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Purple Shoes And Social Justice

Purple Shoes And Social Justice

If you happen to see 300 purple shoes lying about the University of Waikato grounds this week – don’t be alarmed – purple aliens have not landed.

The purple-shoe display is a class project instigated by School of Education Associate Professor Joyce Stalker. The title of the visual exhibit is: ‘Take the first step: Speak out to stop violence against women.’

Joyce says each student of the ‘Planning Learning Opportunities for Adults’ class has to decorate or make four purple shoes each. These will then be displayed from 10am-3:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday March 22-23, near the University shops, S-block and on the Management school’s steps.

The major part of the assignment is that the students will consider their own and others’ reactions to the display and write an essay about the limitations and potential of the exhibit as a Popular Education technique. Joyce says Popular Education often uses such visual displays to highlight a social justice message.

Inside the purple shoes will be a pamphlet informing people of the violence against women around the world. “This project is not about just creating a pretty display. Rather it has a social justice agenda,” says Joyce.

Joyce hopes that her students, who are mainly studying Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, will be challenged to think of learning and teaching in new ways. Joyce says another key purpose of the exhibit will be to encourage the students and local organisations to adopt the idea for their own communities.


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