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Students as Arts Activists: Insights and analysis from a politically engaged assessment

Reason, Matthew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0536-4236 (2018) Students as Arts Activists: Insights and analysis from a politically engaged assessment. ArtsPraxis, 5 (2). pp. 2-17.

Reason_-_Students_as_Arts_Activists_ArtsPraxis_Volume_5_Issue_2.pdf - Published Version

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Throughout the second year of their BA programme at York St John University (UK), drama and dance students engage with a compulsory module titled ‘politically engaged practice’. As part of this they are given a deliberately provocative assessment brief that requires them to ‘plan, design and implement a small-scale politically engaged piece of acts activism.’
This paper explores the experience of asking students to become, even if only temporary, political activists. It does so by first setting out how arts activism is framed and defined for the module as an intersection between effect and affect. Under the headings ‘dialogical activism’, ‘culture jamming’ and ‘quiet activism’, it then provides a typology of the kinds of students arts activist projects undertaken. Suggesting that the assessment offers an opportunity for ‘authentic learning’ the paper describes how students articulated the impact of the module on their sense of social consciousness and relationship to political issues.
Finally, the paper reflects on the role of activism within the academy, particularly in a context where universities are frequently accused of operating under a liberal bias that imposes particular political perspectives on students.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3633

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