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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.

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.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • ‘My friend really loves history … can she look at that really old Jackie?’: Contemporary Girls Encountering Historical Periodicals for Girls, Gibson, M. 18 Jan 2024, The Edinburgh History of Children's Periodicals, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press
  • ‘It’s the girl!’: Comics, Professional Identity, Affection, Nostalgia and Embarrassment, Gibson, M. 20 Feb 2023, Sugar, Spice, and the Not So Nice, Leuven, Leuven University Press
  • Librarians, Agency, Young People and Comics: Graphic Account and the development of graphic novel collections in libraries in Britain in the 1990s, Gibson, M. 2023, Comics and Agency, Berlin, De Gruyter
  • Readers and Fans: Lived Comics Cultures, Gibson, M. 31 Jul 2023, The Cambridge Companion to Comics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • ‘...sure to delight every ballet fan.’: Consuming ballet culture through girls' periodical Girl, 1952-60, Gibson, M. 2023, In: Film, Fashion & Consumption
  • The Education and Exclusion of Heathcliff: a lesson on ‘looked after’ and ‘previously looked after’ children in schools from nineteenth century literature, Hoult, E., Gibson, M. 16 Feb 2023, In: Pedagogy, Culture and Society
  • Class, Gibson, M. 1 Jan 2022, Key Terms in Comics Studies, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Fairy Tales, Gibson, M. 1 Jan 2022, Key Terms in Comics Studies, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Feminism, Gibson, M. 1 Jan 2022, Key Terms in Comics Studies, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan
  • ‘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

  • Betul Gaye Dinc Start Date: 01/10/2023
  • Pamela Graham Self-esteem, resilience and wellbeing in adolescence: the potential of horses as authentic and therapeutic partners. Start Date: 13/06/2016 End Date: 23/01/2022
  • Rosie Steele ‘We’ve been through a decent amount of it, they’re a bit late to the party’. Relationships and Sex Education, girls’ media cultures and utilising the past in the present. Start Date: 07/03/2023
  • Pip Lee Meer Transcending the Gender Binary: Towards adopting an inclusive approach for gender diversity in primary education Start Date: 01/03/2022
  • 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
  • LINDA GRAHAM ‘Once my mam and dad have gone out of my room. When it’s bedtime, I unlock my duvet cover on my bed, and I get inside and read’. Listening to Young Children’s Voices: An Ethnographic Study of Children’s Experiences of Reading for Pleasure. Start Date: 01/10/2016 End Date: 23/06/2023
  • 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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