Visual and Multimodal Research Forum – 8 Apr

The Visual and Multimodal Research Forum is a student run platform for academic discussion on multimodality and open to all postgraduate research students and other researchers at UCL Institute of Education and elsewhere. Participation is free. Please contact Sophia Diamantopoulou, Forum Coordinator, at for any queries.

Date: Wednesday 8th of April, 5:00-6:30 pm

Venue: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street, WC1N 3QS

Critically Deconstructing Race through a Multimodal Analysis of iPad Tellagami Videos

Dr Kathy Mills, Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) and Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology

Drawing on multimodal texts produced by an Indigenous school community in Australia, I apply critical race theory and multimodal analysis (Jewitt, 2011) to decolonise digital heritage practices for Indigenous students.   This study focuses on the particular ways in which students’ counter-narratives about race were embedded in multimodal and digital design in the development of a digital cultural heritage (Giaccardi, 2012).

Data analysis involved applying multimodal analysis to the students’ Gamis, following social semiotic categories and principles theorised by Kress and Bezemer (2008), and Jewitt (2006, 2011). This includes attending to the following semiotic elements: visual design, movement and gesture, gaze, and recorded speech, and their interrelationships.  The analysis also draws on critical race theory to interpret the students’ representations of race. In particular, the multimodal texts were analysed as a site for students’ views of Indigenous oppression in relation to the colonial powers and ownership of the land in Australian history (Ladson-Billings, 2009).

Pedagogies that explore counter-narratives of cultural heritage in the official curriculum can encourage students to reframe their own racial identity, while challenging dominant white, historical narratives of colonial conquest, race, and power (Gutierrez, 2008). The children’s multimodal “Gami” videos, created with the iPad application, Tellagami, enabled the students to imagine hybrid, digital social identities and perspectives of Australian history that were tied to their Indigenous cultural heritage  (Kamberelis, 2001).