Posts Tagged ‘learning to see’

How many ways of seeing are there? How can we learn to see differently, see deeper? Most courses could incorporate asking students to “read” images or interpret their environment through observation, and the generous folks from the Hood Museum are available to lend their expertise, enthusiasm and time to help you design learning experiences that use items from the Hood collection. This session highlighted two such collaborations. Kathy Hart, Lesley Wellman, and Amelia Kahl, from the Hood demonstrated how “reading” works of art were used to develop students’ observation and critical thinking skills as well as provide a basis for further inquiry and research. Using examples from courses taught by Sara Chaney and Stephanie Booth (The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric) workshop participants gathered in the Bernstein Study Storage Center to see some of the art works and hear how they were used.

Sara Chaney’s course focused on visual analysis and was structured to afford students several opportunities to view photographs and artwork from the Hood collection in order to “read,” “unpack” and “decode” these images. Led by Lesley Wellman, Assistant Director and Hood Foundation Curator of Education, students had two class sessions in the Bernstein Study Storage Center. In these sessions, students closely studied selected photographs, and explored their reactions and interpretations through discussion. Working with Amelia Kahl, Stephanie Booth chose provocative and often disturbing pictures for her course “Memory, Trauma, and Place.” Using a set of writing prompts, students wrote an essay on a photo they chose.

As John Berger (Ways of Seeing) asserts, what we know and believe affects the way we see things. Learning to see things deeply and reflectively can reveal layers of meaning in not only paintings and photographs but in the many scenes and images we scan unconsciously on a daily basis. This kind of intentional and reflective seeing can also reveal cultural biases and assumptions that we hold. This workshop was a refreshing reminder of how there are many kinds of “texts” available for the courses we teach.

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Feral Librarian

Research libraries & higher education. Sometimes music, sports, & other stuff.