The first Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society, "Mind the Gaps! The Futures of the Field," will be held August 9-11 at the iSchool at Illinois. This inaugural conference, cosponsored by the iSchool and The Center for Children's Books, seeks to bring together scholars, artists, and other members of the international comics studies community for critical conversations about the future of the field, in all its multidisciplinary and transcultural formations.
"We're expecting over 150 attendees—scholars, librarians, cartoonists, and more—from across North America and several international locations, including Austria, France, England, Japan, and Germany," said Associate Professor Carol Tilley, president of the Comics Studies Society and host of the conference.
The conference will include sessions with panel discussions and roundtables on a variety of topics, such pedagogy, women in comics and comics studies, the intersection of comics and psychology, and fandom. Plenary speakers for August 9 are the well-known independent cartoonists, editors, and comic writers Hazel Newlevant and Whit Taylor.
The opening day of the conference will be Community Day, which will be open to the public at no cost as will other sessions and special activities as described on the conference website. Community Day events are intended for older teens and adults.
"We hope to encourage greater interest in comics and comics studies by inviting members of the community to participate in some of our Society's activities," Tilley said. "The events will take place at the iSchool, the Undergraduate Library, and elsewhere on campus. In addition to panels and the plenary talk, there will be library exhibits, cartoonists sharing their comics, workshops, and more."
Registration for the full conference is still open.