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.
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 digital humanities portion of the Fall 2014 workshop, I decided to build a database for transmedia stories. One of the sites I had used for this purpose had shut down, and I found that there was a need for a replacement. My attempt can be found at http://storytellingtransmedia.wordpress.com. Ultimately, I decided not to continue with the project, because I found that my own understanding of the nature of transmedia storytelling was shifting during my time in the program.
Edit: I have since come across a group of students at a different university who are creating a database of transmedia stories. You can see their work here: http://www.tmdbonline.org/
This seven month immersive project, made possible by Ball State University, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and community donors, had five parts:
Digital Archive Exhibit
Digital Film Exhibit
Gift Shop Merchandise
Though every student assisted in the creation of all of these assets, we were each assigned a team. I was assigned to the digital archive exhibit team, which was tasked with creating an extensive interactive exhibit encompassing Vonnegut’s roles as author, artist, activist, and Hoosier. On the archive exhibit team, I primarily served as the coordinator for the team. I made sure that we were meeting our deadlines, organized all of the assets that we collected, and communicated with the designer. I also served as document photographer on each of our research trips to the archive of Vonnegut’s work at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington. By the end of the project, I edited 600+ images of Vonnegut’s personal papers, and I wrote 50+ blurbs and selected the photos to accompany them. The final exhibit was loaded onto a 27″ iMac and gifted to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. A condensed version of this exhibit accompanies the traveling exhibit on two iPads.
I also assisted with the marketing portion of the project. I designed an intensive marketing survey with the assistance of my professor and disseminated the survey to the Library’s patrons via email and social media. 448 people completed the survey. Then, my professor and I analyzed the data and constructed a list of adjustments to their current marketing plan. I was elected to present the findings of the survey to the Library’s board of directors.
Below are some screenshots from the exhibit.
Update: In the Fall of 2013, I was given the opportunity to resume work on this project through an independent study with Professor Rai Peterson which culminated in a lecture tour about Kurt Vonnegut alongside the traveling exhibit in Germany in February 2014. We gave a workshop on teaching Vonnegut’s work to university and high school educators, and we spoke about Vonnegut’s heritage to an audience which, to our surprise, included some of Vonnegut’s relatives. For me, the highlight of the trip was getting to see Dresden, to learn about Dresden before and after the bombing and most importantly to visit Slaughterhouse Five where Vonnegut was held as a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden in WWII.