Re-examining the curriculum in terms of inclusion, diversity & equality

Dennison, David (2018) Re-examining the curriculum in terms of inclusion, diversity & equality. In: UCLan Learning &Teaching Conference, 4-5 July 2018, UCLan, UK.

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Who are you who will read these words and study these photographs, and through what cause, by what chance, and for what purpose, and by what right do you qualify to, and what will you do about it …? (James Agee, 1939)

Foregrounding Paulo Freire’s ideas of critical pedagogy, and accepting that education is never neutral and always political, this discussion will begin by highlighting the historic interplay between systems of power and visual representation. It will then briefly outline some of the analytical strategies that may be deployed when looking at images, for example Foucault’s ‘Regime of Truth’, as utilised by John Tagg in his examination of the American FSA images, Clarke’s view of photographic discourse embedded in a ‘complex intertextuality … at a particular cultural and historical conjecture’, and Myers‘ view of images as ‘unrelentingly and unquestionably social, located in specific, historically constituted worlds’ (as discussed in Rose, 2012).

This brief introduction will form the framework to discuss a critical self-reflexive analysis of pedagogic practice, with particular reference to promoting inclusion and discussing equality and diversity. As Neumann says, “teachers have little control over what students take away from an educational experience”, so the priority must be “to make such a journey matter for students” (Roberts, 2013). The reference material will be largely visual but the principles discussed will apply to many other areas of pedagogic practice.


Agee, James (1939) Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Clarke, Graham, (2009) The Photograph.

Neumann, Jacob W. (2016) A limited, apolitical, and open Paulo Freire, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 48:6, 634-644, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2015.1026302

Tagg, John (1988) The Burden of Representation. Routledge.

Roberts, Peter (2013) A critical engagement with Paulo Freire in the 21st Century: Education, Dialog, and Transformation, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Rose, Gillian (2012) Visual Methodologies. Routledge.

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