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Challenging Change

Published July 12, 2016

Art for Social Justice

This was a first for the art education students at FSU!  During their 2016 summer school course, Theory and Practice II, FSU art education students were challenged to not just plan curriculum, but also to implement, critique, and reflect on that curriculum. As part of the new requirements, FSU pre-service teachers are asked to be involved in more hands on experience with teaching and assessing student learning.  The solution Sara Scott Shields, an assistant professor of art education, came up with was a unique one.  Instead of having students visit a range of different classes in their final weeks of school, why not have them develop a two week summer camp where they could practice the craft of teaching!

Dr. Shields decided to partner with Florida State’s charter lab school, FSUS, on the first annual art for social justice summer camp. During this two week summer program, rising 7th-11th graders were able to artistically explore social justice issues. FSU students promoted student interest in self, community, and the world by giving campers opportunities to find their own voice within a creative community. Dr. Shields said, “We encouraged young people to express their passions through experimental art mediums. Students broadened their perspective and understanding of cultural and social needs in our community and gained the confidence to make a difference.”

But what does it mean to be interested in social justice? Positioned at the intersection of contemporary art and socially responsive education, social justice education “brings together the goals and perspectives of feminist, multicultural, disability rights, environmental, community based, critical pedagogy, social reconstruction, and visual culture art education” (Garber, 2004, p.4). Campers showed immense dedication to issues of social justice, using the camp as an opportunity to comment on a range of issues ranging from human to environmental rights.  One of the FSU students even collaborated with campers and classmates to create a mini documentary highlighting the growth that happened in just two short weeks.  Check it out below!

For more details on the camp check out this article from the Tallahassee Democrat or scroll through a few of the pictures here!