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Telling migrant women’s life stories as comics

McNicol, SL (2018) Telling migrant women’s life stories as comics. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 9 (4). pp. 279-292. ISSN 2150-4857

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Abstract

This article considers the role of comics in the construction and interpretation of migration stories, and particularly of women’s stories of migration. It outlines some of the features of comics that can be considered important to the telling of life stories, specifically, the dual text-image format; the notion of gaps; and the interplay between time and space before exploring how these were represented in the Graphic Lives project. This project worked with a group of women from the British Bangladeshi community in Greater Manchester, UK to tell their stories in the form of digital comics. Two key themes emerge from the exploration of the way women’s migration experiences are depicted in these comics, namely, a focus on belonging and fluidity of identity. The women’s comics demonstrated how comics can disrupt notions of time and space, and how the co-presence of images and words (in different languages) can help to explore different aspects of identity. The experiences of this project suggest that comics may be effective in allowing migrant women alternative ways of representing their experiences and exploring their shifting identities.

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