MK here, recently back from the Vermont Folklife Center’s “Pulp Culture Comic Arts Festival and Symposium“. I am very grateful to have been invited to attend and participate. Though I was not able to be at two important opening events, lectures by Art Spiegelman and Joe Sacco, I was able to participate in the full day of panels on Saturday, covering topics such as Graphic Journalism, Autobio Comics, Graphic Ethnography, as well as Historical Comics. You can click over to my blog for my sketch notes from those rich panels. My notes are augmented by those of Kurt Shaffert, who generously permitted me to photograph his wonderful sketch for the Graphic Medicine panel on which I was a speaker.
Special note must be made here of one project presented at the conference, which accounts for the many brightly colored comic zines in the photo above. “El Viaje Más Caro” (The Most Costly Journey) is a project that started as a public health intervention which became a collaboration with cartoonists and the Vermont Folklife Center. As the website describes, “The Most Costly Journey (in Spanish, El viaje más caro) is an ethnographic cartooning project that employs collaborative storytelling as a tool to mitigate loneliness, isolation, and despair among Latin American migrant farm workers on Vermont dairy farms.” It’s aim was to address the underlying social issues causing very real physical symptoms. Through graphic ethnography, the project gathered and shared stories to heal. This rich and inspiring project is doing the work of oral history, narrative medicine, ethnography, and graphic medicine.
I suspect we will be hearing more about El Viaje Más Caro in the near future.
Special thanks to Andy Kolovos and the Vermont Folklife Center, as well as all the generous sponsors who made this project and this conference a reality.