Blue Educator in a Red State: Creating Spaces of Purple Empathy through Civil Bipartisan Discourse

  • Meaghan B. Nelson Middle Tennessee State University


Using personal narrative, the author describes her exploratory process as an art educator working with a large, politically divided group of non-art major students as they process their opposing views surrounding the 2016 American Presidential Election. The author reflects on her journey as a liberal educator in a conservative state, attempting to use current visual culture in order to best promote empathy for bipartisanship among students in a time of political unrest. Using visual inquiry as a vehicle for constructive civil discourse concerning insulated echo chambers, students’ commonalities and differences are shared as they transpired.