[in]visibility of identities in Portuguese textbooks

Seed project | i2ADS

Arts Education, Critique and Society
  • Referência
  • i2ADS-2021-[in]visibilidade
  • Período
  • 01.01.2021 — 12.31.2025

The project [in]visible focuses on the study of (in)visibility of identities in the images and illustrations of Portuguese textbooks of the Social & Environmental Studies of the 1st grade of elementary education after 1974. The principle of schooling uses the textbook as an essential didactic tool that accompanies learning. These are books created by publishers, validated by the Ministry of Education, selected by teachers/schools, and which are entrusted with the transmission of knowledge, but also the guidelines of a country inserted in the values of the globalized world. The examples offered by the images in textbooks, in relation to social, political, and cultural structures, are a support for the (re)cognition of self and the other. (Re)cognition of who is mirrored and serves as a model, but also of who is invisible. The (non) presence of visual representations of identities in these books that accompany the knowledge of the world, influences the way in which the past-present-future is constructed. The aim is to verify if these Portuguese textbooks mirror the governmental educational policy, and to study how singular identities are presented and represented in them.

The intention is to develop a critical analysis of how the image contributes to the construction of a representation of normality concerning the identities, where stereotypes tend to be naturalized. To that end, from the methodological perspective, through a mixed strategy, which uses quantitative and qualitative tools for gathering information, the images of Portuguese primary textbooks will be analyzed and a historical archive of these representations will be created. The aim is to design and expose a visual thought about the (in)different representations of (in)visible identities since Portugal left the dictatorship, with the marks of the past, and crossed by the different curricular designs and publications until the 2020s. The criteria of [in]visible are centered on a plurality of representation in what concerns singularities of (non)discriminated identities, like ethnic diversity, gender, sexual identity, social strata, ages, or reduced capacity.

The study intends to build an archive through the survey of the imagery conveyed by the textbooks, analyzing the values they present, contributing to the mapping of the represented identities and interlacing the areas of image/illustration with education and anti-discrimination. The systematization of the information collected will allow us to assess how the producers and legitimizers of these textbooks interpret/apply the national educational policies regarding the presence or absence of plural representation of the identity of their citizens. It is intended to produce a set of good practices from synergies with publishers that enable those involved in the textbook to foster social, cultural, or ethnic plurality, which favors a more inclusive learning, empathetic, and valuing the difference, fulfilling SDG 4, 5 and 10. This is a study that, by building an archive of the [in]visibility of identities, offers different future perspectives, contributing to national and international debates.

  • Participating institutions
    Instituto de Investigação em Arte, Design e Sociedade (i2ADS/FBAUP)
    Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Educativas (CIIE/FPCEUP)
  • Principal Investigator
    Margarida Dias

  • Team
    Cristina Ferreira, Lurdes Gomes