Full communicative potential?

This kiosk in a Norwich city centre park is a treasure trove of language and meaning.

The short wall exhorts us to think of everyone as able and capable of doing everything. Everyone is individual and different individuals are attracted to each other. 

Whatever complexifies our lives, the world is your oyster.

The long wall develops the idea of autonomy by visually criticising 'social engineering services' bashing people into holes that they do not fit. 

On the right, just out of shot, the wall reads 'Life is a minefield' with the soldier potentially threatening a partially sighted person.

"We're here whether you notice us or not", shouts the wall from the bottom left. 

The dialogue in the middle reads 'Do this, do that! We know best.", "No! I know what I need + want."

This empassioned visual scream for self-determination and recognition is emphasised by 'The Scream' in the middle of the picture.

Notice that individuals have contributed to the walls through grafitti, signing their names, adding their own illustrations. One person has even added a text by Noam Chomsky as a fly poster. It is almost as if the closer you look at the wall the deeper it draws you in.

Introducing the concept of autonomy to learners can be difficult. Getting them to draw a picture of what they think autonomy means to them might be a way to access their preconceptions. Having them list what they think they need and want from your classes is another. After they list them you need to go through a negotiation process with then to proritise main needs of the group and ways of them helping themselves to achieve their wants.


Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich

Another text from Chomsky about corporate media can be seen at an entrance to St Stephen's underpass, not far from Chapelfield Gardens. What's interesting here is the changed context, inviting us to read and think about quite dense political ideas by 'publishing' them in the street. (added by Alan Pulverness)


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