My first Essential Ecoliteracy for Creative Workers and Educators Workshop in Co. Carlow, with Lyric FM

“Do artists have the right kinds of tools to imagine new ways of living for the earth and its inhabitants?”

Luke Clancy, RTE Lyric FM Culture File, 11 Nov, 2019

I had such a wonderful time on Saturday 2 November 2019, giving my first Essential Ecoliteracy for the Arts workshop for creative people and art teachers in Rathanna village, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Developing this workshop has been a long-held wish of mine since I suggested the need for urgent ecoliteracy for the Irish arts sector, at the conclusion of my doctoral thesis, when I submitted it back in 2016. I have felt this keenly for many years as I have a previous career in research science and I know the cultural sector needs to be better informed and supported to effectively engage with this topic.  I also know that societal shifts, like the urgent need for society to live in more life-affirming ways, are always related to new cultural activity. Sharing ecoliteracy with other creatives is part of how I am contributing as an Irish signatory to the international #CultureDeclares emergency campaign.

Essential Ecoliteracy for the Arts workshop

I  designed this one-day ‘Everything Must Change: A Paradigm Shift for Society and the Arts‘  workshop specifically for creative workers and art educators, art researchers, who have some knowledge of expanded, socially engaged, community art practices. This workshop was NOT about how to make an environmental artwork. Rather, it was a course to start thinking about how you might transform your creative practice or your art teaching for the environmental-social emergency.

I was delighted to welcome participants from as far away as Kerry, Cork, Clare and Dublin and people who were living in the Carlow – Wexford area.

Ecoliteracy is a big, heavy topic

With workshop participants, I shared how ecological insights and science data demand an unprecedented paradigm shift for modern society.  I covered several topics to fully present the history, science, philosophy of how ecological insights can empower us in these urgent times. As this is a confronting topic for anyone and from my experience, I also introduced a range of pyscho-social supports for creative workers and educators engaging with this topic.  I was blessed on the day of the workshop to have assistance on bodywork practices with the wonderful subtle anatomy educator Veronica Larsson. I also shared encouraging new insights for mindful practices for a more compassionate and creative era from US philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis. I presented a way to understand the environmental science more easily and introduced concepts and new words like solastalgia, soliphilia, The Symbiocene, advanced by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, that help us better identify the emotions of the age we are in, and how our creative work may contribute to a more compassionate era, the Symbiocene, where the welfare of all of Earth’s inhabitants are prioritised (it was great to share the new Solastalgia film as well).

Visual art, music, film, drawing flowers, fungi and eco jazz

Amongst a range of cultural works I shared that engaged with the ecological emergency, I also shared new Irish eco #jazz music from The Carole Nelson Trio, and showed the  ‘Fantastic Fungi’ (2019) film trailer (the sensational new US film by inspired filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg, forest mycologists like Paul Stamet and forest ecologist Prof Suzanne Simard who are sharing new advances in symbiotic science that underlines growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of all life to growing audiences around the world).

At the end of the day, listening to Carole Nelson’s Trio new ‘canopy’ and ‘under-the-ground’ tracks, we each of us drew our own ‘flower of sustainability’ (a personal map-making drawing exercise designed by eco-social artist Dr Insa Winkler). This allowed us to reflect and visualise our unique gifts, intersecting interests, concerns and joys, as an ecology of practice for these urgent times.

Overall, it was a day full of sharing, laughter, feet stamping, reflecting, feeling, learning, tears, leaning on each other,  and great local vegetarian food by Trish Markey (who I later discovered had done cookery classes at Ballymaloe – how we did enjoy the food Trish).

My Interview with Rachel Andrews for Lyric FM

Rachel AndrewsAlso, it was a real surprise to be interviewed by one of the workshop participants, writer, journalist and cultural researcher Rachel Andrews for Lyric FM’s Luke Clancy Culture File Weekly show. Thank you so much, Rachel, for recording the day. What an unexpected gift to reflect on too!

Listen to my interview with Rachel, and introduced by cultural broadcaster Luke Clancy below. (Participants will smile when they hear the intro to the Katie Goodman music clip that I shared during the workshop 😉 )

These are just some of the highlights of the day – its a day I will treasure for all the insights and learning.

More Workshops and an Online Course early January 2020

PS – I’ve had invitations to give more workshops across the country and I will shortly be offering a 6-week online version early in the New Year.

Please subscribe to this blog to hear of future workshops and online courses.

Thank You Everyone!

Very special thanks to my philosopher coach and anam cara, Dr Nikos Patedakis; to Veronica Larsson, what a joy to reconnect recently and thank you for the gift you gave us – we all felt so supported and connected to new understandings in our bodies. Heartfelt thanks to my magic biz-tech-art mentor Mary Carty, my wonderful sculptor Lithicworks husband Martin Lyttle and new dog Willow. Hugs to Kate Flood and thanks for setup and ongoing support from Jules Michael, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Mairead Holohan, Dr Eileen Hutton, Rosie O’Gorman, and Orla Callaghan. Thanks also to Drs Iain Biggs, Paul O’Brien, Karen Till, Gerry Kearns and Nessa Cronin. Thanks also to all the participants who have given such rich, detailed feedback. Also a big thanks to Arts Officer, Sinead Dowling and all at the Carlow Arts Office. And to the Rathanna Community Hall Committee – the venue was perfect. Thanks also to the Local Carlow Enterprise Board, business mentor Bernie Tracey and my online course mentor Jim Wright at Mirasee, Montreal.

New One-day Workshop in County Carlow, Ireland: ‘Everything Must Change’: Essential Ecoliteracy* for your Creative Practice or Teaching

ClipArt Source : <a title="Koru Clipart" href="https://clipartimage.com/images/clipart-51041.html">Koru Clipart</a>Update: Fully Booked! but please email me to be placed on waiting list or list for future courses.

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Haumea Ecoliteracy Services for the Arts:

New One-day Workshop in County Carlow, Ireland

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with ecological artist, educator and former scientist, Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD


ClipArt Source : <a title="Koru Clipart" href="https://clipartimage.com/images/clipart-51041.html">Koru Clipart</a>*  Ecological literacy – “ecoliteracy” is about gaining the environmental and ethical knowledge of what makes life on earth possible, just and sustainable. Ecoliteracy will deepen and empower your creative practice for these urgent times.

 

‘In knowing what we have to do, we have to do the science, but we have been making a mistake in thinking that’s enough. We equally have to decide on what we most deeply value, we have to talk about the ideals the move us, we have to figure out what we hope for our children, we have to decide what we believe in… AND THIS IS THE WORK OF ART, POETRY, LITERATURE AND RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY – ITS THE WORK OF CIVIL COMMUNITY – IT IS STORY-TELLING IN ALL ITS FORMS’

Writer and philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore, 2013


‘Everything Must Change’:
Essential Ecoliteracy*

for your Creative Practice or Teaching:

One-day Workshop

Saturday 2 November 2019

10.30am  – 4pm

Rathanna Community Hall
Rathanna Village, County Carlow

Eircode R95 ND00

 

Fee: €20  for County Carlow residents,
€30  for those living outside the county.

Vegetarian lunch and refreshments will be provided. Free car parking opposite the Hall. Hostel accommodation at Osbourne’s Storehouse Hostel and local Air B & B’s.

Who is this Workshop for?

This workshop is for working creative practitioners of ALL art and craft disciplines. As an ecological view fosters collaborative activities, the course is particularly relevant to community art and social art practitioners & educators. SEE FULL COURSE INFORMATION BELOW.

BOOK EARLY! MAXIMUM of 15 PARTICIPANTS

Email cathy@haumea.site to confirm your place

Places are limited. Note: This is a pilot group workshop where we will learn and share together. An online pilot course will also be available in the near future.

Please note, this is NOT a workshop to make an environmental artwork. Rather, it is a course to start thinking about how you might transform your practice or your teaching for the environmental-social emergency.
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Grateful thanks to the Carlow Arts Office. Workshop development and places
are subsidised by a generous 2019 Carlow Arts Office Award.

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Full Course Information

‘Everything Must Change’ :

A Paradigm Shift for Society and the Arts

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Stark environmental reports have made headlines in the last year. An estimated 8 million people worldwide have recently joined marches to demand new Earth-aligned actions. Scientists began alerting humanity decades ago of the impending catastrophe. Yet there is only dawning appreciation that we are in the midst of an unprecedented cultural crisis. The catastrophe rapidly unfolding is because Western culture has long promoted a way of living that is incompatible with life on Earth.

A necessary ecological worldview fundamentally challenges modern cultural beliefs and creative practices to expand awareness of the necessity of all species thriving within healthy ecosystems. However, few art institutions are offering teaching for this enormous societal shift. As environmental writer-activist Naomi Klein argues, ‘This Changes Everything!’ and everything must rapidly change. Bringing art and ecology together makes creative practices more complex. But creative workers have enormous skills to engage society, to help us all imagine and experience new ways of living well with the Earth and all of its inhabitants.

Learn about ecological knowledge for your creative practice or teaching 

Feeling overwhelmed, isolated and concerned about the planetary environmental emergency? Do you sense cultural responses are needed for these urgent times? That future arts funding will be increasingly  directed to this topic? Do you wish to respond through your creative practice or teach others but don’t know where to start?

Gain confidence and competence for this urgent new topic

In this supportive, information-sharing one-day workshop you can connect with others, and learn with Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD, a Carlow-based local ecological artist,researcher and educator. Cathy, a former science researcher, is a nominated member of the International EcoArt Network and a Research Fellow at the Burren College of Art. Cathy’s in-depth knowledge and practice insights on why creative practitioners have a key role, alongside scientists for the planetary emergency, are based on many years first-hand creative practice experience, and in-depth research of others’ ecological art  practices.

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In 5 modules, I will share my ‘Ecoliteracy Guide’ to introduce you to:

  • the historical roots of the environmental-social emergency,
  • a means to navigate environmental science with ease,
  • self-care supports for this often confronting topic,
  • understandings of why the incoming ecological worldview challenges
    conventions of  modern art practice,
  • understandings to situate your work within an expanded Earth ethic

Overall, you will become aware of the exciting, inclusive social power of bringing ecological concepts and art together for yourself and your audiences. The information in this course will be valuable for writing about your creative practice and empower you for future opportunities in the art and ecology area.

All attendees will be provided with resource material, handouts and be shown examples of diverse practices.

Testimonials:

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Remember – Book early! Maximum 15 participants

Email cathy@haumea.site to confirm your place or to ask further questions.  

Note: This is a pilot group workshop in Rathanna village, south County Carlow. An online course pilot will also be available in the near future.

Please follow this site to be kept informed of future courses.


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Cathy Fitzgerald is the first Irish signatory to the international CultureDeclares Emergency movement. This course is a contribution to this movement.

From the Culture Declares Website
“Co-creating a regenerative culture – one that is inclusive, healthy, life-supporting, resilient and adaptable – requires rebuilding just and ethical relationships between ourselves, and with other species and the landscape. This takes time.
Regenerative culture includes:
  • Teaching and implementing the changes we want to see in society
  • Challenging power and privilege
  • Supporting each other in tending to grief as we face the truth about this emergency
  • Building a culture of care into our daily lives – care for ourselves, each other and the Earth
  • Changing the paradigms by which we design, grow, make and trade so that the living planet can be regenerated.”

#FridayArt4Emergency: Lisa Fingleton’s annual 30-Day Local Food Challenge

It is not easy to eat local Irish food all year round and I know that. There are hungry months in late Spring when the food is just not ready after late frosts. So three years ago I decided to do a trial month: A 30 day local food challenge. September seemed a really good option as the garden is truly abundant with tomatoes, kale, spinach, herbs, peas, beans, onions, garlic, beets, carrots, parsnips and the list goes on. It is a luscious month in the gardening calendar. To eat Irish still means doing without what Barbara Kingsolver called ‘botanically outrageous’ foods, but it is somehow easier this month with all the food on offer in the garden and hedgerows.

Lisa Fingleton talking about the annual 30 Day Local Food Challenge

A creative eco-social art practice that I really admire is Irish artist Lisa Fingleton’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge. The creative idea grew several years ago when Lisa was horrified to read the 40 listed and many imported ingredients in a BLT sandwich, and then and there, decided to challenge herself to just eat local Irish food for a month. She then shared her challenge on social media and others became involved.

Growing up in a household where her father grew all their food and now living on a small farm with her partner in Co. Kerry, Ireland, Lisa’s creative practice awakens awareness of the unsustainability of the globalized food system for herself and her local community. Her work highlights the shocking statistic that only 1% of Irish farms grow vegetables, the lowest in the EU  (which is doubly shocking considering Ireland’s history of famine). Most heartening is that Lisa’s practice has uncovered and promoted networks of local food producers in a fun and engaging way.

Lisa brings many strands of artist activity together and through drawings, photos, keeping a diary, and great conversation fosters much needed community awareness about an urgent topic for us all.

Over time, Lisa’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge has developed considerable national press and radio attention. Lisa has since toured the project to other counties, conducted children’s workshops and created a very delightful, informative book about the project (which can be purchased from her website (http://lisafingleton.com).The-Local-Food-Project-Book-For-Sale

Three years later, this year’s 2019 Challenge is underway for the month of September and I’m happy to see the idea is catching on across the country. To join in, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/30daylocalfoodchallenge/

And, it is a challenge once you start, to only eat food from your country and forgo all the imported treats and exotic fruits. However, making decisions about your food does makes real how the industrial food model all too easily has alienated us from being sustainable and self reliant. When environmental writer Naomi Klein writes thats ‘everything must change’, Lisa’s work shows how creative workers can help communities foster ecoliteracy, fun and agency for a better world we know is possible.

 

 

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.

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