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The challenges are finding work that is representational of a diverse group of artists in art history older than thirty years. The other challenge is finding work that addresses the diverse audience, but is still relevant to young students or those without a socially conscious educational background.
However, finding art that challenges students’ preconceptions is a wonderful opportunity to start dialogue and get them thinking about ideas they haven’t been introduced to before. It also gives students who are not typically reflected in traditional Western art history to see themselves reflected by adult, working artists
Yes. There are many art history as well as contemporary examples of art helping to transform existing oppressive structures. In the classroom, using these examples as a jumping-off-point for open dialogue, and inspiration for art-making help encourage students to make their own art in the classroom which challenges and transforms oppressive structures. When students are reassured that the classroom is a safe space to express themselves, and be heard out, they are more likely to create open, honest artwork in response to prompts encouraging this type of expression.
Before prompting my students with questions, we first discuss how to have an open dialogue, that our classroom is a safe place of them to express themselves, and that we all are coming from different life experiences which influence our thoughts, values, and opinions.
What is the change you would like to see in the world?
When discussing social change, we can ask, “What can I do?”
What do you need to protect yourself from? You community?
What other viewpoints might people have about this idea? Why?
What is stopping you from achieving your goals?