Friday, January 25, 2013

Dim Sum & Descartes

Recently, the team behind the Dim Sum Warriors comic/app, Yen Yen Woo and Colin Goh, invited me along to say a few words on the workings of comics as part of their interview with Patrick Cox of Public Radio International's "The World in Words." The Dim Sum Warriors comic-app is a pretty neat merger of comics and technology - the text appears in either English or Chinese, and with a touch, the reader can see the other language, and another touch - get an audio reading in the other language. It's a fun tale of anthropomorphic dim sum and I believe, an important way to get at literacy in ways beyond what comics already do. Check out the interview on PRI here. You can learn more about the dim sum warriors in app form and in print at their site here.

Patrick Cox was kind of enough to give me the last word on the podcast, and say a couple things about my dissertation in the context of all this. If you want to hear me talk at greater talk length on comics and education, see the recent post for an interview I did with professors at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

In both interviews, I'm bringing up the importance of visual thinking, and getting beyond solely verbal-based thinking and learning. This is the subject of the third chapter of the dissertation, which I'm currently in the midst of drawing/writing/designing. This chpater builds on (and shares the same title) as the piece "the shape of our thoughts," that i did for the Journal of Visual Arts Research. In this new chapter, I want to address the anti-visual legacy that comes down to us from Plato and Descartes, and seek some reunion between the split of mind and body, and specifically - image and text. I'm pretty excited with how it's shaping up, and will share parts of it soon. In the meantime, a fragment from a finished page about "languages..." - Nick

P.S. Teaching two courses on comics this spring - starting end of January - comics for educators course at Teachers College ( and a reading graphic novels course at Parsons. Both of which take the approach of learning theory through practice, thinking in different Languages than text...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Talking Comics as Way of Thinking

New interview with me courtesy of the iTeach Podcast! Some background....

Back in late November, I was pleased to be contacted by Chris Malmberg of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks about a podcast he and his colleague Brooke Sheridan had made in which they devoted their inaugural session to a discussion of my work and the implications for comics/visual thinking in education.

After that, Brooke and I teamed up to write a post on HASTAC's blog delving further into reimagining knowledge creation and the forms that scholarship might take, as well as the political implications of diverging from the verbal's long-held dominance as the legitimate form of thought.

Chris and Brooke were then kind of enough to do an interview via Skype in early December and is now live on their site. They pretty much gave me free rein to put forth my thinking on comics and education at great length, touching on the ways that thinking through comics can play a significant role in learning and open possibilities for how we think regardless of the fields we work in. I took up some notions of embodied experience and the nature of seeing as seeing in relationship - all as a means of breaking down the walls we are so good at putting up. Also, I talk about the idea that comics make me smarter - in that i can have a conversation with myself through my drawings and the unconscious engagement of my visual system - extends my thinking beyond what I can pull of alone in my head or only with text. The interview has been extremely useful to me as I'm in the midst of my third chapter, which hits on all of the things i discuss in the interview. In listening to it, I get the opportunity to have another sort of conversation with myself! Thanks to Chris and Brooke for the opportunity, hope you all enjoy, check it out here. - Nick

Sketch-outline for the forthcoming chapter three...

A sketch explaining the shape of your day in comics exercise to global educator Matt Finch. Sometime soon i hope to get this in a more shareable form...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chapter Two - In Full!

Happy New Year! This post was set to go out on the solstice until an internet outage prevented it. So with the new year upon us, I'm pleased to be able to share the entirety of chapter two here. While all but the title page have been posted previously, this is a chance to read them in sequence without having to piece them together. "The importance of seeing double and then some..." explores interdisciplinarity as an approach and in action - each page (for the most part) presents ideas from at least two realms (philosophy, literature, mathematics, and others) and weaves them together in an effort to continue to build perspective and find means to escape the flatness discussed in the opening chapter.

Given how much i refer back to themes involving flatland from the interlude section - it's recommended to check that out as well. Thrilled to have this behind me and eager to get into the next chapter - pages are already taking shape....

Anyhow, enough from me. Have a look, I welcome your feedback. To longer days and an expansive, possibility-filled year ahead... - Nick