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Graphic medicine exhibited: public engagement with comics in curatorial practice and visitor experience since 2010.

Alberda, A., 2021. Graphic medicine exhibited: public engagement with comics in curatorial practice and visitor experience since 2010. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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ALBERDA, Alexandra Page_Ph.D._2020.pdf



This study examines the recent curation of graphic medicine to increase knowledge of how comics are displayed and engaged with by public audiences. In the last decade, graphic medicine has gradually become more widespread with yearly conferences, interest from major publishers, and more critical attention from scholars and medical practitioners. However, curatorial practice and public responses to graphic medicine have so far gone unaddressed by scholarship, which has primarily focused on private and academic engagement. The project explores the curatorial practices and intentions that facilitate impactful engagement with these exhibitions. In addition, it observes visitors’ behaviours in the gallery to determine the value that graphic medicine exhibitions have for publics. This project uses an integrated methodological approach that combines grounded theory and narrative inquiry, conducting empirical exhibition analysis and two sets of semi-structured interviews with curators and visitors. Through consideration of varied responses drawn from exhibitions and interviews, the project explores visitor and curator reflections as individualised meaning-making experiences and practices shaped by the needs and stories of the patient-artists. Alongside its use of critical analysis, the project includes an illustrated chapter to disrupt traditional authorial voices in arts- based narrative inquiry, including perspectives that are often hidden in analytical text and biomedical evidence, and engaging the affective qualities of the comics medium. The project argues that curators and visitors focus strongly on the benefits of comics both to tell and learn about health stories, with public exhibitions of graphic medicine engaging publics in unexpected conversations, and offering a more empathic and patient-empowered intervention into health topics. By considering its findings against traditional models of public engagement within the history of medicine and museum concerns, this dissertation locates and defines new methodological possibilities within curatorial practice, arguing that graphic medicine exhibitions can act as embodied sites of activism and civic engagement through comics creation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:graphic medicine; medical humanities; comics studies; curatorial practice; grounded theory; narrative inquiry; anxiety; epistemic injustice; epistemic humility; exhibition
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:35533
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 May 2021 10:25
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:27


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