Silence to Strength – Advocating Sickle Cell Equity through Comics Symposium

These events and mentorships are fully booked. Feel free to read about our project below.

Comics For Life Series, sponsored by Donor Research
Silence to Strength – Advocating Sickle Cell Equity Through Comics Symposium

Sickle Cell advocates, artists and frontline healthcare professionals come together to discuss how to best co-create a graphic medicine/comic that will help educate future health care professionals about the lived experience of individuals entering A&E with a sickle cell crisis. 


Agenda for 29th November 2023:
Microsoft Teams, 14.00-17.00

2.00pm – 2.15pm
Donor Research team to welcome all to the event and introductions of all speakers and format.
2.15pm – 3.15pm
Stephanie to facilitate all 5 x speakers discuss their lived experiences of sickle cell care with at least 2 x healthcare professionals discuss their experience of caring for patients with sickle cell disease.
  • What is one negative and positive A&E experience?
  • What does SC mean to us?
  • How can we raise more awareness?
  • What the common misconceptions?

3.15pm – 3.30pm
Comfort break

3.30pm – 4.30pm
Sara to facilitate group discussion on how all speakers can contribute to comic creation that help raise awareness on sickle cell and the experience of those attending healthcare settings in crisis in a follow-up participatory

4.30pm -5.00pm
Donor Research team to thank attendees and close.

Event Description:
Join us for a Transformative Journey: From Silence to Strength – Advocating Sickle Cell Equity through Comics
In collaboration with RedCellsRUs, a London-based support group for individuals living with sickle cell, we’re thrilled to present an enlightening symposium that aims to amplify the voices of the sickle cell community and pave the way for positive change.

In a convergence of art, advocacy, and healthcare, we invite you to be part of “From Silence to Strength – Advocating Sickle Cell Equity through Comics”. This dynamic online symposium will bridge gaps, spark conversations, and promote empathy by exploring the unique storytelling power of graphic medicine. This event will be recorded and shared on our website and social media platforms to inspire others. The voices and narratives shared during the symposium will serve as the inspiration for the creation of a comic will be used an educational tool.

What to Expect:
Listening and Learning: Bring healthcare professionals and artists together as we lend an attentive ear to the needs, challenges, and perspectives of the UK’s sickle cell community. By coming together, we strive to deepen our understanding and strengthen our collective resolve.

The Power of Graphic Medicine: Graphic Medicine, as coined by Dr. Ian Williams, harnesses the combined language of words and pictures within comics to convey personal stories of illness and health. By blending text and art, comics create a multi-layered language that adds an emotional dimension to clinical data. Visual metaphor, combined symbols, and humour enrich the storytelling experience. Our journey does not end with listening; it extends into a follow-up participatory arts workshop. Through expert artist mentorship, we willco-create impactful comics that spark conversations about sickle cell. These comics hold the potential to bridge gaps between healthcare and communities, rebuild trust and increase awareness of lived experience during a sickle cell crisis.

Our shared mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals facing sickle cell crises by sharing the knowledge we gain from hearing from the personal experiences of people with sickle cell that use healthcare services to create better outcomes when accessing health services.

Join Us:
By participating in this symposium, you are not only embracing the transformative potential of graphic medicine but also becoming a catalyst for change. Let’s amplify voices, reshape narratives, and create a future of empathy, awareness, and health equity.

Let’s turn silence into strength, advocate for sickle cell equity, and co-create a brighter, more understanding future. We look forward to your presence and active participation! 

Confirmed speakers and participants:

  • Stephanie George: Sickle Cell Advocate RedCellsRUs 
  • Dunstan Nicol Wilson: Sickle Cell Advocate     
  • John Niagwan: Sickle Cell Advocate  
  • Justin Honey-Jones: Paramedic at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Dr Steven Okoli: Consultant Haematologist, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Adult stem cell transplant lead for sickle cell disease 
  • Sara Kenney: Wowbagger Productions
  • Mary Adeturinmo: Sickle Cell Advocate Healthcare and Design Researcher, Imperial College Sickle Cell Group,
  • Jenica Leah: Sickle Cell Advocate and Artist MyFriendJen
  • Xin Yi Teo:BA (Hons) Illustration, School of Art and Media, University of Brighton
  • Joss Athey: BA (Hons) Illustration, School of Art and Media, University of Brighton
  • Maya Cracknell: BA (Hons) Illustration, School of Art and Media, University of Brighton
















  • Simonne Weeks: Biomedical Science Senior Lecturer at University of Brighton

Davina Twumasi: Second-year student BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science student at University of Warwick



Key Dates for artist mentorship:

29th Nov 2-5pm online 3 hours (see more details below)
13th Dec 4-7pm online 3 hours
Dec-March 1:1 mentorship curated by Sara Kenny for artists with LA based graphic novel editor Shelly Bond

Shelly Bond runs Off Register Press with her comic artist husband (Philip Bond who is orginally from Worthing and drew Tank Girl): and UK artist Imogen Mangle online at a time that suits both artists and mentors to create one comic each about the information gained from the 29th Nov event.