This summer (depending on a successful Kickstarter campaign), three students of the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London are launching Modern Times, a magazine full of graphic journalism. Each issue will take on a different social theme; the first one will focus on housing. We talk to Katherine Hearst, one of the students behind this initiative.
Tell us more about your initiative. How did it come about?
'We were inspired by US radio show This American Life. Each week, they feature a range of stories related to a particular theme. We wanted to do something similar, only not on the radio, but in a newspaper.'
Why choose graphic journalism?
'Objective journalism is hard to come by, especially in mainstream newspapers. So its not only about showcasing graphic journalism, it's also about providing a platform for stories that you would not find in the mainstream media. We think graphic journalism is a great medium for story-telling. We're not just talking about comics, but photography and video as well.'
'We want to provide a platform where emerging artists can exhibit their work alongside established artists. We want a real mix of types of work and different narratives, and that comes from a real mix of people. Also, including some known artists obviously boosts our profile.'
Assuming you reach your Kickstarter goal and your first issue is a success, what's your vision for the future of the magazine. Do you plan to fund every issue with a crowdfunding campaign?
'We'll have to see. I envision it to be both a printed and online publication. There’s lots of beautifully designed printed publications out there, but they're expensive to produce and not as far-reaching as a site. The main reason we want an online alternative, however, is that for the next issue, we want to feature film and sound documentaries as well as photography, writing and illustration.'
When do you plan to come out with the first issue?
'Once we get our funding, copies will be available at a number of comics and art fairs. We are also hoping to get them stocked in the best comic shops, art bookshops and even galleries around London.’
Cartoon by Steve Benson, Arizona Republic
Cartoonists Rights Network International calls for nominations for their annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning. Previous winners include Tony Namate from Zimbabwe, Zapiro from South Africa, and Zunar from Malaysia.
Every year CRNI gives this award to a political or social cartoonist who has demonstrated exceptional courage in the face of overwhelming threats while pursuing their Article 19 freedom of speech rights and the art of political cartooning. The award serves as a global recognition of and protection to cartoonists who are victims of illegal forms of intimidation and censorship.
Nominations will be accepted from June 1 to June 15, 2014.
Please send your nomination(s) to the Executive Director, Cartoonists Rights Network International at the following email address: email@example.com. The message line should read: 'Annual Award' and the email should contain a brief description of the threats made against the cartoonist and why you feel this person should receive the award. Your email must contain a way to communicate with either you and the cartoonist you are nominating.
CRNI Board of Directors will meet in early July to select a recipient, who will be invited to the award ceremonies in the city of San Francisco, California USA in October, 2014.
CRNI does not award nor make editorial comments about a particular cartoon. We award a cartoonist's courage in the face of great danger. At the same time, we do not defend cartoonists who produce cartoons that advocate violence, promote hate, or use racism as a weapon.
Drawing Citizenship (a cartoon project reflecting on European Citizenship in the run-up to the European elections, in cooperation with the European Cultural Foundation) has drawn to a close, with the selection of 8 cartoons out of more than 200 submissions from both Europe and the rest of the world.
This has been one of the more interesting projects, as it is a very interesting time for the European project. In western Europe, and in countries facing severe austerity measures (like Greece), euroskepticism is on the rise. In France and the UK, anti-Europe parties (Front National and the UK Independence Party respectively) were the biggest winners of the European elections. In other parts of Europe, the mood is different. For instance, the majority in Italy, Romania and Portugal voted for left-wing parities, not aiming for less Europe, but a more social Europe instead.
So, did the cartoons reflect how Europeans feel about Europe? Well, yes and no.
No, because there were no outright anti-Europe cartoons sent in for this project. This is probably because (with the notable exception of the US, where there is a long and rich tradition of conservative cartoonists) cartoonists tend to be progressive individuals, who shy away from populism, nationalism and migration restrictions (which is what most anti-Europe parties have in common).
Yes, because we did receive some highly critical cartoons about the European Union. There's one by Vladimir Kazanevsky (shown above), visualizing the EU as mountaineers trying to reach the summit. Their safety lines are not attached to each other's waists, but like nooses to their necks. Other cartoons reflect a number themes, some decidedly progressive, others felt by Europeans from both the left and the right side of the political spectrum.
The majority of cartoons about Europe can, broadly speaking, be divided in four categories:
1) Highlighting the gap between the people in power and the European citizens.
3) Focusing on the economy, and the fact that Europe has become (in the eyes of many cartoonists) a representative of capitalist interests of banks and multinationals, with little or no regard anymore for the common citizen.
Cartoons by Anne Derenne and Trayko Popov.
4) The immigration policy of Europe; the EU should be about shared prosperity, but the freedom enjoyed by people within Europe stands in sharp contrast with the way we deal with people trying to get in.
Cartoons by Igor Lukyachenko and Tjeerd Royaards.
What a lot of these cartoons have in common is that they visualize the EU as a polity that is far removed from the Europeans. This is quite an accurate reflection of how many people in the EU feel, and why so many people stay at home on election day, or, when they do vote, decide to support anti-Europe parties.
Part of this project was to explore, apart from European politics and institutions, the ties that bind us together as Europeans. But the sad truth is, that at the moment, it is precisely the institutions of the EU (and the remote and undemocratic way they function) that seem to be the biggest obstacle in the way of developing any form of European citizenship.
A new week, and three new cartoonists joining Cartoon Movement. They come from Serbia, Russia and India:
Vinod Triphati (aka SpectoonS) is a cartoonist from India, working for E-News portal The Indian Republic. His motto: 'I am not a painter who beautifies the scene with colors, instead I am a photographer who captures things as it is.'
Vladimir Khakhanov is an award-winning artist from Moscow, Russia; he has been a cartoonist since 1976.
This week we published the first chapter of A Century of Silent Helpers, a 50-page comic about the history of development aid. The comic chronicles the history of Dutch aid organization Cordaid, within the broader context of the rise of international development aid in the 20th century.
Part 1 is set in 1914, as Dutch families take in Belgian children who have lost their parents because of the outbreak of the First World War. Other chapters will focus on missionary workers, the rise of government funded programs, and the future of development aid as public support for using tax money to fund NGOs sharply declines.
Within the context of these broad developments, the comic tells the stories of individuals wherever possible. Our perspective on aid may change, but helping is in our nature.
Next month we publish part 2, telling the story of Jos van Mackelenbergh, a deeply religious man, but also a silent helper that played a crucial role in the lives of two Jewish children during the Second World War. Here is a preview:
We're starting the week with three more cartoonists joining our community: Terry Anderson from Scotland, George Licurici from Romania, and our very first cartoonist from Serbia, Vladimir Volodja Sivtsevich.
Terry Anderson is a professional cartoonist from Glasgow in Scotland. He's also a coordinator for the Scottish Cartoon Studio, and is currently touring Europe with a cartoon exhibition on the Scottish independence referendum. The cartoon shown here is part of that exhibition. Check out his website for more of his work.
This year we're supporting development aid organization Cordaid. They are celebrating their 100th anniversary by sharing stories of silent helpers: people who help other people simply because they see that they need it.
We are creating a series of cartoons about helping, and are also making a comic about a century of helping. In addition to making cartoons and a comic for the platform silenthelper.org, we have also helped Cordaid develop a traveling exhibition about silent helpers through the decades.
The exhibition is currently on display in the atrium of the city hall of The Hague in the Netherlands. It consists of nine cabins. On the outer panels, the history of helping is told. Inside each of the cabins, a different aspect of helping is highlighted, using video, audio and cartoons.
The slideshow below gives an impression of the exhibition. For more information and future locations, visit silenthelper.org.
We are very happy to welcome three new cartoonists to our ever-growing community. This week's newcomers hail from Brazil, Russia, and Australia:
Silvano Mello is a self-taught cartoonist from Brazil, active in the field of graphic humor since 2007. He has won numerous awards for his work.
Vasiliy Alexandrov is a freelance cartoonist from St. Petersburg in Russia. His work has been awarded in over 40 international competitions.
Yaser Abo Hamed
Yaser Abo Hamed is a cartoonist originally from Syria, now living in Australia.