On the Language of Internet Memes

an arts-based educational research dissertation in arts & visual culture education

Tag: internet memes

Literacy of the Meme

  • Developed in conjunction with Dr. J. David Betts, for his upper-division/graduate-level course New Literacies: Computers in Education (LRC 430/530) in the Learning Reading and Culture department at The University of Arizona.

  • Target audience was the students registered for the class.

  • Nine participants consented to be part of the study. All nine generated data to be analyzed.

  • Participants were introduced to the Internet Meme phenomenon, with an emphasis on Image Macros and Animated GIFs. They were then asked to generate digital content that related to their professional, academic and research practice.

  • Ran from October 16th-30th, 2013 as part of a class’ unit on visualization.



  • Target audience was high-school students up to 18 years-old, the same audience that TYPS traditionally reaches out to.

  • Ten participants consented to be part of the study, but only two were able to attend all three sessions. Nonetheless all ten generated data to be analyzed.

  • Participants were guided through explorations into the language of internet memes to incorporate visual, succinct and remixed digital content into their already developed poetic vocabulary.

  • Ran from July 18th to the 20th, 2013.

Studio Meme

  • Held in the city of Tubac, AZ as part of Tubac’s Center of the Arts Summer Art Program, running from June 11 to July 3rd, 2013.

  • Participants from 6 to 14 years of age were led in the production of creative reflections that employed the language of internet memes in order to facilitate the acquisitions of the literacy skills required to engage actively within the internet’s visual culture.

  • Participants were grouped together by age range–6-7 year olds, 8-10 year olds, 11 and older (these groupings were determined by the education coordinator at Tubac Center of the Arts).

  • Three distinct curricula, three different case studies, each designed to address the skills and interests of the different age groups.

  • Each curriculum was deployed with about fifteen learners at a time but data was collected only the participants that consented to be part of the study, 27 in total.

  • Since the program ran for four weeks, but learners were be divided in three age groups, the oldest learners took part in a second, more advanced lesson-plan.

Poe[Meme]s: Plan of Study (1st Draft)

A three-day workshop where young poets will be introduced to the expressive language of internet memes and guided through the production of their very own poe[MEME]s. The workshop will take place from July 18th-20th at the Santa Rosa Branch Library, 1075 S. 10th Ave. Tucson, AZ.

Day 1 (July 18th).

  • Learners will be asked to share their own favorite poem.

    • If they have not written poetry before, they will be asked to share their favorite poem by somebody else.

  • Learners will be shown the video Know your Neighbor: Samuel, the Concise Poet.

  • Concise and succinct poetry will be discussed.

    • Are a few words enough?

    • How many words does poetry require?

  • Learners will break into small groups of two or three participants each.

  • As a group, they will exchange the poems they shared previously.

  • Learners will be guided through a haiku-writing exercise in which the object will be to rewrite their peer’s poem as a collection of 3 or four haikus

  • The haikus will be shared and discussed as a class.

  • Learners will be guided through an internet search for images that are related to the haikus they just wrote and shared.

  • Google’s safe search will be used in order to ensure that all content gathered is age appropriate.

Day 2 (July 19th).

  • Learners will be shown the videos Visual Culture Online and Animated GIFs: Birth of a Medium.

  • Internet memes and their language will be discussed.

    • Can they be art?

    • Can they be poetry?

  • Learners will be introduced to the properties and production process of Captioned Animated GIFs (CAG).

    • Anatomy of CAG.

    • Continuity of action.

    • Frame rate.

    • Short captions.

  • Learners will begin producing series of CAG for each of the Haikus they wrote based on their peers poetry.

Day 3 (July 20th).

  • Learners will finish production their series of CAG.

  • As a class we’ll discuss how we’ll showcase the Poe[meme]s produced.

    • Will all be shown?

    • All together?

    • Each by itself?

  • As a class we will all set up the showcase as part of TYPS’ monthly Poetry Slam.


Poe[Meme]s will be conducted as part of my dissertation research, which has centered around the language of internet of memes and the potential for it to be integrated into educational experiences. This workshop will be deployed in partnership with Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, a wonderful organization in Tucson, AZ that works with young slam poets.



Please feel free to post this flyers at your own discretion. To register or inquire further please email me delarosacarrillo@email.arizona.edu. Space is extremely limited.

Internet Memes as art[?] [Introductory exercise]

[This exercise is meant to function in conjunction with the Internet Memes as Art [?] TED Ed lesson.]

  • Look through these screen-grabs  Are LOLCats and Internet Memes Art?.
  • Pick one of them that you want to use and download it by clicking on it, and saving it to your computer:
  • Review your answers to questions 3 & 4 from the Internet Memes as Art[?] TED Ed Lesson.
  • Summarize each response in a four-word sentence.
  • Using MemeMaker’s Create Tool caption your selected image with your summarized responses.
  • Download and save your meme but also save the link to it provided by MemeMaker.
  • Continue to the Internet Memes as Art[?] TED Ed Lesson and complete the Discussion activity.