Jen Leach is a New York-based artist and writer who uses comic doodles as a means of reclaiming her experience with bipolar disorder. While working as a teacher and university administrator, Jen hid her diagnosis from her colleagues for 25 years. She waged a silent protest by drawing comics in the margins of her notebooks, and later “reclaimed” these doodles as a student in the graduate program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. Jen’s work seeks to destigmatize mental illness and inspire patients to reclaim once-silenced narratives through creative expression. She also explores the connection between chronic illness, identity, and work, and the potential application of Narrative Medicine in a career coaching context.
Jen is the author and illustrator of two books, Side Defects, which illustrates the ridiculous side effects of her medicines, and Not Now, Ollie!, a children’s picture book about a bored Pug.
Find her on Instagram: @furtivedoodles, @pennymadeit
Marianne R. Petit is an artist and educator whose work explores fairy tales, graphic medicine, anatomical obsessions, and collective storytelling practices through mechanical books that combine animation and paper craft. Her interests are in combining technology, traditional book arts, and sequential storytelling to create new forms of narrative for the 21st century. Her artwork has appeared internationally in festivals and exhibitions, been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Make, and Wired, and broadcast on IFC and PBS. Her movable books can be found in numerous museum and library collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the British Library, the Berlin Public Library, Boston Library, as well as numerous University and private collections.
Marianne is an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s ITP and IMA programs in the Tisch School of the Arts. She was a cofounder and the founding director of the Interactive Media Arts Program at NYU Shanghai, co-founder of the NYU Ability Project (an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection of disability and technology), and currently serves as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Network Academic Planning for the University, She is currently completing a Certification of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.
Find her on instagram @mariannerpetit or her website: mariannerpetit.com