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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Visual Research Practice and Sociology Teaching: Sociology Theory and the Use of Cinematic Film

Quaid, Sheila and Connelly, Sarah (2021) Visual Research Practice and Sociology Teaching: Sociology Theory and the Use of Cinematic Film. In: Professions-Facing 3rd Annual Faculty of Education and Society Staff Research Conference, 14 Jun 2021, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)


The Critical use of visual sources has enabled students to work within professions which depend on interpretive skills and critical decision making. Employers within creative, social and care, and education employment sectors increasingly require critical interpretation skills. In this paper, we explore how engaging in visuals can enhance future graduates’ skillsets. Drawing on film, literature, and sociological theory, a new final year project was created that theorises race, gender, class, nationality, and sexuality. The teaching approach enables students to develop interpretive and critical thinking using visual research practices. Connecting post-structural theory (Butler, 1990; Foucault, 1977) and visual sources, with an introduction to cultural studies theorists (Berger, 1972; Hall, 1997; Nixon. 1977, 2013), we created a new teaching approach and learning environment, where the most intensely personal aspects of identity were analyzed. The importance of enabling them to find ways to connect personally to sources without necessarily having to make personal or ideological disclosures proved effective. Therefore, the creation of cinema clubs and compulsory screenings of cinematic films were built into the curriculum to provide examples of how visual sources can be used to explore cultural identities. When teaching post structural theorists, theory was applied and interpreted to analyse the chosen movies, leading to the work produced being both deeply interpretive, theoretical, and critical. This experience led to professional collaboration with community arts and creation of interdisciplinary sociological and participatory arts conferences on Visual Methods in learning and teaching. This also led to community engagement with ESRC Festivals of Social Science interdisciplinary conferences which brought together environmentalists, artists, sociologists' film theorists, and historians. The feedback has been from wide-ranging practitioners, for example in child and language development, environmentalists, artists, and educators. We hope to open pedagogical discussion with colleagues in other subjects surrounding the use of the visual.

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Depositing User: Sarah Connelly


Item ID: 13712

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Sheila Quaid: ORCID iD
ORCID for Sarah Connelly: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 09:02
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 04:30


Author: Sheila Quaid ORCID iD
Author: Sarah Connelly ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Higher Education
Social Sciences > Sociology

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