Survey for new online ecoliteracy course for creative people – please add your ideas!

A short survey to determine the key ideas for an online ‘ecoliteracy for the arts’ course

I’m exploring ways to help others in the arts gain ecoliteracy as I’ve had an increase in people seeking out my knowledge this year (even though I live in a rural area).

I’m looking at new ways to share my experience that don’t overstretch my and the Earth’s resources. Please read below for proposed course outline and the link to the short survey – Thank you for participating!

Please note: if you are already familiar with this topic, I do invite you to fill in the questionnaire. This may help others who are struggling to find adequate learning for this topic and develop the art and ecology field further. This is a field of creative practice that will have immense importance in the years ahead.

A new online ‘Ecoliteracy for the Arts’ course

by Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice in Ecological Art  Cathy Fitzgerald

Proposed course idea:

In this unprecedented time of ecological emergencies, I am developing an accessible and affordable online course* to increase ecoliteracy (ecological understanding) for creative practitioners, art educators, curators, art organisation staff, art activists and art historians in all art disciplines.

Ecoliteracy is the basis of creating impactful work and strategies to inspire audiences and communities for the better world we know is possible.

The proposed ‘Ecoliteracy Essentials for the Arts’ course is not intended to instruct people on how to make environmental art. Rather, the course lessons and resources will help creative workers to confidently navigate environmental science, explore the root causes of the eco-social crises and give examples of best practice. An online format also has the potential for networking, developing a community for support and peer-to-peer learning.

I would be very grateful for any ideas and feedback on how this topic might be of interest to you. Filling in the questionnaire does not mean you have to do the course.

Please find a link to the short survey here:

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ihttps://forms.gle/scPHmBosh8E9Cgmb9

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With much gratitude everyone!
o

Cathy


PS if the idea of learning online is new to you, I have summarised some key benefits below.

Online courses benefits over learning in an education institution:

  • you can learn from home, therefore eliminating the costs of living away from home and / or  the resources used in travelling
  • online courses are much more affordable than courses offered by institutions as there are few overhead costs
  • you can learn at your own pace, at a time and in an environment, that suits you
  • online learning provides accessible opportunities for learning if you are working, caretaking or have other difficulties in attending a class
  • online courses require motivation, you will improve your work habits
  • online course providers can offer topics that may take traditional colleges years to develop
  • you can have access to experts and like-minded people in online discussion forums, who may or may not live in your country

I wish to gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organisations and people:


 

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Welcome news: Green Arts Initiative for Ireland launched

Huge congratulations to Caitriona Fallon and Theatre Forum Ireland, who under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland’s team and their Scottish Green Arts Initiative, have set up an Irish Green Arts Initiative to ‘provide Irish arts organisations with the resources and support to help build a green Irish arts community.’ #culturedeclaresemergency #ireland

Huge congratulations to Caitriona Fallon and Theatre Forum Ireland, who under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland‘s team and their Scottish Green Arts Initiative, have set up a Green Arts Initiative in Ireland to ‘provide Irish arts organisations with the resources and support to help build a green Irish arts community.’

I have written at length about the absence of supports and information for the Irish Arts Community in regards to engaging with eco-social concerns, and had indicated that replicating Creative Carbon Scotland’s strategies would suit particularly suit the Irish context. I literally knocked on Creative Carbon Scotland’s door in 2016, asking for their support to for my research on overseas art & sustainability programmes. CEO Ben Twist and his colleague Gemma Lawrence couldn’t have been more supportive.

Caitriona was in touch with me last year and again more recently and she is passionate about this area too. As the former CEO of Siamsa Tíre, the Irish Folklore Theatre and Gallery in Tralee, she was instrumental in getting the first Green Accreditation for a cultural space in Ireland ‘Greening Siamsa Tíre‘ and creating internal policies for waste and water management, energy, biodiversity, transport and travel, green teams and green procurement, through Julie’s Bicycle, the English art and sustainiblity organisation. Therefore, the launch of the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland by someone who is experienced in Greening a public cultural space and organisation is very welcome news for everyone in the Irish arts community, not matter what art discipline you pursue.

And if  you are unfamiliar why its so important to bring arts and sustainability ideas together, there are strong and urgent moral reasons why all workers in cultural institutions should engage with these developments. (I share environmental philosopher and writer Kathleen Dean Moore’s clear explaination as to why moral reasoning compels us all to act now in Chapter 2.2 of my review of overseas art and sustainability programmes). Having a Irish Green Arts Initiative will undoubtedly help Ireland’s arts community appreciate that the arts have a key role, alongside science, to engage our diverse communities in rural and urban Ireland for a better and more beautiful world.

Greening Ireland’s ‘Organisations’ is one key strategy that Creative Carbon Scotland and Julie’s Bicycle recommend. Hopefully before too long, other developments to support ‘Artists’ and ongoing ‘Strategy’ (as seen below), central to both the Scottish and UK’s programmes, will also be adopted in Ireland to enable our arts community to effectively engage with this topic for all their audiences.

The three main areas for Creative Carbon Scotland’s and similary for Julie’s Bicycle art and sustainability programmes in the UK. Image: Creative Carbon Scotland, 2019.

These are the first aims that Catriona and Theatre Forum will be looking at below.

If you are involved in managing or work at an Irish cultural space or organisation please contact Caitriona below:

Run by Theatre Forum and Catriona Fallon, under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland, the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland aims to:

  • Support members with practical advice on reducing their carbon footprint and overall environmental impacts.
  • Provide members with opportunities to enhance their sustainability competencies through training and networking.
  • Collect information about what organisations are currently doing to improve their sustainability.
    It would be really helpful if you could complete our survey.

Useful Resources 

Here are some resources that we’ve created – more to come!

Email info@theatreforum.ie for more information.

This information was originally posted in the Creative Carbon Scotland newsletter 28 June 2019.

Ecoliteracy helps us understand Earth’s Laws

“To comply by Earth’s laws, we must first know them, and this requires us to revive our connection with Nature and our ecoliteracy, re-learning Nature’s laws after generations of alienation.

This re-learning involves nurturing our relationship with nature. This could be through planting a window box, developing our relationship with a tree in a park, tuning in to the cycles of the moon, or more elaborate, wild ways, depending on our circumstances. “

Geo-theologian Thomas Berry quoted in Rooting interest rebellion in Nature’ The Ecologist (2019)


Culture Declares Emergency: signing up from Ireland

The Hollywood Forest Story : An Eco-Social Art Practice | Co. Carlow Ireland

CultureDeclaresKite-HORIZ-PINK-LRG

CultureDeclaresKite-VERT-SM-PINK“Humanity faces the combined catastrophes of climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems health everywhere,” said Lucy Neal, spokesperson for Culture Declares Emergency.

“This has now become an emergency situation because governments and industry have not shown the necessary leadership, and, so far, have not acted fast enough. Fortunately, humans are capable of responding in a remarkable variety of ways to accelerate climate solutions and adaptations, and culture can help stir up human response as well as creating new stories and visions for our world.”

As an Irish art culture worker extremely concerned with the ecological emergency that is unfolding around us, and knowing the culture sector in Ireland to date is not creating strategies commensurate with the situation, I have become a signatory to the first wave of a new global movement, #CultureDeclaresEmergency that is being launched across the world today.  I am…

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Cathy Fitzgerald is developing ecoliteracy courses for the arts in Ireland

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I am delighted to share news of support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office and the Carlow Arts Office in my work to develop ecoliteracy courses for creative workers


I am very grateful to both organisations for these opportunities to develop courses for creative people who wish to develop informed and impactful works on critical eco-social issues.


I am undertaking a feasibility study of online course development with support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office. Please email me if you want to be involved in developing the pilot online course: I am interested in hearing from creative workers looking at eco-social concerns from anywhere on Earth.

In September, 2019 I will be offering through a Carlow Arts Office award a seminar on essential ecoliteracy in South County Carlow, Ireland.

For more updates on these courses, ‘follow’ my site by entering your email on the homepage or you can email me for further information at cathy@haumea.site

 

 

May we all begin to see again, May we all walk in real beauty

The ecological crises are deeply related to how we do not read the monocultures, the ecological deserts, that surround us in modern societies, as life limiting. Instead, can we reimagine this type of ’beautiful’ image, so overused in tourism, to think what a rich, thriving ecology look like. Hint, it just wouldn’t include one type of grass and one type of animal. Real beauty, life-giving lands, forests, wetlands etc always express diversity, mixtures of species, thousands of insect species, altogether stunning complexity. May we all begin to see again, May we all walk in real beauty.

My reflection on this important insight from Irish ecological gardener activist, reformed landscape artist Mary Reynolds

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

Every generation has less and less awareness of what truly healthy living landscapes actually look like. People don’t realise, for example, that the bare grassy hillsides are not supposed to be bare, that they are over grazed and support almost no life other than sheep. They don’t know what a diverse native woodland looks like, or that a variety of life depends on them. They are accustomed to seeing stands of monoculture non-native, much poisoned, conifer plantations, which are dark and dead underneath for the most part.

People don’t remember what it was like to have shoals of fish in the rivers, to have crystal clear seas cleaned by the massive beds of oysters, to have oodles of birds, insects, frogs, butterflies, hedgehogs, etc. sharing our land. It is so quiet now. Eerily quiet. When you’re driving at night your windscreen is no longer covered in dead insects and moths like it used to be when you were a small child. As a species, we immediately forget what is lost and only see what exists right here, right now as the new normal. Every generation is experiencing huge shifts in what passes for a natural system. These changes have become more extreme over the last few generations. What we see as dead landscapes, our kids will see as natural and normal. There is a phrase for this and most of us these days suffer from it. It’s called ‘Shifting Baseline Syndrome’.

“Generational amnesia is when knowledge is not passed down from generation to generation. For example, people may think of as ‘pristine’ wilderness, the wild places that they experienced during their childhood, but with every generation this baseline becomes more and more degraded” Dr. E.J. Milner-Gulland

Things are only hopeless if we do nothing, so lets do something! Please visit http://www.wearetheark.org and empower yourself to re-wild your land and gardens and help stem this tide of extinction. There are sections for gardens, schools, corporate land and farms.’

The power of our collective voices for a living, just Earth: from Rachel to Greta

Its been heartening to see the voices raised for the planet in the last few months since the international Climate Change Panel (2018), the WWF (2018) have starkly given a timeframe of little over a decade to address the intersecting eco-social emergencies that are accelerating around us.


We can all be empowered to do the same in our communities – asking all politicians and those with power to address these issues as the number 1 priority for a just, equitable, world.


So many people have inspired my work but I’m so aware that it has often been women, feminists and others on the margins, those in the global south, those in male-dominated domains and industries, who have contributed so much to raising global consciousness about safeguarding the only liveable planet we know. I dedicate my Haumea work to all the women, feminists and others who have bravely spoken for a living, just Earth.

I dedicate my work to all the women, feminists and others — mothers, sisters, scientists, writers, academics, artists, musicians, theorists and theatre-makers, comedians, poets, presidents, feminists (many men are feminists you know), farmers, gardeners, lawyers, philosophers, women in tech, women carers and teenage girls who are empowering us all to raise our voices to safeguard the only beautiful, life-giving home we have.

From Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) to Greta Thunberg’s ‘School Strike for Climate’ (2018 ongoing) inspiring the youth around the world – thank you all!

 

”What is Rewilding? (extended version) – Rewilding News”

Perhaps we can never arrive at rewilded, because pure wilderness is an unhelpful myth.
— Read on rewildingnews.com/what-is-rewilding-extended-version

Current and historical ideas of ‘wilderness, ‘rewinding’ and ‘wilding’ show divergent conversations and sometimes troubling aims… but it’s great these conversations are happening. We so urgently need to wild our lands and waters.

The arts have a key role for public engagement for sustainability in England so why not in Ireland too??

A walk on Mt Leinster for Earth Day 2014, organised by Cathy Fitzgerald. Photo: C. Fitzgerald
A walk on Mt Leinster for Earth Day 2014, organised by Cathy Fitzgerald. Photo: C. Fitzgerald

Art and sustainability programmes originating in England (Julie’s Bicycle) in the last decade, and also evolving rapidly in Scotland (Creative Carbon Scotland) have proven increased public engagment with eco-social concerns and also provided significant energy costs for their respective art sectors.

Ireland has no developed policy in this area (Fitzgerald, 2017) but it is certain that we mustn’t ignore culture as part of national response to the unfolding ecological emergencies.

Art has immense social power to engage and inspire a national conversation to envision the values for sustainability that are important and relevant to Irish rural and urban communities.

Alison Tickell, CEO, Julie’s Bicycle [England], said of their art and sustainability programme report published in late 2018: “This report shows how a deceptively simple policy – Arts Council England’s Environmental reporting requirements – can prompt big shifts. Hundreds of creative organisations are demonstrating how a sustainable cultural ecology can work. Environmental literacy is inspiring deeper connections between climate and social justice, investment and innovation, clean energy and new materials, empathy and biodiversity, the past, present and why we must shape the future.”

The Chairperson of Art Council England also commented:

In six years we have seen a 23% reduction in energy consumption and a corresponding 35% reduction in carbon emissions. Theatres, libraries, museums and concert halls of all sizes – in cities such as Birmingham, Exeter and London and across the country from Cumbria to the Thames estuary – are taking significant steps to highlight the issue in their programmes and improve their own environmental practice, installing solar panels, switching to energy-saving lightbulbs and reducing travel… We have seen the power of encouraging the arts and cultural community to go on a collective journey. (Guardian, 20 Nov, 2018).