Unlocking and Negotiating Meanings through Narratives and Visual Representations

By Nish Belford.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will discuss how narratives and visual representations address notions of identit(ies) and culture(s) as enacted through artistic expression. A/r/tography as a framework merges my personal perspectives, experiences and reflection within a/r/t identities as an artist, researcher, and teacher. My role as an “animator” (Bresler, 2008) of my study interrogates my aspirations, perception and experiences through my engagement in art making as a generative process, and how it highlights my self-reflexive standpoint in interpreting, and analysing messages and meanings within my narratives and visual representations. ‘The medium is the message’(McLuhan, 2006) is used metaphorically to define how narratives and visual representations underscore semiotics and visual signs (Fulton, 2005), which generate meaning and relate to notions of culture(s) and identit(ies). The ‘interplay between text and image’, art as representation, and ‘the interface between interpretation and analysis’ (Leavy, 2009), foreground ‘metaphorical dialogues’ (Fitzgerald, 1993), and self-reflexive stances. A phenomenological approach towards interpretation and analysis decipher themes, symbolic and semiotic messages and meanings and metaphors within my narratives and artistic expression. These depart onto rhetoric of intersubjectivity situated in and through a dialogue. Such reflexive iteration (Srivastava & Hopwood, 2009), and ‘semiosis’ and an ‘interpretivist approach’ towards analysis reflect negotiation of meanings as through a “rhizomatic thinking” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 21), that underscore ambivalence and hybridity in defining my culture(s) and identit(ies).

Keywords: A/r/tography, A/r/t Identities, Animator, Phenomenological, Interpretivist Approach

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp.33-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.278MB).

Dr. Nish Belford

PhD Student, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am currently in the second year of my PhD at Deakin University, Australia. I have worked as a secondary school art teacher in Mauritius for more than seven years. I have tried to bridge theory with practice through research and reflective practice. Research interests: (i) Action research (use of recycling paper and other materials) to produce artwork that sustains a greener environment, (ii) curriculum and pedagogy in art education—through “Comparative study of Art Education in the upper Secondary sector in the Mascarene Region.” My current research focuses on reconciling my different roles as artist/art teacher/researcher (within a/r/t identities). I am investigating how a/r/tography as a framework responds in merging my experience and reflection within a/r/t identities to investigate how identity and culture connects to artistic expression. I am also investigating how narratives and visual representation, art making as process and experience, the interplay of text and image and a reflexive analysis addresses to my research problem. How the use of metaphors and themes within my artistic expressions links to themes and concepts in both art as representation, art education and cultural studies as cross disciplinary ventures, is what I am currently looking into.


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