Art as an Agent for Social Change


The chapters in Art as an Agent for Social Change, presented as snapshots, focus on exploring the power of drama, dance, visual arts, media, music, poetry and film as educative, artistic, imaginative, embodied and relational art forms that are agents of personal and societal change. A range of methods and ontological views are used by the authors in this unique contribution to scholarship, illustrating the comprehensive methodologies and theories that ground arts-based research in Canada, the US, Norway, India, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Weaving together a series of chapters (snapshots) under the themes of community building, collaboration and teaching and pedagogy, this book offers examples of how Art as an Agent for Social Change is of particular relevance for many different and often overlapping groups including community artists, K-university instructors, teachers, students, and arts-based educational researchers interested in using the arts to explore social justice in educative ways. This book provokes us to think critically and creatively about what really matters!

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Hala Mreiwed, Ph.D., McGill University, is a child rights education consultant and course lecturer in the Faculty of Education at that university. The focus of her most recent publications and research are child rights education and creative drama.
Mindy R. Carter, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at McGill University’s Faculty of Education. She has published books and articles on arts education, teacher education, curriculum and pedagogy.
Claudia Mitchell, Ph.D., University of Alberta, is a Distinguished James McGill Professor in Education at McGill University. She has published extensively on participatory visual methodologies, teacher education and girlhood, including Disrupting Shameful Legacies: Girls and Young Women Speaking back through the Arts to Address Sexual Violence (Brill, 2018).
Art as Agent for Social Change deftly explores the connections between art and social change through a rich telling of the journeys of knowledge work of artists, researchers, educators and activists. The cover artwork lingers as a ‘framework’ for future journeys of knowledge production highlighting the necessity of introspection, but also interaction, interdependence, inter-connectedness, and intersection required for wholesome scholarship for social change in complex and uncertain times. The editors have brought together a powerful text that opens up possibilities for innovation in connecting art, research, teaching and community activism, enabling the authentic and respectful interbeing of individuals and communities, vitalising the work they do. The interdisciplinary text makes a timeous and important contribution to the field of arts-based research.” – Naydene de Lange, Professor Emeritus, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
“A superb collection of provocative, educative, and imaginative artful narratives that celebrates arts and their significance in bringing about personal, social, and ecological transformations. Given the inclusive, holistic, contemplative, and collaborative nature of the contributions, this volume emphasizes interconnection, hope, well-being, and empowerment and contributes to a burgeoning global movement for social justice and change. An important read for all educators!” – Ashwani Kumar, President, Arts Researchers and Teachers Society, Canada
“In a time of dire need for social change, this book offers a captivating collection of ‘snapshots’ that showcase the transformational power of arts in education. It allows us to witness inclusive research practices, recognize multiple global perspectives, challenge pre-conceived perceptions, and appreciate arts-based methodological approaches with the goal of re-imagining education.” – Sara Hashem, PhD, Arts Educator, McGill University
Judith Marcuse
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1 In Focus: Snapshots of Social Change through the Arts
Mindy R. Carter, Claudia Mitchell and Hala Mreiwed

PART 1: Community Building

2 “Imagining Things Being Otherwise”: Rethinking Community and the Art Museum Experience
Sage Kincaid and Callan Steinmann
3 Voices from the Heart: Using Community and Art to Foster Social Change in Pre-Service Teachers
Sheryl Smith-Gilman
4 Art Hive: A Relational Framework for Social Change
Leah Lewis, Heather McLeod and Xuemei Li
5 The Murder Next Door: Developing Healing Responses and Building Community Following Trauma Using Research-Based Theatre
Rosemary C. Reilly
6 Lost in Transition: Brecht’s Theatre as a Social Change Agent for Youth Empowerment in the Time of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Hong Kong Handover
Lo Wai Luk and Ho Ka Lee Carrie
7 Making Stone Soup: Arts-Based Organisational Interventions and Participants’ Communication, Teamwork, and Sense of Wellbeing
Mariam Ugarte and Warren Linds
8 Visions of Hope in Education: Fostering Student Teachers’ Identities of Becoming Agents of Change through a Photo Competition and Exhibition
Avivit M. Cherrington
9 Empty Jars: Using Memoration to Confront the Settler Colonial Project through Arts-Based Research
Deanna Del Vecchio

PART 2: Collaborations

10 Walking with Wonder: Attunement to the Senses and Relationality in Photographic Inquiry
Amélie Lemieux and Boyd White
11 Expression and Action for Change: A Contemporary Arts Center and School Collaboration
Deborah Randolph and Karen Morris
12 Moving beyond Celebration toward Action: Affordances and Tensions in Screening and Audiencing Cellphilms and Participatory Verbatim Films
Casey Burkholder and Matt Rogers
13 Cameraless Film-Making in the Education Classroom: A Professor-Student Artistic Collaboration
Lisa A. Mitchell and Kerri Kennedy
14 Choreography as Poetic, Pedagogical, and Political Action in Contemporary Times
Tone Pernille Østern
15 Teaching the Mind-body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts
Madeline Hoak, Alisan Funk and Dan Berkley
16 Contemplative Arts-Based Practices in Education
Giang Hoang Le Nguyen, Trinh Ngoc Phuong Bui and Jodi Latremouille
17 The Generative Act of Critical Pedagogy: Animating Children’s Books and Games as Research Practice
Sue Uhlig, Amy Migliore and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh

PART 3: Teaching & Pedagogy

18 Our Words Flowing into Wide Futures: Making a Difference through Poetic Professional Learning
Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan
19 Eight Weeks, Eight Verses: Using Arts-Based Inquiry to Explore Educator Subjectivity and Reflexivity during a Time of Social Change
Marguerite Müller and Frans Kruger
20 Dear Artemisia: Art as Transformation in Sexual Violence Prevention
Victoria Dickman-Burnett
21 Fiction for Social Change: Addressing Gender in and through Popular Films
Esther Armaignac
22 Unconscious Acts: An Auto-Ethnographic Investigation into Euro-Centric White Normative Consciousness in Theatre Training Programs in Canada
Makram R. Ayache
23 A Pedagogy of Presence: Attending to Context, Process, Being, and Belonging
Rébecca Bourgault
24 Conceptualising a Black Feminist Arts Pedagogy: Looking Back to Look Forward
Amber C. Coleman
25 Working Toward Sustainable Creative Social Justice Practices: Advancing Equity and Justice in the Academy
Amanda Claudia Wager and Kristen P. Goessling
All interested in the way the arts can become an agent for social change across disciplines.
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