Comics Around the Baltic Sea Seminar

On the 9th and 10th December the Finnish Comics Society organizes an international comics seminar in the Koomiksikeskus. The seminar focuses on comics culture in the countries around the Baltic sea. The main idea of the seminar is to talk about possibilities of building a comics programme that would cover all these Baltic sea countries. This would need EU financing, and one of the biggest aims of this seminar is to see if support could be applied. In addition to the planning of the EU programme the object is to discuss eg. how Baltic cooperation between the comics festivals could be increased.

Among the attendees of the seminar:

Kalle Hakkola (Finland, Helsinki Comics Center and Helsinki comics festival)

Mari Ahokoivu (Finland, Finnish Comics Society, Nordicomics program)

mariMari Ahokoivu ( born in 1984) is full of energy. Some three years ago she moved from Oulu to Helsinki and now she is unstoppable working as a comics teacher, illustrator, producer at the Comics Centre, co-organizer of the Helsinki Comics Festival and co-editor of the Finnish comics journal Sarjainfo. Still, she finds time to regularly update her comic blog, make graphic novels, contribute to international anthologies or occasionally draw a pink pony.



Ville Hänninen (Finland)

kuvaaVille Hänninen (born in 1976) is a journalist and writer who has written about comics since 1997. He has written or edited dozen books, most of them about comics. Latest books are Finnish Comics Annual 2011, a colossal anthology of Finnish comics, and Päin näköä, an interview book about contemporary Finnish comic artists. On March there will be an exhibition of comics in the Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA, curated by Ville Hänninen, with Harri Römpötti and Arja Miller. Hänninen has also been involved with Finnish Comics Society for over ten years.


Gert Jan Pos (Netherlands, Netherlands Foundation for the visual arts)


Gert Jan Pos has been working for the Netherlands Foundation for the visual arts, architecture and design, to promote Dutch comics and comic makers. In the past two years he has mounted comics exhibitions in Barcelona, Beijing and Budapest. In the Netherlands he has set up various projects to promote comics to a domestic audience. He also writes about comics as a journalist and works as a translator.


Mads Bluhm (Denmark,

madsbluhmMads is the chairman of – Copenhagen’s International Comics Festival. He is also on the board of The Danish Comics Council and writes for the Danish comics website Mads is a Librarian D.B. from The Royal School of Library and Information Science. He works as a children’s/youth librarian and has done a variety of lectures and courses for librarians and school librarians on the subject of comics. He lives and works in Copenhagen.


Joonas Sildre (Estonia)

Joonas Sildre (1980) has studied in the Estonian Academy of Arts and is currently a freelance illustrator. Sildre has organized comics exhibitions, edited comics anthologies and in 2009, published a comic book for children called “Maailma naba” (“The navel of the world”). Sildre also teaches comics to art students.

Dmitry Yakovlev (Russia, Boomfest – international comics festival)

Dmitry YakovlevDmitry Yakovlev was born in 1981 in Kirishi, a small town near Saint-Petersburg (Russia). He has been interested in comic art since 2003. The first comic exhibition he organized was held in 2005 in Saint-Petersburg and presented the comic art of local artists. In 2007, he and his friends organized Boomfest, an international comic festival which focused on promoting artistic and literary comics. The international programme included exhibitions of Tove Jansson, Osamu Tezuka, David B, Dino Buzzati, Gary Baseman, Joe Sacco, Keiji Nakazawa, Emanuel Guibert, Lorenzo Mattotti, Katja Tukiainen, Edmond Baudoin, Julie Doucet, Miguel Gallardo and more from around the world. Along with the festival, several Russian comic art exhibitions have been organized outside Russia: in Angouleme and Bastia (France), Helsinki and Turku (Finland).

Agne Litvinaite (Lithuania, Kitokia Grafika)

agneAgne (born 1984) is a journalist and the director of a public institution “Kitokia grafika” which seeks to develop comics culture in Lithuania and beyond. Since 2003 Agne had been working in mass-media covering cultural issues. Now she is working in the theatre as a head of press office. Agne got interested in comic art a few years ago when met underground comics artist Nerijus Smolianskis. Together with other five enthuasiasts they created “Kitokia grafika”.

Nerijus Smolianskis (Lithuania, Kitokia Grafika)

nerijusNerijus Smolianskis, now living and working in Vilnius (Lithuania), is a cartoonist and undeground comix fanzine publisher since 1999. Nerijus has created his first comix during Geology studies in Germany. From that time he has published few fanzines together with other comics artists from Germany, Czech Republic, UK and Lithuania. Nerijus is also one of the members of newly established Lithuanian comics organization “Kitokia grafika”.

Christian Maiwald (Germany, Reprodukt)

Christian Maiwald was born in 1977. After studying cultural studies and majoring with a thesis paper on the history of public perception of comics in Germany he started working for different publishers in the comics field. Since 2005 he is working for Reprodukt in different positions, mainly as producer and editor. He also co-maintains the online portal

Sascha Hommer (Germany)

Sascha Hommer, born in 1979, is a German comic artist, illustrator, curator and comic anthology editor. Besides his solo publications, his most recent book being a collection of literary adaptations, he edits the international comic anthology ORANG. At the moment, Hommer is working on a book about his recent travel to Mainland China.

espen holtestaulEspen Holtestaul (Norway, No comprendo press)

Espen Holtestaul (born 1965), founder and publisher at No Comprendo Press, Oslo since 1992. No Comprendo Press is one of Norway’s leading pubishers of comics, graphic novels, graphic art etc., Norwegian and translations of international artists.



David Schilter (Latvia, Kus)

david kush by danield csordasDavid Schilter is the co-founder of kuš!, the only comics anthology in Latvia. Kuš! ( was founded in 2007 and regularly releases comics from Latvian and international contributors. Apart from publishing comics, kuš! also organizes exhibitions, workshops and other comics related activities.


 Kristiina Kolehmainen (Sweden, Serieteket)

Kristiina Kolehmainen became interested in comics somewhere in the mid 70’s, mostly with american underground and swedish Jan Lööfs newpaperstrip ”Felix”. In 1985 she moved from Finland to Sweden and started to work at Stockholm city Library. She worked there until 1995 and at the same time she started the planning of Serieteket, a special library for comics and graphic literature. Serieteket opened in 18.11 1996 in Stockholm. During the years Kolehmainen has produced around 40 comics exhibitions with swedish or foreign artists, organising since 1999 (12 comics festivals and two fantasy festivals) at Kulturhuset in Stockholm and has been taking care of the Nordic co-operations exhibition ”Cap au Nord” 1997-1999 which started in Angoulême 1996 and toured in 11 cities around Europe. She has also translated a couple of comics in to Finnish and Swedish. Kristiina Kolehmainen works at Serieteket in Stockholm Kulturhuset as a team cooperator.

Mikhal Slomka (Poland. Ligatura)

Programme of the seminar

Friday from 13 to 19 : Introduction of the participants, the participating countries, their organizations and ongoing projects

Saturday from 12 to 18 : Comics of the Baltic sea programme. What could we do? How could we do it?

(Sunday, optional: Free discussions, networking)

The Finnish Comics Society provides accommodation and travel for the seminar. The seminar is invitation only, but if you are interested in joining please contact The seminar is supported by CIMO.