Why I created an online ecoliteracy course

In July 2019, I created a survey to assess the needs for ecological learning for those working in the creative sector. Since then, I offered my first live full-day pilot workshop in November 2019. At that workshop I trialled and received feedback on modules for my online course, launched now to begin in March 2020.

Thank you again for those of you who completed the survey and especially to my first workshop participants.

With my first live workshop that I held in my local area (in South East Ireland) in November 2019, I noticed many of the workshop participants travelled some distance from across Ireland to attend. I’ve also had increasing enquiries from overseas in the course topic.

So, while learning online will not be quite the same as a live class, I’ve been further encouraged to offer an online pilot course. In time, more people will have access to my knowledge in an engaging and affordable way.

Teaching and learning from home
lessens our costs to the Earth.

But, Where Did Your Course Idea Come From?

From my artistic work and practice research over many years, I know cultural activity inspires peoples’ hearts for change.

In contrast to scientific facts and sustainability guidelines, the arts have inclusive social power to reach diverse, local communities.

Basically, I created this course so others won’t suffer the struggles I faced to become confident in this area

Looking back, I struggled over many years to gain expertise and confidence in this area. Even with having a background in research science, it took me years to develop an ecological art practice that aligns with deeper shifts that an ecological world-view brings.

I know from hard won experience that adopting a completely new mindset for your creative work is challenging. For me, gaining expertise in the art and ecology field was extremely slow and painstaking!

I persevered with bringing ecology and art together in my creative practice because of my science background. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t unlearn or ignore the consensus of scientists’ grave warnings for society!

Over time and with much effort, I amassed knowledge but progress was slow with few resources and little peer support. I tracked down diverse resources for my practice from different fields, developed knowledge of others’ pioneering work and deepened my knowledge by doctoral ecological art practice research.

Why was this important, timely topic so hard?

As I was to find through my adult art education, there is little realisation that an overview of environmental science, environmental philosophy and ethics, are essential for creatives (and everyone really) to address the most urgent problems of our times. Modern education which separates science and art education is largely the problem.

As a result, I found few in the arts who are teaching art and ecology courses–the few tutors were overseas – and only a handful of such programmes exist in the world.

The whole field suffers accordingly, with art educators, students and cultural policymakers viewing it as a marginal activity in contemporary art and thus it suffers from recognition, which means it is also poorly resourced.

The gravity of the unprecedented ecological emergency will mean this will change – IT HAS TO! But changes to curricula in poorly funded art colleges will undoubtedly be slow in providing essential ecoliteracy learning for these urgent times.

Eventually I was pleased with my practice. With my knowledge and confidence with the topic, I have been able to find new work opportunities in the art and ecology field. At the moment, my speciality is working with communities, forests and wetlands.

But as this critical time, I deeply want other creatives to tackle this most pressing yet rewarding area.

We will need creativity to learn to live differently, to live well with the Earth and its inhabitants, as never before!

This is why I was compelled to make this course! (I am the first Irish Signatory of the international #CultureDeclares an emergency movement and this is my contribution for this emergency*)

So, are you ready to employ ecoliteracy in your creative work or teaching too?

I’m accepting bookings in my first pilot online course now and will continue to offer workshops and introductions to my creative eco-social art practice.

See my online course page for details. I’m now taking bookings for my first pilot starting 8 March 2020.

*I became an Irish signatory to the international CultureDeclares Emergency movement in early 2019.

My online Ecoliteracy 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.”

My mission for my teaching is to empower those working in the creative sector with essential ecoliteracy in a convenient, affordable and accessible format so you can confidently align and explain your creative work and teaching for these urgent times.