Toronto Comic Arts Festival Academic Symposium

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Toronto Comic Arts Festival

TCAF 2022 Academic Symposium Call for Papers

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is pleased to invite abstract submissions for our inaugural 1-day in-person academic symposium titled TCAF at Twenty: Histories and Futures of Comics Communities. The symposium will take place in person at the Courtyard Downtown Toronto Marriott on Friday, June 17th, 2022. For twenty years, TCAF has offered a vibrant meeting place for creators, scholars, educators, and readers to come together and celebrate their shared love of comics–a uniquely participatory medium that is adept at communicating both complex realities and transformative fantasies. Comics are communities, and communities are comics; the strength of one is the strength of the other. This symposium will consider the histories and futures of comics as vehicles and representations of community and communication. How and what do comics communicate, and how and where can they communicate better, to make comics communities more inclusive, accessible, and dynamic?         

The symposium is open to all subjects and theoretical disciplines considering all aspects of comics, including cultural histories and formal concerns as well as politics of representation (including representations of gender, race, sexuality, etc.). We hope to explore and identify the strides comics and comics studies have made in the past two decades to enlarge their scope and scale as well as the boundaries they have yet to examine, push, or eliminate while providing a new platform to connect TCAF’s existing audience with communities of comics scholars. We welcome papers that engage with all forms of comic art (commercial, literary, alternative, zines, webcomics, etc.) and all comics genres (fiction, non-fiction, adventure, science-fiction, mystery, horror, superhero, children’s, etc.). Presentations should be academic in tone but accessible to non-academics.  

The TCAF 2022 Academic Symposium is accepting abstracts for the following types of presentations:

  1. Panel Proposal: A submission by 1 member of a panel as to the topic and discussion of that panel, in coordination with the other members of the proposed panel. All panelists listed must be confirmed participants at the time of submission. Maximum of 4 people including the moderator of the panel. Panelists will speak for 10 minutes each or provide a round table discussion on the topic from their respective experiences. Fifteen minutes will be reserved for the audience to engage the panelists in questions at the end.

  1. Lightning Talk: A 5-7 minute quick presentation on one refined topic of analysis. We will gather approximately 5-7 individuals together to present their lightning talks leaving fifteen minutes for an audience question and answer period.

  1. Single Panelist Proposal: A paper of 15 minutes in length to be included on a panel of similar content arranged by the organizers. Three panelists will present during a session leaving fifteen minutes for an audience question and answer period.

  1. Poster Presentation: A casual gallery session to engage in multiple topics in a more exploratory discursive manner with the researcher present.

Please submit an abstract of 250-300 words along with a brief biography (approx. 150 words) for each participating panelist on your proposal by Thursday, March 31, 2022, to Please include the following information at the top of your proposal:


Title/Affiliation (if applicable):

Email Contact:

Type of Presentation proposed (Lightning talk, panel, poster, etc.):

The abstracts and bios of accepted participants will be compiled into a symposium program and published (then later archived) on the TCAF website.

There will be a registration fee of $20 CAD for accepted applicants to help defray the costs of the symposium. To make the symposium as accessible as possible to all presenters, TCAF offers registration sponsorships for individuals wishing to present. If you wish to be sponsored by TCAF to present at the TCAF 2022 Symposium, please add “TCAF Sponsored Presentation” to your proposal with no other information necessary about the sponsorship. TCAF will sponsor your registration.  

Offers of acceptance will be returned by the end of April 2022. Individuals will be notified by email. If you have any questions or concerns, please email symposium organizer Dr. Anna Peppard at 

Like the general festival, this symposium will be held in-person and will be accessible to the public. TCAF is committed to following all Covid-19 regulations set out by the local, provincial, and federal governments at the time of the festival. TCAF will also be following site-specific regulations set out by its participating venues – The Toronto Public Library and the Courtyard Marriott – to ensure the safety of all guests and participants. We will actively update all presenters and attendees of any and all evolving safety protocols.