Visual Methodology of Childhood?


In one of the areas I am considering at present, I am comparing  three different sources which seek to represent children’s experiences of the outdoors:  children’s drawings of their own experiences; photographs of children’s experiences; representations in children’s picture story books.  Using the methodological insights of Gillian Rose, the paper I hope to write will discuss what can be learned from each of the three sources, although with particular reference to images of oppression and renewal in the last of these, the focus of my current research interest.

While maintaining a theoretical/methodological core, I want to look  (partly because of the audience, a research conference)  at three genres: starting from a 4 year old child’s drawing of her/himself in the outdoors, the paper will go on to explore a photograph of children playing outside from an historical source, and conclude with images of children outside in the work of two very different illustrators: Roberto Innocenti, whose Rose Blanche explores growth and renewal in the shadow of the Holocaust, and Michael Foreman, who, in A Child’s Garden, uses images of growth to explore reconciliation in the Middle East. It will, therefore, need to draw on writers such as Anning and Ring, Rose (see above), and Cosgrove to explore the similarities and differences between content and context for the three different examples, but will also look at how childhood and the outdoors stand in relation to each other, and (in the case of the photograph and book illustration in particular) how a visual representation might be employed to carry multiple meanings.


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