From our frames : exploring visual arts-based approaches for addressing HIV and AIDS with pre-service teachers.
This research is a qualitative study of a short project set up to explore the uses of a visual arts-based approach for addressing HIV and AIDS through teacher development. It was undertaken at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the face of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It responds to the suggestions that teachers need to explore their own understanding, attitudes and perceptions of the disease if they are to deal confidently with the demands it places on them as educators in schools. Thirteen preservice teachers, who had enrolled in a guidance course, used photographs and drawing to capture their views of HIV and AIDS and to construct messages for their peers. Methods for the approach were adapted from the work of Ewald and Lightfoot (2001) and from Wang’s (1999) photo-voice. A visual arts-based approach was chosen for its potential to simultaneously engage the mind, body and emotions (Weber & Mitchell, 2004). Drawing on the conceptual work of Banks (2001), Hall (1997) and Fairclough (1995), the photo texts were then analysed by the researcher who saw them as socially and culturally embedded constructions and was interested in how they were affected by and could have an impact on culture and social discourses. Reflections on the photo texts and their associated processes by both the researcher and pre-service teachers lead to suggestions as to the pedagogic possibilities of using a visual arts-based approach in education to address HIV and AIDS. The thesis concludes with discussion of what a visual arts-based approach can contribute to HIV and AIDS in teacher education and comments on the challenges and limitations of such an approach.