Category Archives: other stuff

Not angry, just disappointed.

Here’s a copy of my email withdrawing from Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal, 2017. I’m sharing it here because some other comics creator on the exhibitors’ reserve list may well receive an email saying a stall has become available, and at least this way they can appreciate why.

Dear LICAF organisers,

I am writing to withdraw from exhibiting at Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2017 this coming weekend. This is because I found Sunday evening’s twitter statements from your festival account and associated accounts unacceptable.

My academic work addresses themes of fairness in education, particularly the constructions of ‘race’ and social class, through the specific example of British comics. I need to do my best to ensure that my comics making, publishing, and distribution (as myself, and through my organisation Applied Comics Etc) remains consistent with these themes. This means that I cannot take part in a publicly-funded festival that has made such poor choices of language and tone when discussing issues of ethnicity and diversity.

With this in mind, I would like to offer constructive support when you plan the future of your festival. Please do let me know if my academic work on untangling and addressing issues of fairness – as well as my professional experience in staff development in higher education – is something you would like to make use of, in due course.

For this year’s festival, please could you refund my half-table exhibitor fee. I would also appreciate it if you removed my profile page from your 2017 festival website. I will contact my booked B&B in Kendal to cancel and will request a refund for my advance train ticket.

Best,
Lydia Wysocki

Sad to disappoint all three of my fans, and annoyed at missing opportunities to catch up with people about current and future projects. By all means reuse the wording of my email if it helps draft your own.

For context: link to twitter thread. Photo in this blog post is from when I exhibited at LICAF in 2014 (blog post here). I try not to make a habit of sharing letters online, but it happens.

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Leeeeds coooomics 

See that? That’s my planned table setup for Thought Bubble comics convention 2017. Leeds Town Hall Marquee table 37 might just buckle under the weight of many comics including :

  • Research questionnaire. Fill in a questionnaire about comics you’ve read, get a free sticker and an infocomic and the knowledge that you’ve taken part in my PhD research about reading British comics. The questionnaire is in comics form and will take maybe 7mins to fill in – good if you want a break from wandering round, or want to do something comics-y that doesn’t involve spending money. It’ll take a bit of thought but not too deep – the second stage of my research involves more indepth interviews with comics readers, this questionnaire is a stepping stone to that second stage. 
  • Applied Comics Etc collaborations. Free comics, all made in partnership with researchers, archives, kids, sweeeet comics creators. Promo postcards for Freedom City Comics anthology are hot off the press (launches in Newcastle 1st October) 
  • Comic Swap library. Read the well wikkid comics made by kids’ comics clubs, swapped earlier this year as part of a postal swap run by Hannah Sackett and I.
  • Applied Comics Network. Free badges, free chat about overambitous plans coordinated by John Swogger, Ian Horton and I. 
  • My comics and books. To swap with comics you’ve made, or coffee/tea/snacks, or for sale (various prices from £1 stamp books to £13 double comic). Say the secret password ‘I like your office wallpaper’ and get a free gift with any swap or purchase of my solo work, whilst stocks last.

If you’re around on Thursday/Friday come to Comics Forum conference – I’ll be presenting about my questionnaire & PhD research, and involved in running an Applied Comics Network workshop. 

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There ain’t no crafting like  hung parliament stress crafting…


…cos hung parliament stress crafting is a good way to process the news and stop refreshing webpages for the latest shenanigans.

I made a new batch of hipster upcycled artisanal stamp books. They were popular at Leeds Tetley book fair, so these can wait until my comic convention stalls this autumn. 

Use them as mini pattern colouring books if you reeeeeally need a change of focus.

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Tuppence a bag for your thoughts.

A list of reasons why this morning’s comic is among the best I’ve ever made:

  • It’s a comic 
  • That I made
  • In my beautiful sketchbook (bound by @bookbindings)
  • I’ve nearly finished that sketchbook aww yeah 
  • It was straight to ink, no pencil
  • It references Milkshake by Kelis
  • And  Parklife by Blur
  • I got the Phil Daniels “sense of enormous wellbeing” quote wrong
  • Hardly anyone will notice
  • And it only bothers me a little 
  • Whereas it would’ve given younger-me much cause for muso concern 
  • It’s about music
  • Well, music references 
  • Mashed together like a mixtape
  • And feeding the birds
  • Dancing 
  • Education 
  • Fighting for free education 
  • And reminding people that you can, and do, learn and teach all the time, even if you don’t see it as formalised education 
  • Lettering stamped with a 99p rubber stamp kit
  • And my 2kuai red ink pad
  • Like this 
  • Which is still going strong after uhhhh 7years of no longer living in China 
  • Is 2kuai still like 20p or has the world moved on? 
  • See, it’s about currency valuations too
  • And calling BS on a lot of the ‘wellbeing’ products and advertising that’s around at the moment 
  • Because you can’t buy happiness 
  • But you can read free comics
  • Or better, make your own.
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Your Xmas card 2016.

I don’t much care for Christmas but I do love sending Christmas cards. It’s good to keep in touch, to send art, and to afford the time and materials to do so.

This year’s card is a tree printed on brown card (made from trees, oh the cannibalism). It’s a linocut, as explained in the comic I made to send out with each card. 

Each year’s list of addressees gets longer as people’s families grow, which is a nudge to remember that every Christmas card is someone’s first. So showing the process matters, especially if it’s a printing process other than a commercial computer printout. 

As I get further into the world of printmaking I must remember to keep explaining the process – which of course applies to academic work too, innit. Christmas holidays are a good time to hunker down with the PhD reading pile.

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Brighton beef.

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I’m cross that I was told to stop drawing in a museum. I’ve sent a letter of complaint, and am sharing it here on my blog (oh I know, I’m rolling my eyes at myself) too. There are of course bigger problems in the world. Drawing shouldn’t be a problem.

Dear [name and job title redacted] Brighton Pavilion,

It is with sadness and outrage that I am writing to complain about having been told to stop drawing in the Brighton Pavilion.

I visited the Pavilion on Sunday 5th June 2016, the day after I gave a talk at the University of Sussex about my academic work using drawing and comics as methods in social science. As a researcher, educator, student, and artist I was glad to revisit the Pavilion particularly as I had included mention of it in my earlier research.

During my visit I drew and wrote notes in my A6-size (one quarter of A4) sketchbook. About two thirds of my way round the Pavilion I was approached by a member of staff who told me to stop drawing. This came after I had approached two members of staff, sketchbook in hand, to ask the names of rooms as little written information was available. When I asked why he told me to stop drawing, he said it was because some items in the Pavilion were on loan from the Queen’s collections and, I quote, ‘she doesn’t like people drawing them because of copyright’. If this was an accurate statement of your policy it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of both the concept of copyright and of the ownership and purposes of the Royal Collections.

At the end of my visit I asked a member of staff in the gift shop if I could see a copy of the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. He directed me to the ticket desk. Of the two members of staff there neither was able to show me a sign or policy in writing, or to tell me where I might find it online. There were signs banning smoking (a legal obligation and good practice for conservation) and photography (a more questionable ban), but no mention of drawing. One member of staff repeated that the reason for a ban related to the copyright of items in the collection, and the other said she thought it was because the corridors were too narrow. The Pavilion was not busy; by standing with a hand-held sketchbook I was not causing an obstruction to other visitors.

Museums and galleries are of course important venues for education and for the arts, especially when combined with the value of drawing as a way of seeing and a way of learning. The Pavilion’s significance to the political and arts history of Britain (and internationally) makes it a wonderful resource. Preventing such learning is an unpleasant divergence from this mission, particularly when done through an unadvertised and selectively-enforced rule.

I ask you to reply to clarify the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. I will share this letter with my professional and creative networks.

Yours,
Lydia Wysocki

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4:15.

Here’s the edited highlights of two work trips from March and May this year. Yes, March. Things are going well, but that’s about the speed of any personal arty work so far this year.

First, 2 hours of free time from a 3 day trip to Montpellier, France, inbetween meetings with a new member of the research team.

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And here’s 2 and a quarter hours in Helsinki, Finland, inbetween 3 days of meetings with all research partners in the project.

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The meetings went well and it was a treat to get some free time around the edges.

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