Session 3: Frames and Focus
Chair: Daniel Rhia
Re-framing Primary School Visual Literacy: Enrichment from Interdisciplinary Approaches
Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Currently the education field in Australia tends to view the concept of Visual Literacy in terms of a grammatical framework. While use of this type of construct can provide students of all ages and stages with a meta-language to enable them to identify and discuss various aspects of visual literacy, it is far from the only way to ‘frame’ the concept of visual literacy. Some researchers in fact question the notion that applying this type of framework to visual images is either possible or desirable. There is a growing acknowledgment of the importance of teaching children to think critically about visual images and the ways they can serve to position the reader/viewer. Empowering children to respond variously to these images depending upon the range and type of visual media they encounter may require more knowledge and tools than those contained within a grammatical framework. There are a number of disciplines including for example those of art, anthropology, cultural studies, communication studies, narrative, philosophy and media studies that have knowledge that could enrich the ways that we currently view visual literacy in education in Australia. This paper forms part of a symposium that seeks to engage in a dialogue with researchers from these disciplines in order to develop a richer, deeper and more eclectic approach for teaching our children about Visual Literacy.
The Frames, Foramens and Fistulas of the Graphic Novel: An Adolescent View of Visual Literacy in Action
Fiji Practicum and Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
This paper discusses the visual literacy praxis of fifteen adolescents that arose from within a ‘grounded-emergent’ research design. Describing themselves as avid readers of graphic novels these high school students articulated clearly an approach to reading that was aligned to the notion of reading as ‘literary cartography’. For this cohort, the text was an entrée into the visual that allowed a straddling of visual strategies such ‘interiorisation of frames’, ‘resistant internal icons’ and ‘personal orientation’. In essence, these students allowed the visual landscape within and between the ‘gutters’, borders in graphic novels, to be viewed omnisciently, so that the visual elements such as vector foci such as horizon lines, gaze of characters and cultural icons appeared to act as literary landmarks. These visual forces provided the means by which these students could then navigate amongst and between what they perceived to be the representational code, both textual and visual, as well as manoeuvre between the underlying assumptions of the graphic map. Thus for these students the use of visual literacy provided them with a reflective ‘symbolic space’ that was engaging, existential and exegetic.