Hague has noted, the idea that comics are a solely visual medium is not only incomplete but does not align with what the sciences of perception and embodied cognition tell us. This paper seeks to build upon Hague’s work by calling attention to and analyzing comics which exist without or with little visual imagery. These comics can be sorted into two primary categories, audiocomics and tactile comics. As these comics were created for people who have partial or no sight, existing guidelines and standards for creating aural and tactile imagery for people with partial or no sight are used to analyze the comics’ success in achieving an experience that is easy to understand and also utilizes the medium’s strengths. The comics are then analyzed as a whole in order to determine areas for improvement and additional experimentation.
If you would like to know more about my thesis, please contact me.
The Creative Communities Initiative is a research group at MIT led by Ian Condry and T.L. Taylor. The group uses ethnography and other qualitative research methods to study subjects like, esports, livestreaming, music and inequality, anime and manga, and more.
During my time as a research assistant for the CCI, I did the following:
conducted ethnographic research, interviews, and focus groups
led meetings, book discussions, and brought in guest speakers
wrote a white paper about the social media practices of new mothers
organized secondary resources
gave feedback on articles and ideas
Additionally, I assisted in rebranding the research group by creating a new logo (pictured above) and a new website and monthly newsletter (pictured below). All of these can be found in action at http://ccimit.mit.edu. The archive of the newsletter can be found here.
Flying While Fat is my first attempt at a web comic. I created it for a course at MIT on women in comics and cognitive dissonance. This comic utilizes simple drawing techniques to represent a short narrative about the complexities, peculiarities, and misery of flying as a fat person.
If you would like a sample from this comic, please contact me.
I was a member of a viewing committee for the 2015 Peabody Awards. The process consisted of watching and analyzing a portion of the submissions for the Television category, about 30 submissions with 3 episodes apiece. Then, as a committee, we rated and ranked each submission. Finally, I co-wrote the committee’s final reports.
Over the 2016 Interim Activities Period at MIT, I taught a short course on comics as a medium in transition with Dr. James Paradis. For my portion of the course, I presented research about the nature of digital comics and comics and the senses.
For the data storytelling unit of workshop in Fall 2014, I decided to visualize PEW’s 2013 Library Typology data. This was my first attempt at working with data, so I ran into a few roadblocks. After struggling to properly scrape and clean the data, I decided to present the data alongside my personas for the project as library patron profiles. If I were to revisit the project, I would actually make library cards with persona info in the form of an ID on one side and the data on the back. Additionally, I would choose different fonts, and I would recolor the visualizations.