Picturing Girlhood: Keynote by Julia Round

Julia Round’s Keynote explored possession through the prism of complex identities which young teenage girls negotiate. Round argued that possession moves beyond indoctrination and is rather a negotiation of trauma. Through a study of Misty and Spellbound, Round related possession to emotive, gothic motifs particularly with regard to social interactions, friendships, power and isolation. The research presented focused on the symbolic ways in which the comics represent possession, the kinds of effects associated with it and the extent to which possession forms a relationship between possessor and possessed. Not always evil, but often dark, themes were tackled by these comics, engaging with complex conversations about individuality, choice, restrictions and culpability, despite the young intended readership.