Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal
Special Issue: Feminist Adult Education and the Imagination in Universities, Communities, Museums, Libraries & Heritage Sites
Editors: Darlene E. Clover, Kerry Harman, Claudia Diaz-Diaz, and Gaby Franger
According to the United Nations and other global reports, gender inequity and inequality remain one ofthe most enduring and defining discriminatory practicesof our time (Sachs, 2022). Asymmetries of hetero-patriarchal power areembedded in all our institutional and organizational structures, social, economic, and cultural practices, andinterpersonal relationships. Vintges (2018) argues that themillennia-old binary hierarchy ofmasculine-femininehas proved to be more resilient than suspected, and she likens it to a mythologicalhydra that grows a new head each time one is cut off.Shameen’s(2021) study illuminates a disturbing globalbacklashofrising fundamentalist and fascist agendas.By eliminating sex and gender education, reinforcinggendered colonial structures and practices, designing newrestrictingor eliminating past public laws that once guaranteed gender rights, and using thepersuasive/educativepower of online and social media, patriarchal agendas shape and reshapethe parameters of public discourse and consciousness worldwide. Alongside is an increased vilification of feminism and feminists as witch-hunters, angry anti-male and anti-beauty campaigners and the primary threats to public morality and the future of the planet (Ahmed, 2017).
While there are many ways to position centuries of gender inequalities and inequities, and the rising backlash, we take this phenomenon up in this special DSJ edition as a failure of the imagination,a failure to visualise, story,educate,create, and activate amore gender just and healthy world.We focus on the imagination because as Helmore (2021)reminds us, “control over itis control over the future” (n/p). The imagination is a powerful faculty that people possess individuallyandcollectively, although women and 2SLGBTQI+have been denied the right and space to imagine fully the world they would like to have. Gender equitable worlds can only become thinkable and actionable once they are able to be imaginable (Manicom& Walters, 2012).
Across the globe, adult educators are tapping into the power of the imagination, into a feminist anti-racist and decolonising imaginaryencouraging new visions of possibility and change. Feminist researchers and practitioners areutilizing arts-based, aesthetic and creative practice to make a different world thinkable and achievable.They are practising the imagination in universities and diverse community locations in the form of creative and arts-based teaching and research methods. They employ radically creative practices across our arts, culture, and heritage institutions.
What do these practices look like, and what are their implications for gender justice? How is this work (re)invigorating the imagination and encouraging a critical and creative consciousness?This special edition responds to these questions. It invites papers that focus onthe imagination, on aesthetic, arts-based and creative practices and methods by adult educators, curators and researchers working in universities, communities, mainstream museums, women’s and gender museums, mainstream libraries, women and feminist libraries, public art galleries,and heritage sites. Other questionsthat can be explored, but which are not exclusive include:
- Howare feminist, critical and Indigenous scholars and practitioners conceptualizing, mobilizing and/or operationalizing the imagination?
- What does the ‘feminist imaginary mean? How is this being theorized and practiced?
- How do creative and aesthetic practices decolonizecolonial, gendered minds and institutions?
- What role do exhibitions, objects, and displays play in educating a new gender consciousness?
- How does a pedagogy of imagination (or arts-based creative practices) enable new forms of epistemic justice for women and 2SLGBTQI+?
- How arevisual and/or performative practices disrupting heteropatriarchal practices of exclusion, oppression, marginalization, and misrepresentation?
- How are arts-based, creative and aesthetic practices decolonizing our minds, methods and institutions toward gender justice?
- How are creative practices reframing, re-storying, re-historicising, re-envisioning, revisualizing, recreatingand reimagininga more gender-just future?
- How is storytelling being employed as a creative practice?
- How do the arts, aesthetics and creative practice encouragea sense of hope, agency, and possibility?
- How are feminist creative practices addressing sexist xenophobia, racismandableism?
- How do feminist aesthetic/creative practices build relationships and allow for experimentation, disruption, ambiguity, unknowability, risk and contradictions to emerge or be examined?
Papers can theorize the feminist imaginary, aesthetics and creative practices. They can also share empirical research findings. We are also looking for papers that are more creative, that use storytelling (linked to the feminist imaginary), conversations between academics and practitioners (in different community and arts and cultural sites), visual essays, and reflections on practice in diverse locations.
If you are interested in contributing an article to this special edition, please send a 500-word proposal (not including references) by March 15,2023 to Darlene Clover (firstname.lastname@example.org). Publication of this issue is anticipated to be January 2024.
Ahmed, S. (2017). Living a feminist life. Duke University Press.
Helmore, E. (2021, March 28). Writers grapple with rules of the imagination. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/mar/28/writers-in-culture-war-over-rules-of-the-imagination
Manicom, L. & Walters, S. (Eds.) (2012). Feminist popular education: Creating pedagogies of possibility. PalgraveMacMillian.
Sachs, J. (2022). Sustainable development report 2022: From crisis to sustainable development: The SDGs as roadmap to 2030 and beyond (1st Ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Shameen, N. (2021). Rights at risk: Time for action. AWID Toronto.
Vintges, K. (2017). A new dawn for the second sex. Amsterdam University Press.