There are currently over 65 million forcibly displaced people in the world – the highest levels of displacement since records began. Documenting the experiences of refugees is a vital undertaking and one in which words alone can often fall short.

Cartoonist and activist, Kate Evans, drew on her time spent volunteering at the refugee camp in Calais to write Threads, a beautifully illustrated cartoon that reflects her experience and those of migrants in starkly moving scenes. Olivier Kugler was asked by Médecins Sans Frontières to create a series of drawings that would document the plight of Syrian refugees; his accessible, vivid work has brought their stories to a wider audience and earned him international illustration awards.

Majid Darjazi is himself an Iranian refugee and will share his personal experiences of this and his career as a cartoonist.

At this timely event, chair Joost Pollmann, Kate, Olivier and Majid will discuss whether it is true that words alone cannot do justice to the horrors of the refugee crisis and the importance of comics and graphic novels to this burning global issue.

About The Speakers

Majid Darjazi

Himself an Iranian refugee, Majid Darjazi now makes comics documenting his harrowing experiences.

Kate Evans

Kate Evans is a cartoonist, artist, activist, author and mother.  She is the creator of Threads from the Refugee Crisis, award-winning graphic reportage from the refugee camps of Northern France, as well as the acclaimed historical work Red Rosa: a graphic biography of Rosa Luxemburg.  She has also written Funny Weather, a graphic guide to climate change, Copse, about environmental protest, The Food of Love, on breastfeeding and Bump, about pregnancy and birth.

Olivier Kugler

Over the last three years, Olivier has been working on a book project featuring his drawings and texts documenting the circumstances of Syrianshe has met in refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Greek holiday island of Kos, the Calais migrant camp in France, in London and Birmingham and in Simmozheim (the village he grew up in) in Germany.

About The Chair

Joost Pollmann

Joost Pollmann (1957, Netherlands) organizes festivals, writes books and gives lectures, always with the focus on: comics as an art form. Over the past year he has been doing research into the way the refugee crisis – in all its aspects – has been portrayed in comics and cartoons.

Photo by Ron De Gruyl