Literacy and the arts: interpretation and expression of symbolic form

Barton, Georgina ORCID: (2014) Literacy and the arts: interpretation and expression of symbolic form. In: Literacy in the arts: retheorising learning and teaching. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp. 3-19. ISBN 978-3-319-04845-1


To consider the arts and literacy is a huge undertaking. Each concept alone could constitute several volumes. The investigation of the arts and literacy is not new, of course. Some literacy research has shown how using the arts and/or creative approaches to learning can enhance and improve literacy skills for children and this research often stems from a language arts approach. Although much of this research highlights the importance of the arts in education, it tends to be framed from an English education point of view and therefore is limited in recognising the unique approach that the arts have in terms of literate practice. This chapter aims to introduce the concepts of literacy and literate practice in the arts. It aims to demonstrate how students of the arts are expected to operate and think in order to become arts literate in practice and inquiry, that is, how one mat become more proficient or fluent in the discourse of art critique, production and consumption. The chapter argues that the arts are inherently multimodal and concern themselves with the communication of ideas and feelings through multiple symbolic forms. Therefore an advanced definition of literacy as interpretive and expressive fluency through symbolic form, whether aural/sonic, embodied, textual, visual, written or a combination of these within the context of a particular art form is offered. This distinction is important because it move beyond the established view of arts literacy as an extension of English literacy and more accurately conveys the proprietary processes and practices evident in the way students learn their craft and ultimately emerge as arts practitioners.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2017 06:40
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2018 02:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: arts-literacy relationship; The arts; literacy; aesthetics; symbolic form; multimodality; interpretation; creativity
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Fields of Research (2020): 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3699 Other creative arts and writing > 369999 Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390104 English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
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