Postdoctoral Fellow/Comics Artist/Educator
Comics artist and educator Nick Sousanis is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Comics Studies at the University of Calgary. He received his doctorate in education at Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and it is now a book from Harvard University Press.
Questions & answers
Can you describe your daily practice?
I have a one and a half year old, so there is nothing routine at the moment. :) I carve out time as I can to correspond, get things in order for ongoing project - and then most of my research and drawing happens late at night when it's quiet... As far as my making practice goes, I spend a lot of time research and playing with sketches over and over again, trying to find ways to convey ideas through the very way I've organized a page. I make detailed, involved pages - but it's this initial thinking in drawing - that demands the most of my time.
What are you most proud of?
I've mixed feelings about pride in general. I'm pleased to have been able to do the work I did and in the context I did it. Now that Unflattening is out - I'm excited that it's been getting good reception from diverse quarters and being used in all sorts of educational contexts across disciplines, fields, and levels. I hoped to make something that could speak the language of scholarship but also reach a more general public, and I see this happening.
What's your ambition?
I want to keep making this sort of work, push more on intersecting art and scholarship to create things that blur the boundary between them. Through my work and my teaching, I want to help others see new possibilities for how they can work, find new forms that best suit their own way of thinking. I want to make works that prompt people to ask questions of themselves and help them see differently. I'd like to see institutions embrace this sort of work, which i think is happening, and have more homes for people looking to work in new ways.