"Processing the Pandemic" is a joint presentation/creative workshop exploring the role of comics in processing the reality of Covid-19.

What is "Processing the Pandemic?"
Comics have traditionally been used as sources of entertainment, inspiration, and escapism. During the 2020 pandemic, however, we saw a new and unique wave of digital comics emerge. Primarily circulated through social media, these comics served to document the pandemic, share public health information, and provide a creative outlet for expressing the trauma of Covid-19. As such, these comics are guiding the way we remember and process the pandemic experience. Digital comics like these may resonate with many because they depict a sense of shared trauma, but also shared resilience. Additionally, the comics made by BIPOC artists are witness to the unique challenges they face within the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Processing the Pandemic" is a joint presentation and workshop event. We will start with a 1-hour presentation by Dr. Shirlene Obuobi (@shirlywhirlmd), a resident doctor and artist who will share her experiences creating comics during the pandemic. This will be followed by a 1-hour comic-making workshop led by Dr. Rachelle Cruz (Creative Writing, UCR). Dr Cruz will share techniques and practices to use comics as a platform to reflect on our own pandemic experiences.
Both the presentation and the workshop are free, open to the public, and will be held over Zoom. Though not required, we do encourage participants to attend both!

About our speakers:

Dr. Shirlene Obuobi
Shirlene Obuobi, M.D. is a third year Internal Medicine resident, rising Cardiology fellow, and creator of the comic platform, ShirlyWhirl, M.D. ShirlyWhirlMD was started in 2016 by then beleaguered third year medical student Shirlene Obuobi. It began as a vehicle of self expression during a time of professional growth, and her comics were initially shared with her medical school classmates before finding their way onto social media. The moniker “ShirlyWhirl” came from one of Shirlene’s friends’ nicknames for her. ShirlyWhirlMD has been featured in the Lancet,  Axios, Doximity.com, UChicago magazine, and more.

Dr. Rachelle Cruz
Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California.  She is the author of God's Will for Monsters (Inlandia, 2017), which won an American Book Award in 2018 and the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Regional Poetry Prize.  She was appointed the 2018-2020 Inlandia Literary Laureate.  Her most recent book, Experiencing Comics: An Introduction to Reading, Discussing and Creating Comics, was published in Fall 2018. She is a Lecturer in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside.  An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives and writes in Southern California.


This event was made possible by funding from the Tomás Rivera Endowment at UC-Riverside.

UCR Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) is hosting this event as part of an outreach program for the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy , one of the world's largest collections of speculative fiction and relates genres. This collection is open to the public and select portions may be scanned to support remote research. For more information or questions, please contact Sandy Enriquez at sandy.enriquez@ucr.edu

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