CfP Special issue of the Journal of Visual Literacy

Image credit: Keith Instone

Call for papers: Special issue of the “Journal of Visual Literacy”

Developing visual pedagogies in university classrooms: What, why and how?

Digital technologies and social media platforms have tremendously changed our daily communication towards more visually oriented. Various kinds of still and moving images are created, shared and discussed. Such visually stimulated environment demands new ways of teaching and learning. However, visual education is still considered mostly in a context of preschool or basic education, with repeated focus on art education, while university education is continually overlooked. As such, visual competency, that is, visual reading, writing and thinking skills of university students is often taken for granted. This can be due to the belief that daily access to digital technologies and frequent usage of images equip young adults with abilities to effectively and effortlessly communicate visually. Thus, in the process of formal education the amount and presence of visually driven and visually oriented teaching is significantly decreasing to finally, and almost solely, rely on written texts in the tertiary level. This tendency has been recently observed in scholarly literature, and followed by an urgent call to introduce visual literacy education in universities. However, the gap can be identified in regard to both the methods and content of visual literacy education.

With this special issue we attempt to fill the gap by encouraging prospective authors to reflect on visually oriented teaching practices in university classrooms. We want to compile this special issue along the argument that visual literacy should be the basic educational requirement for both undergraduate and graduate students. Therefore, we welcome theoretical, and foremost, practical papers on visual education in university classrooms. Being aware of the palette of various definitions applied, we understand visual literacy as a group of abilities (skills or competencies) in visual reading (interpreting or meaning making), writing (creating or using visuals), and visual thinking. As such, submissions across disciplines are welcome.

Types of submissions:

  1. full theoretical or empirical papers discussing the need for visual literacy, visual education and relevant visual pedagogies in university education, or
  2. innovative teaching ideas intended for university classroom that employ visuals of any kind or form and which have a potential to develop students’ visual literacy skills.

Topics may focus on educational activities that include, but are not limited to:

  • photography (creating, interpreting)
  • visual storytelling, videos, interactive documentaries and web design
  • visual collage as a teaching tool
  • creating graphic representations of data, information and knowledge in research methods’ courses
  • drawing and drawings
  • visual methods, visual interpretation and critical thinking
  • visual digital technologies and new media as tools in visual education
  • video games
  • memes, ideograms and animation
  • infographics and visualization

Submission guidelines:

  1. Full article (5000-7000 words) according to journal’s guidelines.
  2. Innovative teaching idea – a short (2000-3000 words) theoretical and practical description of activities (single task or activities conducted throughout the course) that can be implemented in the university classroom. This type of submission should include: a title; short abstract (up to 100 words); learning objectives, especially in terms of visual literacy development; goals of the activity and/or justification for using the activity; detailed activity description, including materials and instructions; results and evaluation; possibilities and limitations; potential application in other fields of study; references.

We strongly encourage visually rich submissions. In the online publication you can opt to include various kinds of visuals (videos, slide presentations, infographics, photographs, etc.) as well as a video abstract. However, you must obtain the necessary permission to use any material in your article for which you do not hold the copyright.

Submissions should be made through the journal’s Editorial Manager: http://www. default.aspx. When submitting your paper, please be sure to select this special issue option and follow the “Journal of Visual Literacy” reference style guide. All submissions will be blind peer-reviewed by at least two independent, anonymous expert referees. 

This call for papers is open until 30th June 2018, the special issue is expected to be published by the end of 2018. Please address questions, inquiries and letters of intent to the editors of this special issue.

Special issue editors:

Joanna Kędra, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, joanna.kedra[at]

Rasa Žakevičiūtė, Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, rasa.zakeviciute[at]

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