Insight: Children’s perspectives of literacy in northern Ghana

presented by Brendan Rigby

There are an estimated 58 million children around the world who are out of school. These children and their families are usually thought of as poor, uneducated, and non-literate. This exhibition challenges viewers to think differently about what literacy means, how it is used, and what we know about it.

Art Exhibition previously on at fortyfivedownstairs in Victoria, Australia.
From Tuesday 24 May 2011 to Saturday 04 June 2011

Insight: Children’s perspectives of literacy in northern Ghana image

Published by Fortyfivedownstairs on Thursday 14 April 2016.
Contact the publisher.

It presents a small selection of over 4,000 photographs taken by 10 out of school children from two rural communities in northern Ghana. The children are between the ages of 8-12 years, with five girls and five boys participating. At the time, they were also attending a semi-formal literacy and numeracy program that aimed to transition into the formal school system after nine months. Despite this enrolment, they were still considered “out of school”.

These children participated in doctoral research undertaken by Brendan Rigby, at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education. This exhibition is part of his research dissemination efforts, using the photographs as a way to not only communicate the data, but to involve a broader audience in its analysis, interpretation, and viewing.

Photography and photographs can go beyond contexts, rematerialising digitally and physically around the world. However, in academic research, photographs rarely find their way beyond research articles and books. By recontextualising a sample of the children’s photographs, this exhibition invites the viewer to think differently about what it means to be out of school, and the extraordinary capabilities and literacies of young children around the world.