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Mobilities, aesthetics and civic engagement: Getting at-risk youth to look at their communities

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This article describes a mobile media art curriculum for engaging at-risk students with their schooling and with civic engagement. The pilot study was conducted with at-risk youth who were seeking their high school diplomas. The curriculum encouraged participants to use mobile media in school and outside. Students examined aspects of their neighbourhoods and sometimes explored themes suggested by the workshop leader. Data consisted of participants’ images, their posts and interview responses. We noted that civic engagement grew out of participants’ initial interest in, and concern for, the formal, technical and aesthetic aspects of their images. Our participants recognized that, if an image is well made, it will be that much more effective in communicating its civic message. In this article, we will consider the primacy of the aesthetic as a promising principle for developing curricula that reorient at-risk youth.
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Keywords: aesthetics; art education; at-risk youth; civic engagement; curriculum and pedagogy; mobile media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Concordia University, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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