Montreal, November 3rd 2021 – The Montreal Comic Arts Festival (MCAF) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montréal (CIRM) of McGill University can definitely say “mission accomplished” following the success of the very first conference in the Festival’s history, presented as part of the anniversary program “10 Years, 10 Months of Activities.” An impressive lineup of researchers and creators of the comic arts gathered from October 28 to 30, 2021 at BAnQ auditorium in Montreal, to participate in research presentations, field experiences and thought-provoking discussions on the conference’s theme of “Shaking the Foundations”.
“In this year 2021, when we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Festival, we thought that after all these years the time had finally come to organize an academic conference on comics… And why not do it on an international scale? Our ambition is to repeat this colloquium every two years,” said Louise Guillemette-Labory, President of the Board of Directors of MCAF.
“The chosen theme was inspired by the many challenges we face today in the city, society and the medium of comics. We propose to reflect together on the capacity of comics to shake, in various ways, the foundations on which our communal life is based. By questioning the foundations of our societies, those of our urban fabrics and those that preside over the creation of comics that address our contemporary ills, we intend to provide a forum for exposing how comics are increasingly integrated into major debates on our collective future,” she added.
Ms. Guillemette-Labory’s speech was followed by that of Nik Luka, co-director of the CIRM, who recalled that the organization was “very happy to be a partner of this symposium, the themes and forms of which join the double mission of the centre to federate research carried out on Montreal and cities and to promote its diffusion thanks to fruitful and complicit collaboration such as the one formed with MCAF”.
The artist Jean-Paul Eid opened the conference with a very moving presentation that allowed the audience to appreciate his great creative genius and the humility that characterizes the author of Le petit astronaute and La femme aux cartes postales ( created in collaboration with Jean-Claude Paiement).
The public that came to the event was treated to in-depth presentations during the three days of discussions. Diverse subjects such as the links between comics and museums, comics and architecture, subversion and feminism in comics, and finally, the universe of dystopian cities in the 9th Art were all discussed.
As a complement to the activities at BAnQ, a guided tour of the Centre-Sud area of Montreal, in the company of comics creator Richard Suicide allowed us to learn about the social and economic issues that are real challenges for this neighbourhood. We would like to thank our guide Richard Shearmur, professor and director of the McGill School of Urban Planning, as well as our two other speakers, Éric Michaud (Comité logement Ville-Marie) and Camille Choinière (Écomusée du fier monde) for their complementary points of view. Thanks to them, the Centre-Sud has taken on an image that may be quite different from the one the participants may have had in mind.
Excellents Proposals and A New Award
The Montreal Comic Arts Festival’s ongoing mission is to promote and support all facets of the comic arts. It is with this in mind that this conference was conceived of and organized. A forum was offered to researchers regardless of their field, be it scientific, the social sciences or the humanities. The team was pleasantly surprised by the number of proposals received, the breadth and depth of which allowed the conference’s selection committee to develop a high-quality program. The scientific direction of the event was directed by Mario Beaulac, professor of comic arts at the Université du Québec en Outaouais’ École multidisciplinaire de l’image.
In closing, MCAF is proud to announce the creation of a brand new prize, which will be awarded to the author of a scholarly publication on comics. The recipient must be a Quebecer, or the subject matter must relate to Quebec works. This prize, created in collaboration with CIRM, will be awarded every two years.
About the Organizing Partners
The Montreal Comic Arts Festival
For the past 10 years, MCAF has offered a platform for exchanges and meetings between members of the comic arts industry and their audiences. Through its annual spring event, MCAF promotes Quebec and Canadian comics locally and internationally, while contributing to the development and dissemination of knowledge about the 9th Art. MCAF also stimulates and supports the creation comics directly with the publications of Presses du FBDM | MCAF Press.
Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Montreal Studies
Bringing together 74 researchers from more than 15 academic institutions from Quebec, Canada, and around the world, CRIEM stimulates interdisciplinary research done on the subject of Montreal studies. It also contributes to the design, coordination and dissemination of action-research projects co-created with actors from the social, economic, cultural, community and municipal sectors of the city.
The FBDM would like to thank these partners for their invaluable collaboration: The Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montréal (CIRM), the Consulate General of France in Quebec, the Caisse de la Culture and Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec (LOJIQ). Thanks also to our service partners: École multidisciplinaire de l’image UQO, Acfas, BAnQ, Armada Film.
Thanks to Denis Rodier for his magnificent poster. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the sustained and dedicated contribution of the MCAF volunteer team, on which the realization of this large-scale project depends.
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