Claire Collison / Visual Literacy activities / Westminster Academy

Activity: Acrostics


This activity by Claire Collison introduces students to visual literacy; inviting students to look hard at a single image. It was originally devised during the first year of the project, working with Hendon School, on a visit to the Dayanita Singh show at the Hayward Gallery, when the aim was to find links between a range of photographs as an introduction to navigating narratives.

How to:

Students are asked to write their own names vertically down the left hand side of a page. They are then instructed to select a photograph from the exhibition, and to find content within that single image that spells out their own names. Content might be ‘things’ such as an ankle, or a piano, or abstracts, such as ‘happy’ or ‘powerful’.


Outcomes/ Learning objectives:

This activity is designed as an introduction to visual literacy: it aims to introduce students to looking beyond the surface, and to begin identifying content. It is also designed to provide students with a sense of ownership: what they see in the photograph and the language they describe it in is valid. It introduces students to the range of ways an image might be perceived; including the vocabulary we use, the technical elements (lighting, focus, etc.) and our own subjective responses to an image.

You will need:

An exhibition, (or, in class, a selection of photographs), clipboards and writing materials.

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