#BiggerQuestions constrained comics exercise; weaving scattered wordless panels into a graphic narrative.

#BiggerQuestions: in-class creative assignment (Intro Comm course developed by the Faculty of Communication Arts; Interpersonal Communication chapter); weaving 7 scattered wordless panels (taken from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions) into a 2-page graphic narrative.

BLURB!

“Great exercise!” Matt Madden (February 9, 2018), cartoonist and teacher best known for his book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), as well as a member of OuBaPo (Workshop for Potential Comics), and later a French knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.

“More good stuff from [Bangkok], thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (February 9, 2018), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.

January 2018. Fifty (1st year) Thai students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) received 2 pages displaying 7 scattered panels (with erased text) taken from various pages of the graphic novel Big Questions by American cartoonist Anders Nilsen. Within 90 minutes, they had to produce additional panels (if necessary) -and add dialogues- in order to bridge the imposed panels and weave a cohesive and convincing graphic narrative. Following brief comments provided on their comprehensive layouts, students finalized the artwork at home. See below for 20+ of their #BiggerQuestions constrained comics.

Inspired by on a constrained comics exercise used at Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.

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Pages from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011).
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The 2 imposed pages -with scattered panels and blanked-out dialogues- taken from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011).

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CommDe student bridging the gaps between Anders Nilsen‘s panels.


Click on the 2-pagers below for larger size.

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“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PLYE
YOSHIYUKI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student YOSHIYUKI
BYRD 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student BYRD
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“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PT
CHICHI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student CHICHI
OOM 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student OOM
AOM P 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student AOM (P.)
TAT 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student TAT
PHURICH 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PHURICH
SHARON 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student SHARON
BASK 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student BASK
EVE 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student EVE
NENE 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student NENE
AOM T 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student AOM (T.)
FAHSAI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student FAHSAI
LUKPEAR 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student LUKPEAR
SUNNY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student SUNNY
PLOY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PLOY
MIM 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student MIM
KARIN 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student KARIN
MICK 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student MICK
PEACHY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PEACHY
KRIS 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student KRIS
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Guests at Filipino Canadian Cartoonist Lorina Mapa’s Comics Workshop

Filipino Canadian cartoonist Lorina Mapa, author of the graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me, was a guest at the Bangkok Edge Festival 2018, with the participation of the Embassy of Canada to Thailand. On Saturday 20, the artist gave an delightful and interesting public talk on her work, and held a comics workshop on Sunday 21. The Embassy of Canada to Thailand opened extra seats for my students (CommDe & CommArts, Chulalongkorn University) who wished to take part in the (fully booked) workshop (KhopKhunMakKhrap khun Noppawan!)
My warmest thanks to Lorina Mapa, the Bangkok Egde Festival, and the Embassy of Canada to Thailand!

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Lorina Mapa’s public talk. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 20, 2018.
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After Lorina Mapa’s talk on her graphic memoir, a Thai monk asked the artist a few questions. The first one was on how her drawn memories related to, and maybe enhanced, the vividness of her actual memories. An interesting question, as I sense more and more that the Buddhist notion of “sati” (“mindfulness”) and graphic memoirs might have a lot in common, being both “recollections in praesentia”… A question to further explore… Bangkok Edge Festival, January 20, 2018.

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Mise en abyme. CommDe sophomore student Pin (foreground) reads Filipino Canadian cartoonist Lorina Mapa’s graphic memoir “Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me”. Meanwhile, Lorina Mapa (background) reads the comics zine Bang Bang You’re Dead gathering collaborative stories by CommArts Thai students and European cartoonists… Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. Art by CommDe ajarn Oat Montien (foreground), and CommDe sophomore student Pin drawing (background). Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. Art by CommDe sophomore student MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. From left to right; CommDe ajarn Oat Montien, Lorina Mapa (background), and CommDe sophomore students Pin and MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. Sketches by CommDe ajarn Oat Montien. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. CommDe sophomore students Pin (center) and MedFai (right). Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.

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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)

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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics art appreciation. Lorina Mapa comments on CommDe sophomore student Pin’s comics pages. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Happy bunch after Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop. From left to right; yours truly, CommDe ajarn Oat Montien, Lorina Mapa, CommDe sophomore students Pin and MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Thank you, Lorina!

#UltraVioletChallenge constrained comics exercise; turning an abstract comics into a figurative one.

#UltraVioletChallenge: “Making Sense of Signs (and Fragments)” in-class creative assignment (Intro Comm course developed by the Faculty of Communication Arts; Semiotics chapter); create a figurative comics based on an imposed abstract comics (duration: 90′). Based on a constrained comics exercise used at Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.

BLURB!

“Brilliant – thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (January 16, 2018; commenting the page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.

Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge
Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge

BELOW: #UltraVioletChallenge final page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank, fresh.wo.men students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe), Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University.

Absract 01 Fern Lukpear Oom Bank
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank, fresh.wo.men students at CommDe Chulalongkorn University.

BELOW: #UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

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#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

“Female Voices in Comics Art: Sharing Perspectives from Thailand, Spain, Japan and the U.S.A.” Round Table

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The round table “Female Voices in Comics Art: Sharing Perspectives from Thailand, Spain, Japan and the U.S.A.” was held on Friday, March 10, at the BACC (Bangkok Art and Culture Center) during the HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok (UN Women for Asia and the Pacific) in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación de España). It was a rich, meaningful and cheerful talk with an amazing panel composed of Thai artist Tunlaya Dunn, Thai-American artist Kathy MacLeod, Spanish artist Carla Berrocal (also curator of the PRESENTES exhibition, and my Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (PhD. candidate, University of Kyoto). I’ve been honoured to act as the moderator of this round table (thank you again Kathy for suggesting my name). The discussion focused on comics and women, and most interestingly, on gender equality in the industry, as well as on the rise of female voices in Thai Comics, and on the rich history of Spanish comics by female cartoonists (PRESENTES exhibition). I would like to extend my warmest thanks to HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok’s curators Alejandro Hita & David Fernández for the organization of this whole week, and specific event, as well as Embassy of Spain in Bangkok’s representatives Maria Salcedo Ortiz (Deputy Head of Mission) & Joan Vicens Mestre for their invaluable participation to the event, and partners Chulalongkorn University & BACC. Thank you Carla, Kathy, Tunlaya & Mashima for the great talk! ขอบคุณมากนะครับ Pathumporn Tik Thongking for the wonderful pics!

Aj. Nicolas Verstappen

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The “Here Comes Trouble” Dream Team! From right to left: my Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (PhD. candidate, University of Kyoto), Thai designer and cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn,Thai-American illustrator and cartoonist Kathy MacLeod, Spanish cartoonist and illustrator Carla Berrocal, HeForShe Arts Week BKK’s co-curator Alejandro Hita (UN Women), Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok Maria Salcedo Ortis, and yours truly.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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Presenting the guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Kathy MacLeod, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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Illustrator and cartoonist Kathy MacLeod discussing with the other guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn. Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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Women voices in the comics industry around the world. Thai female cartoonists Tongkarn, Vic-Mon & Chingching Krittiemmek confronting “Seng” Songwit Seakitikul (in his graphic novel “Almost All of Us”, Fullstop Books, and ขอบคุณมากนะครับ Birdme for the translation) in Thailand; the “Collectif des créatrices de bande dessinée contre le sexisme” (Female Comics Creators Against Sexism) in France and abroad; and “Autoras de Cómic” in Spain.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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My Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (University of Kyoto) discussing with the other guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Tunlaya Dunn & Kathy MacLeod.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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Rich, meaningful and cheerful talk withthe guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal (talking), Kathy MacLeod, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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As a conclusion of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table, the presentation of a remarkable short comics (related to the topic of “violence against women”) composed for my course by Ms. Arty Nicharee (Entryh), a promising first-year student of the International Program in Communication Design (Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University).
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking
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As a conclusion of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table, the presentation of a remarkable short comics (related to the topic of “violence against women”) composed for my course by Ms. Arty Nicharee (Entryh), a promising first-year student of the International Program in Communication Design (Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University).
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

“Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Jan-Apr 2017)

The “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) has three main goals:

1) select, summarize and partly translate 9 Thai alternative comics, and contact a foreign publisher to get them signed abroad.

2) Publish, promote and distribute our own zine gathering the constrained comics composed by former “Graphic Writing” CommArts students.

3) Organize an exhibition of the “Traumics” (Comics on Trauma) composed by CommArts & CommDe (Program in Communication Design, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) students.

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First special guest: khun Peataya Werasakwong, CEO of Kai3 (a brand of tee-shirts whose designs are extended into zines, and an indie comics publishing house), and author of the graphic novel “Pandism: Virus Panda.” ขอบคุณมากๆครับ khun Peataya!
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Second special guest: Belgian cartoonist & illustrator Ephameron for an afternoon of Comics Art Appreciation (with comments and tips). Students from the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) presented their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”) in front of Ephameron and my CommArts students in order to select the trauma-related graphic narratives to be displayed in the exhibition. Bedankt Eva! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ CommDe for inviting Eva in the first place! This project was partly inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit (and our partner) PositiveNegatives.
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Ephameron giving comments and advices to a team of CommDe students presenting their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”).
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Third special guest (or rather host): Spanish cartoonist, curator & illustrator Carla Berrocal offered us a private tour of the PRESENTES comics exhibition (Spanish Female Cartoonists of Yesterday and of Today). Discussion on the challenges (selecting pages, copyright issues, pairing different artists by themes or motifs…) offered by a Comics Art exhibition. Gracias Carla, Autoras de Cómic, and Maria & Joan from the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok. Thank you HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok, UN Women Asia and Pacific, and BACC (Bangkok Art Cultural Center)!
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Writing the editorial content of our “Bang Bang You’re Dead” constrained comics zine, inspired by the OuBaPian experimental comics by Lewis Trondheim & Jean-Christophe Menu. Trying to explain, as clearly and shortly as possible, the multimodal challenges faced by CommArts students while composing their graphic narratives (using “iconic iteration” with limited sets of panels drawn by European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon specially for our “Graphic Writing” course).
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Masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park). Photograph by ‘Rendez-Vous Franco-Thaï de l’Animation.’
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Thai films selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. During the masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park).
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Our fourth special guest; Ms. Pimpicha Utsahajit, Executive Director of Banlue Publications & CommArts alumnus, hold a talk on leading multi-platform content provider Banlue Group, with Banlue Sarn (humour comics magazines “Kai Hua Roh” and “Maha Sanook”), Vithita Animation, Salmon Books (publisher of alternative comics among others), digital platform MiniMore, Salmon House (production house of motion contents), Banlue Books, trendy free magazine Giraffe, or The MATTER and Pixniq among many other innovative content platforms! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ Ms. Pimpicha for the inspiring lecture and case studies (character development & licensing), and sharing with us your experience and expertise in so many fields!
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Making Small Press the CommArts way; a Taylorist approach. For reasons beyond their will, my 20 students had only 3 hours -including their zine-making formation- to produce the 300 copies of the inaugural issue of our Constrained & Collaborative Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!“. Challenge almost met with 281 issues produced, whilst avoiding too many flawed copies and finger losses…
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The inaugural issue of the comics zine series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” edited & published by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, and collecting the experimental, thrilling & collaborative works of 8 CommArts students with European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon, under a cover by Thai cartoonist Note Piruck and with a free ‘Phi Krasue’ postcard by French cartoonist Tamia Baudouin (only for the first printing)! Limited to 300 copies, the zine will be distributed worldwide thanks to our French partner L’Association ChiFouMi! Our thanks are also due to khun Satya @Rabbit4Print, and Thai cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn for the logo design & inspiration!
A word from the editorial team: “As evoked in its title, the ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead!’ zine invokes the playful yet serious aspects of constrained comics composition. Based on sets of speechless comics panels drawn especially for their Graphic Writing course by European cartoonists, 34 Thai senior students of the four-year program in Strategic Communication Management at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), duplicated, reframed, and combined the imposed drawings -with addition of textual elements- to create imaginative stories of their own. Without any particular drawing formation and facing the numerous and overlapping challenges posed by comics composition, our Faculty seniors were able to overcome the constraint of iconic iteration by thinking out of the box, using their creativity to cross formal, modal, cultural, and national borders.”
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Field trip with the editorial & production team of the inaugural issue the EuroThai Comics Zine “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” at the Bangkok International Book Fair (Queen Sirikit National Convention Center). The zine was on sale at the booth of the Thai indie comics publishing house Kai3. ขอบคุณครับ khun Peataya. Followed by a visit of the booths of publishers who collaborated on our projects (Salmon Books, Typhoon Studio & LET’S Comic). ขอบคุณครับ!
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Copies of the inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” have safely arrived in Belgium. The zines are now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels.
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The inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” is now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels, Belgium.
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Second objective of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course: to promote contemporary Thai Comix abroad. 8 teams of students. 8 Thai comics profiles (with summary, chapters translated into English, author bio, and pros & cons of each book to fit the French market and a specific publisher’s catalogue). 8 Thailand/France Skype sessions with Serge Ewenczyk, founder of the French independent comics publishing house Çà et Là. Proud of my students who did a tremendous and critical work there! Merci Serge pour ta disponibilité et ta marque d’intérêt! ขอบคุณมากครับ to the Thai editors for the complementary copies! Now, let’s all cross our fingers and see what the Future holds for Thai Comics! (On the picture: Serge Ewenczyk & the “Loser Rainbow (by Puck)” Team). 
Poster Traumics DEF
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displayed 18 short Trauma-related comics narratives all composed by students in the Faculty of Communication Arts, the Communication Design Program (Faculty of Architecture) and other Departments at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). From refugee stories to household accidents, from domestic violence to genocides (Congo, Shoah, Khmer Rouges), being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies, these narratives intend to raise awareness on social and human rights issues. Inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit -and our partner- PositiveNegatives, this project also highlights the ability of Comics Art -as a medium of fragments- to visually reveal how the minds of the victims were broken into pieces. As mentioned in the introduction to the Call for Papers for the conference Traumics: Comics Narratives of Trauma, comics -“with their syntax of panels, gutters, and pages and their use of the evocative power of image in conjunction with the precise communication of text- (…) are uniquely suited to delivering narratives of trauma.”
The opening night was held on the 5th of May 2017 from 5pm until 7pm at the first floor of the Faculty of Communication Arts (Chulalongkorn University), in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers.”
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” was organized and curated by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).
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Last project for the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course; to mount the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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“Framing – Unframing – Reframing”, or mounting the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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Opening of the “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers”, of graphic designer Ms. View, and of Thai alternative comics pioneer Suttichart Sarapaiwanich (“Joe the Sea-Cret Agent”).
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With polyptych, iconic iteration, bleed, braiding, narrative use of colours, parallel timelines, palindrome-like/mirror device, loop format, and other experimental features, or being straightforward visual narratives, the 18 Trauma-related short comics composed by students at Chulalongkorn University make full use of the hybrid art form to depict the victims’ shattered and alienated minds (and bodies), in order to raise awareness on social and human rights issues (from refugee stories to household accidents, from social conformity to domestic violence or genocides; being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies). I couldn’t be prouder by the meaningful work produced by Chulalongkorn University students from various Faculties; most of them being 1st year Thai students (and with a team of European exchange students), some of them without any prior artistic formation, and creating there their first ever comics. I only wish we could have displayed more of the dozens of Traumics created over the past two years. So many were equally deserving to be shown, and they will at some point, when I find the time, over here. To all, your works being displayed or not, artists or exhibition curators from the Mngt Comm Crea Inno course, for your talent and hard work, ขอบคุณมากนะครับ! Aj. Nicolas Verstappen
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Well-deserved rest after 4 intensive months of work! ;^)