A useful response to the ASFLA conference organisers’ prompt on what systemic functional linguistics culture affords might be found in an examination of some of the influential diagrams of systemic functional linguistics. How do images in SFL textbooks and articles model theoretical concepts and arguments, over time, and between SFL teacher-researchers? What are the disciplinary affordances (Fredlund, Airey & Linder, 2012) of each semiotic resource?This speculation is an offshoot of research on the “boundary objects” (Star & Griesemer, 1989) produced by participants in an interdisciplinary training workshop. The doctoral students who participated in the workshop needed to communicate across disciplinary boundaries. To do this, they created artefacts that ranged from identifiable types, such as concept maps or stock and flow diagrams, to hybrid and nonce illustrations shaped by the tools available. The research examines, in part, how these artefacts are shaped by the disciplinary experiences of the participants. These two examples - the development of SFL diagrams over time, and the negotiations of researchers using artefacts across disciplinary boundaries - demonstrate the ergodic challenges that these knowledge representations present, and the visual literacies required in both author and audience. As cultural objects, do they constrain new solutions?
Cited: Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional ecology, “translations” and boundary objects. Social Studies of Science, 19, 387–420.5 key references:Bateman, J., Wildfeuer, J., & Hiippala, T. (2017). Multimodality foundations, research and analysis: A problem-oriented introduction. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Butt, D., Kobayashi, I., & Sasaki, M. (2009). Abstract tools and technologies of learning: an evolving partnership. In J. Zajda & D. Gibbs (Eds.), Comparative Information Technology (pp. 11–31). Springer.Doran, Y. (2018). Building knowledge through images in physics. Visual Communication, 2018.Martin, J. R. (2014). Evolving systemic functional linguistics: beyond the clause. Functional Linguistics, 1(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/2196-419X-1-3.O’Halloran, K. L. (2008). Systemic functional-multimodal discourse analysis (SF-MDA): constructing ideational meaning using language and visual imagery. Visual Communication (Vol. 7). https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357208096210
Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association annual conference