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Dr Mel Gibson

Associate Professor

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

 Her interest in these areas led to research about audiences, and also into work on memory and how we build our childhood reading into our autobiographies.

She is also a National Teaching Fellow. This means that Mel is recognised nationally as an expert in Teaching and Learning at university, particularly in relation to large-group work, having developed her skills with the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Assessment for Learning at Northumbria where she worked with Professor Kay Sambell.

Mel is probably best known, however, as one of the small group of academics who established Comics Studies in Britain. Her work on comics and memory is considered internationally significant. She has, additionally, been involved in initiating or supporting the development of a number of initiatives around comics, including the Comics Laureate Award, awarded bi-annually, which involves a comic creator supporting literacy development at national level and Comics Forum, one of the main British academic conferences on comics. She is also involved in comic festivals and other events, both talking about her research and running training on understanding visual literacies and reading for pleasure.

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I'm interested in literacy and popular culture. I have published research around comics and graphic novels for both children and adults. Most recently I've been looking at the intersections of comics, young people, feminisms and activism.

I have also researched audiences' responses to the comic medium, often using 'object elicitation' to encourage discussion about memories of comics. 

I'm also interested in professional perceptions of popular culture.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • ‘One upon a time, there was a very bad rat…’: constructions of childhood, children, animals and comics, Gibson, M. 14 Jan 2021, Strong Bonds: Child-Animal Relationships in Comics, Liege, University of Liege
  • ‘One upon a time, there was a very bad rat…’: constructions of childhood, young people, vermin and comics., Gibson, M. 14 Jan 2021, Strong Bonds, Liège, Presses Universitaires de Liege
  • Girls, Women, and Comics, Gibson, M. 14 Aug 2020, Comic Studies, New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press
  • Plan International UK Report - The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK: The Voices of Girls in Middlesbrough, pp 147-152, Ralph, S., Gibson, M. 1 Feb 2020
  • Queer Girlhoods in Contemporary Comics: Disrupting Normative Notions, Gibson, M. 1 Mar 2020, In: Girlhood Studies
  • Rising from the ashes: making spaces for new children’s comics cultures in Britain in the 21st century, Gibson, M. 3 Mar 2020, In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
  • Comics, childhood and memory: An autobiographical narrative (Part 1), Gibson, M. 21 Oct 2019
  • Comics, childhood and memory: An autobiographical narrative (Part 3), Gibson, M. 25 Oct 2019
  • Comics, Childhood and Memory: An Autobiography (Part 2), Gibson, M. 23 Oct 2019

PGR Supervision

  • Lindey Cookson Somebody’s Child: An exploration of the contribution made by Bulgarian grandmothers to the de-institutionalisation of disabled children Start Date: 15/08/2018 End Date: 07/11/2018
  • Helen Charlton Experiencing Learning Across Academic-Practice Boundaries; An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Human Resource Management Practitioners Engaged in Part-Time Postgraduate Study Start Date: 15/06/2016 End Date: 24/05/2017
  • Pamela Graham Self-esteem, resilience and wellbeing in adolescence: the potential of horses as authentic and therapeutic partners. Start Date: 13/06/2016
  • LINDA GRAHAM ‘Reading for Pleasure: Children’s Critical Narratives about their Reading Practices’ Start Date: 01/10/2016
  • Emma Croft Constructions and Paradigms in Tension: Visually Impaired Students and Higher Education Start Date: 24/10/2017 End Date: 30/05/2019


  • Cultural Studies PhD November 30 2001
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2002

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