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Fifty years ago (in 1969) Oscar winning animator, Bob Godfrey, established the Animation course at UCA, which was the first Higher Education animation course in the UK and his archive is held at UCA. 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 Custard 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.
To mark the Golden Jubilee of animation at UCA, celebrate the irreverent and anarchic humour of Bob Godfrey and re-launch the Animation Research Centre at UCA, we are running a symposium in our new Film building at Farnham, that will be accompanied by an exhibition of items from Godfrey’s archive.
While the main focus of our symposium is on animation, we warmly invite interdisciplinary perspectives by scholars from other disciplines such as film, performance, illustration, comics, philosophy, psychology, queer and gender studies, etc. Our Keynote speakers are Steve Bell, Guardian cartoonist and Dr Sharon Lockyer, Director of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research, Brunel University.
For its themes, the symposium draws upon Bob Godfrey’s archive to call for papers that engage with the following questions:
Politics and propaganda from print to the pixel.
How have traditions of print cartooning 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?
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 were the influence of traumatic circumstances such as war and PTSD on animators during and after the two World Wars of the 20th Century?
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? How has theatricality and performativity effected 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?
This conference is organised by Birgitta Hosea, Emma Reyes, Jim Walker (Animation Research Centre)
Exhibition curated by Jim Walker
Supported by Felicity Croydon, UCA Archivist, and Lesley Adams, Programme Director for Animation, UCA.
Peer Review Committee: Birgitta Hosea, Chris Pallant, Caroline Ruddell, Jim Walker, Paul Ward.
Selected conference papers will be included in a proposal for an anthology, Cartoon Animation: Satire and Subversion, to Palgrave MacMillan.