Brochures, websites, and university lessons often use images depicting people or situations. The same principles that apply to language apply here too: pictorial representations influence our perceptions of reality. They can reproduce stereotypes and be insensitive, but they can also open up new perspectives and question normative preconceptions. For that reason, treating imagery with sensitivity is an important aspect of paying attention to gender and diversity in your teaching.
In gender- and diversity-conscious teaching, it is crucial to know your goal for using these images:
How do the values represented by the images compare to the ones the university stands for?
In its Equality Concept and its Diversity Mission Statement, Freie Universität Berlin declares its values to be the establishment of a teaching, learning, and working environment free of barriers and discrimination and an environment of valued collaboration with all status groups with the aim of self-critically identifying and eliminating mechanisms of exclusion and creating opportunities for integration.
The objective therefore includes equal participation of university members regardless of age, disability or health impairment, gender and sexual orientation, social background and social/family status, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and worldview.
Checklists for images:
Berliner Entwicklungspolitischer Ratschlag. 2010. Von Trommlern und Helfern (mit Checklisten Wort und Bild).
Dochas. The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisation. 2007. The Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages.
Version April 2017. Unless otherwise stated, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence.