29 SES 09, Ways of Approaching the Visual
This research seeks to uncover and harness into curriculum-making our emerging understandings about young peoples’ contemporary use of digital photography. In a post-industrial epoch, digital modes of image capture and transmission (Rubenstein 2015) are redistributing the apparatuses of cultural production into the hands of its participants (Usher and Edwards 2007). In this emerging, unprecedented, participatory visual culture, Kress (2008) argues that all individuals are ‘designers’who constantly make and remake (with post-modern sensibilities) the semiotic resources available to them, in order to communicate in a multiplicity of private and public contexts. Kress (2005) observes that these changes present ‘gains and losses’, but argues both pose challenges to canonical boundaries, genres, and long-established structures of power and control. These effects are being felt acutely in education, where curricula and pedagogy can no longer be based on the ‘knowns’ of teachers’ pasts (Kress 2003). Sociological studies of young people’s photographic practices exist in youth studies, visual studies, and anthropology but this literature rarely connects to education.
The Literacies for Learning in Further Education project (LfLFE) (Mannion et al 2007) advised that young people may have more resources to bring to education than is evident to many education professionals. LfLFE saw enormous scope for learners to develop new literacies, and for teachers to render their pedagogies more resonantly with the modern literacy practices of young people. However, there is long history of reluctance amongst teachers to embrace the top-down introduction of technology that doesn’t immediately appear to support existing pedagogies or modes of classroom management (Cuban 1986). These concerns are amplified by the uncertainties of a new digital, participatory, predominantly visual age (Howard & Mozejk 2015). Studies of performative visual pedagogies in schools involving pupils and teachers (Chung 2005, Grushka & Donnelly 2010, Share 2015) observe variable levels of practical, technical proficiency with image-making tools, but most significantly, identify a paucity of critical awareness amongst teachers to make use of photographs beyond the simple illustration of word-based pedagogies, and to support and guide the emergent critical visual literacy of their pupils.
This research employs a non-representational theory (Thrift 2008) of photography, through which photographs can be conceptualised as more ‘affective’ than representative. Rose (2011) argues that concentrating solely on ‘what’ is made visible rather than ‘how’, ignores the effects of contemporary discourses on the socially-situated practices of making and interpreting photographs.
The research questions formulated to address these issues are:
- How are the vernacular photo-literacies of young people performed in their everyday lives, and what do young people consider they produce?
- How do teachers currently employ digital photography in their approaches to curriculum-making and in their pedagogies?
- How and when can children and young people’s vernacular photo-literacies be harnessed in learning teaching, and assessment?
- What are the implications of the findings (from 1,2 & 3 above) for the wider use of digital photography in educational visual theory, policy and practice?
Allwright, D. (2005) Developing Principles for Practitioner Research: The Case of Exploratory Practice. Modern Language Journal, 89(3), pp 353-366. Chung, S.K. (2005) Media/Visual Literacy Art Education: Cigarette Ad Deconstruction. Art Education, 58(3), pp 19-24. Cuban, L. (1986) Teachers and Machines. Teachers College Press, New York. Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1987) A thousands plateaus. Athlone, London. Fox, N. J. & Alldred, P. (2014) New materialist social inquiry: designs, methods and the research-assemblage, International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Grushka, K. & Donnelly, D. (2010) Digital Technologies and performative pedagogies: Repositioning the visual. Digital Culture & Education, Vol 2 (1) pp 83-102. Howard, S. K., & Mozejko, A. (2015) Teachers: technology, change and resistance. Teaching and Digital Technologies: Big Issues and Critical Questions, 307. Kress, G. (2003) Literacy in the new media age. Routledge, London. Kress, G. (2005) Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and composition, (22) pp 5-22. Kress, G. (2008) Meaning and learning in a world of instability and multiplicity. Studies in Philosophy and Education, Vol 27, (4) pp 253-266. Kusenbach, M. (2003) Street phenomenology the go-along as ethnographic research tool. Ethnography, 4 (3), pp 455-485. Mannion, G., Ivanič, R. & the Literacies for Learning in Further Education (LfLFE) Research Group (2007) Mapping literacy practices: theory, methodology, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol 20, (1) pp 15-30. Masny, D. (2014) Disrupting Ethnography through Rhizoanalysis. Qualitative Research in Education, Vol 3, (3) pp 345-363. Pink, S. (ed) (2012) Advances in Visual Methodology. Sage, London. Rose, G. (2011) Visual Methodologies: Interpreting Visual Materials, Sage, London. Rubenstein, D. (2015) What is 21st century photography? http://thephotographersgalleryblog.org.uk/2015/07/03/what-is-21st-century-photography [accessed: 31.8.15] St. Pierre, E. A. (1997) Methodology in the fold and the irruption of transgressive data. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, (10) pp 175-189. St. Pierre, E.A. (2013) The Appearance of Data, Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, Vol 13, (4) pp 223–227. Share, J. (2015) Cameras in classrooms: Photography’s Pedagogical Potential. In Baylen, D.M. & D’Alba, A. (eds) Essentials of teaching and integrating visual and media literacy. Springer, Switzerland. Thomas, G. (2011) 'The case: generalisation, theory and phronesis in case study', Oxford Review of Education, 37, (1) pp 21-35. Thrift N, (2008) Non-representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. Routledge, London. Usher, R. & Edwards, R. (2007) Lifelong Learning – Signs, discourses, Practices. Springer, London.
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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