International Journal of Art & Design Education

Virtual Voices: Exploring Creative Practices to Support Life Skills Development among Young People Working in a Virtual World Community (pages 331–344)

Volume 32.3   2013



The dialectical relationship between social justice, active participation and the development of aesthetic sensibilities is re-emerging as a theme among art and design educators as concerns mount for the future of art and design education in the curriculum – particularly in the UK, but also internationally. This article explores the potential of virtual worlds to support the development of young people's voices using creative practices – photography, film-making and fashion – as the principal means of engaging young people in developing their understanding of active citizenship. The use of creative practices to support a range of wider educational aims in virtual worlds has not yet been investigated and, we contend, is an area of serious research endeavour. We report on the research of an EPSRC/ESRC-funded project called ‘Inter-Life’ which examined how virtual worlds could be used to support the development and acquisition of life skills to enhance the management of important life transitions. The project investigated the extent to which young people's engagement in creative practices within these environments assisted with these processes. Some implications for future research are outlined.