Unlocking Visual Texts: Investigating Multimodal Trends

in Learning to See: The Meanings, Modes and Methods of Visual Literacy

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This chapter focuses on a number of graffiti, which appeared in numerous female lavatories of a postsecondary school in Malta. Most of these visuals were accompanied by written text, which mainly expounded issues related to sexualities and romantic relationships. These visuals testify to the need of female students to express themselves in environments that go beyond formal education in classrooms. Through these visual images, students attempt to create spaces where they can give voice to their feelings, doubts, struggles, perplexities and hopes in relation to sexual feelings and encounters. In the absence of sexuality education in the curriculum, the images are understood as having provided a possible form of visual literacy, through which new ways of learning about the sexual and the intimate have been sought. This type of literacy may be the result of the students’ effort to resist a desexualized school policy. The analysis of three particular examples of graffiti is employed through a multimodal approach, in order to draw out the possible implications that this type of literacy might have on their understandings of sexuality issues.


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