On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers: Presentation Report from #GM2019

The City, University of London and Douglas College, Canada research team collaborating on comics and creativity for healthcare were present at the Graphic Medicine 2019 international conference in Brighton, UK, hosted by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, 11-13 July 2019.

The title of this fully multidisciplinary conference this year was Queerying Graphic Medicine – Paradigms, Power and Practices.

A full report of the conference is outside the remit of this blog post. However, you can catch up with the conference hashtag on Twitter- to make that easier I created a searchable archive of the #GM2019 tweets here. There’s some excellent photos, sketches, comics, links and information that give a rich collective view of what went on. Artist and illustrator Tony Pickering also published his review on his blog here.

Abi Roper (City)  Marie-Pier Caron (Douglas), Ruhina Rana (Douglas), Peter Wilkins (Douglas) and myself (City) presented in a panel in the Paradigms Panel at Room M2 on Friday 12 July 2019, from 4 to 5:30 pm. The title of the session was “On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers. The Specificities of Form and Genre in Comics about Dementia Care”.

The presentation slides have been deposited on figshare and can be downloaded under a CC-By license as

Priego, E., Wilkins, P., Roper, A., Caron, M., et al. (2019) On the Aesthetic Education of Caregivers. The Specificities of Form and Genre in Comics about Dementia Care. Presentation. [Online]. Available from: doi: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8863448. [Accessed: 16 July 2019].

The audience included health care professionals, academics and artists also working on dementia, aphasia and mental care, with the conversation between audience and presenters extending beyond the Q&A and the session allocated time and offering a valuable networking opportunity to continuing or initiating further collaborations. We were all very grateful for the attentive and engaged audience who attended our session, and for their important questions and feedback.

The team also distributed free copies of both Parables of Care and the INCA Project‘s MakeWrite poetry booklet (in a limited and numbered edition handmade by Abi Roper specially for the conference). This happened both at the panel session itself and throughout the whole conference thanks to the generosity of the Waterstones table (Richard- if you read this, thank you!).

Table at conference panel room

Conference Waterstones table

The Brighton conference was a unique opportunity for the team to work together (for once not mediated by computers nor geographically separated by the 7,573 km distance between Vancouver and London, UK), to get to know each other better and strengthen our research ties. Though Simon Grennan was unfortunately unable to make it due to work commitments, he was in touch with us throughout and before the conference had ended he had already shared with us the proofs for the Parables of Care Spanish translation, which we will release before the end of the Summer. (We missed you, Simon!)

Priego, Roper, Caron, Rana, Wilkins at GM2019

Left to Right: Priego, Roper, Caron, Rana, Wilkins

The conference provided plenty of further evidence that our previous and ongoing work fits within a larger, fully international and multidisciplinary, dynamic and exciting network of individuals and organisations focused on advancing the case for the use of comics and other multimodal storytelling media within healthcare. I think it is fair to say that all of us had the most fantastic, nurturing, fun and thought-provoking time.

Thank you very much to all the GM2019 organisers, as well as all our fellow presenters and attendees, for an incredible conference.

The GM2019 conference organisers announced the Graphic Medicine will return to Toronto next year. See you in Toronto for GM2020 maybe?

Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from

If you work in a library, hospital, GP practice or care home- or care for someone with dementia in the UK, you can order a free copy of Parables of Care here: in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

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