On Friday 28th June, the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence hosted a conference and reception to celebrate the forthcoming centenary of Billiken.
Dr Lauren Rea, from the University of Sheffield, and Euhen Matarozzo, current director of Billiken, shared some of the gems uncovered from the vast Billikenarchive and presented their vision for Billiken beyond the centenary.
Argentina’s Billiken is the world’s longest-running children’s magazine. It has published 5141 issues to date and will be celebrating its centenary in November this year.
Unlike the comics magazines such as ‘The Beano’, familiar to UK readers, Billiken’s content extends beyond comics to illustrated short and serialised stories, graphic novels, readers’ letter, craft activities, educational material aligned to the Argentine national curriculum and photographs of contemporary political and world events. For generations, Billiken was a fixture in the childhoods of those growing up in Argentina and other Latin American countries. Today, as it approaches its centenary, Billiken is reinventing itself as a multiplatform product, tailored to the new ways in which children are consuming and curating 'edutainment' content.
Dr Lauren Rea (Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield) is researching the history of Billiken with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Her research is underpinning Billiken’s transition into its new phase and she is working alongside Billiken’s director, Euhen Matarozzo, on new products for the wider Billiken brand including bilingual children’s books and an animated series for Billiken YouTube channel.
• Ambassador Carlos Sersale di Cerisano:
“The fact that the magazine survived all these changes in the world and in our country is an amazing success story, not only for Argentina. It is a national treasure and part of all of our memories as children and parents.”
• Euhen Matarozzo:
“Working with Lauren has helped us to position Billiken for the future. We have rediscovered the spirit of innovation upon which Billiken was founded and are working to ensure that this iconic product endures for another hundred years. My visit to the UK has been a great opportunity to spread the word about Billiken, a great Argentine – and Latin American - cultural institution.”
• Dr Rea:
“The Billiken archive offers a fascinating insight into Argentine Cultural History. I'm very proud to be sharing some of my research findings at the Argentine Ambassador's Residence alongside Blliken's director, Euhen Matarozzo.
More pics Flickr @ArginUK