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Meet Dr. Rafael Iwamoto Tosi, Postdoctoral Fellow

August 15, 2022 — 

Dr. Rafael Iwamoto Tosi is a Professor, Researcher and Writer born and raised in Sao Paulo – Brazil and specialized in the field of Cultural Anthropology and Media Studies. For the past 17 years, he has dedicated his life to teaching students by using Pop Culture as an educational tool (from middle school where he uses it to teach social studies to undergraduate and graduate school). As a semiotician, his studies include how different images (and audiovisual contents) can connect and disconnect different generations in educational contexts using edusemiotics approach. His recent publications aim to explore how pop culture images can be used as a bridge of interactions between older and new generations and how themes such as neo-liberalism, social justice and minority narratives can be found in different cultural environments such as movies, videogames, cartoons and comic books.

His research with the Manitoba Children’s Museum (MCM) is part of his Postdoctoral Fellowship research. “Hacking the Children’s Museum: Illuminating middle years studies curriculum in permanent exhibitions” is the research being held in partnership with the Manitoba Children’s Museum where a 5th-grade class will “hack” one of the most famous permanent exhibitions of the site: The Engineer House. This real size 1950’s locomotive is the centrepiece of this Museum and it is designed to offer interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. This research uses Museum Hacking – which is an innovative arts education methodology where the participants intervene in the museum with their own crafted art pieces – to unfold new narratives while expanding the STEM to STEAM design using the arts to debate the social studies curriculum. Being the Manitoba Children’s Museum located on a historical site in Winnipeg (and the former repair station of the Canadian Pacific Railway – CPR) the 5th-grade students will artistically intervene in the locomotive to bring this part of the History to the exhibition. The researchers will use social semiotics and visual thinking strategies to understand how Museum Hacking can contribute to the STEAM middle years curriculum.

The research is set to be going in for 12 months initially with a possibility of extension depending on how the “Hack the Children`s Museum” feedback goes with the publishing of the articles and the reception of the Manitoba Children`s Museum.

“We want to transform this “one time research” into a permanent program at the MCM and we are with a lot of ideas that can be applied to other exhibitions.”

Dr. Rafael Iwamoto Tosi will be working with Dr. Bruno de Oliveira, “he presented me with the Faculty of Education guidelines and how the department has the same synergy with our desire to improve the world through education. It was an easy decision to go to this historical and world respected institution where my research could really make a difference and also could be turned visible to the whole world.”

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