Going Grassroots with Visual Expression: Update from Tamil Nadu

Civil society activists, NGO workers and school teachers from Tamil Nadu now have a new medium of self-expression and teaching in the form of Grassroots comics. A Grassroots comics workshop was organised by the HCL Foundation and World Comics India between 15th to 24th December 202.

It was attended by over 30 participants based in different parts of Tamil Nadu consisting of school teachers, civil society coordinators and NGO employees.

The virtual workshop was conducted bilingually in English and Tamil. The theme of the workshop was Environmental Education and the participants were introduced to broad themes of Water, Clean Nature, Family and Neighbourhood, Food, Plants and Animals. The participants came forward with their personal experiences, ideas and perspectives on these themes. Adhilakshmi of the Hope Foundation created her first comics on birds and seed dispersal whereas Patmanathan from Oferr India made his comics on community-led conservation action in a village. The methodical use of Grassroots Comic ranges from comic journalism and bringing neglected issues to the fore in an interactive form. Comics function as a visual communication tool and through their use, everyone has the potential to become a storyteller.

As the session concluded on 24th December, the participants shared feedback on their understanding and perspective of Comics as a medium. In their response, participants felt this experience was encouraging and innovative. Certain participants emphasised that comics can be used as a tool for addressing various issues and raising awareness, accessibility and sensitization.