Wheeler Education

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Illustration: Sarah Firth

Professional Development for Secondary Educators: Words and Pictures

Comics get a bad rap sometimes – the supposedly ‘easy’ visual sidekick to more demanding literary prose. But a growing field of scholarship focuses on the decoding skills required to create narrative meaning out of the relationship between text and image. Comics and graphic novels can reinforce critical literacy skills and transform the ways we tell and engage with stories.

In this professional development session for secondary school teachers, Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane will discuss her research into visualising narrative conventions in comics and using graphic narratives in the classroom. MacFarlane will be joined by local comic artists Rachel Ang and Sarah Firth, who will share their experiences learning from, and creating, visual narratives.

This session will be presented over Zoom.


Portrait of Rachel Ang

Rachel Ang

Rachel Ang is an artist and writer who makes comics. Their work has been published by The New YorkerThe Washington Postkuš!, as well as Australian journals like The Lifted BrowGoing Down Swinging and Meanjin.

Portrait of Sarah Firth

Sarah Firth

Sarah Firth is a Melbourne based, Eisner Award-winning comic artist, writer, speaker and internationally renowned graphic recorder. Her work has been published by ABRAMS Books, ABC Arts, Frankie Magazine, Graphic Mundi, Penn State University Press, Penguin Random House, Picador, Allen & Unwin, The Nib, Black Inc, and Routledge. She is currently working on her debut graphic novel.

Portrait of Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane

Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane

Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne where she teaches Short Fiction, Graphic Narratives and Thinking Writing: Theory and Creativity. She is co-director of graphic novel publishing house Twelve Panels Press, and co-directed artists’ residency Comic Art Workshop from 2015 to 2019.

Wheeler Education

Being a teenager is all about change. Adolescence is when most of us form a sense of the world, try to find our place in it and (hopefully) have some fun along the way. Beyond what we learn at school, some of our most valuable learning happens when we discover the communities and ideas that connect us.

In the extraordinary times we live in, Wheeler Education is here to bring the world to teens – and teens to the world. We’ll explore the challenges facing young people right now, and the bold ways they’re envisioning their own futures. Hear from teens, writers, and educators about their passions, plans, survival tips and more.