Since 2012, the award-winning non-profit PositiveNegatives has been producing literary comics about contemporary social and human rights issues, including conflict, migration and asylum. We combine ethnographic research with illustration and photography, adapting personal testimonies into art, advocacy and education materials.
PositiveNegatives has worked extensively with a range of organisations such as The Guardian, Open Society Foundations (OSF), BBC, The Nobel Peace Centre, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the United Nations (UN), and with leading academic institutions such as; Harvard South Asia Centre, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and University of Sussex.
Narratives are adapted directly from first-hand interviews. Illustrations are based on photographs taken during field research. Names and identifying characteristics are altered, and testimony is rendered anonymous, freeing contributors to be candid even when discussing topics that are sensitive or have security implications.
We adapt and dramatise the stories we are told but endeavour to convey our respondent’s experiences accurately. Where possible, draft scripts and illustrations are delivered to respondents for consultation before the work is committed to ensure that it is their story, not our adaptation of it.
We are developing online applications and tools for teaching and advocacy that will combine illustrated story-telling with journalism, academic research, official reports and multimedia.
To accompany the comics, please check out our new Why Comics? Education Charity. It’s completely free to sign up and receive free downloadable multimedia resources for schools, colleges and universities.
This exciting project intends to engage, raise awareness and inspire both teachers and pupils alike. Why Comics? uses interactive educational literary comics to touch on difficult topics (such as migration, trafficking and refugees) and humanise the mass statistics we hear in the news.
We are currently pilot testing Why Comics? educational material in over 500 schools in 26 countries (and counting). The feedback we are receiving from teachers and students has been overwhelmingly positive.