New pilot 6-week Online Course: 'Essential Ecoliteracy for your Creative Practice, Teaching or Work'

A NEW ONLINE COURSE with ecological artist, educator and former scientist, Cathy Fitzgerald PhD
*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).

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 here
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…

€89

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.

When I move forward with my full course later this year and open it up to the public, the full course price will be around €199, but the cost right now to participate in my first small pilot course is just €89.

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

It was a great pleasure to attend Cathy’s first ecoliteracy workshop. One of the most important aspects of the workshop for me was how it reflected the breadth and depth of Cathy’s understanding and passion for developing the interrelationship between art, ecology and sustainability. Cathy shared her knowledge of environmental thinkers and philosophers with such warmth, openness and generosity. She has truly opened up a new way of thinking about social practice for me, and she also introduced me to a host of thinkers whose work is exciting and challenging.

Cathy has an extraordinary mind which is deeply analytical and equally creative. Her training and love of science and research is matched by her creative socially engaged practice which brings science and art together in her unique way.

I would urge anyone with an interest in ecology, art and sustainability to take Cathy’s classes and workshops. Her willingness to share her work and nurture that of participants is evident in her warmth, sincerity and passion for her work. She is a phenomenal teacher with so much to share.

Martina Hynan
PhD researcher, artist & activist
Centre for Irish Studies
NUI Galway

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