Engaging Visuality: Developing a University Course on Visual Culture

By Kevin Tavin.

Published by The Arts Collection

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

Because complex issues of seeing, interpreting, and producing representations cannot be adequately considered in any one “art” discipline, and representational practices refuse to remain confined to any material or symbolic boundary through art, there is a need for transdisciplinary undergraduate courses in visual culture. This paper describes the development and implementation of a course on visual culture in an institution of higher education in the United States. The content of the course focuses on the critical analysis and interpretation of various images and texts, and how they move from one social arena to another. This analysis includes looking closely at elements of visual culture that function to regulate, categorize, and identify cultures and ideas. The interpretation includes engaging images according to their socio-historical contexts, investigating the relationship of images to ideology, and thinking about the ways that we make meaning from and award value to images. Integral to the course is a transdisciplinary inquiry that examines ways of looking, such as different “gazes,” contemporary communication technologies and global media technologies used as a tool to support cultural and political autonomy in the face of globalization.

Keywords: Visual Culture, Visual Studies, Visuality, Art Education, Social Diversity, Cultures and Ideas, Everyday Life, University Course, Transdisciplinarity

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.115-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.209MB).

Dr. Kevin Tavin

Associate Professor, The Department of Art Education, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Kevin Tavin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art Education at The Ohio State University in the U.S. He holds a BFA, M.Ed., and a Ph.D. in art education and has taught K-12 and post-secondary courses since 1990. Tavin’s research focuses on visual culture, critical pedagogy, cultural studies, aesthetics, and art education. His work is published in numerous journals including Art Education; InSEA News, The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education; The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education; NAEA News, Studies in Art Education; and Visual Arts Research.Tavin has presented papers at various international, national, and regional conferences and symposia, including the International Society for Education through Art conferences in Stockholm, Sweden, Heidelberg, Germany, Seoul, South Korea, and Osaka Japan. In addition, Tavin has given keynote presentations in South Korea, Brazil, Japan, Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and the U.S. In September of 2008, Tavin worked at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland as a Fulbright Senior Specialist.


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