Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Art Education (K-12), M.S.Ed.


Art Education Department


Dr. Shirley Hayes

Department Home page



This qualitative action research study examined the effects of introducing diverse contemporary artworks into a non-diverse educational setting. For 3 months, 18 female high school students explored a range of artists, art styles, and artworks, in aid to discovering their own diverse qualities as well as the diversity of their classmates. Through participatory action research, I investigated how diverse contemporary artwork impacted student actions, discussions, and artworks. With the assistance of the transformative learning theory, I expected to convert students with non-accepting diversity views into unbiased young women. My research included data gathered from an assortment of alumni interviews, student questionnaires, class discussions and observations, and student artwork. Using content analysis, I read though my data numerous times, reading, re-reading and coding, until I was able to focus my discoveries into many categories. From there I narrowed the categories down to my main findings: changing the definition of diversity; the separation in appreciation for learning about diversity can segregate the class; diversity education is crucial in a non-diverse educational settings; changing student appreciation for diversity and others’ differences is possible. Through my research, I was able to discover that when students are exposed to a wide range of differences, they are more likely to be open-minded about people’s diversity. Experiencing diverse artwork opens the door to discussing how people are different and promotes discussing the student’s differences. Ultimately, this study demonstrated how studying diverse art can improve student artwork. Overall, there are many positive effects on teaching and discussing diverse contemporary artworks in a non-diverse educational setting, especially when used as a tool to assist students while they develop an appreciation for people’s differences.