Reflecting on social justice issues (pre-dep)


This activity is designed to help students understand their own and partners’ conceptions of social justice issues. The issues addressed in this activity were collaboratively identified by the CoMC team and our partners. These are issues which students may be encountering for the first time and we need to prepare them properly to approach them sensitively and in a non-colonial way. The use of drawing as a methodology disrupts the privileging of the written word in research and teaching practice, and allows students to express their felt sense of issues in a way that respects individual ways of knowing and communicating.

Aims and outcomes

  • It is important for students undertaking international mobility activities to understand the social justice issues that partner organisations aim to address.
  • The aim of this activity is to help students examine their own conceptions of these issues, as well as develop an understanding of those of partners.
  • This activity draws on students’ own prior knowledge and the perspectives of partners.


  • 45 minutes to 1 hour


  • Unruled paper
  • Drawing materials (e.g. felt tip markers, oil pastels, crayons, etc.)
  • Videos: Partner discussions of social justice issues

The process

1. Provide students with 8 sheets of paper.

2. Explain to students that this activity aims to examine their conceptions of a range of social justice issues. Possible issues to address include:

  • Disability
  • Environment
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Indigenous peoples’ rights
  • Land rights
  • Trauma
  • Workers’ rights

3. Ask students to express their feelings and responses to these issues in any way they like (e.g. drawing, writing, etc.) and to photograph their responses to save them for future reference (at re-entry).

4. Have a group discussion via a felt-knowing reflective activity about the drawing process, students’ understandings of the issues, and how the drawing process impacts our understanding of the issues.

5. Examine accounts given by partners of the issues in the related videos.

6. Discuss what this might mean for students’ interactions in-country.