Cartoonist-scholars speak at Vassar

Graphic novelists and cartoonists/illustrators Damian Duffy and John Jennings will give a presentation about their use of visual media to communicate about social issues. The lecture “Social Justice and Critical Making” will take place 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, in Vassar College’s Taylor Hall, room 203. This event is free and open to the public.

Duffy and Jennings collaborated on the comic book Kid Code: Channel Zero, and the graphic novels The Hole: Consumer Culture, Volume 1 and WHISP: Lying There, Bleeding.

This event is part of the Creative Arts Across Disciplines (CAAD) initiative at Vassar. The theme of CAAD’s 2014–15 programming is “Vision/Visibility.” Interdisciplinary arts coordinator Ariel Nereson said: “Duffy and Jennings were a great choice not only because they work in a visual medium, but also because the focus of their work is on making visible underrepresented groups in comic books and graphic novels. Their work is also interdisciplinary in scope, addressing issues of race, representation, and consumerism, as well as many others.”

In addition to their lecture, Duffy and Jennings’ art will also be on display in the James W. Palmer III Gallery in Main Building and in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, curator, lecturer, teacher, Glyph Comics Award–winning graphic novelist and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science, where he teaches a course on computers and culture. His many publications range from academic essays (in comics form) on new media and learning, to art books about underrepresentation in comics culture and editorial comics. A co-founder of Eye Trauma Studios, Duffy has given talks and led workshops about comics, art and education internationally.

Jennings is associate professor of art at the State University of New York’s University at Buffalo. His research and teaching focus on the analysis, explication and disruption of African American stereotypes in popular visual media. His research is concerned with the topics of representation and authenticity, visual culture, visual literacy, social justice and design pedagogy. He is an accomplished designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist and award-winning graphic novelist.

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