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The contribution of arts-educators to a pedagogy of global social justice education: A qualitative study of creative production processes with young people

Essilfie, William; (2016) The contribution of arts-educators to a pedagogy of global social justice education: A qualitative study of creative production processes with young people. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Global social justice education (GSJE) for young people is regularly conducted through the arts, from using artworks as stimuli for discussion to art-making as an approach to consolidate young people’s understanding of social justice issues. Although there is widespread use of the arts in GSJE, educational research in GSJE rarely engages with art-making approaches. This research analyses the pedagogy of GSJE through the arts through a qualitative study of media, art and design educators working with young people in social justice education (SJE). The empirical research, which was influenced by ethnography, consists of data generated mainly by interviews and observations with participants working in both formal and informal education settings. Analysis is informed by concepts of conscientization, art as experience and the radical potential of the arts. Considering pedagogy in arts GSJE through the themes of context, concepts, practice and achievement, highlights the challenges between the intentions of educators and the practicalities of working in this field. It shows firstly that the SJE arenas of knowledge development, reflection and skills-development, action, and evaluation are fundamental to the art-making experience in GSJE. The art-making process provides multiple opportunities for reinforcement of learning in GSJE through the reflection and discussion of the SJE topic that occurs throughout creative production processes. Secondly, soft skills-development and young people’s voice dominates GSJE with relatively little attention given to addressing structural conditions responsible for global social injustices. External factors driven mainly by funders and their policies contribute to this situation by concentrating funding on short-term projects. Thirdly, though SJE prioritizes young people’s voice, without educators setting boundaries the GSJE dimension can easily become minimal. Young people’s participation in all stages of the learning process is also essential in providing repeated chances to engage with GSJE. Finally, post-action evaluations provide opportunities for reflection on GSJE knowledge gained and acknowledgement of lessons to use in future actions. This research also indicates the range of ways GSJE through the arts occurs; it highlights the scope for a contribution of the arts to GSJE despite existing constraints. Without paying close attention to pedagogical practices, GSJE through the arts can result in approaches that do not match the potential contribution of the arts. Creating artwork as part of GSJE is a powerful approach to engaging young people in global social justice, resulting in the development of knowledge and understanding whilst acting for social change.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The contribution of arts-educators to a pedagogy of global social justice education: A qualitative study of creative production processes with young people
Event: UCL IOE
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: global social justice education, social justice education, global learning, filmmaking, arts education, development education, arts educators, film educators
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1516013
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