NewsUCA Farnham

'Call for Speakers' to celebrate 50 years of UCA's Animation course

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is inviting speakers to submit their proposals for an animation symposium to be held early next year, to celebrate the golden jubilee of UCA’s animation course, which was established fifty years ago by Oscar-winning animator, Bob Godfrey.

The symposium, Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion, will be held on Monday 17 February at UCA Farnham, it will coincide with the re-launch of the UCA Animation Research Centre, and also be accompanied by an exhibition of items from Godfrey’s archive.

To attend the symposium, visit the event page to book your free place.

Bob Godfrey sets up his own studio 1960's. Image courtesy of the Bob Godfrey Collection UCA Archive

Bob Godfrey sets up his own studio in 1960's Soho. Image courtesy of the Bob Godfrey Collection, UCA Archive

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and Dr Sharon Lockyer, Director of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research, Brunel University will be the keynote speakers.

Established in 1969, the Animation course at UCA was the first Higher Education animation course in the UK. As well as his work in teaching, Godfrey served as mentor and employer to many budding animators and is revered as an iconic figure in British animation. Although popularly known for his children’s TV series, such as Roobarb and The Do-It-Yourself Animation Show, Godfrey also created a number of more experimental and adult works that drew upon traditions of British satire, DADA and Situationism.

'Margaret Thatcher: Where Am I Now' 1999. Image courtesy of the Bob Godfrey Collection UCA Archive


'Margaret Thatcher: Where Am I Now' 1999. Image courtesy of the Bob Godfrey Collection, UCA Archive

To celebrate the irreverent and anarchic humour of Bob Godfrey, the symposium will draw upon themes from his archive, and invites speakers from all disciplines to submit proposals that will engage with the following questions: 

Politics and propaganda from print to the pixel.

How have traditions of print cartoons from Hogarth and Punch influenced animation?

Laughing in the face of adversity.

Is humour a form of survival strategy? What is funny for those who are historically the focus of caricature and the butt of jokes based on stereotypes? What is the comedy of the oppressed? What is satire for the subaltern? How are hegemonic discourses around colonialism, class, race, gender and regional identity resisted through laughter?

Dream Girls

Funny or pathetic? How do we deal with historic cartoon versions of male sexual fantasy? What do they say about masculinity? Are they due for a feminist re-evaluation?  Could they be read as a critique of patriarchy? Are humorous films about sexuality made by women different in any way? 

It ain't half hot, Mum

How do we discuss racial stereotyping and caricature in historical animation? What is the relationship between iconic cartoon characters and minstrelsy? Are there arguments for re-evaluating controversial works such as those made by the Fleischer brothers or Ralph Baksche?

What are we going to do now?

What was the influence of traumatic circumstances such as war and PTSD on animators during and after the two World Wars of the 20th Century?

Arty Farty

Is there a relationship between comic animation and post-war art movements such as DADA, situationist and theatre of the absurd?

Vader his dolly buns: subculture, sexuality and comic codes

How does insider knowledge of shared cultural conventions, such as camp, gender parody and 'secret languages' like Polari, slip undetected into mainstream animation?

What's up, Doc?        

What is it that is just so funny about the cartoon character whose impossible, plasmatic body defies all the limits of the physical world and all social taboos about abjection?

 Great, by Bob Godfrey 1975 - 2019. Image: © Thomas Lowe & Claire Godfrey

'Great' by Bob Godfrey 1975 - 2019. Image © Thomas Lowe & Claire Godfrey

A selection of works submitted by speakers will also be included in a proposal for an anthology, Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion, to Palgrave MacMillan.

Note: Proposals for symposium presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes.

Deadline: 16th December 2019

Notification of selection: 6th Jan 2020

Symposium:  Monday 17 February 2020, Animation Research Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey

Send proposals to: