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Comics in the reading ecosystem: Discussing children’s comics as part of literary education in the Spanish Elementary School

Friday 12 May 2023, 15h00-17h00 | KULeuven, Mgr. Sencie Instituut (MSI), room 02.15

The lecture by Clara Vilaboa Sáenz (PhD student of Education and Literature, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona) will be followed by a group discussion of the book in open access Sugar, Spice, and the Not So Nice: Comics Picturing Girlhood, ed. by Dona Pursall and Eva Van de Wiele (only chapter 1 and chapter 9).


Elementary Schools constitute a key context in the literary experience of the child reader as open, public spaces in which all children have an opportunity to encounter literature. This research project aims to analyse the literary and pedagogic value of children’s comics and focuses on the double impact that comics have as tools to promote reading and as strategies to develop the multimodal reading competence. To document and interpret the reality of comics in the reading ecosystem of the school, we have carried out an ethnographic, collaborative study on a public school in Spain (6- to 12-year-olds) that has focused on the needs, interests and challenges that appear when integrating comics in the school. Here, we have designed two main lines of action: the analysis of how comics are integrated and promoted from the school library and the analysis of the pedagogy implied in the promotion, reading and discussion of comics in a 4th-year classroom (8- to 10-year-olds). In addition, we have documented the perspectives of children, teachers, librarians and families to have a holistic perception of the role of comics in the school. This ethnographic study constitutes the core of the research project and has been complemented with a theoretical review of the research published on the intersection of comics and Elementary Education between the years 2000 to 2023. Thus, the project has allowed us to acquire a longitudinal and contextualised perspective of the role that children’s comics have in Elementary School.



“Traduit du flamand”? How Les Noceurs (2010) by Brecht Evens found its way to France and French-speaking Belgium

Tuesday 25 April 2023, 13h00-15h00 | UGent, Campus Boekentoren, Blandijnberg 2: Faculteitszaal (1st floor)

The lecture by Timothy Sirjacobs (KULeuven, FWO) will be followed by a group discussion of the book in open access How Comics Travel by Katherine Kelp-Stebbins (only the introduction, chapter 1 and chapter 3).


In 2010 the French publishing house Actes Sud issued ‘Les Noceurs’ (original Dutch title: ‘Ergens waar je niet wil zijn’; English title: ‘The Wrong Place’) by the Flemish graphic novelist Brecht Evens (1986). Despite the financial aid by a prominent literary institution of his home region and its promotion of Evens’ work at the international festival of Angoulême (2009), this was still a seemingly audacious endeavor. Especially considering that at the moment of purchasing the translation rights (2009) the graphic novel was an unpublished graduate project of a then 22-year-old Flemish-Belgian graphic artist. In spite of these obstacles, the translation of the Dutch language original found its way in the catalog of an Arles-based publishing house that promotes writers such as W.G. Sebald, Imre Kertész and recent Goncourt-winning author Nicolas Mathieu. This presentation will thus be centered around the following questions: “How did ‘Ergens waar je niet wil zijn’ find its way to a French literary publisher, how was it received in France, and to what extent did this ‘French mobility’ influence Evens’ reception in the French-speaking part of Belgium?”

This case study is situated within the framework of BELTRANS, a joint project of KULeuven, UCLouvain and the Belgian National Library (KBR) that aims to analyze intra-Belgian literary translation flows between 1970 and 2020.