Haumea Online is expanding! New Ecophilosophy and Ecoliteracy Courses for creatives and art professionals announced. Limited places, so book early here.
16 July – 2 September 2020; ‘Creativity as an Act of Love’ new 7-week guided course with mentoring/coaching with philosopher Nikos Patedakis, Ph.D – BOOKINGS NOW OPEN!
21 September – 2 November 2020; ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals, with eco-social artist Cathy Fitzgerald, Ph. D. BOOKINGS OPEN 8 SEPTEMBER.
Background and update on Haumea Online:
Haumea Ecoliteracy Services for the Arts developed in January 2019, from an idea in the conclusion of my doctoral research thesis ‘The Ecological Turn’ that I submitted back in 2016.
Back then, I was worried that most art colleges and cultural institutions would not be able to respond within the scientists’ short global emergency decade-timeframe. The likelihood of developing important ecological curricula seems even more unlikely now; with recent events causing unprecedented economic pressures for traditional education institutes worldwide.
I also knew firsthand the challenges in acquiring a holistic ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge) fit for these urgent times. Even with my background in research science, I struggled at a leading art college in Ireland, to explain why ecoliteracy is an enormous cultural shift, a new paradigm that is imperative for both for the arts and wider society. We are nearing the cliff-edge of irreversible and accelerating systemic collapse. Too many ignore scientists’ and activists’ talk of emergency and little appreciate environmental degradation correlates with the tragic rise of species-crossing pandemics. Tragically the dominant culture is largely blind to its own demise.
From my perspective, having explored the art and ecology area since the late 90s, the international art sector along with wider society is only beginning to appreciate a great transition is upon us. This ‘Great Turning’–as Joanna Macy calls it–insists on new ways of living that prioritises life, not mindless economic growth on a finite planet. There are a few countries who have cultural programmes like the UK’s Julie’s Bicycle and Creative Carbon Scotland that have realised culture’s role for these urgent times. These organisations have made some inroads in cultural policy strategy and educational supports to enable their art sectors to explore sustainability. But generally, one finds little awareness of the social power of culture to engage and evolve public discourse toward new values for ecological era.
Not appreciating culture’s social power beyond tourism and commemoration.
In recent years, people listening to my presentations on the lack of art and sustainability strategy in Ireland chuckle over my pronouncement that the only time one hears about ‘culture’ in a discussion about climate change–is in the word ‘agriculture’! This is also a sorry reflection of not appreciating culture beyond tourism and commemoration. In the arts and humanities, in spiritual, heritage and folk traditions, even with sport, there is overlooked opportunity to engage civil society to realise new life-sustaining values, to embrace new ways of living–in ways science and politics struggle to achieve.
People cannot easily translate science. Humans do not solely live by facts and figures, and they regularly resist measures imposed by others. We sense this when not much has changed, even though scientists have been raising the alarm for decades and politicians struggle to introduce new green deals. When is the big penny going to drop that we have overlooked the immense social power of having experienced cultural representatives as the table, to work with scientists, politicians and economists. Citizens’ Assemblies are all very well for inviting public discussion of ‘climate change’ (our next one in Ireland will focus ‘biodiversity’ in Ireland), but if we do not include cultural leaders well versed in ecoliteracy, in moral reasoning, the social power for change is limited.
For all the media headlines–a lack of ecoliteracy prevails
This is apparent in how many politicians, media people and some cultural leaders limit their focus and language to singular symptoms of the emergency, such as climate change. In contrast, ecoliteracy equips us with a holistic, deep knowledge that climate breakdown is is just one symptom of our broken relationship with the wider community of life.
A narrow, shallow focus prevents deeper understanding of the enormity of cultural change that is required, and accordingly, the massive cultural response that must involve everyone. Not being ecoliterate also perpetuates the status quo–that environmental crises are just one more thing to worry about when understanding the ecological emergency as a deep cultural failure is ‘the most important thing’ (see video above). This is why some academics are clamouring for ecoversities – they realise a life-sustaining ecoliteracy must be the foundation of all society’s activities, if our civilisation wishes to continue.
You might ask why the commonsense ideas of ecoliteracy have been so hard adopt?
Why has modern society been so slow to awake to the endgame of endless growth on a finite planet? There are historic reasons for this cultural lag. The division between the arts and sciences, the fragmentation of knowledge into disciplines, means many fail to see the ‘bigger picture’; we are blind to the ‘great acceleration’ of eco-social injustices that are swiftly advancing the irreversible decline of the Earth’s life support systems. No wonder advances in Earth-aligned philosophy, ethics, ecocriticism and appreciation of Indigenous knowledge are so recent.
Ecoliteracy will mean more than understanding systemic environmental breakdown too. We’ll each need to learn of compassionate psychosocial supports that can help us turn safely to face the darkness of our times, so we do not burnout with overwhelm, grief, and despair. The Deep Adaptation is one network that appreciates a more holistic approach to ecoliteracy but this needs to become a central concern in education and especially for those working in the art sector too. My second module in my essential ecoliteracy course prioritises the most recent supports in the psychosocial area.
Developing an ecoliteracy curricula for the arts–with the help of collaborators
As you can imagine, I struggled to think how I would develop an ecoliteracy program on my own. How could I adequately address many of these concerns? But, somehow by starting small, encouraged by the sociopolitical outcomes of my creative practice, my doctoral and online business advisors – I found skilled, talented friends gathering from diverse disciplines so very will to help me. They know too that these urgent times requires a huge cultural shift and new learnings so we can live well with the Earth and the wider community of life. Academia also points the necessity, the overhaul of education that ecoliteracy brings (see Hampson, 2011, Kahn and others) and some see longterm ecological art practices advance ecoliteracy methods for education overall (Garoaid, 2012).
An early and key collaborator for my efforts to develop an ecoliteracy curricula for the arts, has been California eco-minded philosopher and educator Dr Nikos Patedakis. Nikos is skilled in compassion science and practice, and has wisely surveyed the world’s wisdom traditions to understand how other cultures have not promoted ecocide. Nikos is a rare individual even within philosophy to appreciate the enormity of the cultural shift required. Lucky for the arts, Nikos has a keen desire to work with creatives and others. Its sort of hard to describe how Nikos has helped me fill out the context, the supports, the wisdom, love and beauty we will need to embrace to endure well in the coming decades. He truly understands, like Gregory Bateson and Felix Guattari, that we’ll need to foster ‘an ecology of mind’ to encourage Earth-aligned creativity and ‘re-make social practices’ as never before.
The new Haumea Online Course? ‘Creativity as an Act of Love‘
with Nikos Patedakis, Ph.D
So, I’m delighted to announce that Nikos has developed a complementary ecophilosophy course to my ‘Essential Ecoliteracy Course’. I’m enrolling in the course myself to have a break before I deliver another Essential Ecoliteracy course in September. There is much understanding that I have gained from Nikos that I want to implement these insignts in my creative responses too. I hope you will join us 🙂
Both upcoming Haumea Online courses are pilot courses in development, with reduced prices. You can check out the testimonials here
Do book soon as places are limited.
And, do feel free to share news of these courses to others.
PS Not working in the arts but want to support the Haumea Online initiative?
about cathy fitzgerald
About Haumea Ecoliteracy Essentials On-Line Course Development
During February 2019, I was awarded a Carlow Local Enterprise Feasibility Study Award to explore online course development with support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office and business mentor Bernie Tracey. The Feasibility Study Award allowed me mentorship with the Canadian Online Course Builders Laboratory by MIRASEE and award-winning Irish art-business-tech mentor Mary Carty. I delivered a live ecoliteracy workshop in November 2019, with the support of the Carlow Arts Office and the course programme has been greatly enriched with the knowledge and experience of Dr Nikos Patedakis and Veronica Larsson. Thank you all!
Garioan, Charles (2012) ‘Sustaining Sustainability: the pedagogical drift of art research and practice.‘ Studies in Art Education. Summer. 53(4), 283-301.
Hampson, Gary P (2012) ‘Eco-logical education for the Long Emergency.’ Futures 44 (2012) 71–80.
Kahn, Richard (2010) Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy and Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement. New York: Peter Lang.