Encountering Art

Illuminating the invisible student and Language and Learning Adviser experience


The role and professional identity of a Language and Learning Adviser (LLA) are often misunderstood within the university, especially within faculties, by academics and management. This paper reports on a multimodal project which sought to provide an avenue for expression of LLAs’ frustration with this lack of recognition using art practice-led research (PLR) methodology. Although the LLA experience has been examined by the profession from numerous positions, there has not been a study using PLR methods that captures the subjective experience of LLAs’ work experience and their perceptions of the student and LLA encounter. By employing PLR in a workplace where participants had not been trained as artists, unique visual and textual insights about individual LLAs’ perceptions of these encounters were generated. Artworks were created which are material evidence, or mediating objects that represent new understandings, augment new ways to be visible and, through participant discussion and analysis, provide new opportunities to voice professional quandaries, values and possibilities. The aim was to make visible the constraints and possibilities under which LLAs work, so those outside the profession might come to a deeper understanding of the LLA role, including how LLAs can collaborate with academics to develop academic skills within curriculum design. This paper and visual artefact is a record and expression of the ways LLAs face the issue of invisibility in their practice and how an art project brought the group together in meaningful and affirming ways.

Author Biographies

Terrie Fraser, Deakin University

Terrie Fraser has been a Language and Learning Adviser with Academic and Peer support at Deakin University since 2015. Terrie has a background in the creative arts, specialising in painting and a PhD from The University of Melbourne investigating studio art based practices. Her main academic research interests are assisting students with writing in the creative arts, identity in academic writing, artistic research genres and developing community via artistic means.

Caroline Wright-Neville, Deakin University

Caroline Wright-Neville is a language and learning adviser at Deakin University. Caroline’s work involves supporting the academic skills of students across a broad range of faculties and courses. Caroline is currently working on projects that include embedding English language development skills into courses and the development of online academic skills support programs for undergraduate first year and Master’s by Coursework students.

Vittoria Grossi, Deakin University

Vittoria Grossi is Team Leader of the Academic and Peer Support Services (Division of Student Life, Deakin University). She is interested in teaching and learning of academic English as a global language and exploring the challenges that are encountered along the way. Vittoria has a PhD from Macquarie University. 

Tao Bak, Deakin University

Tao is a Language and Learning Adviser in Academic and Peer Support at Deakin University. He has worked in academic literacy development in various settings. In 2012 he coordinated the institution wide Language, Literacy and Numeracy Strategy at Victoria University (VU), following which he worked in Academic Support and Development, at VU’s Centre for Student Success. Having completed his PhD in Education at VU, Tao has published on Steiner-Waldorf education in the Australian context as well as the development of academic skills in tertiary settings.

How to Cite
FraserT., Wright-NevilleC., GrossiV., & BakT. (2023). Encountering Art: Illuminating the invisible student and Language and Learning Adviser experience. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 17(1), 69-101. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/783
Research Articles