Bobby Joseph Named The New UK Comics Laureate

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Bobby Joseph has been announced as the new Comics Laureate at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival being held this weekend.  

Bobby Joseph has been announced as the new Comics Laureate at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival being held in Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District of England this weekend.

Bobby Joseph Named The New UK Comics Laureate

Bobby follows comic creators Dave Gibbons, Charlie Adlard and Hannah Berry, and comic shop owner Stephen L. Holland in the role promoting the comics form in the UK. The Comics Laureate, a role initiated by librarian and, currently, a director of the School Library Association, Paul Register, then developed by the Arts Council England-funded LICAF arts organisation, is an ambassadorial and educational role, that aims to raise awareness of the impact comics can have in terms of increasing literacy and creativity. The appointment is made bi-annually.

Former Comics Laureate Holland created numerous reading recommendation lists for newcomers to graphic novels and educators, available on the Festival’s website and made appearances across the country to promote comics and comic creators. Previously, Hannah Berry was known for creating payment surveys for comic creators and held comic book workshops in prisons.

Working closely with the Lakes International Comics Art Festival and its national and international partners, the Comics Laureate champions the role of comics in improving literacy through a programme of educational visits, workshop events, guest appearances and conferences. A key focus remains working to increase the acceptance of comics as a creative art form in schools, libraries and throughout the education system.

“I am proud and truly humbled to be the new Comics Laureate,” Bobby commented. I’m looking forward to working with the Festival organisation, and seeing what can be achieved. Hopefully, it will be a positive, lasting change for the UK comics scene.”

Julie Tait, Director, of The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, said: “We’re delighted Bobby is taking on the role of Comics Laureate. The Comics Laureate has been and continues to be a vital role for the comics art form. It isn’t just a title. It’s part and parcel of our wider objectives as a Festival to reach out to new audiences and raise the profile and the understanding of the importance of comics for education, inspiration and literacy. On behalf of the Festival team, I’d also like to thank Stephen L. Holland for his sterling work building on the endeavours of past Laureates, working through the difficult circumstances of the pandemic to help further the role, and awareness of the comics medium. I can’t wait to see where Bobby will take it next!”

Bobby Joseph’s early comics work includes the creation of Skank magazine, where his best-known strip, “Scotland Yardie“, first featured, and was later published as a graphic novel by Knockabout Press. Bobby has written for The Guardian newspaper, Dazed and Confused and His comic work was a prominent feature at the Anarchy in the UK comic exhibition at the British Library in 2015. He is also a vocal advocate for diversity and BAME representation in comic books. Scotland Yardie, published by Knockabout Comics in 2017, was the first BAME graphic novel to be studied as a module on an English Literature MA course at King’s College, London.

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