Katrina’s Story: Comics as Visual Narratives of Early Career Teachers

Julian Lawrence, Rita Irwin, Ching-Chiu Lin

Research output: Other contribution


In this project, Lawrence employs comics as both research methodology and output through comics-based research (Kuttner et al., 2020). This use of comics in pedagogical research is a growing phenomenon because “comics… present a means of fostering comprehension of pluralistic points of view” (Jones & Woglom, 2013, p. 187). It was first used by Lawrence when at the University of British Columbia, to investigate new teachers’ experiences of the profession. Here, Lawrence was invited by Dr Rita Irwin to collaborate on a Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project, Pedagogical Assemblage: Building and Sustaining Teacher Capacity through Mentoring Programs in British Columbia 2014-2017. The resulting comics revealed teachers’ unique professional experiences that entangle past memories and future aspirations, providing support for building knowledge. They were featured in several venues, including professional magazines, conference presentations, and a chapter in an edited textbook. Additionally, a micro-analysis to showcase the collaborative research process undertaken to transform teachers’ stories into comics, was presented in the peer-reviewed article “Images, Speech Balloons and Artful Representation” in the journal Sequential Art Narratives in Education (SANE). Lawrence was lead writer on this article following an invitation by co-authors Dr Rita Irwin and Dr Ching-Chiu Lin. The article also discussed findings regarding the ways comics present unique forms for contextualising multifaceted ethnographies, within the wider education community. By leading the Art and Design element of the project and as lead author on the subsequent article, Lawrence helped provoke new possibilities of comics through research in teacher mentorship. The project has opened up new spaces for arts-based educational research in the global educational arena. For example, in a recent study of school bullying in Russia, educational researchers Khanolainen and Semenova (2020) write “When designing our graphic vignettes, we drew upon the comics-based method created by Lawrence et.al.”
Original languageEnglish
TypeProfessional magazine
Media of outputText
PublisherBC Teachers Federation
Place of PublicationBritish Columbia, Canada
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Publication series

NameTeacher Newsmagazine


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