Comics and migration. Belonging, narration, activism
is a project, funded by the Kone foundation, that will be actualized between 2018–2020.
In this project, researchers and comics artists together examine how comics represent migration. The project group consists of Warda Ahmed, Ralf Kauranen, Olli Löytty, Aura Nikkilä, Hannele Richert, Johanna Rojola and Anna Vuorinne.
The project ponders on how stories about migration are told in, for example, autobiographical and documentary comics or how comics can be adapted in antiracist activism and activism concerning migration and refugees. What kinds of possibilities are there for comics to work as a platform for the social and political involvement of different people?
The project “Comics and migration” produces both research and comics. The comics are published, among other platforms, on this website. The site collects comics of members of the project and comics from other sources, such as the so-called grassroots comics from the workshops of our collaborator World Comics Finland.
Migration has become a salient subject in contemporary comics both internationally and in Finland. Comics help us understand migration as a multifaceted phenomenon and can also, at their best, help overcome feelings of detachment and rootlessness connected to migration and unravel contradictions in problematic processes of social exchange and communication.
Comics can also give a voice to marginalized groups and individuals in society. When people are on the move, belonging to a place or a culture becomes a central political question defining people’s status, experiences and being. Therefore, it is important to ask, whose stories are being told, whose voices are being heard and who remains invisible.
Comics is a versatile form of art. The means of communication characteristic to comics – series of panels, the combination of pictures and words, the spatiality of a page, a spread or a tome, and the drawn image – give multiple possibilities for realizing stories about migration.