Frozen-Ground Cartoons: An international collaboration between artists and permafrost scientists

Michael.Fritz [ at ]


Communicating science about a phenomenon found under ground and defined by its thermal properties in an easy, funny, and engaging way, can be a challenge. Two years ago, a group of young researchers from Canada and Europe united to tackle this problem by combining arts and science to produce a series of outreach comic strips about permafrost (frozen ground). Because this concerns us all. As the climate warms, permafrost thaws and becomes unstable for houses, roads and airports. The thawing also disrupts ecosystems, impacts water quality, and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, making climate change even stronger. The Frozen Ground Cartoon project aims to present and explain permafrost research, placing emphasis on field work and the rapidly changing northern environment. The target audience is kids, youth, parents and teachers, with the general goal of making permafrost science more fun and accessible to the public. The project has so far produced 22 pages of comics through an iterative process of exchanging ideas between two artists and thirteen scientists. The project artists were selected through an application call that received 49 applications from artists in 16 countries. With input from scientists, artists Noémie Ross (Canada) and Heta Nääs (Finland) have created a set of beautiful, artistic, humoristic, and pedagogic comics. The comics are available for free download through the project web page (in English and Swedish), and printed copies have so far been handed out to school kids and general public in Europe and Canada. The next steps of this project are (1) to distribute the comics as wide as possible, (2) work towards translations into more languages, and (3) to evaluate the effectiveness of the science communication through the comics, in collaboration with schools and pedagogic experts.

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Conference (Poster)
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Event Details
27. Internationale Polartagung, 25 Mar 2018 - 29 Mar 2018, Rostock, Germany.
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Fritz, M. , Bouchard, F. , Deshpande, B. , Malenfant-Lepage, J. , Nieuwendam, A. , Paquette, M. , Rudy, A. , Siewert, M. , Veillete, A. , Weege, S. , Harbor, J. M. , Habeck, J. O. and Sjöberg, Y. (2018): Frozen-Ground Cartoons: An international collaboration between artists and permafrost scientists , 27. Internationale Polartagung, Rostock, Germany, 25 March 2018 - 29 March 2018 .

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