Design thinking and civics education: A collaborative and creative approach to empowering young change-makers

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


Picture Justice Australia is a pilot research study that aims to creatively engage young people in impactful civic participation in their local community. In July 2019, 10 secondary and tertiary students participated in an intensive five-day workshop, during which they developed content for an exhibition that expressed their perspectives on the theme of ‘community, citizenry and processes of democracy’. In this paper, we discuss the Picture Justice Australia pedagogical model informing the workshop series, with a particular focus on how the collaboration of Design Thinking with Civics and Citizenship education supported the participants to develop and utilise empathy, uniting political knowledge with problem-solving skills to encourage what we are calling critical creativity.

The findings of this paper drill down specifically to focus on the impact that Design Thinking and civic education had on the participants’ confidence to engage in their communities. More specifically, we analyse and connect a range of data that helps to build a picture of this impact, including the content of the creative works by participants, survey responses, media reports and observational diaries kept by the researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020
Event3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference - Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 10 Feb 202013 Feb 2020


Conference3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference
Abbreviated titleThe Way Forward
OtherHundreds of decision-makers, thought leaders, influencers, and practitioners from government, civil society and the private sector will gather at Western Sydney University for the 3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference – The Way Forward.

The Conference, from 10-13 February 2020, will provide leaders with the opportunity to discuss challenges confronting social cohesion and community resilience and explore ways to more effectively address them by considering social, economic, cultural, legal, religious, and sexual/gender identity dimensions and perspectives.
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