The Cape Town Model
In September 2019 representatives from the participating countries (South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Oman, Uganda, and Germany) met in Cape Town, where they developed the following model as a guideline for writers who are contributing to the project.
Objects can be:
- tangible, e.g. a piece of art, architecture, design, craft, media, etc.
- intangible. e.g. conceptual (mental image / visual representation of an idea, scientific concept, belief etc.) or visual representations of a social practice / artistic project (intangible objects must be documented by selected photos, film, drawing etc.)
Criteria for the selection of an object are:
- Relevance for
- Education in the country
- Current and future society
- Global development
- Education in the country
- Does the image communicate / represent / symbolize the explanation in the text – or is it just an arbitrary illustration?
- formal qualities (contrasts, lighting, sharpness, perspective etc.)
- captivating, interesting (not dull, but complex)
- evoking questions (aesthetic / conceptual qualities)
How to write about an object?
Your contribution interprets the meaning(s) of the object in its specific context(s) with a special focus on the following aspects:
- Transcultural elements (the various contemporary conditions, e.g. globalization, migration, decolonization etc.) that inform the object's meaning
- Change of meaning across time
- Cultural sensitivity (tolerance / respect)
- Meta-Reflection: Why is this specific object chosen? How can we speak about it? From which perspective, from which position does the author speak?
Reflecting on the criteria regarding the chosen object and its relevance in the context of the project, reflecting on the methods, approaches, and the research questions.
Template (for entries on the website)
Object / image
- 1200 pixels width, height accordingly, 72 dpi
- Picture caption: author, “name of the object”, year, material, size/dimension, location, copyright
Important note: You are responsible for ensuring that the rights to publish the image(s) on the website explore-vc.org are provided by the respective copyright holder(s).
- Title (a handful of words that address the theme and allude to the interpretation)
- Abstract (100 words - unpacking the ‘title’, explaining the rationale behind the selection, the relevance of the object)
- Interpretation: Text (1000 words)
- Introduction (background, method)
- Description – Analysis – Interpretation of the object / image
- Conclusion: Rationale why and how this object / image meets the criteria. (Criterion: relevance for education and quality, i.e. complexity that evokes questions; coherence of form and content)
- References (APA-style)
- If applicable, full paper
Approach, Methodology and Criteria / Leading Questions
In the following, accesses, methods and practices of the project will be explained and introduced. The overview may be understood as a possible basis and guidance on how authors in global and academic contexts can approach specific object and image practices in a structured way. Therefore, criteria for selecting relevant pictorial objects will be presented, as well as guiding questions underlying a structured and ergo comparable way of working. The focus of the descriptions and the interpretations of the respective objects will be on their relevance for the education of teachers and students. During a one-week working meeting in Cape Town (South Africa) in September 2019, the project partners involved agreed on the approach described below:
Particularly when already canonized images of school education are added to positions that expand or criticize them, it is first useful to commit oneself to specific selection criteria of possible positions. Besides the central relevance of these for school education in the respective regional contexts, they should have an impact on the society of their origin - or at best even on more distant social structures - in the past and present, ergo have social potential. Closely connected to this pictorial social impact, images and practices to be discussed should be integrated into global and globalized developments from the present and the past - of a cultural, social or political nature, for example.
In addition to this geographical and social relevance, there will be reflection on image-immanent qualities of the object to be chosen (in close connection with its description): Does the chosen image communicate, (re)present, or symbolize the argumentation of the writer(s) in contexts mentioned above? Or is it rather a banal illustration of a higher-level discourse? Does the image or video material used meet qualitative standards of a scientific publication? Consequently, on the one hand, material image properties such as contrast, sharpness of detail, or exposure should be examined. On the other hand, the chosen image should refer to the argumentation of the text in an emblematic way. Does the image detail, the point of view of the shot or the sequence of the video function analytically in the context of the written interpretation? Does the position - in terms of content and form - stimulate further questions and, in addition, refer to affiliated discourses - does the image shown or the position described consequently have the potential to attract the attention of the reader?
Such objects and their pictorial manifestations can be tangible (works of art, architecture, objects from design and craft) as well as positions that are not actually tangible. The latter are, for example, conceptual in nature, images of thought, or social practices. For the illustration of such images, which do not exist in realiter, documentation media such as photographs, videos or drawings are suitable.
An introductory and roughly structuring approach to tangible and intangible pictorial objects can be five W-questions that ask about the authors (who?), the dating (when?), the place of origin (where?), the title and the material (what?) and the technique (how?).
The written interpretation of images and practices should be methodologically guided by specific, especially in the context of this project, intercultural questions in order to be able to grasp the meaning of things in the levels inscribed in them. To this end, their transcultural aspects will be placed at the center of theoretical considerations. Pictorial objects are never culturally neutral. They function as independent actors in the networks attached to them. Ergo, the traces of such interconnections can be examined as well as their trajectories in contexts of globalization, migration or decolonization. If one illuminates the paths and traces that are consequently immanent to things, one will finally encounter their supra-temporal potential to change meaning in historical and contemporary dimensions as well as their possibilities to react reciprocally and sensitively to changing cultural circumstances.
Finally, it is helpful to become aware of the starting point of the considerations - the relevance of this specific position for cultural education - and to reflect on it on a meta-level. Questions introducing the text (Why this object in this project?) could be tentatively answered at this point. A final reflection on the criteria applied to the object can also be useful.
Formats of presentation / Template
In order to ensure a good comparability of the selected and certainly very diverse object and image practices, the project partners have decided on the following formal structure for the presentation of text and image material on the joint homepage:
These are the basis and not the illustration of the published texts and must therefore meet certain requirements. For illustrations these requirements(?) apply: at least 1200 pixels and 72 dpi.
Since these are scientific and publicly accessible publications, the pending rights for virtual publication are to be obtained from the respective rights holders and the usual data of the images are to be mentioned. These are: Image author or authoress, image title or designation of the object, its dating, material(s), size and place of storage.
In addition to the images shown or pictorial documentation, the descriptive and analytical texts are of course in the foreground of this collection of material. Graphically and in terms of content, these follow four parts, the title, a short abstract, the interpretation, and the scientific references, which will be discussed below:
The title of the text is allowed to introduce the text in the form of a short and concise thesis and to address the topic to be analyzed very briefly; it serves as a first lead-in (as a teaser) to the more detailed part of the interpretative discussion of the image object.
The abstract that follows this title, which is also graphically set off from the text, is based on this title, thinks further about the thesis addressed in the scope of about 100 words, and places the following text in questions of the overall project.
The following interpretation functions, as it were, as the main part of the respective publication. With a length of about 1000 words, it should be divided into a short introduction, a detailed description and a concluding, analytical summary, following scientific conventions and arousing the reader's interest. The introduction informs, for example, about the historical, political or social background of the object and introduces the author's methodological approach; it thus serves as a first classification of the images and does not function analytically. The descriptive analysis of the objects and the questions inscribed in them happens in the subsequent main part of the text: working closely on the object and its material or aesthetic properties, its specifics - and thus its relevance in the context of the project - are pointedly elaborated here. The final summary is intended to clearly identify the object's relevant criteria for its selection, to highlight its impact and meaning in the context of an intercultural project in the context of school (education). Here is space to point out the pending complexities of the chosen position, to suggest further questions and to finalize the coherence of text and image.
Since the scientific texts of this project also refer in large parts to previous literature or orient themselves thematically and thesis-wise to the works of other authors, it is unavoidable to work scientifically correct, ergo to quote correctly. Paraphrased or quoted contents, which did not originate from own observation, are always to be proved in the form of citations. The project partners have agreed to cite according to APA style.