Examining Fair Trade as an Art Education Opportunity

  • Amanda Alexander
  • Connie DeJong
  • Jen Miller
  • James Sanders III


Four art education researchers consider how addressing Fair Trade can expand and develop ways to teach students and the community about social justice. The authors first discuss Fair Trade through globalization, (inter)national laws, and the environment. Then through an analysis of Global Gallery, a nonprofit, Fair Trade organization in Columbus, Ohio and an example of incorporating Fair Trade into an undergraduate classroom, one familiarizes him/herself with the potential learning opportunities that surround Fair Trade and its foundations, policies, and practices. The authors advocate for a dialogical approach inside and outside of the classroom through dialogical action (Freire, 1970). Collectively authors reconfirm the need for art educators’ sustained commitment to empowering and respectful cultural exchanges between students, educators, and diverse, artistic communities that can potentially lead to social transformation. The authors reflexively reconsider their work in engaging arts patrons, students, and consumers in helping to make that possibility a reality.