Mobilizing Knowledge… with Comic Books? / La mobalisation des connaissances … à l’aide de bandes dessinées?

Dale Anderson, RIR- UVic

There’s lots of ways to mobilize knowledge—open access publishing, briefing notes for policy makers, face-to-face meetings, KMb Expos—all these sound familiar. But have you ever thought of using comic books? One faculty member at the University of Victoria has.

Il y a plusieurs manières de mobiliser les connaissances. Les publications en libre accès, les notes d’information pour les décideurs, les réunions en face-à-face et les Expos-MdC sont des exemples familiers. Mais avez-vous déjà pensé à utiliser des bandes dessinées pour y arriver? Un professeur de l’Université de Victoria, lui, a eu cette idée.

There’s lots of ways to mobilize knowledge—open access publishing, briefing notes for policy makers, face-to-face meetings, KMb Expos—all these sound familiar. But have you ever thought of using comic books? One faculty member at the University of Victoria has. Neuroscientist Dr. E. Paul Zehr drew on the comic book saga of Batman three years ago to demonstrate that extreme and prolonged physical training can produce superheroes of us all. Now with his latest book, Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine, Zehr explores whether modern-day technology is up to the challenge of inventing a real-life Iron Man.

“Science is inching closer to a point where portions of an Iron Man suit could in fact be made and used,” says Zehr. “But what does connecting the body to this kind of technology actually do to the person inside the suit? What will it mean to blur the line between human and machine?”

His critically acclaimed first book, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, was released in 2008. Zehr’s new book is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and is available now.

Zehr, director of UVic’s Centre for Biomedical Research and a professor in the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at UVic’s School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education and in the Division of Medical Sciences, is a lead researcher at ICORD and a martial arts expert.

He attended the Comic Con International in San Diego in July 2011, and will be at the New York Comic-Con in mid-October. Comic-Con, a comic book and popular arts convention, frequently serves as the launching pad for upcoming movies and TV series. For more info, please visit: www.inventingironman.com.

2 thoughts on “Mobilizing Knowledge… with Comic Books? / La mobalisation des connaissances … à l’aide de bandes dessinées?

  1. A friend and colleague Sean Muir has been using comic books as a knowledge mobilization tool for years:
    http://www.thehealthyaboriginal.net/

    You can listen to a podcast interview with him:
    http://knowledgeexchange.podomatic.com/entry/2007-05-27T20_54_35-07_00

    ____

    We create comic books on health and social issues for youth. The books we have in stock are listed below. Please note the comics on youth health issues, diabetes prevention, gambling addiction, staying in school and mental health have all sold out.

    Hope you manage to connect.

  2. Thanks for this post, Dale. Years ago (ie. 1996) I saw a group of university medical related students practicing knowledge translation. They were students of Biomedical Communications at Univ Toronto (http://www.bmc.med.utoronto.ca/bmc/index.php). Classic biomedical communications includes medical illustrations in anatomy text books but these folks were building web site (remember, this was 1996) and developing consumer oriented health decision aids. All the students were paired with a health researcher and used interesting formats to translate their health research to new audiences. one the captured me was a comic book that provided safer sex practices for gay and bisexual teens. A comic book used to translate health information to teens. A great vehicle as the format spoke to the audience. I am glad to see work along these lines at UVic.

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