Transitions Symposia

Transitions: New Directions in Comics Studies is an annual one-day symposium promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study  of comics/ comix/ manga/ bande dessinée and other forms of sequential art. Originally convened by PhD students in 2009, Transitions has become an annual fixture in the UK comics scholars’ calendar. Comics studies occupy a unique multi-disciplinary middle-space, one that encourages cross-disciplinary pollination and a convergence of distinct knowledges: literary and cultural studies, visual arts and media, modern languages, sociology, geography and more. By thinking about comics across different disciplines, the Transitions team hopes to stimulate and provoke debate, to address a wide spectrum of questions, to map new trends, and to provide a space for dialogue and further collaboration to emerge.

The event takes place in the autumn, and is hosted by Birkbeck, University of London as part of the annual Comica London International Comics Festival. Transitions is currently the only regular academic comics event based in London. The symposium provides a platform where different perspectives and methodologies can be brought together and shared. As an event devoted to promoting new research into comics in all their forms the symposium provides a forum for research from postgraduate students and early career lecturers.

Previous keynote and invited speakers have included:

  • Professor Roger Sabin (Central Saint Martins), quthor of Adult Comics (Routledge, 1993), Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels (Phaidon, 2001)
  • Professor Kent Worcester (Marymount Manhattan College), author of Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium (University Press of Mississippi, 2004, coedited with Jeet Heer), A Comics Studies Reader (Unicversity Press of Mississippi, 2008, coedited with Jeet Heer), and The Superhero Reader (University Press of Mississippi, 2013, coedited with Charles Hatfield and Jeet Heer).
  • Dr Julia Round (Bournemouth University), author of Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels: A Critical Approach (McFarland, 2014)
  • Dr Chris Murray (University of Dundee), author of Champions of the Oppressed: Superhero Comics, Propaganda and Popular Culture in America During World War Two (Hampton Press, 2010).
  • Dr Ann Miller (University of Leicester), author of Textual Visual Selves: Photography, Film and Comic Art in French Autobiography (University of Nebraska Press, 2011, co-edited with Natalie Edwards and Amy Hubbell) and joint editor of European Comic Art
  • Professor Jason Dittmer (UCL), author of Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero: Metaphors, Narratives, and Geopolitics (Temple University Press, 2013) and Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010) and Comic Book Geographies (Franz Steiner, 2014, as editor), and editorial board member of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship
  • Dr Mel Gibson (Northumbria University), author of numerous articles on comics studies

Transitions is organised by a team of academic researchers, including Dr Tony Venezia (Birkbeck), Dr Nina Mickwitz (London College of Communication) and Dr Hallvard Haug (Birkbeck).

Click here to view all of the CFPs and Conference Reports for the Transitions symposia.