Ways of seeing the school: the production of subjectivities within educational spaces

Catarina Martins, Inês Miguel, Catarina Almeida, Paulo Fernandes


The certainty that our ways of seeing and producing representations of reality is mediated by visual and textual discourses underlines the need of rethinking the modes in which we relate to these contexts. Starting from a post-structuralist perspective we intend, through images of school spaces, undertake an analysis of school as a disciplinary institution within which various dynamics of power-knowledge and its effects in the subjectivities of both students and teachers take place. Considering the image as a discourse we will mobilize the theoretical apparatus from the field of visual culture studies. Assuming this photo essay as an exercise of ‘writing of the self’, the authors bring to this forum the possibility of rethinking their own practices as teachers, researchers and artists, through a critical position that encounters in visuality a way of thinking differently about education. The article starts from photographic images classified into two types. Some are captured by the authors in their own schools, spaces in which they circulate everyday as part of their professional lives as teachers. Others come from photographic archives, publications or from the internet. The photo-essay puts into action, through the exercise of producing images and a text, what seems to be an exhibition of seeing. It will make strange some familiarities, and familiar what was thought as strange. The proposal is very much a collaborative work among the authors, and it opens into dialogues in which the ‘space’ and the images, the representations of school and schooling, are important factors in shaping pupils and teachers lives.

Keywords: Ways of Seeing, Visual Culture, School, Art Education, Discourse, Subjectivity

Year 2011
Type Journal Article without peer review
Publication The International Journal of the Arts in Society, vol.6, n.3
Pages 9-20
Publisher Common Ground
Local Champaign, Illinois, USA