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THTR 317: Scene Design

Getting Started with Visual Research

Your scenic design project asks you to find visual research connected with Thorton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. 

After you have read the play carefully, taking notes of necessary scenic elements, character relationships to each other and to their space, place, time, mood, style (realistic), symbols, metaphors, & details required in the script, and developed a thesis statement (one line summing up what you feel the play is about), the resources on this guide will help you find reliable, high-quality images that will contribute to your emotional collage, final design and presentation. 

These images may be realistic, thematic, symbolic, or metaphorical. Cast a wide net and think creatively!

What is Visual Research?

Visual research is the process of identifying, gathering, and classifying images to support the construction, application, and understanding of visual culture.  Visual research reviews both primary sources (images from the period in question) and secondary sources ("visual reference" books and databases).  

You may want to gather both primary and secondary sources for your scenic design project. 


Questions to Consider

Imagine your perfect resource...

  • Who might have collected images relevant to your topic? Perhaps an institution, organization, profession, or expert has worked to gather images that could aid your research. Do they provide access to their collections?

  • Where might relevant images have been published or distributed? This could be an interdisciplinary or subject-specific database, online image repository, professional group's website, or more! There are many places to look. Where might you expect to find them?

There are several types of places to search -- databases, online web resources, books/e-books, archives, and more! You may be able to search resources that specialize in your topic or you may need to look at more general interdisciplinary resources.

adapted from UCLA Library's Image Research Tips & Best Practices