Haumea’s history: Changing how Art is taught since 2016

The renowned meditator and artist Chogyam Trumpa once said:

“To change the world, you have to change the culture;

to change the culture you have to change society;

to change society you have to change the art;

to do that, you have to change how art is taught’

How the Haumea ecoliteracy for creative professionals programme has grown!

In 2019, I felt compelled to write to ministers, even our Irish president, that there was need for urgent change in higher creative education, if we wished to fully empower the creative sector to inspire societal change toward sustainable cultural renewal. While I had polite replies, I knew people didn’t know what I was talking about.

It’s amazing to think that my ideas from my doctoral thesis conclusion have taken me, and a growing group of creatives from around the world.

At the end of my thesis, The Ecological Turn (Fitzgerald, 2018)–which I was sure none would ever read– I argued that online learning platforms may be the only means to effectively retrain the creative sector within the less-than-a-decade timeframe scientists’ are urging.

It’s only a couple of years ago, but in early 2019, I felt so compelled that I wrote to relevant ministers, even our Irish president , that there was need for profound, urgent change in higher creative education, if we wished to fully empower the creative sector to inspire societal change toward sustainable cultural renewal. While I had polite replies, I knew people didn’t know what I was talking about.

My letters to the Irish President and relevant ministers

I’d have to do it myself, I thought!

Not knowing where to start, a dear friend, urged me to get myself to the Carlow Local Enterprise Office to see if they could support my online ecoliteracy course ideas. I wasn’t hopeful at all. But surprisingly – as I have often shared, I had a very positive response to my ideas. They saw potential in my rather obscure idea!

For starters, and perhaps this is why business is so powerful, my work fell into categories they had already identified as crucial to support:

1) for starters, my idea was an eco business
2) they knew online learning was on the near horizon to massively increase (this even before COVID) and
3) they were mighty keen to support women in business!! Hallelujah.

But to tell the truth, I also wondered aloud, “had I done enough research” and the frank reply from the Enterprise Office mentor was “You have just done a Ph.D”! Of course you have enough behind you!

So after a bit of effort, a very useful ‘start-your-own business course done’, I was delighted to get a modest feasibility study grant for my fledgling online course business. This gave me access to a world class online course development training programme, led by the world-leading online education entrepreneur Danny Iny of MIRASEE, Montreal, and excellent business mentoring with creative-tech strategist Mary Carty (cofounder of the extraordinary new Irish women in business organisation Awaken Hub, supporting over 500 members since 2020).

‘Trust the Timings!’

Looking back it was hard to get attention to this topic back in 2016, but things changed at the end of 2019, with scientists announcing a decade timeframe to avert catastrophe, and Greta Thunberg and XR and the world’s youth on the streets.

Even in 2021, the profound shift in adult education toward integrated transformative learning–part of the urgent paradigm shift in global education for sustainability, is still rarely heard in higher arts education

However, even in 2021 the profound shift in adult education toward integrated transformative learning–part of the urgent paradigm shift in global education for sustainability, is still rarely heard in higher arts education – so there is lots to do.

And my timing, I launched my first pilot online Haumea Essential Ecoliteracy course as the first lockdown was announced. Suddenly more people tuned into the state of the planet, and had to connect online!

I’m so enjoying this teaching journey too! Who knew I would find a new passion in my 50s, have the best collaborator, educator philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis and biz mentors, and the most remarkable creative people across the world, keen to employ their creativity for a better world and better living.

While still a modest venture, in mid 2021, I’m proud to share that there is a tangible sense of a growing creative Haumea community. We are striving in wonderfully diverse ways, to be at forefront of a deeply compassionate, ecological turn in the cultural sector.

Hurray to all us Haumeans and to wiser, loving, beautiful creativity for a better world!

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PS do feel welcome to add you name to waitlist for new courses in Autumn 2021!

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