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Haumea Online: 2nd Pilot Ecoliteracy Course for Creatives and Art Professionals – booked out

This is the time for a Great Reset. Let’s use it to change the way we see ourselves and our place on Earth. The conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote that “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen.” But if everyone has an ecological education, we will not live alone, and it will not be a world of wounds.

George Monbiot, ‘Coronavirus shows us it’s time to rethink everything. Let’s start with education’, The Guardian, 12 May 2020

I was thinking that I would be writing this post to attract more participants to signup for my 2nd 6-week Haumea Online pilot course ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals’. I am trying to make an accessible and inspiring online course on key ecological knowledge, eco-philosophy, eco-ethics for people working across the creative sector.

Instead, before I knew it, the 2nd pilot has been booked-out from people on my waiting-list in just a couple of days. I’m delighted of course, but I do wonder if creatives, like George Monbiot (above) are sensing that eco-learning is an important and urgent topic that is not been adequately addressed in the arts.


My 6-week ‘Essential Ecoliteracy’ is still a pilot course. I’m learning a lot about how to best develop a great self-paced and collective learning experience. I started with multi-media pre-recorded videos for self-paced learning in each week’s module on what I think are essential topics to prepare creatives to work in this area (see the course details here). This meant filming myself delivering the material – my broadband is a bit limited due to the pressure on the local Internet – so my voice was a bit out of sync, but the participants were enthusiastic nevertheless.

The online course weekly group meetings were a bit nerve-wracking at first (not helped with our young dog who heard one of the others participants dog’s barking on Zoom). But over the weeks, I began to really cherish these group sharing times; and the group felt it too (you can read what they say about the course here).

My co-host for the live meetings, an experienced educator and philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis (beaming in from California), helped enormously and we offered an extra half hour to those who wanted to go deeper with the material. Getting used to recording Zoom sessions I found myself naturally reaching out to experienced ecoart workers for interviews too. I’m pretty introverted, so I was staggered that I found I was connecting with my peers in this way. It was all, despite some technical hiccups, so rewarding.

I will be repeating this ‘Essential Ecoliteracy course’ again in September, so please contact me if you want to be put on the waiting list.

Nikos and I are also preparing a complementary new course, working title ‘Creativity as a Practice of Love’ too. Over some weeks, this course will explore why philosophy has much to guide creative practice in these urgent times and we will be hosting online audience critique exercises.

Acknowledgements:

I haven’t managed all this on my own; my husband Martin has been a real trouper, managing the tech-side of the Zoom meetings and our wilful young dog Willow; Nikos is mentoring me with all manner of eco-minded philosophy and teaching ideas, and I have the best art-tech business strategist, Mary Carty guiding me as well. Art researcher Dr Laura Donkers is reviewing this pilot course at a distance in Aotearoa New Zealand – her insights I really value. Leading Irish online eco-print textile artist and teacher, Nicola Brown, has also been so enthusiastic for many years that I explore sharing my knowledge in this new way. And the generous feedback from my first participants was so valuable too. Thanks everyone!

I also want to thank my long-standing PhD supervisor, my MA tutor in virtual realities and under-grad tutor in aesthetics, Dr Paul O’Brien (formerly of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin) who really supported this online learning idea way back in 2016 when I submitted my PhD. He agreed, there did seem potential to use online learning to get ecoliteracy out quickly to the art and creative sectors. I’m so glad I’ve followed this through and I must give a special mention to the magnificent Prof Tara Brabazon in Australia, who inspires all things for advances in doctoral and digital education. “Boom! Lets do this!” is what she says! Yes, the Haumea Online Ecoversity is here at last!

I was keen to mention online ecoliteracy learning in the conclusion of my PhD thesis (The Ecological Turn… Fitzgerald, 2019)

Hello! Kia Ora! My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

Cathy Fitzgerald
Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: eco-social artist | educator | researcher |

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!

Carlow Local Enterprise Office, with thanks to Pauline Hoctor & Business Mentor Bernie Treacy.
The Course Builders’ Laboratory Programme developed by Educational Entrepreneur and Author, Danny Iny. My mentor at MIRASEE is Jim Wright.
Eco-philosopher coach/mentor Dr Nikos Patedakis

“I love the story of ‘the little wood that could’. Hope lots of people get to know it.”

Above: a comment shared on twitter by Irish architect Helena Fitzgerald 3/5/2020. Image from within Hollywood forest, looking out to the wider world – from The Hollywood Forest blog by Cathy Fitzgerald.


‘uplifting and insightful writing, and images to delight the eye’ –

‘Getting Out into Nature with a Good Blog’, Paddy Woodworth, The Irish Times, 3 May 2020

I was honoured that my ‘Hollywood Forest Story’ was one of several eco-blogs featured in 🇮🇪 The Irish Times today!

I was also delighted to be in the company of others’ important work in this article – those who have long sought to raise appreciation and awareness for the wonder and plight of the living world. US author David George Haskell’s Song of the Trees (2017) is a favourite book of mine (the last book my late mother gifted to me) and I much admire Director of the Irish Biodiversity centre, Liam Lysaght’s unfailing energy to share the wonders of Irish biodiversity through social media. I’m looking forward to following others mentioned in this article too.

Confined as we are now under unsettling, shelter-at-home orders, writer and Irish Times journalist Paddy Woodworth chose to reflect how bloggers’ longer, multi-media articles help deepen our appreciation of life around us. In this great global pause, many of us are noticing and are more grateful for nature’s unceasing life-giving generosity – the birdsong, the freshness of trees, and those startlingly quiet, unmarked skies. The blogs listed in Paddy’s article take us deeper into understanding and knowing our wonderful world.

And aren’t we remembering something else too? If we look deeply at the living world now, if we can forgo the noise of 24h-news cycles, we can re-acquaint ourselves with what is fundamental for wellbeing. We are sensing and realising more, that our wellbeing is interwoven with planetary wellbeing. How could we have forgotten this essential knowing of how to live well with life? There is a crisis deep in the heart of the dominant culture, and I daresay our education, when our living has become so untethered from wellbeing. Lets hope this pause will invite more of us to learn what constitutes a healthy planet and healthy living, post-pandemic.


The Hollywood Forest Story blog

My blog tells my account from 2008 onwards, of my and my husband Martin Lyttle’s work to transform the monoculture tree plantation we live with, into a forest (and my work to help reimagine national Irish forest policy along the way). My blogging is also integral to my ongoing eco-social art practice too ( I argued in my doctoral research that blogs are a fantastic mechanism to share ecological arts practices that do not fit within short-term gallery programming). In my research, I highlighted the significant award-winning work of Australian Dr Lucas Ihlein, who details why blogs have a critical function for eco-social art practice and audience engagement for these urgent times.

Blogging is a craft, a creative ecology of practices for me. Walking in amongst the trees that form Hollywood forest, a neverending stream of inspiration bubbles up to fill my posts. Blogging has been my means to gain and share my ecoliteracy and then my unexpected agency for trying to change national forest policy, to act forests’ wellbeing here and elsewhere. Being all of 2 and a half proud acres, is why my followers know Hollywood forest as ‘the little wood that could!’

And a blog’s hyperlinked form mirrors the interconnected, interwovenness of life – its obvious to me – blogs are ideal media for promoting an ecological sense-ability, and hopefully store ecological good sense for others.

My grateful thanks to Paddy and everyone who shares the Irish ‘story of the little wood that could!


Visit my blog here (click on the image)

https://hollywoodforest.com/

Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts with Cathy Fitzgerald PhD

Hello! Kia Ora! My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

Cathy Fitzgerald
Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: eco-social artist | educator | researcher |

‘The Battle of Moytura Or The Battle for the Soul of Ireland’:- why ecoliteracy for the arts is essential now

A new work from Irish writer Fearghal Duffy who has a deep interest in Irish myth and who was ‘a student’ in Cathy Fitzgerald’s first ONLINE 6-week ‘Haumea Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Educators’ course. online course

This is a special post for me. I’m reflecting on the first of what I expect to be many more contributions from ecoliterate creatives I am getting to know in my online ecoliteracy course. I now have the good fortune to meet such talented creatives from all art disciplines and from across the world, in my efforts to bring ecoliteracy to the arts. Their work has nourished me in these challenging times.

I’d like to share this new work below from Irish writer Fearghal Duffy who has a deep interest in Irish myth and who was a ‘participant’ in my first 6-week ‘Haumea Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Educators’ pilot online course (I hesitate to call my cohort ‘students’ as they are remarkably talented).

This new work from Fearghal came about as I invited my first cohort of participants to present a small work for our last online Zoom group meeting, to reflect on the ecoliteracy course material, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Haumea Day (Haumea is the name for the Earth Goddess of the Pacific that I use for my work, and our last meeting was on this special day). I gave little direction to what people could present but I was witness to an astonishing array of thoughtful, profound and moving work for these uncertain times.

Fearghal gifted this work to us (and to share to others here). He drew on the people in our fantastically creative group–dancers, makers, a sculptor, painters, a philosopher, writers, a graphic artist, a broadcaster, artists and art teachers–many of who were Irish or who have connections to Ireland. Fearghal mixed a spell to recast us as mythic cultural warriors and presented Haumea in one of her Irish mythic guises as the Morrigán. This essay powerfully captures the spirit of what might happen if the arts were supported to rise up for Earth, for Haumea. Oh, my!

Thank you so much Fearghal for this essay, this timely provocation to the arts and those that support them. This new myth of Moytura is everything I could envision for the arts in Ireland and across the Earth, to embody and inspire ‘the wisdom, love and beauty’ we will need for a renewed and regenerating culture for the Earth’s and our wellbeing.

Because, in this frightening pandemic pause, we will need inspiring and wise creativity to pivot toward a more just, more beautiful and life-sustaining way of living as never before, for The Symbiocene era as I have written of previously. Also, and I’m delighted to share that my artist friend and tech-business mentor Mary Carty, who has long supported my Haumea work, supplied the wonderful illustrations. The references to ‘Wisdom, Love and Beauty’ are from my collaborator eco-philosopher friend, Dr Nikos Patedakis who has co-hosted my course meetings and so much more.


The Battle of Moytura

Or

The Battle for the Soul of Ireland

by Fearghal Duffy

presented to the first online Haumea Ecoliteracy group, Earth Day 22 April 2020

‘Beauty, Love and Wisdom’ (aka Haumea) by Mary Carty 2020 (courtesy of the artist)

Once upon a time, a great battle, the battle of Moytura was fought between the ancients of Ireland, the Túatha Dé (The Tribe of the Gods) and The Fomorians.

These two groups could not have been more different.

The Túatha Dé spent their time seeking wisdom, developing poetic insight, learning lore and practicing mysticism. Their artistic endeavours harmonized them to the natural world, so much so that they often became transparent to the places they inhabited, rendering them virtually invisible when encountered in a forest, on a mountain, or in a wetland.

The Fomorians were their complete antithesis. They had assumed a grotesque and horrific appearance, an ugliness that had shaped them over time, roughhewn by their avarice and insensitivity to nature. They treated nature with contempt. They treated the arts with contempt. They had no heed in wisdom, love and beauty. They were utterly hostile to them all.

The Fomorians, through subterfuge and deceit, had seized control of Ireland from the Túatha Dé. During their reign they abolished the arts. They undermined culture. “No value, useless”, they mocked. They debased artists, poets, and philosophers, subjecting them to menial tasks. They deracinated ancient forests. They dammed rivers. They contaminated lakes. They emptied the sea of its fish. They mined out mountains and plundered the deep earth. They despoiled and denuded entire landscapes, turning them into industrialized wastelands. Black smoke and filthy ash enshrouded the earth. Soon enough, birdsong was no longer heard, bees were no longer buzzing, flowers were no longer pollinated, stags were no longer bellowing from their wild places, the howling of wolves were no longer heard, forests no longer poured forth their fruits. The earth had ceased to sing its song during their reign. Despite the commercial wealth, it was an impoverished world. It was a dejected world, a world weighed down with solastalgia. And for reasons no one could fathom, the people who had been inveigled and enslaved by the Fomorians had themselves become like Fomorians. They developed Fomorian dispositions. They no longer loved nature, no longer loved wisdom, love and beauty. Their only concern was consuming; consuming, consuming, consuming.

But the Túatha Dé regrouped and decided something had to be done. They assembled the aés dana, the people of arts, their artists, poets, and philosophers. They endeavoured to work together, to collaborate by drawing upon their respective ancient tradition, their learning and wisdom, and to reinvent it, to reimagine it, to find new ways of speaking to and for nature, to first, revitalise themselves, then to revitalise nature, and then the hearts and minds of those enslaved, to break the Fomorian spell that had been cast over them.

And so, through their arts, by connecting with the imbas forosna, the great wisdom that illuminates, the Túatha Dé invoked nature. By so doing, they invoked their own true nature, their own deep nature. They entered into mystical states of being; gaining renewed otherworldly vision and perception. And so began the process of revivifying the spirit of nature. They recited earth healing poetry and myths. They sang earth healing songs. They danced earth healing dances. And soon enough, the earth itself joined in with all their creative energies and the rivers burst free of their dams, lakes detoxed, wild flowers sprang forth in cacophonies of colour, native broad leaf trees erupted earnestly from the earth, sonorous birds sang symphonically from their branches.

And as nature healed, the Túatha Dé grew stronger in courage and conviction. They were ready for battle with the Fomorians. Nature rowed in behind the Túatha Dé. The sun scorched the Fomorians. Rivers and lakes withdrew their healing waters from the Fomorians. Healing herbs disguised themselves from the Fomorians. The mountains hurled boulders down on their armies. The winds and rains assailed them. Before long, the Fomorian army has been all but defeated.

But the inevitable climax of the battle came down to being between the two champions of each tribe. For the Túatha Dé it was Lug Samildanach (i.e. Lug, he is who is skilled in many arts). For the Fomorians, it was Balor Súil Míldagach, Balor of the Evil Eye, Balor of the Poisonous Eye, Balor of the Economic Eye, Balor of the Ecocidal Eye. Balor’s eyelid was so large that it took four strong warriors to raise it open. Whatever Balor’s eye gazed upon became diminished and destroyed. A large forest could be razed in seconds by a more glimpse of Balor’s Ecocidal Eye.

But Lug, being skilled in many arts, meditated deeply, set his intentions; so that when it came time to do battle he was in such a deep transcendent state, that he bedazzled his foe with his radiating light. And when his evil eye was raised, Lug seized his sling and stone, and drove the ecocidal eye out through the back of Balor’s head. Its withering gaze fell upon the last of the Fomorian army, and destroyed them.

Nature healed. Culture healed. These two realms that had been separated overcame the distinctions between them so that, once again, to be living in Ireland was to be living in nature’s dream of itself.

But, lest it be forgotten that an eye and a mind can turn destructive, can turn poisonous, can turn ecocidal, can reduce everything in its sight and thought to a commodity, the Morrigán, the Great Queen, an Earth Mother, uttered a prophetic warning. She augured to the royal heights of Ireland, to its rivers and lakes, and its inhabitants, both human and more-than-human, that a time would return when the Fomorian disposition prevailed:

The Morrigán’s Prophecy

‘Wisdom’ – the Morrigán, the Great Queen, an Earth Mother, Haumea by Mary Carty 2020

I shall not see a world that will be dear to me,
summer pastures will be without wild flowers and herbs,
cows will be without native grasses,
men without vision,
women without influence,
there will be conquests without kings,
global cartels,
chemical weapons
knowing no borders,
transverse lands.

I see,
sombre woods without mast,
forests without flora,
terrains without fauna,
seas without fish.
Armies fight storms,
many habitations abandoned,
their dwellings empty,
lakes, rivers, estuaries forsaken,
high hills will be refuge,
oceans will flood over many realms,
welcome to catastrophe!
laments for the arts and culture,


I see,
All faces,
Withering in guilt,
Shrivelling with grief,
Solastalgia,
Many crimes against earth
Wars against nature,
Betrayal by legislators
A shroud of sorrows,
Lying maxims of authorities,
Every man a deceiver
Every youth corrupted
The son will follow his father’s lead
The father will lead his son astray,
No longer following nature’s way.
Evil is the time
When children dishonour their mother Earth.

The Morrigán then exhorted the multitudes to honour the earth,

that by doing so, they would honour themselves.
By exalting the earth, they would exalt themselves.
By caring for the earth, they would care for themselves.

By being true to the Earth, they would be true to their true selves.


See more of Fearghal’s writing here.


PS – If you work in the arts, if you love and value the arts even more so now for these urgent times, please feel free to share! And if you are interested in my course, workshops, mentoring or cultural policy writing, please email me at cathyart@gmail.com or follow this site or on Instagram.


Hello! Kia Ora! My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

Cathy Fitzgerald
Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: eco-social artist | educator | researcher |

“I’m passionate about bringing ecoliteracy to the art sector. Creatives, if informed with basic ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge), can ‘translate’ the science relevant to their diverse urban and rural communities and audiences. Informed by ecoliteracy, creatives are well skilled to develop inclusive work to help us all reflect and envision the more beautiful, just and better world we know is possible. And this is an urgent task, given that the pandemic is seen as another symptom of the ecological emergency.

Innovative 6-week online ‘Ecoliteracy course for Creatives and Art Educators’–seen as a success on Earth Day 2020

Haumea Ecoliteracy Services
for the arts

ABOVE: ‘The Rapunzel Tree’ – new painting courtesy of Irish artist Rachel Webb, April 2020

In this planetary pause, there is more awareness that we need to live well with the Earth’s wider community of life. Creative practices–informed by ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge)–will have important social power to invite society to reflect and reimagine the better world we know is possible. Cathy Fitzgerald PhD., launched an innovative 6-week online ecoliteracy course for creatives that coincided with the pandemic. She reflects now that an accessible and engaging ecoliteracy education for our art sector shouldn’t cost the Earth.


“Today, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and I’m hosting the final live Zoom meeting of my pilot 6-week ecoliteracy for creatives course. My course has been timely–I have found a relatively low-cost means to share my eco-social art practice experience and knowledge of advances in the art and ecology area in an engaging way–with creatives and art professionals from across the world: from different parts of Ireland, the UK, Sweden, the US and Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Cathy Fitzgerald, Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts – http://www.haumea.ie
April 22, 2020: the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

I have developed this course since experiencing firsthand the struggles in gaining learning in the art and ecology area. I mentioned the under-explored opportunities for e-learning for ecoliteracy for the still marginal art and ecology field at the end of my doctoral thesis (Fitzgerald, 2018). I felt compelled to learn how to design an online course over the last number of years, as creatives are coming to my door and emailing me for advice. To equip creatives and art professionals with ecoliteracy will enable deeper reflection of why the dominant culture is so utterly alienated from life, and assist them in more skilful ways to envisioning a more just and beautiful world.

Ecoliteracy is not widely available as a topic in art colleges. The main reason is the historic divide between the arts and sciences. This situation means that many creatives now sense that a deeper knowledge of the ecological emergency is needed but are struggling to obtain ecological learning; art educators and other art professionals also haven’t had ready access to this knowledge. In these times of accelerating global degradation to the living world, I also wanted to create to course to reflect ecological values. I don’t travel for my ecoart work when I can avoid it – but, I didn’t expect my online course to begin just as the pandemic caused a worldwide shutdown.

I have been so very fortunate to develop this new ecoliteracy course over the last year. Many creative workers and educators generously spent time answering a survey so I could pinpoint topics to cover.

In weekly modules during my first pilot course, I offer comprehensive modules so participants can deeply:

  • understand the paradigm shift that an ecological worldview presents;
  • why adopting psycho-social practices are necessary to prevent burnout with this challenging topic;
  • as a former scientist, I share how to navigate environmental science with ease, and introduce the UN SDGs, moral philosophy, the Earth Charter and why developing laws to prevent manmade ecocide are critical;
  • I also share how expanded care for Earth’s wellbeing correspondingly confronts conventions in modernist ideas of individualistic art practice;
  • and something I really found useful was interviewing practitioners working in this area, like Irish based artists Lisa Fingleton, Jules Michael and Martin Lyttle but also others from other countries who I know from my research over the years (see the full course details here). My first cohort loved hearing other creative practitioners’ rich experiences in working with an Earth-aligned focus.

The pilot course was booked out in days and this is largely because I’ve had incredible support from: my Local Carlow Enterprise Board; the Carlow Arts Office; my fantastic art-tech and online course building mentors, Mary Carty and Jim Wright of Mirasee (Canada). Then there were special collaborators – philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis and from the healing fields, Veronica Larsson, who have enriched the course in ways I could not achieve alone.

But most of all, at this point, I want to thank my first cohort of participants. My pilot course was a bit rough around the edges, my broadband speed could have been faster, but nevertheless each participant has given feedback so I can develop the course further, as they too want others in the art sector to know about this important topic.

Tonight we are celebrating that one can face most things with creativity and collective goodwill–we were sharing small works for Earth Day, for Haumea, the name of the Earth Goddess that I use for my ecoliteracy learning work.

If you are interested in this online course, I will be running another in a few weeks.

Please email me at cathyart@gmail.com if you wish to be put on my mailing list for my next course announcements.

I’m also pleased to announce I’m developing a new complementary course with eco-philosopher Nikos Patedakis, as we both sense a need for a course that explores how art, ecology and philosophy can assist us in being the best creatives we can be, in these challenging times.


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!

Carlow Local Enterprise Office, with thanks to Pauline Hoctor & Business Mentor Bernie Treacy.
The Course Builders’ Laboratory Programme developed by Educational Entrepreneur and Author, Danny Iny. My mentor at MIRASEE is Jim Wright.
Eco-philosopher coach/mentor Dr Nikos Patedakis

The Hollywood Forest Story in Ireland, Aotearoa New Zealand and in the Irish Times

My creative practice experience, developed over many years with The Hollywood Forest Story was featured recently in The Irish Times. My first hand experience in developing an effective eco-social (ecological) art practice is key to my ability to teach other creatives about ecoliteracy and the rewards of working in the art and ecology field.

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

What is the purpose of art? We might put a potentially wise response to that question this way: Art has the same purpose all other activity has, namely to further the conditions of life, or to cultivate the whole of life onward. This cultivation of life is a “mental” process, and thus the world has always evolved on the basis of creativity, imagination, and poetic thinking. If an artist does not reflect carefully on this most basic purpose of art, and try to attune themselves to it, they will (almost inevitably, even if inadvertently) degrade the conditions of life, and conspire in the breakdown of ecologies near and far. We see just this kind of situation today. Artists cannot remain coherent, and thus art itself cannot remain coherent, without attunement to this basic purpose.

Nikos Patedakis, philosopher, wisdomloveandbeauty.org, 2020 [1]

How much has changed collectively across the world in…

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BOOKED OUT -New pilot 6-week Online Course: ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for your Creative Practice, Teaching or Work’

NEW 6 week pilot ONLINE COURSE with ecological artist, educator and former scientist, Cathy Fitzgerald PhD: March 13 – April 22, 2020!

*Ecological literacy – “ecoliteracy” is about gaining the environmental philosophy, scientific and ethical knowledge of what makes life on earth possible, just and sustainable.

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN! undefined

FULLY BOOKED, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT CATHYART@GMAIL.COM IF YOU WANT TO BE PUT ON THE WAITING LIST FOR FUTURE COURSES (Sunday 1 March 2020), Workshops or mentoring.

The price of this pilot course and instructions on how to book a place are at the end of this post.

BOOK A PLACE by Friday 6 March 2020.
Course Dates: Week 1 of this 6-week course begins on Friday 13 March 2020. The course ends on Wednesday 22 April 2020.

PLEASE NOTE this is a pilot online course for a small group of participants. THERE WILL 15 PARTICIPANTS ONLY – SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, BOOK A PLACE WITHOUT DELAY.

‘Essential Ecoliteracy for your Creative Practice, Teaching or Work

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 about this topic but don’t know where to start?

Let’s Face It – Being Ecoliterate Matters for Creatives too!

For everyone, it is hard to ignore the grim reports about environmental decline and the increasing suffering it is causing across the world. Young people are protesting, the scientists warnings are more than alarming, and even cultural institutions are beginning to talk about sustainability goals.

As creatives (in all art disciplines), art and craft teachers, art managers, art researchers and cultural policy-writers, you might already be asking:

  • How can I approach these urgent realities effectively and confidently in my creative work and for others that I might teach?”
  • “Does this mean I have to learn about science, ecology, climate change, biodiversity, sustainability?
  • CathyI know nothing about these areas! Isn’t it all too complicated!!?”

Introducing the pilot Essential Ecoliteracy online course

In this supportive, in-depth online course you can learn from home in your own time over a 6-week period.

You will connect with myself and others in a weekly online Live Group Meeting.

From this course, you will gain confidence and competence for this urgent new topic that is rarely available in contemporary art education, art teacher or curator training or in art administration courses.


Here’s a sneak peek at the main topics the course will cover.

In 6 weekly modules, I will help you explore the following areas to increase your ecoliteracy:

Week 1. UNDERSTANDING WHY EVERYTHING HAS TO CHANGE AND WHY CREATIVITY CAN HELP

Week 2*. PSYCHO-SOCIAL-PHYSICAL SUPPORTS & PRACTICES (UNDERSTANDING WHY MAINTAINING A SENSE OF HUMOUR IS VITAL AND LEARN WAYS TO AVOID BURNOUT)

Week 3. NAVIGATING ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE WITH EASE (AND UNDERSTAND THE UNITED NATION SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT GOALS FOR YOUR WORK)

Week 4. EXPANDED EARTH ETHICS – DEVELOP MORAL REASONING TO GUIDE YOUR WORK; UNDERSTAND THE EARTH CHARTER, & DEVELOPING ECOCIDE AND RIGHTS FOR NATURE LAWS

Week 5. HOW ARE OTHER CREATIVES TACKLING THIS TOPIC? EXPLORING OTHERS’ EXPANDED ECOLOGICAL ART PRACTISES

Week 6. BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER. APPLYING YOUR ECOLITERACY LEARNING TO WRITE YOUR CREATIVE STATEMENT OR CREATIVE WORK AIMS. (I will give written individual guidance for every participant)

*WEEK 2 of my course offers guidance on self-care in what can often be a depressing and seemingly unsolvable topic.

As in my live workshop, I will be having input from US philosopher, mentor, artist and student of horses, Dr Nikos Patedakis. Nikos’ experience as a philosophy educator will guide us in recent neurological research and advances in compassion practices that can enable us to face these urgent times without despair.

Philosopher, mentor, artist
and student of horses
Dr Nikos Patedakis
of WisdomLoveandBeauty.org
Listen to Nikos’ contemplations on iTunes
Veronica Larsson, artist and
international Subtle Body Anatomy expert

I’m also delighted to offer short optional body exercises from Veronica Larsson, MFA. Veronica is an Irish-based Swedish artist and international Subtle Body Anatomy expert. Veronica’s short videos will accompany each weekly module as a resource.

Both Nikos and Veronica’s specialist knowledge of mind and body practices can help us all reflect on the topic without being overwhelmed. I am extremely grateful to them both in offering their deep knowledge and practices to my course, as I have personal experience that this topic requires such supports.


Overall, you will become aware of the exciting, inclusive social power of bringing ecological concepts and creativity together for yourself, your audiences, students or art organisation. You will also become aware of supports that you may need to work effectively in this area.

The information in this course will be invaluable for creatives and educators to clearly write and communicate ecological ideas for:

  • your creative practice, art teaching or curating
  • for thinking about how you might design and effectively communicate future creative projects or programmes
  • future funding applications

Fluency of key ecological concepts will be essential for art managers, art administrators and cultural policy writers:

  • to develop effective cultural policy to avoid superficial engagement with these concerns (green-washing of exhibitions, festivals etc) and critically understanding the limitations of ‘sustainability’, ‘sustainable development’ concepts etc
  • to understand that promoting projects for just one symptom of the ecological emergency – ‘climate change’, ‘biodiversity’ fails to acknowledge the URGENT SYSTEMIC predicament society is facing (silo-ing the emergency reveals a lack of ecoliteracy and does not signal clearly to the cultural sector how they can best make a contribution to the emergency as radically changing every aspect of how we live)
  • to minimise the waste of limited arts funding and resources
  • to ideally design supports to assist more creatives to live and work long-term within and for their home places and communities (this is a major shift for the cultural sector overall as witnessed in the slow uptake of international art and sustainability research)
  • communicating effectively to creatives, the radical shift in priorities that ecological ideas bring to creativity.

Who is this Workshop for?

This workshop is primarily for experienced creative practitioners and art educators, curators, arts researchers, art administrators, and cultural policy writers of ALL art and craft disciplines.

As an ecological view fosters collaborative activities, the course is particularly relevant to social art (community art, socially-engaged) practitioners & educators.

Please note, this is NOT a workshop to make an environmental-themed artwork, NOR is it a course that primarily reviews other’s eco-art works in depth.

Instead, the primary focus of this Essential Ecoliteracy course is to offer you accessible ecological knowledge and resources to enable you to confidently frame and communicate your creative work in a way that is relevant to your situation and place.


Here’s what an ecoliteracy course can do for you

Gaining ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge–of how living systems actually thrive) helps us with two main things.

First, ecoliteracy helps reposition our ways of PERCEIVING OUR PLACE on Planet Earth – we learn that humanity exists in a vast web of interdependencies with other nonhuman realms and this must be factored into everything we do.

Second, ecoliteracy invites us to consider creativity anew as an expanded, social, co-authored adventure with human and nonhuman others. Quite often, with ecological learning you will find yourself collaborating and co-creating with others not in the art-world (scientists, environmental experts, teachers and local knowledge holders), and thinking about how to give voice to nonhuman others. These considerations require social skills and new ways of thinking.

Using ecoliteracy as a necessary foundation for creativity helps us question, translate and make tangible, how we can live well with all the inhabitants (human and nonhuman) in our different places.

The Wider Context about why Ecoliteracy is Important for these Urgent Times

  • Cultural activity in recent cultural research is now confirmed as the critical 4th Pillar of Sustainability (Fitzgerald, 2017).
  • Creativity has social power to invite communities to engage, reflect and envision life-sustaining living. Unlike dry scientific facts, political policy or sustainability guidelines, creativity inspires people. Creativity engages both hearts + minds for change through meaningful local activities.
  • The critical role for the creative sector to engage wider society to live will with our environments is still little recognised by national cultural institutions (some countries have more detailed policy on this than others). This is not surprising as most cultural policymakers have lacked access to ecoliteracy learning too.
  • Furthermore, wider society, let alone the creative sector, is only at the start of realising how ecological insights insist on a seismic shift in how we live, think and create and we don’t have much time left!

SO, in a nutshell, my Essential Ecoliteracy course can position your work at the forefront of exciting and important developments in the creative sector. Ecoliteracy can help align your work within expanded values for Earthly wellbeing for present and future generations.

Opportunities in this field will only continue to grow and here I’m talking from experience and observations from the front of this developing cultural field.

 

How will this 6-week online course work?

Week by week, I aim to share accessible yet crucial summaries of key ecoliteracy knowledge in modules on a easy-to-use online platform.

Logging into the course platform, you will find a new module with resources, reading lists and exercises released each week. Each module will build a foundational ecoliteracy for your work as the course progresses.

The course will include material from diverse disciplines and introduce you to key thinkers in the area, many who are not well known in art education – from ecophilosophy to environmental science, earth and social justice-aligned ethics, economics and law. I will share examples from leading ecological artists to help explain the course’s key ideas.

Don’t worry if this sounds a lot, I have summarised this material and as in my live pilot workshop, I will use multi-media to make the material engaging as possible.

Remote Course Delivery Format and Dates

Orientation Week: On Monday 9 March 2020 the course will begin with orientation material that I will email to you. In this orientation email I will advise you how to login to the course platform, and give you full instructions on how to join the LIVE GROUP MEETINGS.

THE ESSENTIAL ECOLITERACY COURSE: WEEKS 1-6

Lesson material for each weekly module WILL BE RELEASED EACH FRIDAY for 6 weeks (beginning Friday 13 March).

In each module, lesson material will include a short 2-3 min video introduction to the topic, and links to either a couple of key articles or short videos as background material. For keen learners, I will also list further in-depth resources.

The key learning in each module will be a LIVE Group Meeting EACH WEDNESDAY FOR 6 WEEKS (BEGINNING WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH)

After release the weekly Module Lesson Material each Friday, I will EACH FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY host a 1 hour online LIVE Group Meeting at 7pm (Irish/UK time), in which I will go through a sideshow and videos on that week’s module topic with you all.

In the Live Group Meetings there will be an opportunity to ask questions, share experiences and challenges.

The live meeting will accommodate live chat questions and an open discussion between us all after my presentation (fingers-crossed this all works, I will be using the online Zoom conference platform to do this – its like Skype but with more features and it is very easy to log into and use).

I really encourage contributing or listening into the weekly Live Group Meetings. Even if you are shy about taking part, listening to my presentation and others’ comments will make the learning real and relevant to your work. As we will be coming from many creative disciplines, and diverse urban and rural areas, expect the conversations to be rich and fun 🙂 🙂 🙂

(If you can’t make a meeting, I will send on a recording but please note that this is where the important learning, takes place).

If you don’t live in Ireland or the United Kingdom – advice for participants who live in different timezones

Check the time of the Ecoliteracy Live Group Meeting on Wednesdays (18 March to 22 April) in your region here

Note: if you live in Australia, the Live Group Meetings occur at night-time and if you live in Aotearoa New Zealand, the course time may also be difficult as its early on a Thursday morning. I will record each Live Meeting and I will send this to the whole group but if there is substantial interest from people living n Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, I will endeavour to host another meeting at a more suitable time.

Please check the Live Group Meeting time suits you, before your book!

To Summarise:

Everything will be ONLINE. To access your lessons, you only need a computer with a decent Internet connection, and the capability (BOTH video and audio) that you would use to make an online video call to join us in the weekly Live Group Meetings.

On top of the lessons, you also get:

  • Exclusive access to a private forum, where you can connect with others doing the course by posting questions, sharing your challenges and successes.
  • An email ‘hotline’ to submit your questions and send feedback directly to me.

Overall, I provide a proven learning programme to help you learn ecoliteracy, while you provide the elbow grease to apply it to your work.

What kind of results can you get from an online Ecoliteracy course?

My course will help you identify key aspects about this critical topic for your creative work.

  • At the end of this course, you will understand how modern civilization, and specifically our some of our cultural activity, has alienated us the living world and accordingly, why new informed cultural work is URGENTLY needed.

  • You will more fully appreciate ecological insights from key thinkers and understand how these ideas insist on a necessary paradigm shift in how we think, create and work if ourselves and other species are to survive and thrive. 

  • Importantly, even if you don’t implement all of these ideas immediately, you will understand how ecological understanding radically challenges commonly held ideas of creative practice, current cultural policy and even how we might fund and differently support creative ecological art practice in the future. For example, we will learn why ecological art practices are often collaborative, slow art practices that evolve over time in one place.

  • THE KEY OUTCOME OF THE COURSE WILL BE TO HELP YOU IDENTIFY VALUES, PRACTICES AND AIMS SO YOU CAN CONFIDENTLY WRITE A CREATIVE STATEMENT FOR YOUR WORK THAT EMBODIES ECOLOGICAL INSIGHT AND KNOWLEDGE

At the end of the course you will have confidence, with ecological insights, to frame, promote and communicate your creative practice, teaching, curating or cultural policy.

Here’s why this course works

As I have a background in:

Cathy Fitzgerald, M.FA, PhD
| Eco-Social Art Practitioner
| Educator | Researcher

I strongly believe my essential ecoliteracy course can help you, no matter which creative discipline you are working in.

If you want to know more about why I have developed this course and more about my background, please see my website here.

 

What does the online 6-week course cost?

All That, And It Only Costs…

The course price is significantly reduced to reflect that this a course in development – both in terms of the material I present but because I’m also trialling different online technologies for the first time.

I will be tailoring the course and inviting participants’ feedback as I go. However, the smaller group mean you will have more individual attention from me. I’m piloting this course in this way to create the best learning experience when I launch the full course.

The reduced price of the pilot reflects that this is a developing course.

Because I want you to be completely happy with your decision, I’ll let you test-drive and evaluate the pilot course for 14 days.

Enroll today. If the course doesn’t suit, let me know before the 14 days are up (Wednesday 25 March 2020, and I’ll return 100% of your money back—no questions asked (although I’d really love feedback).

WHY REMOTE LEARNING IS GOOD VALUE

My course cost compares to online courses on a contemporary art topic of similar value, led by accredited art professionals and is so more affordable than my 1-to-1 mentoring fee.

It is also much lower than what you would have to pay a traditional educational institute – if you could find such a course.

Leaning on my expertise will save you in the time you would spend on exploring the topic on your own.

But Wait, Will This Work For Me?

My pilot course aims to help people like you – professional culture workers from any creative discipline, art educators, art administrators, craft-workers, curators, government arts office staff, cultural policymakers and interested others – to gain essential ecological knowledge – more quickly in a supportive environment.

Based on my experience and specific doctoral qualifications in ecological art practice, experience in professional development and in fostering online communities you can be sure that my course provides valuable and proven outcomes.

Also, I’m being supported by some very experienced online course building mentors and teachers.

First, I’d like to acknowledge Jim Wright, my online course mentor from the International Course Builders Laboratory at MIRASEE, based in Canada, and my fantastic Irish award-winning art-business tech mentor Mary Carty (who has been encouraging me over several years). I’m also really excited to have two great auditors for this online course; my sister Dr Alannah Fitzgerald – an expert Open Education practitioner and researcher based in Canada, who has gained expert knowledge from teaching across different educational contexts, including Higher Education institutions in the United Kingdom, Canada, Korea, and Aotearoa New Zealand (our country of origin). Increasingly, Alannah has been drawn to devising and delivering online language learning interventions that can be scaled and assessed across both formal and informal education. My other auditor is my Irish, always-ahead-of-the-crowd friend, Nicola Brown at Clasheen, Co. Carlow, an internationally recognised and popular eco-print textile artist, and online course and workshop educator.

Below are comments from creatives and art educators, art researcher who benefited from my live 2019 workshop:

“I’ve been meaning to email to thank you for the incredible work you put into the day, on every level. It was one of the best workshops I have ever attended. I loved the breadth and depth of your knowledge and the thoughtful way you shared it. Thank you so very much, I’m absolutely delighted to have been there and I feel very privileged to have this experience.”

Martina Hynan, arts researcher, Galway, Nov, 2019.

“Thank you for the wonderful day in Rathanna; it was lovely to connect with people and to get more food for thought in relation to our own teaching and my work. Now I just need to start implementing!”

Rosie O’Gorman, artist and art educator,
Cowhouse Studios, Wexford, Nov, 2019.

“I completed a Masters in painting in 2017. As a long time professional artist I attended Cathy’s ecoliteracy workshop in November 2019. I was not sure what to expect but was hoping for high standards I was not disappointed. She had a well thought out plan. What I found most impressive apart from her intellectual modesty and approachability, was the generosity with which she shared her concerns and interests. The quality and delivery of the information she imparted on the general field of ecoart research was very useful and an inspiration. A great educator and super mentor. I look forward to her forthcoming online course.”

Helen Richmond, artist, Co. Kerry, Jan. 2019.

WELL WELL DONE!! Thank You for a really brilliant day, it was an honour to be part of it and I learned a lot; I feel you introduced the vast knowledge and expertise that you have in your area in a clear and contextually relevant format. SO much in there, I’m inspired to explore the material further, and feel excited for my own creative practice and research; for writing and for factual / intellectual / philosophical / scientific parts and for being in the creative process!”

Veronica Larsson, artist / medicine woman / mind-body coherence practitioner,
Dublin, Nov, 2019

 

So if you are interested in joining this pilot course, please email me at cathyart@gmail.com to secure your place.

I will advise you how to make payment in my reply email.


Got Further Questions? Here are the Answers

Q: Is ecoliteracy really something that can be taught?

A: Yes, absolutely. Embracing ecoliteracy is basically a mind-shift, not a practical exercise. Ecological insights, however, can unsettle us at first, particularly if one has been trained to think about art or creativity in a traditional way. Therefore, it can take time to absorb some of these ideas as ecoliteracy presents a radically new way to look at the world in all that we think and do. However, as I present work from other creatives throughout the course, you will see how others apply these ideas in the real world.

Given that these ideas are on presently on the periphery of contemporary art, this course is therefore most suitable for creatives who have developed a creative practice or who have taught art for sometime. It is particularly suitable for those willing and open to try new things.

Q: When will I receive the lessons?

A: You’ll get information on how do the course on Monday 9th March 2020. I will release the modules on the weekly dates set for the course. You will have access to the course materials after the course is finished!

Q: What if I’m busy?

A: You will be notified by email each Friday when each module lesson is available. You will have pre-recorded material to watch with other resources to download and simple exercises to complete. That means there is plenty of time to do your homework and to prepare yourself for the Live Group Meetings on Wednesdays!

Q: I’m doing my creative practice and teaching on the side! What kind of time commitment will this require?

A: Probably a lot less than you think! If you can budget 3-4 hours per week, you will complete the course in six weeks. Or spread it out over a longer period of time, its your choice. I do highly recommend setting aside a specific time each week, after each Friday, to go through the weekly module lesson material and I really urge you to join us for the weekly Wednesday Live Group Meetings – that is when the learning will really come alive, and you get a chance to meet new peers.

Further Testimonials

I’ve also been helping other creatives and education professionals individually with ecoliteracy too, see below.

 


Me in New York on a college art trip in 1999 (I now do not fly for my creative work!). I still remember this time when I was really searching for how to effectively engage in ecological concerns in my work. In New York, I purchased the hefty Phaidon Book on Environmental Art -it was expensive as I had a limited art student budget. Looking back, it has been a journey to move from art and science work, to environmental work, to a deeper ecological art (eco-social art practice) and teaching role.

All my courses, live workshops, my new online programme, and my writing/research in this area is my contribution as a signatory to the international #CultureDeclares an emergency movement! (you can also join this movement!). Photo: Karen Land Hansen.

Acknowledgements

Grateful thanks to the Carlow Local Enterprise centre for awarding me a Feasibility Grant to develop this course and their mentor Bernie Tracey.

Sincere thanks also to Award-winning Irish Creative Business Tech Mentor, Mary Carty; Jim Wright at MIRASEE, philosophy mentor Dr. Nikos Patedakis; body-work expert Veronica Larsson, and expert online course auditors, Dr. Alannah Fitzgerald and Nicola Brown.

I also wish to thank Carlow Arts Officer Sinead Dowling for her support. A Carlow Arts Office Award enabled me to develop my successful pilot Live Essential Ecoliteracy Course in November 2019

Mary Carty – Irish Award-winning Creative Business Tech Mentor

Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald – now an Art & Ecology Research Fellow at the Burren College of Art

‘The Burren College of Art is a small, independent art school situated on the Wild Atlantic Way on the northwest coast of County Clare in Ireland. It is located in the Burren, a region famous for its natural beauty and unique ecosystem. We are an internationally recognized Irish non-profit college specializing in undergraduate, postgraduate and alternative approaches to fine art education.’

An Ash tree at the Burren College that was lit-up in my car headlights on a cold winters evening in early 2019. I noticed it all of a sudden after leaving the college one afternoon. The startling beauty of the area is such an inspiration and reminder of the Burren College’s teachings and its fantastic residential – studio opportunities for developing and established artists. See the website for more information: https://www.burrencollege.ie/

This time last year, I was invited by the Dean of the Burren College of Art, Conor McGrady, to teach the ‘Art and Ecology 16-week module’ for under-graduates.

New to sharing my knowledge after recently completing my PhD by Practice on ecological art: ‘The Ecological Turn, it was such a valuable opportunity to translate my knowledge into accessible, practical learning for others who are at the exciting stage of developing their professional creative careers.

It goes without saying that this opportunity afforded me so many real-world teaching insights for developing my modules for my ecoliteracy courses and workshops. I wish to thank Dean Conor McGrady and Dr. Eileen Hutton and especially my students for making me feel so welcome and teaching me as much as I shared my ideas with them.

I have since been invited to be an honorary Research Fellow at this wonderfully vibrant college that works so sensitively within and for its local environment.

As a Research Fellow, I will continue to share my research knowledge with the college and come occasionally to teach (I will be at the college again on Feb 19, 2020, giving a talk about my practice and research and tutoring current students). I will be so looking forward to reconnect with staff at this beautiful college and travelling again to this unique area of outstanding geologic and natural heritage.

Practical philosophy expands our ecology of mind – attuning us to wisdom, love and beauty so we can live well with the Earth

Skilful ways of knowing are key for creative insights that align with ecological and social values.

Philosopher mentor-coach Dr Nikos Patedakis (formerly UC Santa Cruz, California) contributes practical ‘ecology of mind’ philosophy for my work and my ecoliteracy courses

I was delighted to receive an unsolicited review article on LinkedIn from Californian based philosopher, friend and mentor-coach Dr. Nikos Patedakis. In the article, Nikos enthusiastically responds to my recent article about my work that I had written for the US Minding Nature journal and online site (Winter 2019).

Encouragingly, Nikos frames my ecological art practice and my developing Haumea ecoliteracy courses to an expanding ‘ecology of mind’ – the term promoted by the original systems thinker, Gregory Bateson. Bateson in the 1970s, clearly identifies that the root of the ecological crises begins from our wrong perceptions of ourselves that enable unsustainable and unjust living. Western culture’s priorities too often ignore the plight of other peoples and the wellbeing of the greater Earth community. Bateson and others’ philosophical critiques of the ecological crises are an important part of my ecoliteracy teaching and I have valued mentoring from Nikos for my work in recent months.

Cathy’s “Haumea site will be of interest to a broad audience, including artists, educators, policy makers, and anyone concerned with increasing our ecological intelligence. Be sure to look at the blog, where Cathy posts about a wide range of issues and activities related to ecology, ecological sanity, and how we can wisely and gracefully navigate the climate crisis” (read Nikos’ full article here)

Dr. Nikos Patedakis (2019) The Art of Mind and the Path of True Success

Nikos has generously deepened my knowledge of understanding how ecological insights present an unprecedented paradigm shift for modern society. Of special value, Nikos has alerted me to recent neuroscience and philosophy advances that confirm meditative compassion practice can significantly help us as individuals approach the ecological emergency with calmness and insight (When Nikos taught at Univ. California in Santa Cruz he never taught philosophy about the ecological catastrophe, without first inviting students to develop practices of compassion for themselves).

Such self-care practices are so vital in whatever field we work in and are still so little addressed in mainstream discourse of the eco-social emergency (UK Prof. Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation Network Profession’s Network that is inviting input from leading eco-psychologists and others is another important arena for this developing discourse).

In my work, I have met creative workers and art educators who feel overwhelm and despair about the environmental-social catastrophes that are unfolding. Often sensitive to the social injustices and ecocidal destruction to begin with, they tell me it doesn’t feel inviting to engage in this topic or they worry that engaging in this topic would instrumentalize their creative energies to merely illustrating the science or solutions. These are valid concerns, but what the planetary emergency invites us to consider is that our entire modern culture will need compassionate reflection and creative insights for exploring ways of living that complement life. We will need creativity informed with ecoliteracy to foster the more beautiful, ecological era we know if possible.

From much reading and personal experience, I also know if we turn to face these troubling realities with a mind of compassion, we find opportunity for healing and many new insights for doing things differently. Most strikingly, creatives and artists are well placed to process the grief, cultivate love and remind us of the beauty of the Earth, through creative activity, and particularly when we work with others. Nikos’ has shared from cognitive science advances that self-compassion practices help us turn outward (they foster pro-social activity). Instead of sitting alone with the pain that leads us to feel hopeless, isolated or depressed, compassion practices can help us face realities but allow us to function in productive, collaborative and creative ways for personal and community wellbeing.

I am very particularly delighted that Nikos has generously offered to advise on some aspects of my workshop and soon to be launched pilot online course too. If you are interested in philosophical coaching, read more below

Interested in extraordinary one-to-one philosophical coaching-mentoring?

Nikos now offers mentoring-coaching in philosophical wisdom for deeper, more meaningful success for work in any field, from creativity to business, with a particular emphasis on skilful thinking for the emergent ecological era.

In the art and ecology field I work in, I can’t emphasise enough how Nikos’ mentoring has enriched my understanding that skilful thinking is incredibly necessary to align our creativity for ecological values and well-being beyond the individualism so often emphasised in some contemporary art training.

If your are interested in mentoring for your work, do contact Nikos at www.wisdomloveandbeauty.org (Nikos especially likes working with creative people and also offers practices for those who own horses!) His resource page contains contemplations (podcasts) on the value of philosophy for living well today and several examples of compassion meditations – free to use. The generosity of these resources give a great overview of the special ways Nikos works.

Thank you so much Nikos for your work and this incredible, accessible and generous growing resource which is essential for anyone requiring practical, down-to-Earth philosophy – that is, more skilful love-wisdom practices – for these challenging times.

The Hollywood Forest Story—Eco-Social Art Practice for the Symbiocene: a new article by Cathy Fitzgerald for US Minding Nature journal

One of the key reasons why I can share indepth knowledge of ecoliteracy to other creatives, artists, art educators and cultural policy makers, is because I continue my work on my ongoing eco-social art practice, The Hollywood Forest Story (begun 2008). This ecological art practice was the basis for my doctoral research that contributes a new theory-method framework to the ecological field. So I was thrilled to be asked to share my practice and outline my research in a leading US website and journal, Minding Nature, organised by the Centre for Humans and Nature.

Read my post from my Hollywood Forest Story blog below:

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

I was thrilled and a little bit nervous to be asked to write an article about Hollywood Forest and my creative practice for the US Minding Nature journal over the summer. MINDING NATURE is a journal exploring conservation values and the practice of ecological democratic citizenship

I have been following this fantastic multidisciplinary journal for the Centre for Humans and Nature for many years and it introduced me to the most amazing thought leaders for the ecological emergency: writer and ecological philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, Indigenous scientist writer Robin Kimmerer, philosopher Glenn Albrecht and the work of many more creative people as well. Do sign up for their newsletter and see their invitation to publish too.

I wish to thank Contributing Editor Jeremy Ohmes for patiently guiding my article through the editing process and the very kind encouragement from Editor-in-Chief Bruce Jennings.

Wow, ‘the little wood that could’ is bringing…

View original post 75 more words

Ecoliteracy for architects? It is essential

This place- and culture-sensitive process of redesigning the human presence and impact on Earth bioregion by bioregion will be much more than simply ‘ecosystems restoration’. It will be a pathway towards regenerating our communities, our societies, our regional economies — a path walked through glocal [global-local] awareness and action, coming together in global collaboration to heal the Earth and her people one place at a time.

Daniel Christian Wahl 2019 ‘Making the most of the ‘UN Decade on Ecosystems Restoration’:
bioregional regenerative development as a deep adaptation pathway’

Understanding ideas and practices for sustainable futures, translating them so they are relevant to our places and communities is a key and urgent concern for architect students, since they are increasingly designing for both people, places and planet.

Ecoliteracy is therefore vital for architecture students to gain an overview of what has caused the intersecting and accelerating environmental and social crises the world is now facing. Ecoliteracy empowers us to consider the historic philosophical, ethical, aesthetic, and political shortcomings of modern culture that has consistently ignored environmental wellbeing. Understanding how our culture, our way of life, has become so inherently unsustainable and unjust, is vital – so we can employ our creativity collectively toward ushering in a more life-sustaining, just and beautiful world.

Twice in recent months, I’ve been asked to share ecoliteracy understanding with university architect students and their lecturers.

I’ve shared ideas with 43 students from the Dublin University of Technology (DUT) who came with their lecturers, Emma Geoghegan and others, to visit my ongoing eco-social art practice, The Hollywood Forest Story– the transformation of a conifer monoculture plantation into a forest at my home in rural South County Carlow (see image above).

Focussing on imagining a zero carbon future for Carlow County, these DUT students are researching infrastructure, landscape, agriculture, settlement and forestry practices as part of their initial analysis. I shared my knowledge of collaborative art and ecology practices and my deep knowledge of new-to-Ireland continuous cover forestry.

Giving a talk in Hollywood forest can bring to life the challenges and potentials of this type of ecological forestry – but, there are no quick-fix solutions! Transforming forests, like restoring any landscape will take an enormous shift in educational priorities and national policy, and it takes years for ecosystems to recover. (Hollywood forest will require many decades to transform to a more biodiverse forest and there ominous threats to forests from climate change already – milder, wetter weather is fostering tree disease and pests that have already decimated some trees in Hollywood and other forests across Ireland).

I was also asked by Carlow-based architect lecturer, Helena Fitzgerald (no relation) to give a workshop to the History and Theory of Architecture: Landscape module for third year students (@UCC_ArchSoc) in Cork city. Helena asked me to give an account of the Anthropocene – the unsustainable, ecocidal culture we have inherited and I showed a new slide-show film video about my ongoing Hollywood forest project to illustrate how my work was seeking an alternative to industrial, unsustainable forestry. Helena especially requested I give some attention to new terms, like the Symbiocene – the new term coined by eco-philosopher Glenn Albrecht. This term describes the ecological era that prioritises thriving ecosystems as the basis for all life – this is where we must focus all our creative efforts. I was able to bring the idea of the Symbiocene alive, with the recent new short poetic-art-performance film Solastalgia (2019), an artistic interpretation, I have previously mentioned on this site.

In summary, it’s a difficult future for students everywhere, when scientists and media headlines are increasingly revealing catastrophic scenarios amidst widespread political delay and inaction. On both occasions, I reminded students that they shouldn’t work alone on such a difficult, sometimes overwhelming topic. I was heartened to be reminded by Helena, that architect students are taught to work collaboratively – this skill will be so vital in the coming decades when will all have to come together to rethink, reimagine and redesign regenerative living, for all our futures.