Joelle Ebene, Michel Kichka


Research Cluster Leads:
Erin Jessee (PhD), Fransiska Louwagie (PhD)
Staff: Sean Callaghan
Community Consultants: Jerome Irankunda, Sylvere Mwizerwa
Photographer: Marc Ellison

Additional Funding

University of Aberdeen


The Rwanda Research Cluster will create two graphic novels that centre survivors’ memories of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi: a three-month period of extreme violence during which Hutu Power extremists attempted to annihilate the nation’s Tutsi minority. The graphic novels will teach readers about the genocide and also post-genocide efforts to promote national unity and reconciliation, as well as legal accountability for genocide-related crimes. This project cluster is particularly sensitive to the fact that Rwandan storytelling forms can sometimes look very different from what Euro-American audiences might expect.

Research Trip March 2024

In March 2024, the Rwandan Research Cluster team, including co-leads Drs Erin Jessee and Fransiska Louwagie, and artists Duta Ebene and Michel Kichka, undertook a first trip to Rwanda, supported by Rwandan researchers Jerome Irankunda and Sylvere Mwizerwa, and funded through an ODA project grant from the University of Aberdeen’s International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF). Taking place just before the 30th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the trip offered the opportunity for a workshop at the Kigali Genocide Memorial with representatives of Ibuka, (the umbrella organisation for genocide survivors), Aegis Trust (an NGO that supports peace education), and the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement (MINUBUMWE).

The trip also included visits to several genocide memorials to help the team build regional networks and understanding, and lay the groundwork for potential future partnerships to develop the graphic novels and associated educational materials. Beyond Rwanda, the team has also met online with diasporic Rwandan survivors in North America and Europe, as they work toward deciding on a precise focus for each graphic novel and enhance their broader understanding of the atrocities and their legacies for subsequent generations.

Photos by Marc Ellison.

In Memoriam

Our team is keen to remember our collaborating partner, Professor Bert Ingelaere (University of Antwerp), who sadly passed away on February 4, 2022. His work on qualitative research and transitional justice in Rwanda was foundational to our cluster’s initial research design, and his kindness and generosity as a scholar are greatly missed. An in memoriam by Lidewyde Berckmoes from the African Studies Centre Leiden can be found here.


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