What is Amsterdam Comics?

Amsterdam Comics aims to further the interaction between the academic study of comics and its practice.

By no means is it our goal to level the differences between these two practices and cultures—rather, we aim to productively clash them for the benefit of them both. We take as our starting point the assertion that just as comics do not need to be classified as art or literature to gain academic credibility, academia does not need to see itself as a referee for what is culturally valuable. We argue that what both need is room to develop into spaces for creative experimentation, which they can achieve through productive dialogue.

Amsterdam Comics aims to address the following interrelated points:

The academic study of comics.

While comics studies has been steadily gaining momentum worldwide, with multiple international comics conferences and exhibitions, comics scholarship in the Netherlands is relatively new. Amsterdam Comics aims to encourage the advancement of comics scholarship by creating a local comics community made up of both scholars and practitioners who come together to create various events, including local and international conferences, exhibitions, and lectures. We also have a monthly reading group that is open to anyone interested in discussing comics theory and practice.

The practice of comics.

The practice of comics in the Netherlands has a long and vibrant history, and yet it still displays a certain naivety in terms of its academic study. Through dialogue with comics researchers, comics practitioners can gain insight into the current academic position of comics studies—both its areas of strengths and weaknesses—which can engender conversation, presentations, and publications about Dutch comics. This will not only expose Dutch comics practitioners to an international audience, but, because publishing and the academy are often closely knit, it will also work to promote future publications and translations of Dutch comics.

Fostering the development of comics courses in Dutch universities.

There are currently a handful of Dutch university courses that discuss comics, most of which are found in literature or literary studies programs. In these courses, the content is often not as nuanced, current, or frequent as it could be. We therefore aim to expose more academics across many disciplines to current comics research and practice to expand the interest in the study of comics. This in turn will inspire a new generation of students to engage with comics in various ways.

Institutional funding for comics research and practice.

All the previous points taken together will result in both grant givers and professionals at cultural institutions having more insight into the world of comics and comics practitioners who know how to better translate their work in ways that will enhance their chances at garnering more institutional, and thus also subsidiary, attention.

Amsterdam Comics Wants You!

Do you want to contribute to this dialogue? Amsterdam Comics welcomes help from wherever it may come. Students, enthusiasts, fans, researchers, inkers, pensionados, drawers, writers, teachers, tempters, and loafers are welcome to email us at info{at}amsterdamcomics.com with ideas, critiques, questions, concrete plans, and whatever else comes to mind touching on the possible intersections of academia and comics.