A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words—Teaching Science With Comics

Graphic narratives, also known as comics, are increasingly being used to unpack complex concepts and experiences. Despite the stigma of being thought of as juvenile reading matter (and not ‘real reading’ at that), comics actually have a long history of addressing complex topics.Communicating scientific ideas—whether to a student, a patient, or a peer, can be difficult, and having a visual way of describing something can greatly enhance the process. Come learn with the Comic Nurse, MK Czerwiec, as she takes us through her creative process, and teaches us how to use comics to communicate.

In this combination lecture and workshop, we’ll look at examples where science meets comics, and consider how and why comics can be used to communicate complex concepts in an engaging fashion. We’ll also explore what elements might make one comic better than another in communicating complex information. During the workshop, participants will be encouraged to take part in exercises involving making and sharing drawings, but no artistic expertise is expected or needed. All required materials will be provided.

By combining text and image, comics may be uniquely equipped to embody, explain, and contextualize. Graphic narrative utilizes text, visuals, compelling characters and their interesting stories to increase reader engagement and help bridge communication gaps. Thanks to many of the universally understood conventions of the medium, graphic narrative can also create opportunities for explaining and witnessing from multiple perspectives.

When serious graphic novels began appearing in the 1980s, they were met with great critical acclaim by both popular media and academia. A significant number of comics tackling scientific topics now exists. This program is intended for scientists, professors, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in learning to communicate science in a new, compelling way.

MK Czerwiec, RN, MA is the co-manager of GraphicMedicine.org and co-author of the Graphic Medicine Manifesto from Penn State University Press. She is a guest cartoonist for the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, and the artist in residence at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She has been using comics in

DETAILS: Thursday, November 12th. Northwestern University, 303 E. Superior St., Chicago, IL, 60611. Baldwin Auditorium. Wine and cheese social hour at 5:00 p.m., program begins at 6:00 p.m. Seating is limited and registration is required. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-picture- is-worth- 1000-wordsteaching- science-with-comics- tickets-18783245192 C2ST members are free; non-members $5.

Discounted parking ($6) is available at the 202 E Huron parking garage. Ask at the C2ST registration table, and you can purchase a ticket to exit the garage at the discounted rate. Baldwin auditorium is also easily accessible via public transportation.

Questions? Contact Andrea Poet at apoet@c2st.org or 312-567- 5795.

ABOUT C2ST: Chicago Council on Science and Technology is a not-for- profit organization that brings researchers and scientists out of the lab, directly to you. We work with national laboratories, leading academic institutions and museums to educate the public on issues of critical scientific importance. In an age when barely one in four voting adults meet a basic level of scientific literacy, we aim to reignite an excitement and passion for science and technology, and remind Chicagoans of the quality and quantity of R&D that takes place in their backyard.

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