Self Made Hero has opened submissions for its Graphic Anthology Programme aimed at promoting inclusion in the British scene. A free 12-week summer mentorship will culminate in a spot in an anthology to be released in October 2021.
According to the website, the Graphic Anthology Programme is open to all artists “from a Black, Asian, Arab, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller or non-white Latinx background”, who are not represented by a literary agent for graphic novels, are over the age of 18, and who have not had a full-length graphic novel published by a traditional print publisher.
The Programme formally opened for applicants on 19 February and will remain open until 26 March. Successful applicants will be informed by the week of 19 April.
The mentorship will take place online from 18 May to 11 August and will involve three hours a week of mentoring plus eight masterclasses.
The Self Made Hero publishing team and the mentors themselves – who will also contribute to the anthology – will act as judges.
Mentors leading the program include established names Asia Alfasi, Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Sonia Leong, Mustashrik Mahbub and Woodrow Phoenix. They will help successful applicants develop the skills they will need to navigate the British industry and strengthen their own creative practice.
The Graphic Anthology Programme is run by Self Made Hero in partnership with London-based writer development agency Spread The Word. Additional funding is provided from the UK’s National Lottery through Arts Council England, Abrams & Chronicle Books, Oiffy and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival to keep it free at point of access.
Managing director and founder of Self Made Hero, Emma Hayley says “The UK comics scene is young, vibrant and culturally progressive, yet there remains a lack of ethnic diversity among published artists and writers. The launch of our Graphic Anthology Programme marks an important step in acknowledging, addressing and reducing this disparity.”
The UK uses the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) formal identifier for People Of Color. In the UK’s last census in 2011 roughly 12.8% of the British population identified as non-white and the BAME participation rate in British comics is relatively low.
in 2020, then Comics Laureate Hannah Berry conducted a survey of creators across the UK. Based on the 623 respondents, “4% identified as being from a Mixed ethnic background, 3% as Asian or Asian British, and 1% as Black or Black British. 2% identified as being from an Other ethnic background. This may be compared with the 2011 census… 3% [identified] as Black or Black British, 7% as Asian or Asian British, 2% as being from a mixed ethnic background, and 1% as from an Other ethnic background.”