Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education 

Call for jCRAE 2022

Mini-Theme: Rethinking Ritual Ecologies


Editors: Dr. Amanda Alexander, University of Texas Arlington

         Dr. Cala Coats, Arizona State University


Submissions Due: January 15, 2022


What rituals do you take part in? What rituals do you witness? How do rituals create worlds, embody historical beliefs, and evolve through emerging technologies? What do rituals produce, consume, conjure, and endanger in spaces and communities, and through the materials they enliven? How is art education entangled with ritual(s)?


Rituals are often associated with religious, ceremonial, or spiritual practices, but they can also be health-related, habitual, or superstitious acts or patterns. They can bring together communities and emerge from collective activities. Objects, such as clothing and other textiles, tools, idols, food and liquids, plants, jewelry, and other adornments become associated with and embedded in ceremonial and ritualistic practices. An investigation of rituals connects global cultural values and beliefs, natural materials and man-made objects, place and geography, history and politics, technical and creative skills, as well as formal and informal arts education. 


Almost a century ago, John Dewey (1934) described how museums and other cultural institutions separated religion and fine art from the everyday life of communities, arguing that the “esthetic arts” related to ceremonial practices that organized and enhanced the collective life of communities, which had been separated from daily living. Dewey was concerned that elevating shared ceremonies and the objects associated with them had the effect of fracturing the beauty of everyday rituals that formed community bonds. The shifts of community practices from rural and agrarian societies to urban centers and assembly-line manufacturing that emerged from the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions also impacted the ways communities formed and shared common rituals fundamental to their connections. How have evolving technological developments and expanding globalization affected the arts as practices embedded in rituals within communities? Exploring rituals from an ecological frame expands the lens from a human-centered set of practices to realize the agency of human and non-human elements.  


We are currently witnessing a renewed global desire for connection and community, now found online as much or more than in shared physical spaces. The 4th industrial revolution, building on the digital revolution that began in the middle of the 20th century, “is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres” (Schwab, 2016, n.p.). Paradoxically, a revolution characterized by interconnectedness is taking place during a period of deep isolation, depression, and global tension. In a response that echoes prior cultural revolutions, there is a romantic desire to return to nature and connect with cultures and rituals considered primitive or more in tune with the environment. Practices of spiritual tourism, such as the increase in travel to South America to take part in ayahuasca ceremonies, examplify this romantic longing for healing through plant medicines, connecting to something more elemental, or feeling a sense of community. This growing phenomenon of Western populations engaging in traditional indigenous rituals is one example. At the same time, contemporary rituals continue to emerge and evolve in digital and visual culture, as well as the emergence of new ideas and practices in art education. 


This issue of jCRAE examines the effects, processes, practices, and beliefs of historical, traditional, and contemporary rituals on humans and other life forms, the sites from which they emerge and continue to take place, and the agency of their associated materials. Some questions to consider are:


  • How are rituals embedded in forms of consumption and production? 

  • How are rituals (art) educational? 

  • What is at stake with the commodification and growing tourism industries emerging from and desire for other cultures’ rituals and the art that surrounds them? 

  • How are the complex detrimental and beneficial effects of cultural ritual felt differently depending on the population? 

  • What art making and materials are created for or from rituals, and what were their conditions or emergence? 

  • How are the participatory and relational turns in art, culture, museums, and art education related to a desire for ritual, connectedness, and community?

  • What does this mean for art educators learning the life of objects beyond aesthetic principles of visual quality?

  • How do the current phenomena echo or continue histories of colonialism and imperialism, now rooted in capitalism, where the desire or the joy is found in acquisition and consumption?

  • How can art education encourage respect for that which we desire, consume, colonize, and/or fetishize?

  • How are conceptualizing and implementing pedagogical practices and/or examining classroom communitarian action a form of ritual?


Submissions to this issue may draw on historical, traditional, and contemporary research in art education related to visual and material culture, K-12 and community-based art education, Indigenous practices, multiculturalism, postcolonialism/decolonization, New Materialist theories, object-oriented ontologies, ecofeminism, Afrofuturism, critical theory, and public pedagogy. 


The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education accepts a variety of submissions types, including traditional manuscripts, graphic novels, photo essays, videos,  interactive pieces, and more. Additional submission details and policies as well as archived journal issues can be found at Please direct questions and submissions to Co-Editors, Amanda Alexander and Cala Coats at




Dewey, J. (1934). Art as experience. Minton, Balch.


Schwab, K. (2016). The fourth Industrial Revolution: What it means, how to respond. World Economic Forum, January 14, 2016.