A Cultural History of Feminist Cartoons and Comics
in Britain from 1970-2010.
My doctoral research makes an original contribution to knowledge by showing that, since the 1970s, British feminist cartoons and comics have played an important part in the Women’s Movement in Britain. A key component of this has been humour. This aspect of feminist history in Britain has not previously been documented. My doctoral thesis questions why and how British feminists have used humour in comics form to present serious political messages. It also interrogates what the implications have been for the development of feminist cartoons and for the popularising of feminism in Britain. My work responds to recent North American feminist comics scholarship that concentrates on North American autobiographical comics of trauma by women. My thesis highlights the relevance of humour and provides a comparative British perspective.
The timeframe of my research is 1970 to 2010, chosen as representative of a significant historical period for the development of feminist cartoon and comics activity and of feminist theory and practice. My research methods included archival data collection, complemented by interviews with selected cartoonists. I also conducted close visual and textual analysis of specific examples, drawing on literature from humour theory, comics studies and feminist theory. The examples I selected were considered as responses to the economic, social and political contexts in which they were produced. My main finding is that the increased visibility of feminist cartoons and comics today, often in the form of the graphic novel, is a result of structures built and consolidated by feminist activity since the 1970s. These structures include those created around the means of production, distribution and reception of feminist cartoons and comics, such as feminist publishing companies. This finding suggests that feminist activity continues to be crucial in ensuring gender parity in all aspects of the industry.
My PhD is currently embargoed whilst I finalise a publishing contract. I drew on aspects of the research in co-editing The Inking Woman, available to buy from this website and aimed at a general reader.
2017 PhD School of Media, Film & Music, University of Sussex (Funded AHRC).
2014 Starting to Teach, University of Sussex.
2012 MRes Art, Architecture, and Design (Distinction), University of Lincoln.
1991 Foundation in Art & Design, Middlesex Polytechnic, London.
1985 Certificate in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), International House, Hastings.
1985 BA Hons Social Anthropology in the School of African and Asian Studies (2:2), University of Sussex.
2014-2017 Lecturer in Cultural Studies, University of Sussex and Contextual and Theoretical studies at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London and Kingston University.
1996-on Freelance illustrator and graphic novelist.
2004-2013 Co-Director and project manager of Beacon Art Project Ltd http://www.beaconartproject.org.
1986-1996 EFL Teacher at Kensington & Chelsea College of FE, London, summer schools in the UK, Spain and Australia.
London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London
UG teaching:Critical and Theoretical Studies (CTS) Animation, Illustration, final yeardissertation supervision.
University of Sussex
UG teaching:Practising Cultural Studies; Debates in Media; Everyday Life: Ordinary & Extraordinary; Theory, Taste & Trash.
Widening Participation teaching: Media Taster Day for visiting Year 7 students; Media summer school for Year 10 students.
UG teaching as module leader:Critical Issues in Filmmaking (40 students).
UG teaching:Critical Issues in Animation and Illustration, Filmmaking, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Final year dissertation supervision.
The Brilliant Club
Year 11 teaching: Short course: Funny Feminist Comics, Highgate Wood School, London.
Year 10 teaching: Short course: Funny Feminist Comics, The John Roan School, Greenwich, London.
RESEARCH ACTIVITY AND ATTAINMENT
The Inking Woman, 250 Years of Women Cartoonists in Britain, Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate eds., March 2018. Myriad Editions: Brighton. Contents: A documentation for a general reader of the exhibition of the same title (The Cartoon Museum, London, 19 April-26 July 2017). The exhibition and book has been sponsored by feminist postcard publisher Cath Tate Cards (est. 1983). It is an illustrated book of over 200 cartoonists’ works with accompanying text. 144 pages. ISBN (pbk)978-0-9955900-8-3
Billy, Me & You, Nicola Streeten. 2011, Myriad Editions: Brighton. A graphic memoir of grief and recovery in comics form. 208 pages.ISBN (pbk) 978-0-956559-94-4
Refereed Journal Articles:
Guest EditorFeminist Graphic Novels and Comics. A Special Issue ofFeminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics.Journal Editors: Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman. Lecitito Journals, Online (Forthcoming issue 6 Spring 2020).
“A 21st Century British Comics Community that Ensures Gender Balance” in Revue de Recherche en Civilisation Américaine Les Femmes et Le Bande Designée Women in Comics.6/2016. Online: http://rrca.revues.org/723
Publication of artwork in Bad Girls Atrium, Issue 12, Winter 2014.
“The Ambiguity of Transgendered Space” – in conversation with Steven Appleby. Leeds. ‘Comics and Space’ Comics Forum 2017 Conference. 21 September 2017.
“How trauma made me a cartoonist” ‘Documenting Trauma: Comics and the Politics of Memory’ symposium hosted by the The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) Network, ‘Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form’, University of Oxford. 22 June 2017.
“Damned if you do, doomed if you don’t” Brighton & Sussex Medical School ‘Ethics Under Cover’ Comics, Medicine and Society 4th International Conference on Comics and Medicine. 4 July 2013.
Refereed Conference Papers:
I have delivered 26 conference papers since 2009 at major international conferences in USA, Canada, France and the UK. Between 2013 and 2016 the AHRC and the School of Media, Film & Music, University of Sussex supported my conference activity.
Chapters in Books:
“The transformative power of the comics form in communicating sexual abuse and its effects” in Ian Hague, Nina Mickwitz and Ian Horton eds., Contexts of Violence in Comics and Representing Acts of Violence in Comics. Routledge, London & New York. Forthcoming.
“Everyday menopause” in MK Czerwiec ed., Drawing a Pause, An Anthology of Menopause Cartoons. Penn State University Press, Pennsylvania. Forthcoming, 2018.
“Billy, Me and You and Me”, in Dominic Davies ed., Documenting Trauma: Comics and the Politics of Memory. Forthcoming.
“Women’s Cartoons in the 21st Century: A Rosy Picture Interrogated” in Thomas Giddens ed., Comics and Critique Invigorating Critical Study of the Medium. Forthcoming.
Review Articles, Essays and Artwork
“Always There” in Graphic Voices: #MeToo, Abrams comicArtsNew York. Forthcoming, 2019.
“Drawn from History”, lead essay in Times Literary Supplement Comics and Graphic Novels Special Issue. 26 April 2017 https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/comics-drawn-from-history/
“Precarious Migration. Voices of Undocumented Cambodian Migrants”, a comic in response to research report. Commissioned by Migrating Out of Poverty. Research Programme Consortium. July 2016. Translated into Khmer and Thai. English version available: http://migratingoutofpoverty.dfid.gov.uk/files/file.php?name=web-booklet-english-11-dec-16.pdf&site=354
“Female Thor knocks out anti-feminist villain – but this isn’t the coup it seems”, The Conversation, 2 March, 2015. Online: https://goo.gl/4OVYOe
The Reading Room: A review of Matilda Tristram’s ‘Probably Nothing’”, British Medical Journal, Medical Humanities. 11 Dec 2014 Online: http://goo.gl/8bwlDF