2018 Graphic Medicine Conference

All is Not Well at the Comics and Medicine Conference (2018), The Centre for Cartoon Studies, White River Junction, Vermont, 16-18 August

On 17 August Ryan Prout, one of the facilitators of the project will be presenting a paper on All is Not Well in a panel with the title Bridging Divides, at the 2018 Comics and Medicine Conference.

The panel is chaired by Prof. Susan Merrill Squier (The Pennsylvania State University), who is also one of the event’s key note speakers.

The other panellist in the section of the event on Bridging Divides is Matteo Farinella (Columbia University).

Ryan’s presentation narrates the genesis, purpose , and development of All is Not Well to date.

Conference Schedule:



One of the strips discussed in the paper, ‘the Kindness of Strangers’, written by Ryan and drawn by Jacob Phillips, will be posted to the All Is Not Well site shortly.

Section from Ryan Prout’s presentation:

At the beginning of the project Jonathan and me knew we wanted to create something about care giving: the conversation between someone coming at this from an academic perspective, and someone else bringing the eye of a practitioner to the same field, focussed this something more precisely on four points:

  • Countering the tendency in the mainstream media to represent care always and only in terms of scandal and sensationalism.
  • Centring the care giver in narratives about care.
  • Underscoring the poor remuneration of care giving, and the failure of the monetary reward system to bring into line the value of the work that care givers do with a commensurate material reward.
  • Making care, and care givers, a more significant part of the graphic medicine landscape, and querying the semantic perimeters of medicine.


Illustrating the context that gives rise to the first of these points is, unfortunately, all too easy. Care is a frequent theme in both the tabloid and the broadsheet press, but the stories are almost always led by sensationalism. This content emphasises abuse and shortcomings to the exclusion of almost anything else, and rarely situates its sensationalist detail in the context of a sector being run on a shoestring and staffed by care givers who are by and large generous people doing their best to look after others, while struggling themselves to make ends meet.


An element of the All is Not Well project, then, has been about turning around the scandal and one of our first ideas was for a strip that used the fly on the wall genre to uncover not another sensationalist failing of a care home where residents are allegedly left to gag on their breakfast gruel, but instead to uncover other scandals:

  • The scandal of the low pay care givers receive.
  • The scandal of the army of young people and children who are invisible care givers, taking up the slack left by the shift to so-called care in the community.
  • The scandal of the expectation that the same care givers who are paid the minimum wage are expected to be resourceful and creative entrepreneurs who paper over the gaps in the system.

The scandal of the top heavy management of the care sector that misallocates resources to the fulfilment of targets instead of enabling clients to lead more fulfilling lives.


We thank everyone who has taken an interest in our project and for the opportunity to take part.



August 16, 2018