LRDG - Learning at the ends of life: Multimodality and identity in an intergenerational art program

Date: 8 May 2012 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Rachel Heydon, University of Western Ontario, Canada:

This presentation introduces the book, Learning at the Ends of Life: Children, Elders, Literacy and Intergenerational Curricula, which chronicles over seven years of research on the multimodal literacy learning opportunities, practices, and identity options afforded by shared site intergenerational programs (i.e., where young children and elders share physical space and curricula). The introduction highlights one piece of the research, a case study of multimodal pedagogies within an intergenerational art class, which interrogated the learning opportunities that were created therein and what the fixing of participants' ideas within a semiotic chain said about their facility with communicative modes and media, interests, and identity options. Key findings include: when compared to the adults' practices, the children's use of media was more elaborate, experimental, and less inhibited and their designs more complex; the content of the children's communication was multifaceted, and future-looking while some of the adults' were constrained by limited identity options related to their position in the life course; and the class's multimodal pedagogies provided occasion for the exploration of modes and media with support for working through key communicational decisions. Through the findings in this unique pedagogical situation, the presentation hopes to raise questions about education and literacy more broadly, such as: What does education (and society) in general take to be a child, an elder, a teacher, literacy, and its purpose(s)?

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Julia Gillen (Linguistics and English Language)

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Adult learning, Identity, Learning, Multimodalities