Wednesday Seminar: Visual methods in researching practices and identities
Anne Pitkänen-Huhta, a professor and vice dean responsible for education at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, will give a talk on visual methods in studying practices and identities.
In this presentation, I will focus on visual methods (e.g. photographs, drawings, collages) in researching language and literacy practices, and identities. Visual methods are increasingly used in research that tries to capture the subjective experiences of language users, language learners, or language teachers, often with the aim of awareness raising and emancipation. It is assumed and expected that visuals offer research participants an alternative way (to verbal means) to express their experiences and feelings and to reflect on their language and literacy practices, identities or multilingual repertoires. In recent years, research on language learning has been criticised for its lack of attention to the individuals doing the learning (e.g. Kramsch 2009) and for its monolingual bias (e.g. May 2011, Douglas Fir group 2016). In this talk, I will show how visual methods can be used to respond to this critique. I will first give a brief overview of what visual methods are and then illustrate their use through data from projects that have examined multilingual language and literacy practices of young people and children and the professional identity development of student teachers.