Sensory Literacy and Empowerment in Art and Design

Matthews, Miranda. 2021. Sensory Literacy and Empowerment in Art and Design. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 40(3), pp. 581-598. ISSN 1476-8062 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Insistence on verbal literacy as a key skill occurs throughout education. There needs to be a greater awareness of literacy as a sensory capacity: creative voices are seen, heard and performed. I argue that all the senses form embodied understanding, and obstructing this flow can impede learning. This article questions how we can use embodied, sensory and performative methods to enable student ownership of theoretical and cultural texts. It contributes a theorised approach and transferrable methods for students to build confidence in their learning capacity. I discuss how interpretations of texts can be seen as discourses that are expressed through visualisation, embodiment and affect to empower learning. Practice research with vocational art and design students is explored, to address their expressions of empowerment, in connection with their interpretations of Foucault and Freire. Students’ individuated sensory methods of representing empowerment also offer more inclusive possibilities for decolonised cultural ownership through arts practice.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Sensory literacy, multi-modal research, empowerment, art and design education, decolonisation, critical pedagogy, Freire, Foucault

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


28 June 2021Accepted
26 July 2021Published Online
August 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2021 08:16

Last Modified:

26 Jul 2023 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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