Social Network-Based Visual Culture Instructional Activity in Visual Arts Education: Examining Hieronymus Bosch's 'The Garden of Earthly Delights'

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Güler E., Erişti S. D.



This study aims to examine the development and implementation of social network-based visual culture activities in the workshop courses that are part of the curricula in fine arts high schools. In their visual culture activities, students of fine arts high schools have used social media and social networks as examples of web 2.0 technologies. Social networks allow people from different communities to come together and communicate. Communication technologies such as social networks and internet subject people to a communicative and visual bombardment. Given that visual cultures in contemporary society are spread mostly via media products, there is a need to approach and consider visual culture in terms of its connection with media products. In this context, visual arts activities that aim to improve the critical thinking skills of students, to associate their visual literacy skills with their technological literacy skills in this technological age, and to support their visual awareness were utilized. The study focused on "The Garden of Earthly Delights" of Hieronymus Bosch, and required the students to complete a collage piece entitled "The Garden of Earthly Delights Today" in three weeks by associating the original work with the present day. The social network-based visual culture activity for the study was implemented within the Two-Dimensional Art Workshop (2DAW) course, and made use of a participatory action research design. Nine 11th grade students from a fine arts high school participated in the study, for which data was collected from the researcher notes, researcher diaries, student diaries, semi-structured interviews and documents. A content analysis was used in the analysis of the data, and the study findings showed that, thanks to the utilization of visual culture activities based in critical pedagogy, the students acquired a critical perspective and were able to criticize these activities in their environments on the basis of society, religion, race, gender and power. Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that visual culture education in fine arts high schools incorporate activities that allow students to express themselves, to engage in critical questioning and to draw upon their own life experiences.