The Collage Workshop: Exploring the Image as Argumentative Tool

The Collage Workshop: Exploring the Image as Argumentative Tool
Author: de Bruijn, Willem (12 November 2019)


This article describes a pedagogical approach to collage based on the work of art historians John Berger (1926–2017) and Aby Warburg (1866–1929). Its aim is to understand how images can be used to develop critical visual thinking skills within the context of architectural education and architectural theory in particular. Drawing on the notions of ‘visual literacy’ and ‘visual learning’ familiar from educational theory, the article proposes collage as a means to challenge the predominantly verbal modes of assessment prevalent in contextual and critical studies, where ‘contextual’ refers to the wider contexts (cultural, social, historical, theoretical) within which architecture is situated.The Collage Workshop, which the author has developed over the last five years whilst working closely with students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, is a concrete attempt to implement visually oriented forms of learning and reduce the reliance on written assignments across the curriculum. By analysing some examples of collages produced by students who participated in the workshop, the article hopes to show how images can be used in the construction of an argument and, perhaps more crucially, how seeing assumes meaning in an image-saturated world.

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