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communicating ERC projects through cOMICS

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ERCcOMICS (communicating ERC projects through cOMICS)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2019-10-31

Funded by the European Research Council (ERC), ERCcOMICS used the power of storytelling in comics to innovate the way European science is communicated. The project produced webcomics that introduce readers to research funded by the ERC, led by high-level researchers based in Europe and associated countries. Science meets art, art meets science. A unique and notable aspect of the project is the relationship emerging between artists and researchers. ERCcOMICS built a common ground between two apparently distant worlds - art and science - resulting in strong narratives presenting complex science.

ERCcomics:

- produced eighteen (18) webcomics about carefully selected ERC-funded projects. They were drawn by 20 professional comic artists paired with 20 lead researchers to develop compelling stories based on research at the frontiers of knowledge. All of them are available in three languages. For their promotion, two volumes were printed presenting twelve comics.

- organised illustrated TED-style lectures, book readings and illustrated talks jointly held by ERC grantees and comic artists;

- organised exhibitions about the project itself at science and comic festivals. The project was notably involved in six international exhibitions included the prestigious BilBolBul International Comic Festival, Bologne (Italy) in 2018, International Comic Festival of Angouleme (France) and Naples Comic Festival (Italy) in 2019.

- carried out all needed actions of dissemination to maximise the impact of the project.

This is the first time a university had embarked on an adventure like this one and the results are very positive thanks to the collaboration with a partner, a French communication agency La Bande Destinée (). With this project, Sorbonne Université has established itself as one of the pioneering universities in the field of scientific comics 2.0. It was a gamble for a higher education and research organisation to showcase these projects of excellence in an original way. But this risk-taking paid off. Sorbonne Université has been invited by other universities and by the Ministry of Research to communicate on the project. This has had an impact beyond the scientific sphere. We have crossed European borders with Brazilian and American artists and even soon a Hindi translation of the comic strip on the origins of yoga webcomics!
"In the last period, the consortium, in collaboration with ERCEA, successfully selected the ERC projects to be featured in the comics of the fourth season, on the basis of the fair balance as proposed in the Annex 1.

As in the previous seasons, the Consortium set up a call for an Expression of Interest (EOI) targeted to ERC grantees interested in participating to ERCcOMICS (more details in the deliverable “Selected ERC year 4”).

In the last year of the project, six project were selected:

· ""Something in the water"" ERC project Prometheus with Juan Manuel García-Ruiz (PI) and Till Lukat (artist)

· ""Fabula"" ERC project GoodNews with Michael Bronstein (PI) and Francesco Guarnaccia (artist)

· ""Rethinking Disability"" ERC project Rethinking Disability with Monika Baar (PI) and Hélène Bléhaut (artist)

· ""Hateful Birds"" ERC project ELHO - The Age of Electoral Hostility with Michael Bruter (PI) and Andrea Paggiaro (artist)

· ""Little Things"" ERC project SURFACE - The unexplored world of aerosol surfaces and their impacts with Nonne Prisle (PI) and Amanda Vähämäki (artist)

· ""The Over Exciting Brain Zoo"" ERC project SurfaceInhibition -The role of 5HT3aR neurons in sensory processing with Koen Vervaeke (PI) and Matteo Farinella (artist)

While the artists have worked on the script and drawings, ERCcoMICS programmers and designers have developed an innovative website with different navigation techniques for each webcomic, with an aim to innovate the way ERC projects are communicated.

During the last year of the project, all webcomics were translated and are available in English, French and Italian on the ERCcoMICS website. The webcomic Treeclimbers was translated in Dutch, and the webcomic Hatha Yoga will be translated in Hindu.

The platform proposes several forms of innovative navigation and levels of information. It was set up during the first period and was later adapted for mobile devices (which was not planned at the beginning of the project). In the last period, ERCcOMICS team participated in seven events (comics and science festivals, readings and workshops):

· 1. BilBOlbul International Comics Festival (Bologne, Italy, November-December 2018)

· 2. Reading and panel discussion: the Hatha Yoga Project and AyurYog (London, United Kingdom, December 2018)

· 3. Angoulême international comic festival (Angoulême, France, January 2019)

· 4. COMICON Festival (Naples, Italy, April 2019)

· 5. Research & Innovation Days (Brussels, Belgium, September 2019)

· 6. Fête de la science festival in Paris, (October 2019)

· 7. Fumetti & Popcorn work-shop (Pisa, Italy, October 2019).

ERCcOMICS was very active on social media such as blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. ERCEA will take over the management of the website and social media networks. In view of the very positive feedback and enthusiasm that this project has generated, we hope that it continues to live and contributes to the enhancement of the image of the ERC.

Four comics translated into French have been printed in paper format. Sorbonne Université will have the opportunity to continue using this legacy, particularly at future public events on campus.



Progress beyond the state of the art, expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Impact among scientists, student peers, the general public and institutions.

Beyond online and social media outreach, the comics were printed in English and in French: 4,000 copies that were all distributed at comics festivals and science events including Angouleme comics festival, Comicon Napoli festival, Research & Innovation Days in Brussels and the Fête de la science festival in Paris.

Address (URL) of the project's public website

http://erccomics.com"
Impact among scientists, student peers, the general public and institutions.

Beyond online and social media outreach, the comics were printed in English and in French: 4,000 copies that were all distributed at comics festivals and science events including Angouleme comics festival, Comicon Napoli festival, Research & Innovation Days in Brussels and the Fête de la science festival in Paris.

Address (URL) of the project's public website

http://erccomics.com
artists-and-pi-erccomics.jpg