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The Empowering Role of Art in a Critical Pedagogy of Place

Irida Tsevreni
Children, Youth and Environments
Vol. 24, No. 1 (2014), pp. 138-157
Published by: University of Cincinnati
DOI: 10.7721/chilyoutenvi.24.1.0138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.24.1.0138
Page Count: 20
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The Empowering Role of Art in a Critical Pedagogy of Place
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Abstract

This field report tells the story of a critical pedagogy of place educational program that was implemented with primary school children in Athens, Greece, during a period of economic, political, and social crisis. This program, entitled “Creating the Environment Where I Would Like to Live,” was designed to develop children's critical thought and imagination and to empower their self-confidence and action-competence regarding their ideas for the city. The program focused on transforming children's low self-esteem and passiveness into a powerful creative process of critical reflection, collaboration, and action. Art was the tool that was used in the empowering pedagogical process. The program treated children as artists and urban designers with the ability to analyze their environment, synthesize their thoughts, and propose new ideas for the improvement of the city. The children who participated in the program asked for political change, solidarity, and a stronger connection with nature in the city. They were also involved in the improvement of their school environment. The research explores the dynamic role of art in a critical pedagogy of place and the benefits that it can confer to children.

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