For this mini-project, you will represent a place from your perspective, using visual rhetoric. As we’ve discussed, there’s a long history of advertisements, posters, and art that stereotype and reify perceptions of a place. As we saw in “Instagram Abroad”, by Smith, with the advent of digital media, now there is also a world of social media posts that do the same work.
Part 1: Your task in this mini-project is to pick a place that is meaningful to you, consider how that place is stereotyped, and then create a “travel poster” that pushes back against those stereotypes to show the “real” place (according to you). Or, to put it another way, pick a place that is meaningful to you, consider how it is seen from the tourist’s perspective, and then show the tourist how you, the native, see that place. You can think back to any of our units to pick a place of any kind. Because the travel poster is slowly being replaced with social media posts, like those on Instagram, you are welcome to choose either genre.
Instagram posts and travel posters are usually part of a series, or social media campaign, so you will create two. You can use free programs like Canva.com to make your poster; for the Instagram post you’d need to include an image and caption. The image should be of your making (not one plagiarized from the internet). Genre conventions are important here.
Before you create the post, you’ll want to identify your audience and your purpose here. You’ll also want to think about how your two texts work together. For example, they could each represent different “reasons” to support the same argument, or they could appeal to two slightly different audiences, or they could represent different times of day, etc. Also, the poster/post you create does not have to be negative: you can think about the “realities” of Miami that are uncomfortable that a tourist never sees, or about the problems that tourism causes, or you could think about the *good* things in Miami that are invisible to tourists.
Part 2: Along with your visual text(s), you’ll write a short reflection (at least 400 words) that explains:
- What perception you think people typically have, which you are working against.
- If you have evidence, like an example post, text, or poster that shows the stereotypes or ideas you have in mind, you are strongly encouraged to include it.
- How you are pushing back against that perception of your place in your visual texts.
- What design choices you made, including how the two texts work together.
- Why this place is meaningful to you and why your perception of that place is personal to you. You might connect that perception to your positionality.
- This is an important part of the reflection, since you should pick a place that is meaningful to you.