As a researcher, I seek to understand the ways that visual and digital rhetoric are both global and local, situated across contexts of culture and identity. Throughout my graduate career, I have considered my work within the realms of visual and digital rhetoric, composition pedagogy, and technical communication because these areas value the way(s) we create, read, deliver, remix, and circulate texts of multiple modes in ways that rhetoric and composition alone does not. To best move between these fields, I draw from scholars like Angela Haas, Laurie Gries, and Jody Shipka in order to create navigable bridges between these conversations, the larger discipline, and myself.
Since the beginnings of rhetoric and composition, whether scholars assign the beginning in dominant narrative origins like Ancient Greece, the 1950’s era split from the field of communication, or later, the field and the research done by the field has been concerned with the teaching of writing. Questions in our field center around what writing is/is not and how meaningful writing is taught as well as learned. Although visual rhetoric and composition have reimagined rhetorical canons (Brooke), delivery (Porter, DeVoss, Yancey), multimodal composition (Selfe, Wysocki), and design (Arola, Purdy), I have found that explicit conversations about the complex connections across digital and visual making as cultural acts has only partially been addressed (Haas). I am most interested in the ways that visual and digital making occurs, as well as the contexts of that making, and the consequences of these visual and digital compositions as they circulate locally and globally.
As a researcher of visual and digital rhetoric, I feel compelled to practice visual/digital composing to continue to expand my experience with making beyond disciplinary boundaries. In addition to my current research projects that examine the relationships between visual rhetoric and cultures, I have chosen to compile artistic pieces I have created that comment on acts of visual/digital composing in popular culture. I have created these pieces using common apps like Snapchat because contemporary technologies and forms of expression (selfies, emojis) are often divisive—deemed frivolous (also gendered as feminine), irreverent, and ephemeral even though visuals made from these apps are labor intensive and meaningfully constructed by resourceful uses of everyday social media platforms and technology.