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Refugee education: A critical visual analysis

Mcintyre, Joanna; Dixon, Kerryn; Walton, Elizabeth



Refugee education has become an issue of national and international concern as the numbers of refugees rise globally. In a world where global issues such as forced migration are communicated and consumed through the visual mode, understanding how discursive agendas are constituted visually is important. This paper explores the representations of Refugee Education, toggled with Refugees and Education with a focus on images available from a Google Images search. The analysis is framed by critical visual literacy, with the assumption that visual images are embedded in wider sociocultural practices and ideologies. Images of Refugee Education depict impoverished, teacher-centred classrooms, restricted knowledge and a docile population. Toggling with images of Refugees emphasises the racial otherness of refugee students, their numbers, and schooling as the means to contain the discursively constructed representations of refugees-as-threat. Toggling with Education emphasises Refugee Education as merely an issue of access, rather than quality, inclusive or lifelong learning as envisaged in Sustainable Development Goal 4. We conclude that images of refugee education undermine the quest for a compassionate inclusive education for refugees of all ages and that caution and critique are needed in the consumption of images.


Mcintyre, J., Dixon, K., & Walton, E. (2023). Refugee education: A critical visual analysis. International Journal of Inclusive Education,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 31, 2023
Publication Date Oct 31, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2023
Journal International Journal of Inclusive Education
Print ISSN 1360-3116
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Refugee education; critical visual analysis; multimodal discourse analysis
Public URL
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