Friday 28 November 2014

Publication de les BDs de clubs scolaires au Burundi

La publication sur le web
World Comics Finlande a formé, en 2010, des formateurs pour les ateliers de bandes dessinées avec APDH (Association pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme). APDH a utilisé la bande dessinée dans beaucoup de leurs activités au cours des années. 

Nous avons reçu une collection de bandes dessinées réalisés par les élèves de l'école qui sont actifs dans les clubs scolaires pour les droits humains. APDH a animé ces clubs dans les écoles.

Nous avons compilé ces bandes dessinées dans une petite publication sur le Web.  Si vous voulez voir ces bandes dessinées, vous pouvez télécharger la publication (5 MB) en cliquant sur ce  lien:

(This publication is for the moment available only in French)

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Mongolia: Comics in Awareness Raising

Wallposter comic proudly shown by Mongolian kids

Cal Brackin works as a Community and Youth Development (CYD) Peace Corps Volunteer in Choir in Mongolia. Right now he is training the most recent arrivals of Peace Corps CYD volunteers and will promote grassroots comics being used at schools and health departments throughout Mongolia.

Cal was recently involved in organizing an anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco week and the comic below was created during the week. It is easy to understand: after getting drunk in a bar, a man falls off his horse and dies.

Cal, a comics artist himself, has promised to continue using comics in his work both in the secondary school where he teaches as well as in different projects involving raising environmental awareness, gender equality, and trafficking in persons. He will also translate some of our training materials into Mongolian language to be included in our website. We look very much forward to that and further news from Mongolia!

The Comics Power wall in the school. Many points of views.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

APDH in Burundi runs more comics workshops

Detail from a comic by Olette Ngabire. In the story a man, who abuses his wife severely, ends up in prison.

APDH (Association pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme) arranged three grassroots comics workshops in Burundi in September with a small grant from World Comics Finland. The workshop was held with the human rights clubs of APDH in local schools in Ngozi, Kirundo and Muyinga. Trainers at the workshops were Simon Ahishakiye,  Euphrem Rukizangabo,  Serge Barutwanayo, Cyriac Simbizi, and Jean Marie Nimenya.

The comics will be distributed in December this year and used in public discussions in different gatherings of the APDH in its promotion of local governance and of securing land rights. The comics will add much to the local debate, according to APDH's previous experiences.

The workshop comics were focussed on many different issues, such as women's rights, discrimination of the Batwa people, inheritance rights, land rights, child abuse, etc.

A small publication of the comics will be compiled soon, here is a sample:

In this story by Elvis Ndagumana, a man sells his wife's inherited land and she has to go to court to retrieve it.

Monday 20 October 2014

Strong comic about an Ethiopian maid in Saudi Arabia

A detail from a page in the Almaz story

Almaz,  the story of an Ethiopian migrant worker in Saudi-Arabia was published in the BBC’s NEWS Magazine at the end of September.The story is about an Ethiopian girl, who is sent for work in Saudi Arabia and her fate as a maid in Riyad. She is maltreated, like countless other migrant workers in the Gulf. It is an important story, well told in poignant comic art. The drudgery of Almaz’ daily work is shown very skilfully in a long succession of panels. 

Check out the story from the link below and you can also download the story in a pdf-file (MB 2.8) to make a printout.

The story is the work of journalist Benjamin Dix and artist Lindsay Pollock of Positive Negatives

The duo follows a set methodology in their work. First they research the topics they would like to cover, then identify respondents, explain to them what is the intention of the publication, and then go on with the interviews and photographing. Then the stories are worked out and turned into comics. After that all the background material, the recordings, the photographs, visual source materials, reports etc are used to make a story board, then a sketch which is taken back to the respondents for comments. After editing, based on the comments, work starts on the final art. 

The methodology makes sure that the stories are truly representative and usable in education and advocacy. Read a detailed description of their methodology in this link

Dix and Pollock have completed in 2013 a comprehensive story “Meet the Somalis” for Open Society (more in our blog posting dated January 14, 2014). They are now working on story about the Sri Lankan conflict seen from the perspective of family “Vanni”. The first part: “The New Arrival: Antoni’s story” is already viewable on their website link:

Dix’ and Pollock’s way of using comics to address very complex issues, such as conflict, migration and asylum, is impressive because behind it one can sense a serious quest for truth and justice. This is political art at its best. 

(posted by Leif Packalen)

We have an office...

World Comics Finland's corner in the basement.
...or actually it is a workstation in the basement of the Comics Centre in Helsinki. We have moved our main archives and publications there. From now on we will have all our meetings and also small workshops at the centre.

We have applied for funding for part-time staff.

It is great to have a foot inside the Comics Centre, which is a beehive of all kinds of comics activities, most notably the annual Helsinki Comics Festival.

Friday 12 September 2014

Our Exhibition on tour

Kaisa Leka spoke at the opening of the exhibition at the Porvoo City Library
Our latest exhibition "Maailman sarjakuvittajat" (loosely translated: comics makers of the world - also alluding to our organisation's name in Finnish) has been on display in the Porvoo City Library in February and in the Tampere Comics Festival “Tampere kuplii” (Tampere bubbles) in March. Parts of the exhibition were also displayed at the World Village Festival in May in Helsinki. The exhibition shows comics by our workshop tutors and each tutor has chosen a favourite comic from his/her own workshop. The comics are shown in pairs.

The exhibition in Joensuu City Library
Next stop was in Joensuu City Library in August, from where the exhibition came back to Helsinki to be put up at the Helsinki Comics festival in September. In October-November it will be shown at the Comics Festivals in Oulu and Kemi in the North of Finland.

Our exhibition was next to the entrance at the Helsinki Comics Festival

An A3-sized printable version of the exhibition is downloadable from our website: Link   You can download it, print, and tape it up spontaneously anywhere. Note: the texts are in Finnish.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Sit-up sarjakuvaa

Sarjakuva venyy moneen! 

Vappu-Tuuli Fagerson pitää blogia, jossa tarkastellaan maailmaa pyörätuolista käsin. Kirjoitusten lisäksi blogista löytyy tällä hetkellä 70 Pätkät-sarjakuvaa.

Vappu-Tuuli tekee sarjakuvansa perustyökaluilla (hiirellä ja Windows Paint -ohjelmalla), mutta se ei haittaa menoa. Sarjakuvissa on asennetta, huumoria ja teräviä viestejä. Hän lähestyy liikuntarajoitteisuutta asiallisena asiantuntijana, mutta sarjakuvamuoto tekee hänen viesteistään nasevia ja helposti avautuvia. 

Vappu-Tuuli on bloginsa lisäksi julkaissut myös e-kirjan “Special Edition”, jonka voi ostaa 2,90 euron hintaan Elisa Kirjan sivulta.

Alla pari esimerkkiä blogin sarjakuvista. Käykää tutustumassa, se kannattaa!

(Leif Packalen)

Sit-Up blogista

Sit-Up blogista

Thursday 3 July 2014

A remarkable comic book on saving a neighbourhood

"For decades these rooms have been homes, workshops and storerooms"
Tiitu Takalo, an accomplished Finnish comics artist, has published a remarkable story on how a complete block of houses was saved from demolition. The houses were built about a century ago in a working class area of Tampere. In the mid-sixties the city authorities laid down a plan that would demolish all the houses in the block. The city started buying up the houses and left them without repair. Soon the houses were in bad shape and the city moved towards pulling them all down.

However, some of the inhabitants and a group of civic activists stood up to protest. The fight over the houses took decades but ended in triumph. Now all the houses in the block are occupied by people who share a similar idea of town living - neighbourliness, ecological and simple life.

The comic book (237 pp) reiterates the story of the place and the phases of the struggle with the city. Intertwined in the book is also Tiitu's personal love story with Mikko, with whom she now shares a flat in the block. The book documents historical events, a lot of facts, numbers, dates, names etc., but the author makes them vivid, with an almost tangible presence of herself and her values.

The book is an enjoyable read - the artist uses different narrative styles brilliantly, from quasi-medieval to neo-realistic and to romantic. It is almost impossible to imagine that the same story could have been told as well in any other medium than comics.

The book, "Minä, Mikko ja Annikki" is available only in Finnish, but you can check Tiitu Takalo's other works on her website:

(posted by Leif Packalen)

Planning the renovation work.

Finally, the city of Tampere decides to sell the block to the activists

Monday 23 June 2014

Migrants' comics in London

The last page of "Baz'" story on his Palestinian-Syrian nationality, which is not recognised by the authorities.

A group of migrants in London made comics about life in the UK. The comics were made in a project by the Migrants Resource Centre, an organisation with a vision of a society where migrants are valued and able to contribute. The comics were made at four evening workshops as a part of My Journey, a multimedia storytelling project which also includes photography, radio, audio-visual slideshows and film (see My Journey is run by Migrants Resource Centre and funded by City Bridge Trust.

The stories have a very wide range of approaches as the migrants come from five different continents - the only thing in common is that they are now Londoners. These comics open windows into their lives and their views on the situation of migrants. This is particularly important as the public debate all over Europe has become more anti-immigration in the last years.

The workshops were run by Lindsay Pollock, the artist who co-created the “Meet the Somalis” comic book (see our blog January 14, 2014). Pollock is a part of the Positives Negatives -organisation (, which creates comics about social and human rights issues.

I was very excited to see these comics. They clearly show that comics is medium which can stretch quite far and which is readily accessible also to non-artists. If the comics were redrawn and redesigned by a professional comics artist, their poignancy and vibrant street credibility would be lost. 

So, if you have something to say, say it with comics! You can!

(Post by Leif Packalen)

Read the comics on this link:

Sandra's story tells about how to battle bureaucracy for a whole year.

Friday 20 June 2014

World Village Festival 2014

World Comics Finland displayed its giant "Comics Power" logo on its stand.
We took part in the festival with a stand where we showed parts of our new exhibition “Maailman sarjakuvittajat” (comics creators of the world) and in general promoted our grassroots approach to comics. We sold our publications, pins, second-hand comics etc., and made enough to cover the attendance. 

Two days of promoting and networking left us hoarse but happy. As always, it was nice to participate in the festival together with likeminded organisations and people who want to do something for our global common future. We were also happy to see that there are many new, recently formed organisations.

Thursday 19 June 2014

New members to our board

Hanna Arvela
Heidi Leino
In its recent annual general meeting, World Comics Finland elected Hanna Arvela and Heidi Leino into our board. Hanna Arvela is a longtime member and has run workshops in Tanzania and Kenya. Heidi Leino has been very active in the school visitor comics program with Nuorten Akatemia (The Youth Academy) both as a school visitor and a trainer of school visitors. She has also run a workshop in Mali. 

We welcome both Hanna and Heidi to the board, at the same time we thank Tarmo Koivisto and Lidia Kivinen who now leave the board after 17 and 15 years of service. 

Tarmo Koivisto
Lidia Kivinen
Tarmo has been the Vice Chairman since the establishment of our organisation in 1997 and has run workshops in Tanzania and India. Lidia joined the board in 1999 and has been our main exhibition and display architect over the years. Lidia has run workshops in Viljandi and Narva in Estonia. Warm thanks to Tarmo and Lidia for long and dedicated service. 

The current board: 

Leif Packalen, Chairman
Katja Tukiainen, Vice-Chairman
Heidi Leino, Secretary
Hanna Arvela, Member
Maippi Tapanainen, Member