Skip to main content

Create & Learn

ALIA: Consciousness in comic strips

Science and creation for secondary schools with the Center for Brain and Cognition (UPF) and Escola JOSO

ALIA is the CCCB’s education programme for young people that brings together scientific research and artistic creation. In this third edition, 200 fourth-year ESO and first-year Baccalaureate students and their teachers in the Barcelona metropolitan region tackle a series of challenges to investigate the workings of the brain and understand what human consciousness is. The result of their investigation will take the form of a very special graphic novel. Accompanied by scientists from the Center for Brain and Cognition (UPF) and Escola JOSO.

Some 86,000,000,000 neurones (the Earth has 7,300,000,000 inhabitants!) and a total of 160,000 km of nerve fibres make up our brain and nervous system. The brain directs our body: it controls the rest of the organs, and coordinates our thoughts and actions. The brain is responsible for instinctive traits as well as speech, reflective ability and emotions. But the functioning of the billions of neurons and neurotransmitters that make up the brain remains a great unknown, and is perhaps one of the most fascinating challenges we face. What is the nature of knowledge? How do we explain the reality we experience? Where does consciousness of the self come from?

Throughout the 10 months that the programme lasts, 200 young people will study one of the themes of consciousness assigned to them: memory, language or perception.

ALIA, a programme created jointly with the Centre for Brain and Cognition (UPF), with the support of Fundació Banc Sabadell, invites six schools to take part in a journey inside the brain, during which we will try to explain what human consciousness is and where it can be found. As well as visiting the exhibition Brains(s) that the CCCB opened at the end of July, the six selected class groups will get to find out at first-hand some of the research programmes of the Centre for Brain and Cognition and talk to its researchers. With the findings of this journey, each participating school will prepare a script that the students of Joso School. Comic and Visual Arts Centre will turn into a graphic novel that will be presented at the CCCB at the end of the academic year.



  • 5-23 September 2022: open call for schools.
  • 30 September 2022: confirmation of the six chosen centres.
  • 25 October 2022: presentation to teachers of the educational materials.
  • 2 November 2022: talk with neuroscientist Jordi Camí.
  • 3-5 November 2022: teacher training days.
  • November-December 2022: independent work in the schools on the brain and visit to the exhibition Brain(s).
  • January-March 2023: independent work on the script of the comic about the brain, visit to the exhibition Graphic Constellation and meeting with a neuroscientist from the Centre for Brain and Cognition. The deadline for handing in the finished script is the end of March.
  • April-May 2023: students at Joso School. Comic and Visual Arts Centre turn the young people’s script into a cartoon.
    15 June 2023: presentation of the project at the CCCB. 

The challenges

Each of the selected schools will be assigned a challenge to work on that is related to one of the following themes:

  • Consciousness and perception
  • Consciousness and language
  • Consciousness and memory

The tools

Participants will devote an estimated average of 48 hours to the project, distributed as follows:

  • Independent work in the classroom on the assigned challenge, based on a guide with materials prepared by the scientist José Valenzuela Ruiz.
  • Visits to the CCCB’s exhibitions: Brain(s) and Graphic Constellation.
  • First-hand knowledge of a research programme of the Centre for Brain and Cognition, in the company of one of its lead investigators.
  • Writing of a script for a graphic novel about the brain to be handed in to the CCCB on 31 March, to enable the Joso School. Comic and Visual Arts Centre to illustrate it.

The chosen secondary schools

  • Institut Torrent de les Bruixes (Badalona)
  • Saint Peter’s School (Barcelona)
  • Institut Les Aimerigues (Terrassa)
  • IE El Martinet (El Ripollet)
  • Institut Ca n’Oriac (Sabadell)
  • Institut 9 (Santa Coloma de Gramenet)


Participants: Jose Valenzuela Ruiz, Núria Sebastián, Gustavo Deco, Silvana Silva, Salvador Soto, Mireia Torralba, Luca Bonatti, Matteo Farinella

This activity is part of Brain(s), Graphic Constellation, ALIA

Related contents

Closing party "ALIA: Consciousness in comic strips"

We descover the comic about consciousness

Closing party of the project "ALIA.La conciencia en viñetas", which relates scientific dissemination with artistic creation, with a conversation between the neuroscientist Ignacio Morgado and the illustrator Oriol Malet, and the sharing of the collaborative informative comic resulting ...

Watch the video

Consciousness in comic strips. Arkaitz González

How to write an informative comic script

Arkaitz González, cartoonist and comic teacher at the JOSO School teaches the students of the institutes participating in the ALIA project how to write an informative comic script.

Watch the video


With the support of