New book addresses civic participation via digital media in art education

Michelle Bae-Dimitriadis, assistant professor of art education in the Penn State School of Visual Arts, is co-editor of a new book, “Teaching Civic Participation with Digital Media in Art Education: Critical Approaches for Classroom and Communities,” published by Routledge. The work is an anthology that provides a comprehensive overview of conceptual frameworks and teaching practices that promote youth civic participation by using a variety of established and emerging digital technologies. "Adults often undervalue children and youths' use of digital media-making as merely habitual, unimportant play. However, we view their self-directed media participation as an important form of agency that has a potential to create a tangible change," Bae-Dimitriadis said. In addition to her appointment in the College of Arts and Architecture, Bae-Dimitriadis is an affiliate faculty member in Asian studies and women, gender and sexuality studies. Her research interests include South Asian refugee girlhood, Korean diasporic youth culture, diasporic visual culture and art practice, urban education and community-based art educational practice. Bae-Dimitriadis has spent almost 20 years working with minority youths of color and youths in the juvenile justice system, and has observed them challenging cultural stereotypes through communication and promotion of democratic dialogue. Those observations inspired the book. “This book project aims to highlight civic-oriented projects by K-16 and community art educators that tap into students' daily use of digital technologies to respond to the social, political, economic and other critical issues in their real-life and online communities,” Bae-Dimitriadis said. Originally, the book was contracted with the National Art Education Association (NAEA) in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the process was prolonged and had to be approved by both the NAEA and Routledge to be published. It was co-edited by Olga Ivashkevich.