Aroused from a “false sense of neutrality“

A photo story


  • Fiona Dalziel University of Padova



Photo story, Tableaux, Art is not neutral, Drama class, Drama practice


The three black and white photographs that provide the impetus for this piece are the work of students participating in an English drama workshop at an Italian university. The brief discussion around the tableaux task “Art is not neutral”, inspired by Cañas’ manifesto, is framed by critical language pedagogy and addresses the issue of students’ agency as socially-responsible citizens.

Author Biography

Fiona Dalziel, University of Padova

Fiona Dalziel is Associate Professor of English Language and Translation at the University of Padova, Italy. Her research interests include: promoting learner autonomy; translanguaging in English-medium Instruction (EMI); and the use of drama in language learning. She is a member of the editorial board of Language Learning in Higher Education, the journal of CercleS, the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education, and she was guest editor of the May 2019 issue entitled “Language learning for and with refugees in higher education”. She has been coordinator of Padova University English drama group for over 20 years.


Cañas, T. (2015). 10 things you need to consider if you are an artist.

Crookes, G. V. (2021). Critical language pedagogy: an introduction to principles and values. ELT Journal 75(3), 247-255.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Education as the Practice of Freedom. Routledge.

Freebody, K., & Finneran, M. (2016). Critical issues and intersections: Part 1. In K. Freebody & M. Finneran (Eds.), Drama and Social Justice: Theory, research and practice in international contexts, 9-14. Routledge.






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