This discussion operates within two assumptions about the nature and content of politics and political discourse. First and foremost - the “personal is [still] political” (Heberle, 2016, p.593), a now-classic notion that includes "the total complex of relations between people living in society" (Merriam-Webster, 2018). The second assumption is that students need to apply the multi-leveled, interdisciplinary characteristics that engender visual communication (Ishida, Sawaragi, Nakakoji, Sogo, 2017; Choi & Richards, 2017), as we teach them how to look at, talk about, and make art while engaging with complex contemporary problems. Based on these assumptions, an art education curriculum that asks students to actively engage in the world around them is best when students work with issues or topics that will allow all students to personally relate on some level. The theme of food as a topic for higher education art curriculum is just such an example (Dominguez-Whitehead, 2016). This study discusses theoretical aspects of political discourse and visual literacy in the context of thematic, issues-based art curriculum, including more nuanced and related topics such as: levels and types of democratic participation (Micheletti, 2015); neoliberalism (Portwood-Stacer, 2013); oppositional politics (Taft, 2006); digital and technological literacy, and how to understand the political in a world where facts are continuously in question (Loseke, 2018). Student work will be presented as well as methods utilized in working with the interdisciplinary and political theme of food, including students' subtopics such as food access, health, agricultural practices, labor and immigration, economics, and global warming.
kristin vanderlip taylor, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She is National Board Certified in Early/Middle Childhood Art (PK-8) and has taught visual art to students from pre-K through adulthood. She completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy from Pepperdine University in 2018 and received her MA in Art Education from CSUN in 2007. Dr. Taylor has been a member of the California Art Education Association and the National Art Education Association for 16 years. In 2017, she received the Pacific Region Elementary Art Educator award from NAEA, and she was warded Art Educator of the Year (2016) and Elementary Art Educator of the Year (2012) by CAEA. She is also a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Emerging Leaders class of 2015. Dr. Taylor is passionate about art education, curriculum design, and lifelong learning, and she strongly believes that learning should be transdisciplinary and student-centered. Her research is focused on developing sustainable communities of practice that support meaningful, inquiry-based reflective learning for visual art educators at all levels, from preservice to veteran art teachers.