Original call for papers


We are pleased to announce a two-day conference to celebrate the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and the British Cartoon Archive, both based at the University of Kent. We aim to bring together scholars, archivists, comedians, cartoonists and others with an interest in documenting cartoons and stand-up comedy.

BSUCA logoBy its nature, stand-up is an ephemeral performance genre, built on the idea of liveness. Unlike play texts, which can be published and studied and revived years after the initial production, stand-up comedy exists in the moment, and can easily be forgotten once the performance ends. The British Stand-Up Comedy Archive collects what is left behind after the performance is finished including unpublished recordings (audio or video, in any format), set lists, scripts, publicity materials (e.g. posters, flyers, photos), booking diaries, contracts, and more unusual ephemera (e.g. props, costume items, etc.).

cartoons logo 2The British Cartoon Archive exists to encourage and facilitate the study of cartoons and caricatures published in the United Kingdom. Since 1973, the Cartoon Archive has built up a unique collection of over 140,000 pieces of cartoon artwork supported by a reference library of newspaper cuttings, books, catalogues and magazines, and it is widely used by researchers, authors, teachers, the media and students.

We invite papers which explore such issues as:

  • Public persona and comic identity
  • Comic timing and delivery
  • Relationship with readers and audiences
  • Visual and verbal references
  • Joke structure
  • Control, censorship & the boundaries of taste
  • Politics & satire
  • Stereotypes and symbols
  • Humour as a career

Papers might explore one or more of these issues in relation to stand-up comedy, or in relation to cartoons, but we would also be interested in papers which explore them in relation to both stand-up and cartoons. Abstracts of 300 words should be submitted by 5pm, Friday 2nd October 2015 to: standup@kent.ac.uk