The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education (jCRAE), first published in 1983, is an annual publication of the United States Society for Education through Art and is completely accessible online jCRAE focuses on social/cultural research relevant for art education, including cultural foundations of art education, cross-cultural and multicultural research in art education, and cultural aspects of art in education. These areas should be interpreted in a broad sense and can include arts administration, art therapy, community arts, and other disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches that are relevant to art education. Theoretical research and studies in which qualitative and/or quantitative methods as well as other strategies used will be considered for publication.

Manuscript Types: Written manuscripts, graphic novels, photo essays, videos, or interactive art pieces in keeping with the focus of jCRAE are welcome.
Mini-Theme:  Pleasure Centers and Liberatory Practices

Senior Editor: Joni Boyd Acuff, PhD:
Guest Co-Editor: Sharbreon Plummer, MA:
Editorial Assistant: Sharbreon Plummer, MA:

Mini-Theme Information: Pleasure Centers and Liberatory Practices

“Joy arises from an internal clarity about our purpose. My purpose is justice.
And the fight for justice brings me joy” (Cooper, 2008, p. 274).

Engaging in justice oriented art education practice and research can be exhausting. Tackling systemic and institutional racism, patriarchy, capitalism, heterosexism, disability, and power is an overwhelming task. Such work often results in intangible, but nevertheless salient violence against one’s psyche.  Because art educators who are committed to justice work have the responsibility to identify, research, analyze and destabilize inequities on a daily basis, they re-inflict trauma and psychological violence on themselves over and over again. Thus, oftentimes, art education scholars who write about their justice oriented work cite feelings of rage, defeat, perplexity, anguish, and fatigue (See Acuff, 2018; Acuff, Lopez & Wilson, 2019; Cosier, 2019; Spillane, 2016). There is another side to critical justice work that is rarely written about in art education: pleasure.

The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education seeks papers that center pleasure in art activism and justice oriented art education. Recent scholarship from disciplines as wide ranging as women of color feminisms, sociology, and psychology explores the politics of pleasure and its relationship to justice work. It suggests that pleasure, as well as joy, strength, healing, community-building, allyship, and kinship result when futuristic worldmaking is part of disrupting inequities. Cooper (2018) stresses this point. She argues, “what you build is infinitely more important than what you tear down” (p. 275) and finding joy in the midst of social justice projects is “critical to reinvigorating our capacity for new visions” (p. 275). In her investigation of pleasure activism, Adrienne Maree Brown (2019) finds that “our radical imagination is a tool for decolonization, for reclaiming our right to shape our lived reality” (p. 126). How might activism be different if it were to center happiness and healing? What political, experimental, and self-determined narratives of pleasure within activism and everyday living have yet to be told?

The co-editors of this mini-theme invite essays, research and creative submissions that speak to the new (or newly found) spaces (physical, mental and emotional) that have been built (or imagined) for each other (especially marginalized groups) to thrive. We are especially interested in narratives that describe how ancestral and Indigenous practices and strategies inform the construction of these sites of refuge.

The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education calls for written manuscripts (empirical research, narratives, and/or field studies) and digital submissions that:

1. Advance critical understandings that push beyond resistance and scarcity as the primary themes that frame marginalized voices and narratives in art education contexts. This includes, but is not limited to, critical discussions of politics of pleasure, Afrofuturism, Womanism/Black feminisms, non-Western feminisms, Queer theory, and disability theory as embodied and/or seen in art education practices, research and/or discourse;
2. Destabilize the way art education has forced educators, researchers and practitioners immersed in justice work to prioritize labor over pleasure in order to further the field;
3. Present empirical research of critical pedagogies that center joy in justice oriented art education and/or advance theoretical and conceptual understanding of pleasure as a tool for justice in art education;
4. Highlight the components of critical theories that support and foster aspects of pleasure (e.g. self-actualization within Black feminist theory, narrative as self-expression within Critical Race Theory, imagining origin stories through Afrofuturism).

Some questions (and topics) this volume might address include:
1. How can pleasure be defined and/or identified in terms of its application and manifestation within justice oriented art education?
2. How are artists and other practitioners beyond the academy exploring liberation within art education? (How does/can translate pedagogically?)
3. What are the tools needed to begin an individual exploration of pleasure as an anti-oppressive framework within art education?
4. How can the body be activated as a site for politicizing pleasure within art education?
5. Critically examining how pleasure (through strength, healing, community-building, allyship, and kinship, etc) contributes to justice oriented worldmaking.

In the final chapter of her text Eloquent Rage, Black feminist scholar Brittney Cooper (2018) writes, “If political struggle is exercise for the soul, joy is the endorphin rush such struggles bring” (275), resistance without restoration only perpetuates patterns of burnout, labor inequity and intellectual exploitation. It is our hope that this call will generate dialogue around what holistic analyses of and approaches to working within justice oriented art education can be; where radical work is not solely conflated with mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. We owe it to ourselves and to the field to reinterpret how art education scholarship can support the recentering of pleasure in the midst of oppressive circumstances.

Acuff, J. B. (2018). Confronting racial battle fatigue and comforting my Blackness as an
educator. Multicultural Perspectives, 20(3), 174-181.
Acuff, J. B., Lopez, V., & Wilson, G. (2019). Lunch on the grass: Three art educators of color.
Brown, A. M. (2019). Pleasure activism: The politics of feeling good. Chico, CA:AK Press.
Cooper, B. (2018). Eloquent rage: A Black Feminist discovers her superpower. New Your, NY:
St. Martin’s Press.
Cosier, K. (2019). On Whiteness and becoming warm demanders. Journal of Cultural Research
in Art Education, 36(1), 56-72.
Spillane, S. (2016). The failure of Whiteness in art education: A personal narrative informed by
Critical Race Theory. Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 35(1), 57-68.

Submission Information
Written submissions should be in Word (.doc) format; include a title page containing the author's name(s) and affiliation(s); a short abstract and key words; and figures, graphs, and images appropriately at the end of the manuscript. The word count for the complete manuscript, not including references and footnotes, should not exceed 5,000 words. A variety of formats are welcome—including traditional academic essays, visual essays, or alternative formats—that fit the purposes of the journal to address issues of art, education, and cultural research.  Image-based submissions should be accompanied by explanatory text. For submission of alternative/digital formats, please consult with the Senior Editor for submission preference. For information visit
Written papers should be in APA style (6th edition) and submitted by email to:
Joni Acuff, Senior Editor and Guest Co-editor, Sharbreon Plummer at
Deadline for submission of manuscripts for the 2020 (Vol. 37) issue of the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education is January 31, 2020.
Review and Publication Information
All manuscripts will undergo a blind review by 2 reviewers from the Review Board of jCRAE. Upon review, authors will receive a recommendation from the Senior Editor and Guest Co-editor for either Acceptance; Minor Revisions; Major Revisions; or Rejection. Revisions are common and expected upon primary review of a manuscript submission. I encourage authors to submit early or contact me for the possibility of submitting after our deadline.
We look forward to receiving your submission!