Toronto part 1: Pre-TCAF

OK. TCAF is over and I’ve had an exhausting but enjoyable time. This is a catch up/ round up blog post to let you know what we’ve been doing during our stay.

Simon gave a talk at the University of Toronto dept of Geography, to help pay for his trip. I went along to hang with the geographers and was interested to learn that Foucault is much quoted by human geographers as well as health humanities academics. The talk- about affordable artists studios in London- was interesting. We then went for a drink and investigated Kensington Market, meeting up with Suley again and a magician friend of his (the performing kind) Will.

The following day we were picked up at 8.30 by Shelley, who drove us to the University of Toronto campus at Mississauga for the teaching and workshop session we were to run for her Biomedical Communication students.

This is an impressive new park, about half an hour from downtown Toronto. We were introduced to the faculty, who were housed in about the best academic offices I’ve ever seen (not that I have seen that many).

The talk went well. We gave the 30-odd students and faculty members an overview of our own comics work and then went on to talk about the interaction of comics and medicine.

We got the students (and lecturers) to make some jam comics, which turned out to be very funny.

Then we did a guided visualisation exercise, based on one described by Lynda Barry in What It Is. I’d seen this used by MK Czerwiec in her Graphic Medicine program at Northwestern University. It went down very well, and impressive work was produced.

The students presented some of the finished 9 panel strips to their peers.

After the class we were taken out for lunch by the faculty.

You will notice that I have emptied my glass the fastest.

Shelley drove us back to the hotel and we got ready to go out to the first of three TCAF parties- the Pre-TCAF party- which took place in The Pilot. I didn’t take any photos.

The next day was TCAF- coming up in the next posting.

TCAF

Simon Moreton and I have arrived in Toronto for TCAF. We flew with Air France via Paris and I must say the flight was pretty tollerable in this age of squeezed margins and shrinking legroom. We were served Champagne by the young, friendly cabin crew and enjoyed the good selection of films available.

Last night we met up with my friend Suley Fattah, originator of Drawing the Line, a benefit comic collection for Cancer research in Canada and his wife, the magician Julie Eng. We went to the pub.

This morning I distinguished myself at a local cafe where we had breakfast by (almost) wrecking the hinges of the plate glass door.

Simon is giving a talk to the geography dept of the University of Toronto this afternoon and then tomorrow morning we are doing a workshop for Shelley Wall‘s biomedical illustration students at the U of T

Simon and I are both exhibiting at TCAF, along with fellow UK comics people such as Darryl Cunningham, Lizz Lunney, Philippa Rice, Joe Decie, and Sean Azzopardi

On Saturday Simon, Darryl, Lizz and I are running a ‘Comics and Mental Health’ panel discussion with the great John Porcellino at 12.30 in the Marriott Bloor hotel.

On Squeamishness