Current Projects

Applied Comics

Dr Ian Horton

Continuing research via the Applied Comics Network (with Lydia Wysocki and John Swogger) by studying comics that seek to inform as well as entertain. Ongoing events examining applied comics and a website launch in 2019.

Audio Visual Abstract Comics

Miranda Smart

Audio-Visual Abstract Comics Project – I have received funding from the arts fund DYCP grant for a project where i will be collaborating with 4 different musicians to make 4 different abstract comic experiments with soundtracks. I am hoping that working with musicians and learning how they curate abstract sounds into pieces of music which have deep emotional powers will help me better understand emotional queues and translate these findings into abstract narratives.

The first collaboration will be an exploration of horror comics/music and will hopefully result in an abstract audio-visual horror comic that plays on how abstract shapes and textures can induce a fear narrative.

I am hoping to also use the funding to gain better access to research on comics theory and how music is represented in comics. I am also trying to think of ways in which I can archive and present my research and findings.

Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver

The ongoing running of Broken Frontier and management of its team of comics commentators as well as the site’s annual ‘Six Creators to Watch’ initiative. This involves extensive coverage for selected up-and-coming comics artists alongside an annual programme of mentorship and support with a view to bringing them to the attention of publishers. A significant number of the featured artists over the years have been UAL graduates who have gone on to publication and awards recognition.

Comics and Art History

Dr Maggie Gray and Dr Ian Horton

This book project aims to determine what art history can do for comics (and vice-versa), by uncovering the history of art historical approaches to the form, analysing areas of current scholarship drawing on art historical methods, and identifying various areas where distinctive strands of art historical practice could enhance comics studies.

Comics and Design

Dr Ian Hague and Dr Ian Horton

This project examines the ways in which comics engage with design, as a broadly understood field, and considers how a design-based approach to comics research might change the ways we view comics. It also looks at the difficulties of applying design principles to comics, and asks why/how comics might complicate notions of design, and vice-versa.

Comics & Performance: Fringe Theatre and Underground Cartooning

Dr Maggie Gray

This project looks at the intersection of UK fringe theatre and underground cartooning in the late 1960s and 1970s. It explores how experimental theatre groups drew on the design and iconography of comics, and how comix and the underground/alternative press drew on performative modes, to transform relationships between artists and audiences and make politically radical work. What does looking at comics in relation to practices of stage, prop and costume design, acting and choreography, sound and music tell us about their aesthetics and politics? And what does looking at its visual design tell us about theatre?

Comics and Sound Research Network

Dr Maggie Gray and Dr Ian Hague

This project aims to bring together researchers and practitioners across fields of comics, sound design, performance, curation, art and design to interrogate the diverse ways comics and sound interconnect, and provide a foundation for future collaborative, interdisciplinary work in this area.

Creating Heroines

Dr Nicola Streeten

Development of 2018 British Council project “Creating Heroines” in association with British Council and Positive Negatives working with South Asian women comics artists.

Digital Comics

Dr Ian Hague

Dr Ian Hague’s current research expands on the work he undertook in Comics and the Senses (Routledge, 2014), but turns the focus more particularly to digital comics. Digital works are considered in terms of their materiality, economics, histories and geographies. As in Comics and the Senses, the aim of the project is to develop a general theory of digital comics that can be used to consider a wide range of forms and formats.


Dr Nicola Streeten

Streeten is currently in receipt of an Arts Council England and British Council’s International Development Fund Award to develop “Expectations” a collaborative project, with Kokaachi in Kerala, India and Indian illustrator Priya Kuriyan.

The Golden Thread Project

Geoffrey Coupland

With the Golden Thread Project website. With Exhibitions like our recent collaboration with the English Folk Dance and Song Society at Cecil Sharp House. With educational workshops at schools, arts festivals and comics conventions (Kendal International Comics Festival). With events and publishing through our Bugboar Pressimprint. We engage in a progressive way with a range of interesting related sub-topics and a widening pool of contributors sharing fascinations with world folksong and folklore, principally using the visual mediums of illustration, printmaking and comics, but also via craft, writing, music and moving image.

Marie Duval

Dr Simon Grennan, Prof. Roger Sabin

Ongoing research into the Victorian cartoonist whose most famous work was on the comic character Ally Sloper, but whose career spanned a wide range of other works as well. Previous outputs have included Marie Duval (Myriad Editions, 2017, Grennan, Sabin and Waite) and Drawing in Drag (Bookworks, 2018, Grennan). Ongoing and future outputs include an extensive, AHRC funded, digital archive of Duval’s work (, a co-authored book entitled Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist (Grennan, Sabin and Waite, Manchester University Press, 2019) and an exhibition touring to New York.

Science Fiction/Speculative Design in Comics

Dr Dan Smith

My current comics based research includes developing a book proposal on science fiction comics and the idea of speculative design. Potential chapters have been explored in a number of conference papers over the past few years. Comics are also an area of investigation in my role as the Horniman Museum Art, Design and Natural History Fellow, which began in October 2017 and is currently ongoing. A forthcoming chapter on science fiction comics has just been completed and will be published in A Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Jack Fennell (Peter Lang 2018).

Untitled Graphic Novel Project

Vanessa Milu Spiridellis

Vanessa is currently developing a graphic novel series surrounding the reincarnation of two sisters that spans from the primordial era of the past into the future. The story explores the philosophical dynamics of good and evil while approaching the past from a feminist and mystical perspective. The series acts as a counter to the patriarchal and monotheistic rhetoric responsible for dictating the historic societal roles that perpetually suppresses the autonomy of unapologetically wild and intelligent women. The series explores the concepts of love, the power behind sexual expression, the fluidity of war – both within an individual and with others – and the instability of peace.