International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 10 Number 18

June 26, 2009

The Cultivation of Students' Metaphoric Imagination of Peace in a Creative Photography Program

Robert J. Beck
Lawrence University, U.S.A.

Citation: Beck, R. (2009). The cultivation of students' metaphoric imagination of peace in a creative photography program. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 10(18). Retrieved [date] from
The purpose of Picturing Peace, a digital photography program conducted in 4th and 5th grade classrooms in the U. S. and Northern Ireland, was to enhance students' photographic skills to create visual metaphors of the concept of peace. Two principal research questions were addressed: (a) Could 9-10 year-old students create apt and imaginative photographic metaphors of peace? (b) Would students in diverse cultures produce comparable photographs of peace? A model of peace, metaphoric imagination, and metaphoric interpretation w as researched to test the effectiveness of metaphors in promoting visual understanding of peace. Barthes' (1981) critical framework of connotative procedures and linguistic metaphors were used to judge the aptness and imaginativeness of student photographs. Analysis of an archive of approximately 2500 photographs revealed several typical images of peace common to the following three settings: nature, sun/light, community, diversity, place, peace signs, children play, children care, spirituality, and body/hands as subjects. Implications were drawn for the status of the student photographs as metaphors, pictorial concepts, and/or allegories.

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