Recent Posts

due north

due north

I’ve been on sabbatical this semester, which I think is supposed to be a time to vary one’s routine, experience new things, rest, reconnect, and work to freshen up one’s academic and other perspectives. In addition to lots of time to think and read deeply…

parenting transgender children

parenting transgender children

I’m the parent of a transgender child. It’s complicated and beautiful and emotional and painful and wonderful all at the same time. It is the easiest thing in the world to love and parent a child who is transgender. It’s not any more heroic than…

Lifeboat

Lifeboat

Because I’m not just an Academic In The Streets/Artist In The Sheets, but rather a real deal arts-based researcher and working artist, I like to publish things in lots of places, but I particular like the popular press– both for visibility reasons as well as for reasons related to my larger project around larger publics, larger conversations, and democratizing the conversation about art and meaning. I also owe a lot to my roots and experiences as a newspaper cartoonist. This is the place where I learned the business and those tools are the foundation of everything I do today. Years and years ago when I was a brand new cartoonist still figuring out how to do crosshatching by hand I published a weekly comic in a newspaper, but I haven’t done any newspaper work since then. Until now! Today I ran a short piece in the Hampshire Gazette Home Magazine about home repair.

It’s a little hard to read in the print version of the paper, but I’ve been super nice and made a screen shot you can zoom into, and a PDF version to download. No need for a magnifying glass! The first link is to the PDF of the newspaper version, but the second link is to the full size “readable version”– you can read all the small bits that were not visible (including some easter eggs…)

Yes, home repair.

When the editors sent out a call asking people to submit stories about their homes and home repairs and home histories, I thought, HAVE I GOT A STORY FOR YOU. I love my little townhouse. I really do. But it has been a long journey of rehabilitation and more than one major surprise. Read for yourself about how repairing a neglected house is more than a process of improvement, but rather a process of healing. Just like with people.

#dangersafetybravery

#dangersafetybravery

The editors at Paperbark asked if I would be interested in submitting a piece of visual scholarship to their upcoming issue on Resilience. I jumped at the chance to publish creative work in a literary magazine venue. The Resilience issue came out in hard copy…

Words, pictures and method

Words, pictures and method

My friend and colleague, Professor Ian Barron, director of the UMass Center for International Education, was kind enough to express interest in my research and its implications for comparative international work. As an arts-based researcher and cartoonist, I have used methods in childhood in the…

No more dumb posters

No more dumb posters

I know we are all tired of the same old clunky academic conference poster, but folks are often unsure of where and how to break the rules and if it is even possible to do something different with the “Poster Presentation” genre. Instead of using the “poster presentation” genre as a vehicle for bold, visual experiences, it has become an exercise in stapling one’s paper to a wall. Squinting into a sea of 8 point font, viewers lament how the entire event probably could have been an email. NO LONGER! Come to this workshop to learn how to make the MOST out of the poster presentation, how to take it beyond the “formula” and into something interactive, dynamic, and aesthetically adventurous. We will apply the principles of the guerrilla arts to rethink how we communicate both visually and politically. Why do the same old thing?

REGISTER HERE: https://tinyurl.com/posterworkshop-educ

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO EVERYONE!

But wait– what’s Guerrilla Art?

Keri Smith, Guerrilla Artist Extraordinaire writes,

“Guerilla art is a fun and insidious way of sharing your vision with the world. It is a method of art making which entails leaving anonymous art pieces in public places. It can be done for a variety of reasons, to make a statement, to share your ideas, to send out good karma, or just for fun. My current fascination with it stems from a belief in the importance of making art without attachment to the outcome. To do something that has nothing to do with making money, or listening to the ego.

My first experience with being a guerilla artist was in my first year of art school in a class taught by conceptual artist Shirley Yanover. One of our assignments was to create some form of graffiti in a public place (we were allowed to choose the were and how). We went out in groups of four, (two lookouts, and two painters), and proceeded to make our mark on various blank walls across the city. The experience made me terrified and exhilarated at the same time. I wrote quotes from various authors along the bottoms of buildings, on phone booths, and on the sidewalks. I remember the feeling of daring as we sprinted away from unsuspecting police officers.

Now I am not necessarily advocating that you do anything illegal or potentially life threatening. But there is something wonderfully sneaky about leaving some form of art in public places. I like knowing that at some point in time someone might receive a little surprise in the form of a random message from a stranger, or a doodle in an unexpected place. I remember there used to be an artist in Toronto who would bolt text books and old phone books to various things. It became a personal quest of mine to find them all, and I always felt so excited when a new one showed up just under my nose. Experiment with your own ideas.”

Banksy!

nice work and near enemies

nice work and near enemies

My newest piece appears in Angelina Castagno’s gorgeous edited volume, The Price of Nice: How Good Intentions Maintain Educational Inequity. Before this project came along, I was relatively certain that I was done done DONE with my decades of work around workplace feminization and ethnographies…

Three Cheers for Inktober!

Three Cheers for Inktober!

I’m a university professor and a scholar and writer and ethnographer and all that stuff, but as an arts-based researcher, sometimes the Art part gets shoved off to the side and hidden away, especially when times are stressful or busy and I have a thousand…

Crooked is the line at QHC in Vancouver

Crooked is the line at QHC in Vancouver

I had a blast at the Qualitative Health Research Conference in Vancouver leading a fantastic workshop on comics in qualitative research and giving a keynote lecture. The Zine workshop was a longer version of my classic studio experience, tailored for a diverse group of researchers interested in learning how comics and the Zine format can transform their work through creative, small-bites and small-moments approaches to data analysis and writing up! Below are some images from the session. Remember, if you want me to teach YOUR group how to make zines and have fun doing it, you can reach out to me via the ‘contact’ tab on this site!

My talk focused on making the case for comics and graphic novels in qualitative research as a way for reaching new, “unruly” publics. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“But beyond trying to unify the threads of a bifurcated life, my work as an artist and ethnographer is rooted in what Barone and Eisner call ‘redirecting conversations about social phenomena by enabling others to vicariously experience the world’. As most of my work is in cartoon form, this work seems to always encounter delegitimizing discourses; comics have found acceptance to some degree in popular culture and even in educational contexts, but are still only marginally acceptable in social science research. Gustavo Fischman (2001) writes that this is partly because ‘images and visual culture are not accepted forms of scholarly transmission’ (28) and our attempts at integrating it can create a slough of epistemological, methodological and general despond. Fischman further cautions us that the introduction of visual culture can be a truly wondrous thing to behold, as long as it is done mindfully and not ‘reduced to the repetition of the same questions and approaches that flaunt eye catching illustrations whose only object is to help in the marketing of a research project’ (p. 32). Art should make things more complex, not less. Art should be clarifying while simultaneously laying bare the complexity and contradiction in our work, and helping us resolve that by finding space to hold contradictory ideas, stories, and meanings at the same time.”

Comics and Ethnography at Oxford

Comics and Ethnography at Oxford

I was very excited to be attending and presenting a work-in-progress paper at the Oxford Ethnography and Education conference this coming week at New College, Oxford University. This conference is a highlight of my year: It’s a chance to workshop and improve a paper while…