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MEMORY, IMAGE AND OTHERNESS: audiovisual experiences of young people in southern Brazil

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Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to discuss the data from a research with Teacher Education young students of the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, about their experiences with audiovisual images. The data are part of the third stage of a research started in 2008 with young 17 to 30 year-old people. After analyzing 600 questionnaires with data concerning cultural consumption habits (theater, cinema, television, Internet, literature), we performed two other types of data survey: (1) debates with groups of students after movie screenings and (2) individual interviews. The purpose of this paper is to specifically analyze 20 individual interviews by articulating them with the questionnaires and the meetings with the groups of students.
Our theoretical framework consider the following concepts: (1) memory and narrative as proposed by Walter Benjamin and Henri Bergson, (2) discourse, ‘care of the self’ and ethical-esthetical education, according to Michel Foucault, and (3) image as social and historical relationship, from the work of Inés Dussel and Georges Didi-Huberman.
The methodological procedures included individual interviews, each one lasting at least two hours. The series of interviews was structured around the issues arising from the previous steps (questionnaire and group meetings). The interviewees spoke freely about their experiences with visual images, from the earliest childhood memories, laying particular emphasis on their most significant memories. We started with the question: ‘Which image do you remember as the most meaningful in your life, and that you have never forgotten?’. This question was followed by others about characters, myths, fiction scenes and advertisings, somehow related to different media. We also inquired about their choices in terms of music, movies, TV shows, and Internet sites. Besides that, there was a question approaching the respondents’ experiments with production, make available, sharing and archive digital images. Finally, the students were asked to express their positioning as to the use of images from various media in school, and even in their own education as students teachers.
The interviews confirmed some data previously obtained in the questionnaires: for example, there is a strong association between image and reality, and the utilitarian use of audiovisual images in education, with ‘instrumental’ objectives. However, in the individual interviews we observed: (1) a wide diversity of ways of defining the meaning of the word ‘image’, sometimes understood as an iconographic object (e.g. a photograph, a painting), sometimes regarded as a lived experience (memory of an unforgettable experience during childhood), or even as a role of a character (from the movies, TV, videogames, advertising); (2) the remarkable presence of all kinds of images in those youths’ daily lives, particularly taking into account the relevance of their participation in social networks, such as Facebook, as well as their use of smart phones and all applications to an almost unlimited connection with friends, colleagues and family; (3) the radical difference, to them, between the use of images in private life and in school practices. As for this last observation (3), the students understand that the aesthetic experimentation of images, such as film, for example, should be reserved to private practices, meaning that this kind of enjoyment would not fit in pedagogical practice, which should always establish a utilitarian and instrumental relationship with images.
These early evidences and results suggest that there is a big gap in the training of elementary education student teachers, relating with the possibility of thinking about how images, as social and political relation, as well as elements of ethical and esthetical education. We believe that the access to visual images, granted by the Internet, can be thought of as a source for expanding the repertoire of future teachers. Data from our studies also suggest the relevance of access to images that provoke the recognition of "otherness", while radically facing us with the ‘other’, as happens, for example, with photographs by artists such as Brazilian Sebastião Salgado, or with films such as the ones by the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The aesthetic experimentation of this type of audiovisual material can be a fundamental part of ethics education for citizenship and recognition of the other in our time. We think that ‘education for all’ also means to learn to be ‘open to all’ in the school routine, which can also be achieved by means of practices like the ones proposed in this research.

Author's Keywords:

Media and Education; Teacher Education
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Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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MLA Citation:

Fischer, Rosa. "MEMORY, IMAGE AND OTHERNESS: audiovisual experiences of young people in southern Brazil" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p709723_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fischer, R. M. , 2014-03-10 "MEMORY, IMAGE AND OTHERNESS: audiovisual experiences of young people in southern Brazil" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p709723_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to discuss the data from a research with Teacher Education young students of the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, about their experiences with audiovisual images. The data are part of the third stage of a research started in 2008 with young 17 to 30 year-old people. After analyzing 600 questionnaires with data concerning cultural consumption habits (theater, cinema, television, Internet, literature), we performed two other types of data survey: (1) debates with groups of students after movie screenings and (2) individual interviews. The purpose of this paper is to specifically analyze 20 individual interviews by articulating them with the questionnaires and the meetings with the groups of students.
Our theoretical framework consider the following concepts: (1) memory and narrative as proposed by Walter Benjamin and Henri Bergson, (2) discourse, ‘care of the self’ and ethical-esthetical education, according to Michel Foucault, and (3) image as social and historical relationship, from the work of Inés Dussel and Georges Didi-Huberman.
The methodological procedures included individual interviews, each one lasting at least two hours. The series of interviews was structured around the issues arising from the previous steps (questionnaire and group meetings). The interviewees spoke freely about their experiences with visual images, from the earliest childhood memories, laying particular emphasis on their most significant memories. We started with the question: ‘Which image do you remember as the most meaningful in your life, and that you have never forgotten?’. This question was followed by others about characters, myths, fiction scenes and advertisings, somehow related to different media. We also inquired about their choices in terms of music, movies, TV shows, and Internet sites. Besides that, there was a question approaching the respondents’ experiments with production, make available, sharing and archive digital images. Finally, the students were asked to express their positioning as to the use of images from various media in school, and even in their own education as students teachers.
The interviews confirmed some data previously obtained in the questionnaires: for example, there is a strong association between image and reality, and the utilitarian use of audiovisual images in education, with ‘instrumental’ objectives. However, in the individual interviews we observed: (1) a wide diversity of ways of defining the meaning of the word ‘image’, sometimes understood as an iconographic object (e.g. a photograph, a painting), sometimes regarded as a lived experience (memory of an unforgettable experience during childhood), or even as a role of a character (from the movies, TV, videogames, advertising); (2) the remarkable presence of all kinds of images in those youths’ daily lives, particularly taking into account the relevance of their participation in social networks, such as Facebook, as well as their use of smart phones and all applications to an almost unlimited connection with friends, colleagues and family; (3) the radical difference, to them, between the use of images in private life and in school practices. As for this last observation (3), the students understand that the aesthetic experimentation of images, such as film, for example, should be reserved to private practices, meaning that this kind of enjoyment would not fit in pedagogical practice, which should always establish a utilitarian and instrumental relationship with images.
These early evidences and results suggest that there is a big gap in the training of elementary education student teachers, relating with the possibility of thinking about how images, as social and political relation, as well as elements of ethical and esthetical education. We believe that the access to visual images, granted by the Internet, can be thought of as a source for expanding the repertoire of future teachers. Data from our studies also suggest the relevance of access to images that provoke the recognition of "otherness", while radically facing us with the ‘other’, as happens, for example, with photographs by artists such as Brazilian Sebastião Salgado, or with films such as the ones by the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The aesthetic experimentation of this type of audiovisual material can be a fundamental part of ethics education for citizenship and recognition of the other in our time. We think that ‘education for all’ also means to learn to be ‘open to all’ in the school routine, which can also be achieved by means of practices like the ones proposed in this research.


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