Drawing about images: textual and non-textual interpretation

D. Buchler, A. Lima

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This paper proposes an explanation for why academics disagree about the value of drawings. It suggests that how we value things informs our interpretation and notes that such disagreements can be found not only between academics in traditional text-dominated disciplines, but also between academics in non-textual subjects such as architecture. The paper does not focus on the nature of these disagreements but instead proposes a framework for explaining the causes of these disagreements. The paper is based on a discussion between members of a research team that are investigating the relationship between traditional and non-traditional models of research. The discussion was stimulated by looking at the outcomes of a pedagogic exercise undertaken with architectural students. In the exercise, the students were required to show their understanding of a particular architectural form (the so-called Bandeirista House), through drawing. Hundreds of drawings have been collected by one member of the team as a result of undertaking this exercise over several years. In the course of selecting some drawings to use in a presentation, the discussion began about what each team member valued in the drawings. The paper proposes that differences in the interpretation of drawings, in both cross-disciplinary contexts and between subject colleagues, arises owing to the existence of more than one paradigm amongst equally well-informed professionals using non-textual media. Explicit awareness of the consequences of diverse worldviews and paradigms can inform disagreements amongst professionals because it makes clear the connection between the assumptions behind an interpretative approach, and what is perceived as being of value.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorking Papers in Art & Design
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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