Graphic Medicine Conference

Page from Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies

The Graphic Medicine Conference has been an annual gathering across North America and the United Kingdom since 2010. And in 2018, the venue is at The Center for Cartoon Studies!

London, 2010, was hosted at the School of Advanced Study, Institute of English Studies, University of London. The keynote speakers were Paul Gravett (editor of The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, 2008), Brian Fies (Mom’s Cancer, 2006), and Marc Zaffran.

Cover of Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies

Chicago, 2011, was hosted at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. The theme was “The Sequential Art of Illness.” The keynote speakers were David Small (Stitches, 2010), Phoebe Gloeckner (Diary of a Teenage Girl, 2002), and Paul Gravett.

Cover of Stitches paperback by David Small

Toronto, 2012, was hosted at Health Sciences, University of Toronto. The theme was “Navigating the Margins.” The keynote speakers were Paul Gravett, Joyce Brabner (Our Cancer Year, 1994, with Harvey Pekar), and Joyce Farmer (Special Exits, 2014).

Brighton, 2013, was hosted at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The theme was “Ethics Under Cover: Comics, Medicine, and Society.” David B (Epileptic, 2005) was the keynote speaker.


Cover of Epileptic by David B

Baltimore, 2014, was hosted at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus. The theme was “From Private Lives to Public Health.” The keynote speakers were Ellen Forney (Marbles, 2012) on her graphic novel, Arthur Frank (sociologist) on “When Bodies Need Stories in Pictures,” our very own James Sturm (The Golem’s Mighty Swing, 2017) on “Applied Cartooning: The Cartoonist Veteran Sessions,” and Carol Tilley (associate professor at the University of Illinois, School of Information Sciences) on “Private Reading, Public Health: Exploring Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s Comics Legacy.” You can watch James Sturm’s keynote online.

Graphic Medicine poster

Riverside, 2015, was hosted at the Culver Arts Center, University of California. The theme was “Spaces of Care.” The keynote speakers were Carol Tyler (Soldier’s Heart, 2015), Steven Keewatin Sanderson (Journey of the Healer, 2014, animation), Justin Green (Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary, 2009), and Jared Gardner (Projections: Comics and the History of 21st-Century Storytelling, 2012).

Cover of Soldier's Heart by C Tyler

Dundee, 2016, was hosted at the University of Dundee Scotland. The theme was “Stages and Pages” with sessions such as “Interpreting Medical Encounters.” The keynote speakers were Elisabeth El Refaie (language and communication professor at Cardiff University) on “Performance Spaces: Metaphorical Meanings of Spatial Orientations in Ellen Forney’s Marbles,” Al Davison (The Spiral Cage, 2003) on “Muscle Memory” about surviving with Spina Biffida and physical child abuse, and Lynda Barry (One! Hundred! Demons!, 2007) in a workshop with Dan Chaon.

Cover of Marbles by Ellen Forney

Seattle, 2017, was hosted at the Seattle Public Library Central Branch. The theme was “Access Points” with sessions such as “DRAW! Graphic Note-Taking” with James Sturm and CCS instructor Kurt Shaffert. CCS alum J. D. Lunt (’16) was part of the panel for “Comics and Life after War.” The keynote speakers were Rupert Kinnard (The LifeCapsule Project) on “Psychobabbleography: The Examination of an Absurdly Mentally and Physically Challenging Life,” Georgia Webber (Dumb, ongoing series) on “Drawing the Inside Out,” and Hillary Chute (Graphic Women, 2010) on “Comics and Psychic States.”

Post by Angela Boyle (’16).

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