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Social Justice

Justice through the arts

Mem Fox with Year 10 students

From Riley Finnane, Year 10

Last Wednesday, ten Year 10 boys had the honour of attending the ‘Justice Literary Event 2018’ that was hosted by the Edmund Rice Centre at Santa Sabina College.

We all woke up nice and early to get to the train from Bondi Junction at 7:45am. Throughout the day, we were accompanied by Ms Attard and Ms Miller, who both take great interest in the Arts and literature. The day was an opportunity for students and teachers who are involved in the Arts to understand how themes of social justice, human rights and eco-justice in literature, music, song and art can powerfully raise awareness in society, and help build the skills and capacity for change.

We heard from some fantastic speakers, including the amazing Mem Fox, the author of Possum Magic, Professor Munjed Al-Muderi, Robin Morrow, Phil Glendenning and Jill Finnane. The Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Mr Glendenning presented an intriguing look into the refugee experience and helped us to understand the kind of abuses that refugees are subjected to on an almost daily basis in Australian detention centres.

This speech was followed up by Professor Munjed Al-Muderi, who himself was a refugee. He showed the refugee crisis from his own experience and perspective. His speech was particularly moving as he truly demonstrated to all of us what it means to suffer but to remain hopeful for the future.

After this, we heard Mem Fox give a fascinating and hilarious speech about the use of books in social justice. She demonstrated to us how she explored themes of racial prejudice and eco-justice throughout her children’s book whilst lamenting that she doesn’t believe her books can ‘change the world.’ However, she would be unable to sleep at night if she had not at least made an attempt. Dr Robin Morrow also gave a speech in which she explored the use of art in children’s literature to reflect social justice concepts and ideals.

All the boys who attended found the day to be a humorous, moving and an overall beautiful experience to witness some of the greatest minds in literature and the arts at work.