Sarjis is an interdisciplinary research group that investigates the potential of comic-style communication in legal and social welfare contexts. The group is currently carrying out two projects, Word to Image (Sanasta kuvaksi, 2020-2023; funded by Kone foundation) and Graphic Justice (Oikeutta sarjakuvan keinoin, 2020-2024; funded by the Academy of Finland).
Dr Laura Kalliomaa-Puha works as a professor of social welfare law. Her research interests have focused on proactive law, changes in social welfare law such as civil law tools in public law like contracts and consumer protection, as well as vulnerable groups’ access to justice. Understanding one’s rights and duties is a precondition for access to justice. In these projects she is interested in finding out whether comic contracts could add on to this understanding and could comic contracts be legally binding. Could legal design secure accessible information on people’s rights? Kalliomaa-Puha is the principal investigator of the Word to Image project.
Anne Ketola did her PhD on the translation of illustrated texts. In Sarjis, she examines the production processes of comic contracts, especially from the viewpoint of how the illustrations are created. Ketola’s prior research examines on the functions of illustrations as well word-image interaction, especially in technical communication and children’s books.
Vaula Haavisto conducted her PhD in adult education. She has studied proactive contracting and conceptualized contracts as a script for collaboration. Her prior research has revolved around user perspective on legal services and conflict resolution in the context of custody disputes. In Sarjis, she examines contracts as mediating tools of human interaction: for example, the potential of comic contracts to include psycho-educative elements or to produce commitment, trust or sense of security.
Kirsi Günther did her PhD in social work. In her dissertation, she studied professional documentation in social work. Her research interests include social work practices and documentation in welfare institutions as well as text studies and comic contracts. She locates herself as a researcher in the field of the study of institutional interaction in social work. In Sarjis, she examines the comic contracts from the viewpoint of client participation and client centredness.
Mira Kainulainen’s ongoing doctoral research examines comic documents as an instrument of accessibility and social participation. The goal of the research is to further develop functional translation theory for intersemiotic translation and accumulate information on the characteristics and functionality of comic documents from the viewpoint of their users. Accessible communication improves users’ social participation because it helps them to understand communication about and for them.
Jan Pitkäsalo works as a comic artist in the comic contract project. He is responsible for the graphic part of the projects as well as designing the characters involved in the comic contracts. He focuses on intersemiotic adaptation and storytelling.