Reflecting on Social Justice Issues (re-entry)


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 Macquarie University team and our partners. Students may be encountering these issues for the first time; this activity is intended to prepare them to approach the issues 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 re-examine their own conceptions of these issues, based upon their experiences in-country.
  • This activity draws on students’ own prior knowledge and their in-country experiences.


  • 45 minutes to 1 hour


  • Unruled paper
  • Drawing materials (e.g. felt tip markers, oil pastels, crayons, etc.)
  • Photographs of students’ pre-departure drawings

The process

1. Provide students with 8 sheets of paper.

2. Explain to students that this activity aims to re-examine their conceptions of a range of social justice issues now that they have worked with organisations in-country. 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.

4. Have a group discussion via a felt-knowing reflective activity about students’ understandings of the issues now that they have worked in-country.

5. Examine the students’ drawings from the pre-departure activity and compare them to their drawings from this activity.

6. Discuss the ways in which the two sets of drawings differ, and ask students to reflect on why this is so and the impact of their experience in-country.