Art for Social Change Conference

Posted on January 26, 2024

The Global Academy of Liberal of Arts co-hosted a successful Art for Social Change online conference.
Session 1: Introductions and moderation by Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus
Damaris Ngoru (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
The Role of Gospel Music in Kenya’s Political Campaigns
My talk will engage in the intersection of religious music and politics. I will also talk about some of the theoretical frameworks that have made it possible to establish the role of religious in political campaigns in Kenya.
Ruby Sant (Bath Spa University, England)
Co-designed placemaking with young people and its impact on communal grief
Working with young people in Radstock, a small mining town in North East Somerset UK we have co-designed a range of trust building and arts interventions, supporting them through the tragic loss of a young man to knife crime. This has impacted crime rates in area as young people are able to work through complex feelings, and feel seen, visible and as worthwhile members of the community.
Khadija Baker (Concordia University, Canada)
Practices of the Right to Opacity – Recipes for Artfulife
This research creation is a way to access the right to opacity. This concept will not need to go through theories in a clear way since it moves in resistance to clear definitions. Instead, it will exist in the midst of an exploration and praxes around the conceptual proposition: The right to opacity.  The way of this research creation is through the creation of recipes/techniques/concepts meant to serve the formation of subjectivities, breaking fears, and stereotypes of differences within various modes of existence and experiences, such as cultural, forms of knowledge, learning, language, gender, and neurodiversity.
Session 2: Introductions and moderation by Damaris Ngoru
Annaly Strauss (University of Namibia, Namibia)
Professional Development for Grade 3 teachers to identify learners’ needs to increase reading support  
The purpose of this participation is to share the findings of a study in which both preservice and practicing teachers were engaged in professional development to practice the use of running records in Grade 3 classrooms. This study used action research as a methodology to examine, and ultimately improve, pedagogy and practice. 21 pre-service teachers and 16 practicing teachers participated in professional development training to practice taking running records.  Preservice and practicing teachers’ artifacts generated during professional development training, focus group discussions, and field notes were used as data collection strategies. The findings revealed that a lack of mechanical knowledge of English prevented the participants from identifying the grammatical structures of English linked to error behaviour, pacing when taking a Running Record, and applying conventions related to signs and symbols to guide further intervention and learner support. The study recommends that teachers address learners’ text-reading needs, explore alternative approaches to assess reading, and use innovative teaching and learning strategies, to transition practice from single-letter phonics teaching to phonemic awareness, word reading, and ultimately whole-text reading development. Further research is recommended to address English language policy needs and targeted professional development for practicing teachers.
Dr. Manola Gayatri Kumarswamy (Mount Carmel College Autonomous, Bangalore City University, India)
Kelping: Seaweed communities
The talk will introduce an interdisciplinary project I am leading that connects livelihood, food, urban and rural communities, art for social transformation and dream work.
Penny Hay (Bath Spa University, England)
Forest of Imagination 
Forest of Imagination is a long-term research and public engagement project, a celebration of our collective imagination and connectedness to nature, co-founded by Grant Associates and House of Imagination in collaboration with Bath Spa University. Forest of Imagination addresses key themes of community engagement, social and environmental justice, and embedding art for social change.