Imagining social justice

Felicity McArdle, Linda Knight, Tina Stratigos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines how creativity and the arts can assist teachers who teach from a social justice perspective, and how knowledge built through meaningful experiences of difference can make a difference. Just as imagining is central to visual arts practice, so too is the capacity to imagine a necessity for social justice. The authors ask what art can do, and how art can work, to bring about greater understandings and practices around social justice and the early years. A version of social justice that is built on a recognition of difference requires the capacity to be sensitive to the multiple voices that need to be heard, and the ability to imagine how lives might be lived differently. The arts can provide powerful means for thinking social justice, and the experiences described in this article can have application in addressing social justice in the professional preparation of prospective teachers. Three teacher educators who teach from a social justice perspective apply a collective biography methodology to their stories of art activity. Data was collected from three sites: transcripts, notes and digital images from a salon evening; ethnographic observations, field notes and artefacts from a school classroom; and a/r/tography data generated in a university art classroom. The data was analysed using Foucault and the conceptual work of other post-structuralist philosophies in order to explore how aesthetic and creative artistic activity could excite imaginations and open up multiple possibilities for richer forms of educational outcomes - for teacher educators, their students and, ultimately, for young children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-369
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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