We at Ad Astra Comix are exciting to share with you the power and potential of comic books. Whether you’re looking for an informed presentation or a hands-on workshop, we have the experience and core knowledge base to deliver informed, engaging programming connecting the medium to the cause of social justice.
Here are a few of the workshops we’ve done in the past. If interested in hosting a workshop or presentation, please e-mail us for details and a quote; we’ll get back to you right away.
Girls Draw Comics!
Audience: Ages 13 – 18
Organized in partnership with the Afghan Women’s Organization of Mississauga, this 8-part workshop series has given participants a chance to have an immersive experience. Workshop members learn about comic art theory and storytelling, coupled with crash courses about key social justice ideas. Topics discussed have included systemic discrimination, the environment, self-esteem, and cultural identity.
Attendees are aged 12 – 17, and are interested in a variety of subjects. The workshop series comits to each participants’ development in creative ability, artistic skill, and emotional health.
Using Comics in the Classroom
Audience: Adults, education professionals
This presentation and discussion was developed in partnership with Another Story Books in West Toronto, as a part of their Teacher Equity Night. The presentation, which includes a full-colour slideshow, is an exploration of the resources available to teachers, should they wish to include more comics in their curriculum. Categories of comic selection included History (with special attention given to the residential school system, which has recently become a mandated portion of the secondary school history curriculum in a growing number of Canadian provinces and territories), as well as Literature, Science, and French.
This workshop is ideal for teachers and educators who are looking for more resources with which to engage their students. Discussion topics included reading levels and content warnings, pre- and post- educational support for traumatic subjects like colonialism and racism, and the how-to’s of book acquisitions.
“Eugenie Shark!” The Wonderful World of Eugenie Clark, and Using Comics to Learn Science
Audience: Ages 7 – 12
This workshop uses Nicole Marie Burton’s short comic “Eugenie Shark!” as an opportunity to show that science–like comics–is fun, and for everyone! Attendees get to learn about different kinds of animals, how to draw them, alongside learning the history of one of the world’s great marine biologists. Includes a take-home copy of “Eugenie Shark!” for each participant, as well as suggested further reading for parents interested in comics that explore scientific themes.
Graphic Activism: Using Comics for Social Change
Audience: Ages 16+
Part-presentation, part hands-on workshop, “Graphic Activism” explores the history and potential for comics as a tool of movement-building, campaign promotion, and mass education. Beginning with a historical lesson going back centuries, participants see how comics and cartoons are deeply rooted in political satire, engagement, and activism. Using visual examples and comics on-hand, attendees are encourages to explore and discuss the themes of modern comics, and how they might be used in some way to promote education and engagement. Zines, alongside webcomics and other DIY/”indie” titles are featured prominently, exploring topics as diverse as environmentalism, economic sanctions, white privilege, and critiques of the Catholic Church.
SEX: A Graphic History
Audience: Adults only
Originally curated for a special presentation at for sex-positive Toronto-based company Ohhh Canada, “SEX: A Graphic History” has since become one of our most popular presentations. This vivid visual presentation explores centuries of sexy comics, from satire to “smut”, and its perennial partner, the fight for free speech, freedom of expression, and sexual liberation. From political cartoons of the French Revolution, to Aubrey Beardsley’s take on “Lysistrata”, to the first LGBT comics of the 1960s and 70s American comix underground, society’s undercurrents and hidden desires, whether sexual or political, have always found a home in the comic panel.