Animate Europe International Comics Competition 2017 – Award Ceremony

Animate Europe International Comics Competition 2017

Award ceremony, exhibition and reception

Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 18.30-21.30

Venue: Belgian Comic Strip Center, Rue des Sables, 1000 Brussels

The EU has surely experienced easier times – outside forces and
internal struggles are shaking the once strong and confident body to its very core. The European heartbeat has lost its rhythm. What can we do to “Re-Animate Europe”? That is the question the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom asked comic artists and graphic novelists in the third round of their international comic competition “Re-Animate Europe”. Find out what vision our seven finalists, selected out of more than 70 entries, have for a newly revived Europe”!

Have a look at the entries and meet the artists!


18.30 Registration

19.00 Award ceremony

20.00 Reception/ atmospheric music by Sofie la Digue & the Blue Skies

Kindly register for this event before 7 July 2017: *

Willem De Graeve
Director, Belgian Comic Strip Center

Dr. Wolf-Dieter Zumpfort
Member of the Board of Directors, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Gesine Meissner MEP,
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Maura McHugh     &       Gert Jan Pos
Comic Book Writer        Teacher, editor, photographer
Re-Animate Europe Jury Members

Hans H. Stein
Director European and Transatlantic Dialogue, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

*Please note that you will be forwarded to a Google sheet. Should you wish to register with us directly, please send an email to Photographs will be taken at the event for use on the FNF website, social media, in the press, FNF marketing materials, and other publications. By entering this event, you consent to FNF photographing and using your image and likeness.

Comic Books for Better Economic Education in Poland

Our international comic competition “Animate Europe”, currently running in its third round, is one attempt to create interest in the topic of Europe, launch discussions, thought processes and foster civic engagement, for an informed and open society. It is one examples, how graphic arts and the often neglected comic scene in particular, can be a valuable approach to discussing and presenting social and political issues. The Civil Development Forum, partner in our network, has for several years used a similar approach – with the main difference that they focus specifically on economic education. Marek Tatala, Vice President and Economist at the Civil Development Forum (FOR Foundation) shared with us their ideas and strategies behind the project.


Democracy relies on well-educated and informed citizens. This includes knowledge about fundamentals of economics, rule of law and individual rights. All of these aspects should be taught to children at an early age and in a way, which makes it accessible and attractive to them.

That’s why the Civil Development Forum (FOR Foundation), a Polish think tank and network member, decided to develop economic comic books.

In November 2016 FOR Foundation published already the 8th edition of “Econ-Comics” (“Komiksy Ekonomiczne” in Polish).

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Approaching political issues through graphical stories – “Drawing the Times”

Comprehensively communicating and discussing political and social issues and creating engagement – definitely not an easy undertaking these days. After all, we’re living in times of often intransparent mass media and an increasingly, or at least so perceived, complex society.

New forms of communication and methods of engagement are required. Our international comic competition “Animate Europe”, currently running in its third round, is one attempt to do just that. It is one examples, how graphic arts and the often neglected comic scene in particular, can be a valuable approach to discussing and presenting social and political issues.

We talked to Eva Hilhorst, graphic journalist and finalist in our previous comic competition, who approaches journalism through storytelling on her platform “Drawing the Times”:

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“Re-Animate Europe”: Meet the Jury

For the third round of our international comic competition “Animate Europe” we are bringing together a seven-head strong international expert jury.
They will evaluate all the incoming comic entries, select the finalists and – of course – the winner of “Re-Animate Europe”.

We are excited to have a good mix of new and familiar faces from previous competition rounds.

Meet them one by one:


Maura McHugh mauramchugh-2016

Comic Book Writer

Professional Background:

Maura McHugh lives in the West of Ireland, and writes across various media. Her comic book writing has been included in the IDW anthology Womanthology, and she’s written two series for Irish comic book publisher Atomic Diner – her work on Jennifer Wilde with artist Stephen Downey has been nominated for various awards, including an Eagle, and a British Fantasy Award. She’s also co-written a Witchfinder comic book series for Dark Horse Comics in the USA. She’s been on the jury of several international literary and film awards, as well as the British Comic Awards.

Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury?

I believe in the transformative power of art and the importance of cultural communities – by sharing our creative visions we invite insight and understanding in deep and meaningful ways. The Animate Europe competition is an opportunity to open up a channel for communication that transcends borders and bonds us on the human level.

What does Europe mean to you?

I have grown up with the concept of being both an Irish and a European citizen, and that greater political and cultural connection to the world outside of my island has always been an important part of my identity. It’s a recognition of the value of my home, and an acceptance that it is part of a wider community of nations. It’s being a participant in a complicated and engrossing conversation about shared issues such as progress, culture, trade, justice, and our environment. It’s about dialogue, characters, and our joint narrative – which are also aspects of writing that I enjoy. Europe is our shared story, one we shape through interaction, and that’s something I want to be part of developing.

How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

Comics, like any artform, has a wide variety of expressions, from comedy to tragedy, and that includes the ability to provoke, subvert, or challenge politics. There have been many moving graphic novel memoirs, political cartoons, and works by comic book journalists that have used the medium effectively to tell important stories about our lives and political systems. Comics can be a uniquely expressive lens through which we can focus the spectrum of our lived experiences, and I am constantly impressed with its power and versatility when directed with finesse and imagination.

Find Maura McHugh at / Twitter: @splinister


Kalle Hakkola kalle_hakkola_portrait


Professional Background

Artistic director of the Helsinki comics festival and the director of the Comics center in Helsinki. Has done a lot of international projects all around the world.
Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury?

It’s an interesting competition with a good approach to the medium 

What does Europe mean to you?

I identify as European, so Europe is my home.

How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

They go together quite well, as long as the medium is used properly. So quality of work need to be high, as with any other medium.

Find Kalle Hakkola at


Andreas C. Kniggeknigge

Comics expert

Professional Background:

Andreas C. Knigge is a publicist, lector, translator and literary agent. He was co-founder and editor of the magazine Comixene and later editor-in-chief at Carlsen’s. He published several books on comics, lastly the biographies of Charles M. Schulz and Hansrudi Wäscher. He is the curator of the upcoming exhibition »Comics! Mangas! Graphic Novels« which will be shown at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn/ Germany 12.05. – 10.09.2017.
Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury ?

Since I love the European idea as much as I love comics: Comics from the different countries come from different traditions, have different strength (and limits) – now artists from different places know each other and can learn from each other which results in much better comics.
What does Europe mean to you?

To join forces and share ideas for a common and colorful future.
How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

Comics are a universal language and can be an interesting way to reflect our world, express our hopes (and doubts) and understand each other better.

Find Andreas C. Knigge at


Mélanie Andrieu
(French/ living in Belgium)

Coordinator of exhibitions and conservation service

Professional Background:

I’m French and I ‘m coming from Toulouse. During 11 years, I worked in different bookshops (in Toulouse, Alès, Marseille, Bruxelles), responsible of Comics section. This pleasant job gave me a chance to discover comics authors, editors and learn more about fascinating universe of the books and comics. I read a lot of comics of all kinds. At the same time, I studied Art History and prepared and got my doctoral thesis. In January 2016, I joined the team of the Comic Strip Museum, combining my passion for Art and Comics.
Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury?

It’s a pleasure for me to join your team and discover people related to comics and Europe cultural organization. It’s always exciting to take part in such a programme, discovering current creation, maybe future authors, and having different looks of people, on the Europe and Europeans, on the world!

What does Europe mean to you?

For me, Europe represents open-mindedness, the possibility to learn from the other, share culture, heritage, expertise, economy…It’s a force and a possibility for countries to support each other, for positive projects or rough times by pooling and sharing ways.

How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

Comics are a privileged way of expression for artists and readers, easy to transmit and share. Writers of comic books are today relatively free in their topic discussed (of course it depends of the country). For me, comics are a popular way to deal with the delicate topics (dictatorial, war, conditions for women, illness, racism…) and are able to get information out to the greatest number. Comics can help with the comprehension of society, and for the youngest, it’s a good way to make them aware. Open, comics could contribute to raise awareness and train the citizens of the future!


Gert Jan Pos

Portraint by/Copyright Jeroen Funke
Portraint by/Copyright Jeroen Funke

Teacher (illustration) at Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam, editor, photographer

Professional Background:

Appointed between 2009 and 2012 to promote Dutch comics in the Netherlands and abroad and organizing since exhibitions and other presentations of Dutch and Flemish comics. The last time during the Buchmesse in Frankfurt in 2016.
Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury?

When it comes to comics there are no borders, comic makers should venture outside their countries, a competition as this provides a platform.
What does Europe mean to you?

No borders, no limits, in the literal and figurative sense. People (should) have an endless possibility in expressing and developing themselves.
How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

Comics can put news and politics into perspective. With humour but also with well- chosen comment on a situation; a good comic sums up the most important in images.

Find Gert Jan Pos at &


Tobias Dahmenautorenfoto_tdahmen_farb
(German/ living in the Netherlands)

Author & comic artist

Professional Background

After my study of Visual communication I stated to work as a professional Illustrator. At the same time I founded the comic anthology ‚Herrensahne‘ in Düsseldorf, which won several prices.

My first collection of short stories ‚Sperrbezirk’ was awarded the Icom award for best short story in 2007. In 2011 I started the Webcomic ‚Fahrradmod‘, in 2015 the complete story was published by Carlsen in Germany and was nominated in 2016 for the Max und Moritz-Preis for best German comic and also the public’s choice award. Fahrradmod will be published in Serbia and the Netherlands as well.

Why did you agree to take part in the Animate Europe jury?

Not only that I draw comics myself, I also read a lot of them, so I think I know sufficient about the art form. I sometimes miss the exchange with colleagues, though.

Talking and discussing about comics is something I really like to do. It didn’t need much persuasive power to make me agree to take part.
What does Europe mean to you?

Being German and living in the Netherlands, traveling through a Europe with no borders feels natural to me. I do remember different times though, I still remember my visit in the former GDR, where my mother comes from. The great freedom that has been achieved for Europe since these days I consider very important and worthy of protection.

How do comics and politics/ political education go together?

I think that comics are always a good medium to reach people. For any subject.

Find Tobias Dahmen at


Valérie Constantconstant


Founder & Director

Professional Background:

Valérie Constant is the founder and director of the communications agency Apropos. She started her career as a journalist, worked as Head of Communications for several cultural institutions, among which the Belgian Comics Strip Center, and the comics publishers Casterman and Fluide Glacial.

Find Valérie at