Using comics to highlight microaggressions in clinical teaching areas

Published on 4 October 2023

A comic produced by the School of Dentistry and Scottish Centre for Comics Studies (SCCS) is designed to start conversations about microaggressions.

On this page

The School of Dentistry and the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies (SCCS) have worked together to understand the scope of racism, particularly instances of racial microaggressions, experienced by staff and students while working in clinical areas. 


A microaggression is ‘a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination or prejudice against members of a marginalized group such as a racial minority’ (OED). Sometimes it’s hard to respond to microaggressions because individuals may feel uncertain whether a microaggression has occurred, leaving them unsure about how to respond or if doing so will help. Responding directly to a microaggression may bring about negative consequences, including accusations of being oversensitive or paranoid, or being told that such responses confirm stereotypes about minorities. This can result in these real experiences becoming invalidated, which is harmful for all concerned. 

The comic

This comic (see downloads section on this page) is designed to start conversations about microaggression by presenting four stories from staff and students from our community based on their experiences of racist microaggressions. We hope these stories will lead to more conversations about microaggressions generally, and racist microaggressions, leading to a greater understanding of how microaggressions can detrimentally impact people. Identifying racial microaggressions allows us to consider our own behaviour and that of others to help create a community that is fair and inclusive. 

The examples illustrated in these stories have been adapted from real stories provided by staff and students at Dundee Dental Hospital and Research School. These are an amalgamation of experiences and are not a direct representation of any individual example. Consent was obtained for use of these stories. 

This comic was written by Chris Murray, Golnar Nabizadeh, Kitty Guo, and Mohammad Islam. The artwork was created by Clio Ding, with production by Damon Herd. 

The creation of this comic was funded by The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. 


Where any instances of racism has been experienced on an NHS teaching clinic, these should be reported through the NHS DATIX system and to the School’s EDI lead. Any instances of racism will be investigated.

Further training on the appropriate management of racism in clinical settings is being developed. 

Other work

The SCCS has produced numerous publications including public information comics and other work in collaboration with the Dental School. 

Further work is linked below: 

Public information and educational comics

Comics and oral health


Story category Student work/achievement