PhD in the Arts

“REDRAWING CHILDHOOD” challenges the conventions of using formal aspects of graphic narratives in reconstructing representations of childhood and finding new ways of storytelling regarding that life period. It challenges contemporary ideas of childhood and its representations. The assumption is that contemporary representations of childhood are conceptualised in terms of what the child is not yet, or what it must be, whereby the potential of childhood to question and renew the world is ignored and suppressed.

Drawing upon my childhood’s war experiences and the challenges I faced while making the graphic novel about it, I suggest investigating ways of representing childhood differently, with substantial attention to experiences with war and trauma. I propose recognising and excluding elements of an adult’s normative perspective on childhood and challenging the power structures between children and adults in the narrative. Starting from an analysis of war conditions together with an analysis of representations of childhood in children’s literature and scientific research, I explore methodologies that make it possible to suspend the gaze of the adult in order to enable different and undefined views on childhood. This way the research project contributes to theory related to implications for the representation of childhood in literature, and the conventions of formal aspects in graphic narratives.



Prof. dr. Nancy Vansieleghem (Supervisor)

Prof. dr. Roel Vande Winkel (Supervisor)

Prof. dr. Pascal Lefèvre (Co-supervisor)

Judith Vanistendael (Co-supervisor)

Duration: 2020 – 2024
LUCA School Of Arts, Research Unit Intermedia
KU Leuven, Institute for Media Studies

In 2020 it has been awarded FWO’s fundamental research grant.