The relationship between the arts, education and social justice activism

The relationship between the arts, education and social justice activism

Felicity’s presentation will construct one attempt at articulating the relationship, both in theory and practice, between the arts, education and social justice activism. The place of imagination and creativity is particularly important in a climate where programming for schooling is constrictive and reductive. Art teaches many things – line, colour, form and elements and principles that the artist uses to make forms. But it also teaches - even very young children - that you are a subject in the world, and that you can have an effect on others, across time and place.

Felicity McArdle is Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University (CSU), NSW and Adjunct A/Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane. Before an academic career, she taught for over 14 years, in urban, rural, and remote districts, in before school settings, and in Primary schools. Felicity has a long-standing interest in the arts and arts education, particularly what art ‘does’, and why access to the arts is important for all. She was an invited member of the consortium, led by Prof Sumsion and Prof Harrison, that wrote the first national framework for the early years in Australia, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). Felicity was a senior member of the Excellence in Research Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network, a three-year research capacity building program funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. She was co-leader within the CRN of Program 3: Social Justice, Access, Inclusion and Policy. Felicity is currently working with a team of investigators, on a Discovery Project funded by the Australian Research Council, which is an inquiry into the state of “play” in the early years curriculum.

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