The Year 10 Visual Arts students have been learning about social justice in both Religious Education and Visual Arts, creating a unique opportunity for a cross-curricular learning.
The project began by looking at how artists throughout history used their voice to stand against injustice in society, students looked at Street Artists that fight injustice in a public and contemporary context. This theme is the grounding for skateboards they are going to design and paint.
Due to the nature of the curriculum crossover, Miss Lavelle visited the Year 10s to provide a lecture on the Church’s foundations within this area to inspire their artworks. Students drew upon their existing knowledge of the origins of social justice, as they recalled their learning from their RE classes over the last three weeks. They explored the role of Jesus as Prophet in providing for the needs of the oppressed in society. Their understanding was contextualised through a discussion on a quote from Luke’s Gospel, whereby Jesus fulfils his mission as prophet.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
Once students explored the Biblical foundations of the Church’s concern for justice, they learnt about the birth of social teaching in the Catholic Church discovering that since the time of industrialisation, the Catholic Church has been active in addressing the issues it stands against.
“There is no more basic principle in Catholic social vision than the dignity of the human person. It is the bedrock theme, the place where the Church stands when is addresses the question of justice in the world” – Krietemeyer, 2000.
To demonstrate understanding of the routes of the existence of social thought within the Church, students were exposed to examples of Catholic advocates of social justice. Students learnt of Australia’s Blessed Mary Mackillop’s plight to provide education to the poor, as well as the struggles of St Oscar Romero who fought for the people in El Salvador. To conclude this learning opportunity, students discussed examples of Pope Francis’ commitment to the marginalised.
The response and participation of the Year 10 class was exception. Year 10 student Sophie Holmes noted,
“The lesson was an engaging experience, it provided insight and realization to the connections between the catholic church and social justice. This has given us the ability to bring awareness and attention of current injustices that can be developed within our artworks. The pieces we create can help us to realise how God’s teachings provide peace, and allow us to live in God’s Image.”
We look forward to seeing the social justice themed skateboards that our students will produce.