Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Transformational Teaching and Learning


Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Helen S. Hamlet

Second Advisor

Dr. Amber Jean-Marie Pabon

Third Advisor

Brian Lehman


The arts serve as a vehicle to activate imagination of students in developing a broaderunderstanding of injustice, its consequences, and the range of alternative possibilities (Bell &Desai, 2011). As more young artists engage in this dialogue, we must investigate how young people themselves make sense of and experience the transformative power of the arts (Dewhurst, 2014). Activist art can communicate ideas about individual and community experiences to a wider audience; it can make public that which has been ignored, silenced, or kept from public conscience (Dewhurst, 2014). Visual expression allows one to increase their understandings beyond the limitations of words and artmaking provides an often-overlooked means of knowing and infrequently used research avenue for exploring a phenomenon (Lee, 2013). The primary purpose of this study gives students the opportunity to explore ways in which they can foment change in the world around them through self-expression. A secondary purpose intends to add to existing dialogue about the transformative power of the arts. This mixed-methods research study was designed to address the following questions: (1) How do students perceive and respond to injustices in their world using meaning-making through the visual arts? (2) What methods do student participants find successful in engaging in dialogue about and creation of social justice activist art? (3) Does an activist art project or program impact a student’s level of comfort in social situations?

Previous Versions

Apr 29 2020



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