What Do You See? Using the Graphic Novella to Challenge Stigma

David Wood, Sara Ogilvie, Ray Middleton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper disseminates a student graphic novel project to the challenge stigma against people with complex needs. The project was a collaboration between Northumbria University 2nd year illustration students and Fulfilling Lives, a charitable organisation that helps vulnerable people to rebuild their lives. Fulfilling Lives’ work also includes outreach work with local social service providers to enact system change in their attitudes and policies to people who they define as ‘difficult clients.’ They believe in the value of the voice of people with complex needs, and they wish to amplify that voice to rebuild lives by enacting positive social change. Fulfilling Lives challenged the illustration students to use illustration to help amplify those voices. This paper focuses on the pedagogy behind how the students’ produced their graphic novellas, and on the students’ processes and reflections. It also disseminates the impacts of the ERDF funded project that published the graphic novellas in an anthology. The students’ illustrations in this book and eBook formed the core material for a social media campaign via Twitter, to provoke dialogue on the stigma against people with complex needs in society using the hashtag #WhatDoYouSee? It will conclude with discussing the early positive impacts of the students’ work, and some of the dialogues that the graphic novel project has already provoked.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Illustration & Animation 2018
Place of PublicationPortugal
PublisherInstituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-989-99861-6-9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2018
EventInternational Conference on Illustration & Animation - Esposende, Portugal
Duration: 13 Jul 201815 Jul 2018
Conference number: 6


ConferenceInternational Conference on Illustration & Animation
Abbreviated titleCONFIA
Internet address


  • illustration
  • Pedagogy
  • Constructivism
  • Visual Communication
  • graphic novels
  • Social Media
  • Complex Needs


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