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Planet DIVOC-91 goes global

  • Posted by Annie,
  • Deputy Director,
  • in Listen up,
  • September '20

More young people take part in our webcomic thanks to new funding from Wellcome

Vocal has been working with Wowbagger Productions on a collaborative webcomic involving young people, comic artists, writers, researchers and scientists. The webcomic is a sci-fi satire about a pandemic with young adults as the lead characters, Chapter 3 is now online and has been written and illustrated by UK Comics Laureate Hannah Berry. Each comic chapter also includes articles about COVID-19 written by young people in the UK.

New funding from Wellcome means that young people in India and South Africa have joined the project to input their ideas into the webcomic story and to produce their own creative work that reflects their own experiences and views of the pandemic. Young people from the UK, India and South Africa are collaborating directly with each other in online workshops about the story and how it should end.

Young people’s lives, education and careers across the world have been hugely affected by the pandemic. Whilst they have also been stereotyped in the UK media as irresponsible. Planet DIVOC-91 enables young people, artists and researchers to work together to create a story that is accessible, entertaining, informative and reflective of global diversity.

The characters and the story provide alternative perspectives to understanding a pandemic and this is highly valued by participants.

Planet Divoc-91, it is a complete package for me. Besides being adventurous and super fun, it is thought-provoking. Loving all the characters and highlight is the banter between non-binary sibling Sanda & Champo. This is exactly something I needed to blow off steam in this pandemic. Eagerly waiting for the next chapter.

—Project participant, India

The UK team is now collaborating with Sarah Iqbal, of DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance and Nabeel Petersen, of Interfer, South Africa and Anita Shervington, of Blast Fest in Birmingham.

Young people’s lives are being dramatically affected by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. We are delighted to be supporting an effort that provides them with a platform to make their voices heard. Important choices and decisions need to be made about priorities and policy responses to pandemics, and a diverse group of young people from around the world need a seat at that table.

—Anita Krishnamurthi, Head of Education & Learning, Wellcome

As part of the project young people will be identifying how they want to use their experiences to influence science and research in the future and what needs to change.