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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.


Rachel Ang

Rachel Ang is an artist and writer who makes comics. Their work has been published by The New Yorker, The Washington Post, kuš!, as well as Australian journals like The Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging and Meanjin. Rachel’s first book, Swimsuit (Glom Press, 2018), won a Silver Ledger Award... Read more

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, T... Read more

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 artist... Read more

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.