Online course in Creative Arts & Media

Pictures of Youth: An Introduction to Children’s Visual Culture

Explore visual culture for children and young people including, picturebooks, comics, film, television and drama

Pictures of Youth: An Introduction to Children’s Visual Culture

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours

Explore contemporary visual children's culture with leading experts in the field

In a world where young people are surrounded by an ever increasing range of media, visual analysis of children’s culture is becoming increasingly important.

The course provides an introduction to popular types of visual culture for children and young people. By the end you will gain a deeper understanding of children’s film, television, drama, picturebooks and comics.

You will discover the wide variety of works on offer, learn to decipher these media, understand some of the ways in which they are conceived and consumed, and have a go at creating your own analysis.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsWe often hear that we live in a visual world – a world of images, composed to shock us or please us, influence us or appease us. Composed just as carefully as verbal texts can be, we sometimes think that we process those images naturally. But that’s not true. It’s a skill, and we hone it through regular exposure – to things like pictures in picturebooks, pictures in cartoons on TV, adverts in the street. Even small children know that many images around them make sense – they tell stories. And they get pretty good, pretty fast, at deciphering those stories. We tend to call such children pre-literate. The truth is, they are literate already – they have some visual literacy.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsAdults are often surprised at how good children are at noticing details in pictures. Well, of course! pictures are a crucial form of communication for them to understand the world. And that communication is far from simple. It has its grammar, its conventions, its clichés, its trendsetters and its transgressors. Including when it’s targeted at children. Especially when it’s targeted at children. This course is in part about celebrating the sophistication of that visual language, and the achievement of children who manage to interpret that language. In this four-week course, you’ll learn about different kinds of visual culture for children – picturebooks, comics, film and television. We’ll explore those media, learn to decode them and understand them better, while preserving, hopefully, a sense of wonder.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsJoin us, eyes wide open, for our course on visual culture for children at the University of York.

What topics will you cover?

  • Picturebooks
  • Comics
  • Children’s film
  • Children on TV and stage

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Evaluate how images can be explored critically, drawing from visual analysis and childhood studies
  • Interpret visual-verbal interplay in picturebooks
  • Explain the imaginative work required by young readers/viewers to construct meaning
  • Discuss the traditions of children's visual culture and the plurality of ways in which childhood can be or has been represented
  • Reflect on the place of images throughout a child’s development

Who is the course for?

With a focus on visual analysis, new media and popular culture for children, this course is ideal for anyone with an interest in contemporary educational and cultural topics, parents and those feeling nostalgia for the texts and media of their own youth.

Who will you learn with?

Clementine Beauvais

Clementine Beauvais

I am a Lecturer in English in Education at the University of York. One of my main areas of study is children's literature, which I also read avidly, and, on the other side of my life, write, too.

Sarah Olive

Sarah Olive

I am a Senior Lecturer in English in Education, University of York & a Visiting Lecturer on the MA Shakespeare & Education, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. I like popular culture too!

Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.