International Journal of Art & Design Education

Seen, Unseen or Overlooked? How can Visual Perception Develop through a Multimodal Enquiry?

Volume 31.3   2012

Payne, Rachel


This article outlines an exploration into the development of visual perception through analysing the process of taking photographs of the mundane as small-scale research. A preoccupation with social construction of the visual lies at the heart of the investigation by correlating the perceptive process to Mitchell's (2002) counter thesis for visual study and Sontag's (1979) analysis of the function of photography in society. Why visual perception is a fundamental human activity is considered and so positioned as a vital component of art education. Pedagogical implications for teaching visual perception and expertise to others are subsequently revealed, including the appropriate selection of media to construct and communicate meaning through an exploration of subject-matter, and the need to consider symbiotic processes which enable the construction and refinement of perception and meaning for maker and audience. How this contributes to a debate about the purpose of an art education is tentatively examined in the light of current educational policy and ideology.