In my last blog entry (where I explored the use visual exploration of the university crest) I made what felt like an important observation about the wider use of image within the dissertation dissemination:
Now that I stop to reflect on my use of image within dissemination, it feels like I've fallen in the trap of ignoring the meaning-sharing value of image, and instead have focused more on it as an aesthetic device. This really feels at odds with the nature of multimodality as described in the literature. In fact, there's a strong argument that my work would look less impressive if I ignore or underestimate the potential of visual images (just as I want to avoid doing the same with music). So then, how can I use image in a way that extends beyond attaching digital wallpaper to the screen background? [A nice phrase that last one - maybe I should include it within my dissemination rationale.]
I could have relevant images alongside or embedded within the text. This would be instead of just long sections of text. They could be used periodically to visually represent what's included in the text. Off the top of my head this could include books, cds of music, videos, art stuff, lap top, written text on the page, writing devices, keyboard, ipad scree with touch keys, Second Life or other digital spaces on a screen. I would photograph all these images, fitting in with the idea that all of this is my own work. Even when referring to someone else's essay on screen (assuming I choose to do this - see earlier blog post) it would be my photograph of what's on screen. I could have a bit of fun with this by being imaginative, humorous and including secondary subtle or subliminal messages into the image, for instance in the choice of books, CDs or DVDs, or through the selection of artefacts in the background.
Would I need to caption them underneath the image? Maybe. Maybe I could use the hover over text.
Would I need to offer a citation under or alongside the image? Maybe this wouldn't be necessary if it's all my own work and such is explained within an introductory section. Or again, maybe when when the cursor hovers over the image a title and my name appears.
Another approach - and this might be edging more towards the visual aesthetic side of thing - but I could use 'talking' icons alongside sections of quoted text in my data analysis. Hmm, need to think more about this one. Could be interesting, could be sh*t.
What I've proposed above represents using images that support and help to explain what's being said in accompanying text. But how can I use image to really offer greater meaning in it's own right? Perhaps that's where I create/compose/picture something specifically for the purpose of exploring an idea rather than supporting the text. An example would be the university crest. I'm not sure I can think of any others at this stage and it doesn't make sense to try and generate images before I've actually analysed the data and drawn my own conclusions. Instead, once the text is drafted for the dissemination I should read through it and see where image might be relevant or useful or enhance what it written down.