Summer Session 2019 Call for Proposals

Summer Session 2019 Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Participation and Communities in Comics

Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics

Nordic Summer University Summer Session

28 July – 4 August 2019, Roosta, Estonia

We invite scholars, students, artists, and other professionals working with comics to the second symposium of the network Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics (2019-2021). Comics and Society is an interdisciplinary three-year initiative that aims to cultivate our understanding of comics as a social and socially defined phenomenon and to strengthen the status of comic art and comics scholarship in the Nordic-Baltic region. Through academic discussion, artistic work, and social engagement we explore how comics take part in making sense of societies, social phenomena, and societal changes especially, but not exclusively, in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

In our second symposium Participation and Communities in Comics we will explore comics and comics cultures as a form of participation and building of communities. Throughout their history comics have taken part in making of, for example, national and cultural communities by establishing communal identities and communicating generally accepted values. On the other hand, comics have always been used for critical social commentary and building of subcultures and alternative communities.

People engage with comics in many different ways. Reading, making fan art and fan fiction, blogging, cosplaying, writing on forums and message boards are all parts of today’s participatory cultures around comics. Participation and cooperation are important to not only fans and readers of comics, but to the creators as well. Comics associations, societies and other initiatives help creators with networking, publishing, and promoting. Similarly, comics are often made by teams of two or more people. Communities around comics can be inclusive and exclusive at the same time. A fan community can feel very welcoming to certain people, while others are marginalized. The aim of the symposium is to investigate how comics as well as reading and creating them establish communities, create sense of belonging, and support social empowerment especially, but not exclusively, in the Nordic-Baltic region.

Some of the questions we would like to address in the summer symposium include:

– What is the significance of gaining support from a network and working together?

– Are comics still building communities based on nationality or are we living in the times of transnational comics cultures?

– What is the relationship between comics and social activism? How have comics been used and what makes comics useful for the purposes of activism?

– Can comics and comics workshops support social empowerment? What kind of communities are built around comics workshops and what is the role of the community in the process?

– How are fan communities built and what kinds of meaning do they carry for those who engage in them? What is the role of comic cons and festivals in participatory comics cultures?

– How do comics tackle the questions of inclusion and exclusion in communities and in society? How can these questions be addressed by scholars, artists, fans etc?

We welcome proposals from scholars, students, artists as well as other practitioners working with comics. The basic length of a presentation will be 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes discussion. We also welcome proposals for longer participatory workshops. If you would like to organize a workshop, please discuss the details individually with the coordinators. Please send a proposal (max. 300 words) and a short biographical statement to Laura Antola (lahean[at] and Anna Vuorinne (ahvuor[at] by 1 May 2019. This is also the deadline for the application of scholarships and grants (for details, see below). If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting your work, please send us a biographical statement and briefly explain your interest in participating. However, priority is given to applicants who will present their work. The preliminary programme will be announced in mid-May at There you will also find more information about NSU and can sign up for the newsletter.

Practical information about the Nordic Summer University Summer Session

In the summer session, all the study circles of the NSU hold their symposia at a shared location, which offers additional possibilities for cross-fertilisation and dialogue between the thematic networks. The summer session is centrally organised by the NSU/ARRKOM.


The summer symposium takes place at Roosta Holiday Village (, Haapsalu, Estonia. It is located on the westcoast of Estonia, 100 kilometres from Tallinn. The nearest airport is Tallinn Airport (TLL). NSU will arrange bus transfers from the city center of Tallinn and Tallinn airport to Roosta on July 28, 2019.

Registration and payment

(1) Application closes on the 1st of May.

(2) Once your proposal has been accepted, you must go through registration and payment which close on 1 June. All registration and payment will be done electronically.

Scholarship program

NSU provides a number of scholarships for students and grants for others in need of a subsidy in order to attend the summer session. The deadline for the applications for the scholarships and grants is 1 May, 2019.

Please note that people who receive grants and scholarships are expected to help ARRKOM with small tasks like writing blog posts, sharing their experience, distributing information if needed, and helping out with setting up and cleaning up the picnic.

Registration fees

Scholarships (in a twin loft in 3 bedroom house): 80 EUR

Grants (in a twin loft in 3 bedroom house): 100 EUR

A bed in a twin loft in 1 bedroom house: 325 EUR for participants, 375 EUR for accompanying persons
(250 for a child till 12 years)

A bed in a twin room in 1 bedroom house: 475 EUR for participants, 535 EUR for accompanying persons
(300 EUR for child till 12 years)

A bed in twin room downstairs in 3 bedroom house: 430 EUR for participants, 490 EUR for accompanying person

FAMILY ROOM (2 adults + 1 kid till 12 years): 1175 EUR

FAMILY ROOM (2 kids till 12 years + 1 adult): 850 EUR
Children aged 0-3 sharing bed with parents 0 EUR

A bed in a caravan for 4 people or Saulkrasti nostalgia: 360 EUR

A bed in a caravan for 2 people or Saulkrasti nostalgia: 540 EUR

Tent place for 1 person: 340 EUR


PhD and MA students are eligible for up to five ECTS points for participation and presentation of a paper.

Parents with children

We welcome families at the Summer Session. There will be a separate circle for children between 3 and 15 years. In the children’s circle, we offer a variety of activities for children and youth, running parallel to the other study circles.

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a Nordic network for research and interdisciplinary studies.NSU is a nomadic, academic institution, which organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, Nordic Summer University has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond.

Decisions about the content and the organisational form of the NSU lay with its participants. The backbone of the activities in the NSU consists of its thematic study circles. In the study circles researchers, students and professionals from different backgrounds collaborate in scholarly investigations distributed regularly in summer and winter symposia during a three-year period. For more information:

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