TOOL: PositiveNegatives

Whether it’s struggling to find age-appropriate and relevant material, finding time to pre-screen YouTube videos or documentaries, or connecting issues to existing curriculum, bringing humanitarian and social issues into the classroom can sometimes be challenging.

PositiveNegatives logo

PositiveNegatives is working to change that.

This non-profit produces literary comics, animations, and podcasts about contemporary social and human rights issues. PositiveNegatives combines ethnographic research with illustration, adapting personal testimonies into art, education and advocacy materials for students and teachers.

PositiveNegatives are true stories, drawn from life. Their methodologies in creating the comics focus on exploring global issues through personal stories. They often travel to meet people with first-hand experiences of the subject who want to share their testimony with the world. In the field, they take photographs, spend time in communities, and often write drafts in the effort of achieving accurate material.

In addition to their original site, PositiveNegatives has launched Why Comics? Education Charity, a classroom initiative. Designed for 7-18 year olds and their teachers, Why Comics? communicates humanitarian and social issues through free interactive comics embedded with multimedia, alongside accompanying lesson plans.

By humanizing the mass statistics we often here in the news about racism, migration, conflict, climate change, trafficking, and refugees, Why Comics? addresses complicated topics. By creating engaging, relevant and interesting content, Why Comics? tackles the gap in available, accessible, age-appropriate educational resources and potential lack of understanding.

This free resource is a great way to engage your peers, students, or community members. Share their comics or available resources (articles, blog posts, interviews, podcasts, presentations, and videos) and help expand this narrative!

Find more information on their website here:

Here is an example of a PositiveNegatives comic entitled ‘Fleeing into the Unknown: A Journey from Eritrea to England’.  The comic illustrates the journey of Merha, who escapes the extreme hardship of conscription in Eritrea and crosses Africa and Europe to reach safety in the UK. The comic was launched alongside an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) policy report, Journeys to Europe: the role of policy in migrant decision-making. Enjoy the first three frames and find the rest here!




Continue reading Merha’s story… 

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