Posts Tagged ‘SAA 86’

Comics is a versatile and effective medium, capable of communicating everything from information to personal experience. As such, it could be a useful tool in public outreach about archaeological research into migration and early settlement in Micronesia. But there’s a catch: to do so really requires that institutions, not just individual researchers, “buy in” to the use of comics in science communication.

Slide from “A Different Way to View the World”, SAA86

A comic – or, better yet, a series of comics – about migration and early settlement, produced with the cooperation and collaboration of researchers, institutions, governments and communities, could tell the long story of Micronesia from its deepest past through to its present and its future. Such a series would give our archaeological stories a particular kind of relevance, connecting them to work in related fields of enquiry, as well as broader contemporary concerns. Such a series could empower communities by giving them a unique voice and a unique contribution to discussions that affect their future.

But comics are more than a mere novelty: they are a complex media-form with their own ontologies and methodologies, a unique set of representational tools and frameworks, and a distinct culture of reader and creator engagements. To simply “commission a comic” is to ignore the medium’s full potential; institutions should be looking to assemble creative teams capable of not only producing comics as products, but integrating them into the workflow of academic research.

The story of migration and early settlement in Micronesia could become a flagship project for the institution that first sets up the “Marvel” or “DC” of archaeological comics.

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