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About the Book

About the Editors

Therese Quinn is Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

John Ploof is Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lisa Hochtritt is Chair of Art Education at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver, Colorado.


Part I - The Commons: Redistribution of Resources and Power


Part I explores ideas about the rich potential of collective creative efforts, and how the results of this labor can be viewed as a commons, or a cultural resource to which all can contribute and from which all benefit. Identifying culture as the province of all, not just the few, also aims to redistribute power. An opening essay introduces Hull-House as a model of material support for shared endeavors and its founder Ellen Gates Starr as an artist and proponent of accessible arts education; Walt Whitman’s poetic description of freely available arts; and the contributors to the section. Essays by arts educators, theorists, and artists about images of international contemporary art identify related themes, including collaboration, borders and migration, militarism and social media, and more, positing throughout the role that both the arts and education can play in justice work.

Sample essay - Mequitta Ahuja: Afro-Galaxy by Romi Crawford


Part II - Our Cultures: Recognition and Representation


Part II investigates contemporary forms of art and visual culture that parallel recent scholarly discourse on the recognition and representation of complex social identities. This section begins with an introductory essay that examines the potential of emerging relational perspectives to illuminate these struggles in fresh and critically considered ways. By focusing on how social identities are constructed, contributors to this section extend beyond reified categories of old school identity politics into newly emerging territories for the consideration of our cultures - all under construction. Themes explored include complex nuanced art work about disability, gender, sexuality, indigenousness, cultural difference, language, and the performance of realness. Perspectives of educators extend from works of art and visual culture to the context of art education classrooms in both formal and informal teaching and learning sites.

Sample essay - Kaisa Leka: Confusing the Disability/Ability Divide by Carrie Sandahl


Part III—Toward Futures: Social and Personal Transformation


Part III focuses on creating futures; it explores ways to change the current socio-cultural landscape and, in particular, schools through the work of contemporary artists and educators. Arguing for heightened opportunities for conversation and collaboration among participants, the essays and art suggest ways in which public pedagogy can incite social and personal transformation. Authors and artists in this section address social and environmental justice, collective practice, and equalizing power through art, ideas, public education, and action. Re-envisioning how and where education takes place, and recasting the role that artists and culture workers play in developing histories, dialogue, and activism, these contributors redefine locations of learning relative to social justice thinking.

Sample essay - Harrell Fletcher: Shaping a New Social by Juan Carlos Castro


Part IV—Voices of Teachers


Part IV is written by and for educators who have included art education and social justice tenets in their teachings, and includes essays representing a variety of disciplines. With an introduction by Graeme Sullivan, who explores how arts practice and arts education are forms of research, educators in this section propose that teaching for justice calls for constant retooling, reflection, and action. These essays describe students participating in skateboarding as a way to use the community as a canvas; exploring the political act of making a zine and self-publishing as power; utilizing social media networks for art history; examining prejudices and questioning notions of how we should be teaching; animating human rights; integrating arts through public performance; using student artwork in guerilla interventions; and more.

Sample essay - The Streets Are Our Canvas: Skateboarding, Hip-Hop, and School by Keith (K-Dub) Williams



Bernard Williams

Darrel Morris


La Pocha Nostra

Kaisa Leka

Pedagogical Factory

Xu Bing

The Chiapas Photography Project

Future Farmers

Rafael Trelles