Postgraduate Dissertation

How can comics be used to support young people's meaning-making with museum collections


As a comics artist and educator, I have a strong interest in the application of comics in educational contexts outside the formal classroom, particularly in museums and heritage settings. Previous studies involving comics suggest that this art form is particularly well-suited for narrating personal viewpoints and interpretations. With this in mind, I designed a small-scale research study in order to investigate how creating comics may support young people’s meaning-making with museum collections. The study is aimed specifically at individuals from the adolescent age range (10-19 years old) – an age group that is often overlooked in museum and gallery education in favour of activities for younger children or families. The study involved a group of eight participants, recruited through local arts organisations. Due to the lockdown restrictions, this study took place online, through a series of Zoom workshops. Participants engaged with an online collection of an art museum, and selected objects that they found curious or inspiring. They went on to create comics as personal interpretations of their chosen objects. Participants’ comics were used as project data; additional data were collected through their questionnaire responses. The project data evidenced participants’ meaning-making from museum objects in the personal, sociocultural, and physical contexts, and their use of comics’ multimodal features and visual language in order to express these meanings. The project outcomes demonstrated comics’ effectiveness in conveying and communicating the meanings that young people make from museum collections, and their suitability for use in a variety of formal and informal learning environments.

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Richards, Irina


Rights Holders: Richards, Irina
Supervisors: Payne, Rachel

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Degree programme

MA Education



© Richards, Irina
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