Research into Visual Literacy

I have recently began a PhD in design at the University of Canberra, looking at the role of visual literacy in emerging reader chapter books.

The purpose of my study will be to investigate visual literacy from the perspective of the creators of illustrated works. From my initial readings on the topic of visual literacy, it is normally tackled by educators and literature experts. While this is highly appropriate, a unique perspective on the subject can be gained by discussing visual literacy with the people who create it.

Books that are narrative driven by text and illustrations occupy a unique phase of in a student’s journey to literacy. The transition from first concept books to pictures books then onto illustrated chapter books can set a student onto a path of life long reading.  As a professional illustrator my work is primarily in the area of emerging reader chapter books for 8 to 12 year olds. I feel that this a very important stage in the reading journey and that through greater understanding we can support children both learn to read and develop a love of books and literature.

While I have access to limited research funds, I am alway looking for more opportunities. One of which is a ‘Big Ideas – pitch for funding’ run through the University. I will have 3 minutes to explain my research proposal and the reason it is relevant and deserves funding. Unlike most of my other presentations, where I can draw illustrations or show an avalanche of images. I am limited to a single image to support my concept. below is my book bridge image for the presentation.

Big Ideas Pitch image Tony Flowers 2015 smf

I am hoping that the pitch will be successful and I receive some extra funding to assist with my research expenses. It is my aim that this research will have a practical out come, giving teachers resources to draw upon for a more in depth understanding of an illustrators work practices and the visual narrative devices they construct. Enhancing their ability to utilise illustrated works in supporting a student’s development of visual and text based literacy skills.

Please feel free to contact me at tony@flowersink.com.au if you are interested in my research area.

Tony Flowers

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