Jo Barber – The Importance of the Arts in Developing Critical Consciousness and Racial Literacy

Live Illustration by Rebecca Osbourne

Live Illustration Jo

About the Session

In the session I will discuss some of my research around the importance of educators developing critical consciousness and racial literacy. As educators we need to navigate ourselves away from unconsciously perpetuating inequalities by inadvertently disempowering, marginalising and excluding diverse students. To address these issues the session will present how art, collage and collaboration was used to open dialogues, and explore narratives relating to racialised identities. It will offer ideas for how art can be a pedagogical tool to challenge stereotyped misconceptions, to collaboratively co-construct new understandings, and develop critical reflection. It offers further possibilities for educators development or can be adapted for learning in culturally responsive classrooms.

About Jo

Jo has been teaching art within different education sectors since 1993 and has been with Aspire AP since 2013. Jo formerly led the art department from 2014 – 2020, and is currently a Deputy Head of CSEC in Chesham.

In 2021, Jo qualified with an MA in Social Justice and Education from the Institute of Education.
Jo has a deep desire to make a difference for young people through challenging systemic barriers which exclude and marginalise students and developing more inclusive and equitable practices. Informed through research, critical reflection and praxis, Jo is an advocate for how powerful art and culture can be in building a sense of identity, belonging and community.

By creatively valuing differences, being inclusive and working collaboratively we share experiences and dialogues. Art affords opportunities to counter hegemonic assumptions, open dialogues and co-construct new perspectives, to achieve socially just policies, practices and pedagogies. Additionally, being reflective practitioners, decolonising approaches to curricula and being inclusive by being culturally responsive we empower staff and our students.

It is exciting to be involved again with another ambitious event to inspire and empower our creative and collaborative approaches, to encourage culturally responsive practices.

Aspire Power of the Arts

NSEAD Community Activism

NSEAD Magazine Issue 31

SchoolsWeek Article

Twitter: @jo_cb_

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