Can art (powerpoint) lead to social change? a mediated multimodal inquiry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Al Zidjaly (2011a; 2011b), I bring together multimodality and disability research in a novel way, proposing a new approach to studying visual texts, especially works of art. This approach developed from my in-depth case study of the artistic and other everyday practices of one man with a disability, including how these practices are socially co-constructed and culturally situated (in the Arab nation of Oman). It encompasses conceptualizing works of art, following mediated discourse theory (Scollon 2001), as mediated actions carried out by social actors to achieve intended outcomes, rather than just as mere tools for self-expression or representation, as prior research has. Doing this, I argue, foregrounds the power that resides in images of disability, and by extension, in any other works of art or multimodal texts; it also highlights the agency that people with disabilities and other creators of works of art might have. In this article, I build on such research by further opening the circumference of analysis to demonstrate the compelling reciprocal relationship between art and societal change. I do so by examining not just how art created by an individual at the "micro"level can lead to social change at the "macro"level, but also how social change at the macro level affects individual artistic practices. The analysis has theoretical and practical implications for research on disability, multimodality and artistic expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalMultimodal Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • art
  • disability
  • mediated action
  • micro and macro actions
  • microsoft powerpoint
  • social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Can art (powerpoint) lead to social change? a mediated multimodal inquiry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this