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

‘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.

Survey for new online ecoliteracy course for creative people – please add your ideas!

A short survey to determine the key ideas for an online ‘ecoliteracy for the arts’ course

I’m exploring ways to help others in the arts gain ecoliteracy as I’ve had an increase in people seeking out my knowledge this year (even though I live in a rural area).

I’m looking at new ways to share my experience that don’t overstretch my and the Earth’s resources. Please read below for proposed course outline and the link to the short survey – Thank you for participating!

Please note: if you are already familiar with this topic, I do invite you to fill in the questionnaire. This may help others who are struggling to find adequate learning for this topic and develop the art and ecology field further. This is a field of creative practice that will have immense importance in the years ahead.

A new online ‘Ecoliteracy for the Arts’ course

by Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice in Ecological Art  Cathy Fitzgerald

Proposed course idea:

In this unprecedented time of ecological emergencies, I am developing an accessible and affordable online course* to increase ecoliteracy (ecological understanding) for creative practitioners, art educators, curators, art organisation staff, art activists and art historians in all art disciplines.

Ecoliteracy is the basis of creating impactful work and strategies to inspire audiences and communities for the better world we know is possible.

The proposed ‘Ecoliteracy Essentials for the Arts’ course is not intended to instruct people on how to make environmental art. Rather, the course lessons and resources will help creative workers to confidently navigate environmental science, explore the root causes of the eco-social crises and give examples of best practice. An online format also has the potential for networking, developing a community for support and peer-to-peer learning.

I would be very grateful for any ideas and feedback on how this topic might be of interest to you. Filling in the questionnaire does not mean you have to do the course.

Please find a link to the short survey here:

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ihttps://forms.gle/scPHmBosh8E9Cgmb9

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With much gratitude everyone!
o

Cathy


PS if the idea of learning online is new to you, I have summarised some key benefits below.

Online courses benefits over learning in an education institution:

  • you can learn from home, therefore eliminating the costs of living away from home and / or  the resources used in travelling
  • online courses are much more affordable than courses offered by institutions as there are few overhead costs
  • you can learn at your own pace, at a time and in an environment, that suits you
  • online learning provides accessible opportunities for learning if you are working, caretaking or have other difficulties in attending a class
  • online courses require motivation, you will improve your work habits
  • online course providers can offer topics that may take traditional colleges years to develop
  • you can have access to experts and like-minded people in online discussion forums, who may or may not live in your country

I wish to gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organisations and people:


 

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