New M.Ed in Arts for Social Change at SFU

  • Judith Marcuse

Simon Fraser University (SFU) announced a new Master of Education program in Arts for Social Change (ASC) beginning September 2016. The interdisciplinary, two-year M.Ed program is the first of its kind in Canada.

SFU aims to attract artists, educators, community activists and cultural workers interested in integrating arts-based practices into their work towards social change. The curriculum will draw from local and global perspectives and address both practical and ethical issues in the work. As a practice-based degree, students will explore ASC processes, learn group facilitation techniques, develop project management skills and engage in critical dialogue about the field. The program’s primary faculty members come from diverse backgrounds: arts education, communications, dance, business and social innovations. In addition to coursework and projects, students will complete internships with local organizations engaged in community projects.

The launch of the M.Ed has been seven years in the making and is the vision of Judith Marcuse, a dance artist and prominent leader in the field of Art for Social Change in Canada. “It’s a way of expanding one’s knowledge of very practical ways to do this work in community,” says Marcuse, “but also, [it’s] for people who are just working in a studio as dancers or choreographers or directors, because a lot of this work has to do with communication skills, facilitation skills. The work is useful in all kinds of contexts. On a very practical level it is about employment. It’s about another way of being a dancer.”

The program was developed through a long established relationship with SFU where Marcuse is the director of the International Centre of Art for Social Change. In addition to housing the centre, SFU is the host institution of a five-year research project for which Marcuse is the principal investigator. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the project involves twenty-five researchers, six universities and fifteen community partners to explore Art for Social Change practices in Canada. “One really informs the other,” says Marcuse of the relationship between the new degree program and the SSHRC project. They both aim to significantly advance the field of ASC and disseminate knowledge.

Learn more >> http://www.sfu.ca/education/gs/degreediploma/masters/ci-arts2016.html


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