The freedom of the press : comics, labor and value in the Birmingham Arts Lab

Gray, Maggie (2020) The freedom of the press : comics, labor and value in the Birmingham Arts Lab. In: Giddens, Thom, (ed.) Critical directions in comics studies. University Press of Mississippi. (In Press)

Full text available as:
Gray-M-44615-AAM.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (229kB) | Preview


This chapter engages with important strands of scholarship on comics work, arguing for a critical comics studies that attends to the political economy, social relations and material processes of production. It examines the relationship between struggles over the organization of cultural labor and the forms of value inscribed in comics, via the case study of a specific site of British comics production that reimagined how comics work could be organised and the artistic value comics could have– the cooperative Birmingham Arts Lab Press (1969-1982) and its Ar:Zak imprint. Bringing together archival inquiry and participant interviews, wider historical research into the arts lab, alternative press, community arts and underground/alternative comics movements, and Marxist political and aesthetic theory, this chapter analyses how struggles for an autonomous, democratised, participatory creative practice that took place within this context of comics production were embodied in the material and visual form of the comics made.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Area: Art and design
Communication, cultural and media studies
History of art, architecture and design
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Kingston School of Art
Kingston School of Art > Visual and Material Culture Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Margaret Gray
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2019 09:45
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2019 09:48

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page