Fall 2021 - EDUC 458 E100

Pedagogy and Practice of Arts for Social Change (4)

Class Number: 5302

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Mon, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units.



Course investigates the pedagogy and practice of arts for social change, which encourages meaningful dialogue, action and leadership through the arts. Students engage in hands-on, experiential learning through workshops, creative group work, and dialogue with practitioners. We explore challenges and benefits of arts for social change as a pedagogical vehicle for educational, environmental, social justice, health, community and/or activist projects.


Not walls of cement,…

But the melodies of your temperature

(Barba, 1995)

Welcome!! I am delighted that you have joined me this semester, and I look forward to our learning together, side by side.  Exploring Arts for Social Change invites students on an experiential journey. Together, we will explore the pedagogy, concepts, and practices of arts for social change. Integrating dialogue, artmaking, and community development, we work across disciplines to meet each other. We engage in collective artmaking that matters and are introduced to practitioners in the field through reading, videos, and guest artists. The invitation is to create community through collective artmaking, as we resist conventional ways of learning, and are present with each other, here and now.

Around the world, artists engage with individuals and communities through collective artmaking to encourage dialogue, insights, openings, and catalyst for change. Artists and participants together paint murals, act in community plays, construct art installations, weave eco-art, record podcasts, dance hip-hop, create photovoice exhibits, poetry festivals, and digital storytelling informed by lived experience and issues that matter. Collaborative artmaking is a transformative practice of intercultural democracy and communal renewal.

The pedagogy and practices of arts for social change, community-engaged arts, or arts for social justice (so many possible names!) invite artists with participants to re-imagine, articulate and enact the changes we wish to see in our lives and in the world around us. Community-engaged artists can be involved in neighbourhood development, health promotion, education, conflict resolution, business innovation, community renewal, environmental and human rights projects. Artists may work with youth, teens, elders, people of all ages, in cross-cultural, inter-generational arts projects.

Anyone who wishes to explore what matters to them through collective artmaking and dialogue can become involved with arts for social change, as an artist, participant, facilitator, community member and/or community supporter. You just have to be here.


  1. Introduction to Arts for Social Change
    • Understand community-engaged arts as a practice, pedagogy, catalyst, opening, and possibility for social change
    • Explore the work of key community engaged artists in Canada and relevant theory connected to arts for social change
    • Identify issues and barriers community-engaged artists experience
    • Experience the practices of collective creation, the role of leadership, facilitation, dialogue, and reflective learning through the arts
    • Understand the value and importance of being present in their learning for themselves, and for each other, and what they offer.
    • Embody and enact intercultural democracy and learning
  2. Catalyst for Social & Educational Change
    • Create community through learner-situated pedagogy & cultural democracy through collaborative artmaking, dialogue and reflection
    • Recognize the value of engaging in creative activities creative engagement and action with others
    • Recognize the value of being in learning situations which may be uncomfortable, or uncertain; and to engage in collaborative activities where learning is emergent, and not immediately evident
    • Learn the value of professional community, the importance of ethical care, respect, and a practice of reciprocity and kindness towards each other
    • Recognize collective artmaking and co-creating community as a pedagogical experience that “enlarges the space of the possible” (Davis & Sumara, 1997)
    • Advocate and value the practice of collective artmaking and its possible impact on individual lives, across disciplines, in communities.


  • Postcard reflections 50%
  • Group work 50%


There is no final exam for this course.


Participation and completion of all activities, readings, assignments required.



All readings provided online via Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.