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Title: Socio-cultural investigation of visual dyslexic cognition
Author: Hewlett, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 4984
Awarding Body: Norwich University of the Arts and the University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2018
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The thinking approaches of dyslexic visual artists in their creative production have been little analysed, either in isolation or in comparison with non-dyslexic artists. This research investigates the nature of visual dyslexic cognition and tests for cognitive differences between dyslexic and non-dyslexic artists. It does so by systematically exploring their respective thinking approaches to creative visual production. The socio-cultural framework of investigation further argues the value of a distinctively dyslexic mode of visual thinking to mainstream education and society. The fieldwork included a purposive sampling of 44 artists with data collected and interpreted through mixed methods, using a range of tools. The research is positioned within cognitive and social constructivist perspectives, recognising that independent thinking is an integrated cognitive process of conceptualising inner, outer environments and complex social interactions. Thus the research methodology is both ethnographic and phenomenological. Dyslexic visual thinking within a sociocultural context is explored to give context to the concept of creativity, visual language and the value of arts education as enabling processes of thinking and conceptual development. The research focus emerged during the first stage of the fieldwork; the investigation of dyslexic artists indicated that their visual creative practice is produced through the skill of thinking within a multi-dimensional context. Through three stages of fieldwork, the research evidenced a dyslexic cognitive culture positioned within the dynamic of the 'outsider'. A triangulation of methods was used within the data collection and analysis to reach conclusive findings. The main research findings are: the dyslexic capacity for creative non-linear or 'flowed' visual cognition within a multi-dimensional conceptual framework; that this ability is so taken for granted that the dyslexic artists did not consider this to be different or of any greater value. The research found that dyslexic artists can have certain cognitive strategies, which may be underdeveloped in non-dyslexic artists yet these cognitive strategies can be taught to non-dyslexics. The research draws conclusions from these findings by further discussing the benefit of this thinking to education, the workplace and, also, to a technological and increasingly entrepreneurial society where divergent thinking contributes to creative production.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Visual thinking ; culture ; society