The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Visual literacy is the ability to read and understand images. While we are taught to read and write words at school, no focused attention is given to teaching the skills to read images other than as art or attractive illustrations of the words we read in schools. However, in the Life Sciences images are not mere illustrative supplements to written texts, but are indispensable for communicating complex ideas and concepts, and, if visual literacy doesnt develop naturally many will battle to grasp the full meaning of scientific images.

Product information

Format : 200mm x 200mm
Pages : 40
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2134-2
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2134-5
Publish Year : 2006

Section 1: Visual Literacy

What is visual literacy and why should we study it?
How are scientific images created?
Types of scientific images

Section 2: Evolutionary Iconography

Amoeba-to-man
The Tree of Life
The Double Helix: a modern icon
Genome sequencing maps
Mutation

Section 3: Development of New Icons

The new Tree of Life

Section 4: Literature Review

Section 5: Glossary

Richard Mason is an artist who graduated with distinction from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. He currently works as an art director and does research into visual communication and popular science.

Tony Morphet is an Emeritus Professor of Adult Education (University of Cape Town). He continues to consult widely on Education, Research and Cultural Studies.

Sandra Prosalendis was, until recently, the deputy director of arts and culture for the Social Integration and Cohesion research programme at the HSRC.  Prior to joining the HSRC, she was the director of the District Six Museum and, prior to that, of the Interchurch Education Programme.

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