Community-building through political cartoons in Kenya, South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire

Fransiska Louwagie, Sarah Weidman, Ingrid Bamberg, Betty Karimi Mwiti, Di Thembekile Levine, James Illingworth


This paper arises from a research project at the University of Leicester, led by Dr Fransiska Louwagie and Dr Di Levine, in collaboration with a broader team of research associates, in particular Drs James Illingworth and Sarah Weidman. The project built on external partnerships with Cartooning for Peace, an international organisation of press cartoonists, and Shout Out UK, an award-winning platform for political and media literacy. The project was funded by the University of Leicester’s Global Challenges Research Fund. It aimed to examine how political cartoons can foster dialogue and exchange in conflict or post-conflict contexts, particularly amongst young people. As a visual medium relying on humour, cartooning has the power to present critical questions in an open and non-threatening manner, triggering dialogue and meaning-making. In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 the project therefore set out to investigate how political cartoons can help to negotiate local and global tensions and how they engage audiences with conceptions and definitions of community and humanity. It aimed to shed new light on the question of how political cartooning can help to address challenges in (post-)conflict societies, where there is a recognised need for community-driven resilience building. Relating to this, through its focus on press cartoons, it sought to raise awareness of the need for access and freedom of information (SDG 16.10). Following an open call for projects, a commission was made for four series of workshops by external partners working in conflict-and post-conflict situations, in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa (see appendix for detailed aims of the call).

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ISSN: 2516-4783

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