Monday, 26 September 2011

A Graphic What?

One of the project outputs for identity, is to produce 5000 copies of a 64 page "graphic novel", presenting historical stories and personal heritage back to the community in a way that has not been tried before locally. But what is a "graphic novel"? Is it just a grown up comic? A posh way of saying "cartoon strips"?

Well, here's just one online definition..
"A story whose narrative is related through a combination of text and art, often in comic-strip form." You can read just one of the many histories of the art form here.

Often, comics and graphic novels are assoicated with superheroes, but the form has often been used to tell historical stories, Art Spiegelman's "Maus" explores the horror of the holocaust, with the Jewish characters drawn as mice and the Nazi's as cats; Frank Miller's explosive retelling of the 300 Spartans, "300" turned historical characters into superheroes; and more recently Bryan Talbot's "Alice in Sunderland" is a personal journey through the history and traditions of Northumberland..complete with a Jabberwocky and Sid James. All great, all worth a read.

Many schools of course now recognise the value of visual storytelling and have graphic novels as part of the reading curriculum or in the school library. Most public libraries have had them on the shelves for years. It can be a way to encourage reading, or just as importantly, a completely different way to read altogether, enjoying the fusion of words and images, seeing how one influences the other.

We aren't creating our "graphic novel" and hoping someone snaps up the film rights, but we do feel it is a new way to tell the stories of this area, and a way to reach audiences who maybe have not been interested before.

Six Inverclyde schools have already started researching their stories and preparing their pages; the page above is from St John's Primary School Port Glasgow. We'll be posting more preview pages and character sketches over the next few months as well as some exclusive online content.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Get Involved - Volunteer Session 22 September

Since Identity was first announced back in May, we have had loads of folk come forward to offer their skills to help on the project...some have already started helping us.

Over the last few weeks, our focus has been on getting the schools programme up and running...which it is...and going like a wee train. We'll share some of that with you later in the week. What we want to do now is give all our potential volunteers the chance to find out more about the programme and let us know when / how they would like to be involved.

So we've invited anyone who has expressed an interest in the project to come along to an information day tomorrow at 7 1/2 John Wood Street, 10 - 12.

But maybe you didnt get the memo...maybe you think the project sounds really cool and meant to ring for more info a few weeks ago, but never found the time. No problem! Pop along tomorrow and we'll have a chat. It's never too late to get involved. The project has a whole lot of things to do, we need volunteers.

What would you like to do? There’s opportunities around research / archiving, media production, performance, writing and event management (though not all at once!) and some of these will have training elements delivered through James Watt College.

If you can't make it tomorrow, you can ring anytime on 01475 806760, or contact our Project Manager Kay Clark by email on

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Doors Open Day 2011

Photo from McLean Museum

This weekend as part of the marvellous Doors Open Days in Inverclyde, we are working with Riverside Inverclyde at The Custom House in Greenock. In addition to the tours around the building being organised by RI, visitors will have the opportunity to watch a new short film about the Identity project and meet with project staff to find out how to get involved.
You can also find us at Port Glasgow Town Hall on Saturday, where we are premiering our documentary on the Comet Rebuilt project. The short film looks at the history of The Comet and the refurbishment of the 50 year old replica at Ferguson Shipbuilders over the last year. The film will be showing from 10 - 2 on Saturday only.