New Haumea Online Courses: Creativity as an Act of Love: Cultivating the Mind of Beauty

The Most Important Thing

Haumea Online is expanding! New Ecophilosophy and Ecoliteracy Courses for creatives and art professionals announced. Limited places, so book early here.

16 July – 2 September 2020; ‘Creativity as an Act of Love’ new 7-week guided course with mentoring/coaching with philosopher Nikos Patedakis, Ph.D – BOOKINGS NOW OPEN!

16 July – 2 September 2020; ‘Creativity as an Act of Love’ new 7-week guided course with mentoring/coaching with philosopher Nikos Patedakis, Ph.D

21 September – 2 November 2020; ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals, with eco-social artist Cathy Fitzgerald, Ph. D. BOOKINGS OPEN 8 SEPTEMBER.

21 September – 2 November 2020; ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals, with eco-social artist Cathy Fitzgerald, Ph. D

Background and update on Haumea Online:

Haumea Ecoliteracy Services for the Arts developed in January 2019, from an idea in the conclusion of my doctoral research thesis ‘The Ecological Turn’ that I submitted back in 2016.

Back then, I was worried that most art colleges and cultural institutions would not be able to respond within the scientists’ short global emergency decade-timeframe. The likelihood of developing important ecological curricula seems even more unlikely now; with recent events causing unprecedented economic pressures for traditional education institutes worldwide.

I also knew firsthand the challenges in acquiring a holistic ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge) fit for these urgent times. Even with my background in research science, I struggled at a leading art college in Ireland, to explain why ecoliteracy is an enormous cultural shift, a new paradigm that is imperative for both for the arts and wider society. We are nearing the cliff-edge of irreversible and accelerating systemic collapse. Too many ignore scientists’ and activists’ talk of emergency and little appreciate environmental degradation correlates with the tragic rise of species-crossing pandemics. Tragically the dominant culture is largely blind to its own demise.

From my perspective, having explored the art and ecology area since the late 90s, the international art sector along with wider society is only beginning to appreciate a great transition is upon us. This ‘Great Turning’–as Joanna Macy calls it–insists on new ways of living that prioritises life, not mindless economic growth on a finite planet. There are a few countries who have cultural programmes like the UK’s Julie’s Bicycle and Creative Carbon Scotland that have realised culture’s role for these urgent times. These organisations have made some inroads in cultural policy strategy and educational supports to enable their art sectors to explore sustainability. But generally, one finds little awareness of the social power of culture to engage and evolve public discourse toward new values for ecological era.

Not appreciating culture’s social power beyond tourism and commemoration.

In recent years, people listening to my presentations on the lack of art and sustainability strategy in Ireland chuckle over my pronouncement that the only time one hears about ‘culture’ in a discussion about climate change–is in the word ‘agriculture’! This is also a sorry reflection of not appreciating culture beyond tourism and commemoration. In the arts and humanities, in spiritual, heritage and folk traditions, even with sport, there is overlooked opportunity to engage civil society to realise new life-sustaining values, to embrace new ways of living–in ways science and politics struggle to achieve.

People cannot easily translate science. Humans do not solely live by facts and figures, and they regularly resist measures imposed by others. We sense this when not much has changed, even though scientists have been raising the alarm for decades and politicians struggle to introduce new green deals. When is the big penny going to drop that we have overlooked the immense social power of having experienced cultural representatives as the table, to work with scientists, politicians and economists. Citizens’ Assemblies are all very well for inviting public discussion of ‘climate change’ (our next one in Ireland will focus ‘biodiversity’ in Ireland), but if we do not include cultural leaders well versed in ecoliteracy, in moral reasoning, the social power for change is limited.

For all the media headlinesa lack of ecoliteracy prevails

This is apparent in how many politicians, media people and some cultural leaders limit their focus and language to singular symptoms of the emergency, such as climate change. In contrast, ecoliteracy equips us with a holistic, deep knowledge that climate breakdown is is just one symptom of our broken relationship with the wider community of life.

A narrow, shallow focus prevents deeper understanding of the enormity of cultural change that is required, and accordingly, the massive cultural response that must involve everyone. Not being ecoliterate also perpetuates the status quo–that environmental crises are just one more thing to worry about when understanding the ecological emergency as a deep cultural failure is ‘the most important thing’ (see video above). This is why some academics are clamouring for ecoversities – they realise a life-sustaining ecoliteracy must be the foundation of all society’s activities, if our civilisation wishes to continue.

You might ask why the commonsense ideas of ecoliteracy have been so hard adopt?

Why has modern society been so slow to awake to the endgame of endless growth on a finite planet? There are historic reasons for this cultural lag. The division between the arts and sciences, the fragmentation of knowledge into disciplines, means many fail to see the ‘bigger picture’; we are blind to the ‘great acceleration’ of eco-social injustices that are swiftly advancing the irreversible decline of the Earth’s life support systems. No wonder advances in Earth-aligned philosophy, ethics, ecocriticism and appreciation of Indigenous knowledge are so recent.

Ecoliteracy will mean more than understanding systemic environmental breakdown too. We’ll each need to learn of compassionate psychosocial supports that can help us turn safely to face the darkness of our times, so we do not burnout with overwhelm, grief, and despair. The Deep Adaptation is one network that appreciates a more holistic approach to ecoliteracy but this needs to become a central concern in education and especially for those working in the art sector too. My second module in my essential ecoliteracy course prioritises the most recent supports in the psychosocial area.

Developing an ecoliteracy curricula for the arts–with the help of collaborators

As you can imagine, I struggled to think how I would develop an ecoliteracy program on my own. How could I adequately address many of these concerns? But, somehow by starting small, encouraged by the sociopolitical outcomes of my creative practice, my doctoral and online business advisors – I found skilled, talented friends gathering from diverse disciplines so very will to help me. They know too that these urgent times requires a huge cultural shift and new learnings so we can live well with the Earth and the wider community of life. Academia also points the necessity, the overhaul of education that ecoliteracy brings (see Hampson, 2011, Kahn and others) and some see longterm ecological art practices advance ecoliteracy methods for education overall (Garoaid, 2012).

An early and key collaborator for my efforts to develop an ecoliteracy curricula for the arts, has been California eco-minded philosopher and educator Dr Nikos Patedakis. Nikos is skilled in compassion science and practice, and has wisely surveyed the world’s wisdom traditions to understand how other cultures have not promoted ecocide. Nikos is a rare individual even within philosophy to appreciate the enormity of the cultural shift required. Lucky for the arts, Nikos has a keen desire to work with creatives and others. Its sort of hard to describe how Nikos has helped me fill out the context, the supports, the wisdom, love and beauty we will need to embrace to endure well in the coming decades. He truly understands, like Gregory Bateson and Felix Guattari, that we’ll need to foster ‘an ecology of mind’ to encourage Earth-aligned creativity and ‘re-make social practices’ as never before.

The new Haumea Online Course? ‘Creativity as an Act of Love
with Nikos Patedakis, Ph.D

So, I’m delighted to announce that Nikos has developed a complementary ecophilosophy course to my ‘Essential Ecoliteracy Course’. I’m enrolling in the course myself to have a break before I deliver another Essential Ecoliteracy course in September. There is much understanding that I have gained from Nikos that I want to implement these insignts in my creative responses too. I hope you will join us 🙂

Both upcoming Haumea Online courses are pilot courses in development, with reduced prices. You can check out the testimonials here

Do book soon as places are limited.

And, do feel free to share news of these courses to others.


PS Not working in the arts but want to support the Haumea Online initiative?

You can sponsor others so they they can take this course.

You can sponsor others so they they can take this course.

about cathy fitzgerald

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

“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. Research confirms ecoliterate art professionals, with their skills in inclusivity and creativity, will have a critical leadership role to inspire diverse communities across the world, to envision the more beautiful, just and better world we know is possible.

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

And supporting ecoliteracy in the arts is an urgent task, given that the pandemic is seen as another symptom of the wider and accelerating ecological emergency.

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

Garioan, Charles (2012) ‘Sustaining Sustainability: the pedagogical drift of art research and practice.Studies in Art Education. Summer. 53(4), 283-301.

Hampson, Gary P (2012) ‘Eco-logical education for the Long Emergency.’ Futures 44 (2012) 71–80.

Kahn, Richard (2010) Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy and Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement. New York: Peter Lang.

‘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.

“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. Research confirms ecoliterate art professionals, with their skills in inclusivity and creativity, will have a critical leadership role to inspire diverse communities across the world, to envision the more beautiful, just and better world we know is possible.

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

And supporting ecoliteracy in the arts is an urgent task, given that the pandemic is seen as another symptom of the wider and accelerating ecological emergency.

“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. Research confirms ecoliterate art professionals, with their skills in inclusivity and creativity, will have a critical leadership role to inspire diverse communities across the world, to envision the more beautiful, just and better world we know is possible. And supporting ecoliteracy in the arts is an urgent task, given that the pandemic is seen as another symptom of the wider and accelerating 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

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.

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.

My first Essential Ecoliteracy for Creative Workers and Educators Workshop in Co. Carlow, with Lyric FM

“Do artists have the right kinds of tools to imagine new ways of living for the earth and its inhabitants?”

Luke Clancy, RTE Lyric FM Culture File, 11 Nov, 2019

I had such a wonderful time on Saturday 2 November 2019, giving my first Essential Ecoliteracy for the Arts workshop for creative people and art teachers in Rathanna village, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Developing this workshop has been a long-held wish of mine since I suggested the need for urgent ecoliteracy for the Irish arts sector, at the conclusion of my doctoral thesis, when I submitted it back in 2016. I have felt this keenly for many years as I have a previous career in research science and I know the cultural sector needs to be better informed and supported to effectively engage with this topic.  I also know that societal shifts, like the urgent need for society to live in more life-affirming ways, are always related to new cultural activity. Sharing ecoliteracy with other creatives is part of how I am contributing as an Irish signatory to the international #CultureDeclares emergency campaign.

Essential Ecoliteracy for the Arts workshop

I  designed this one-day ‘Everything Must Change: A Paradigm Shift for Society and the Arts‘  workshop specifically for creative workers and art educators, art researchers, who have some knowledge of expanded, socially engaged, community art practices. This workshop was NOT about how to make an environmental artwork. Rather, it was a course to start thinking about how you might transform your creative practice or your art teaching for the environmental-social emergency.

I was delighted to welcome participants from as far away as Kerry, Cork, Clare and Dublin and people who were living in the Carlow – Wexford area.

Ecoliteracy is a big, heavy topic

With workshop participants, I shared how ecological insights and science data demand an unprecedented paradigm shift for modern society.  I covered several topics to fully present the history, science, philosophy of how ecological insights can empower us in these urgent times. As this is a confronting topic for anyone and from my experience, I also introduced a range of pyscho-social supports for creative workers and educators engaging with this topic.  I was blessed on the day of the workshop to have assistance on bodywork practices with the wonderful subtle anatomy educator Veronica Larsson. I also shared encouraging new insights for mindful practices for a more compassionate and creative era from US philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis. I presented a way to understand the environmental science more easily and introduced concepts and new words like solastalgia, soliphilia, The Symbiocene, advanced by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, that help us better identify the emotions of the age we are in, and how our creative work may contribute to a more compassionate era, the Symbiocene, where the welfare of all of Earth’s inhabitants are prioritised (it was great to share the new Solastalgia film as well).

Visual art, music, film, drawing flowers, fungi and eco jazz

Amongst a range of cultural works I shared that engaged with the ecological emergency, I also shared new Irish eco #jazz music from The Carole Nelson Trio, and showed the  ‘Fantastic Fungi’ (2019) film trailer (the sensational new US film by inspired filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg, forest mycologists like Paul Stamet and forest ecologist Prof Suzanne Simard who are sharing new advances in symbiotic science that underlines growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of all life to growing audiences around the world).

At the end of the day, listening to Carole Nelson’s Trio new ‘canopy’ and ‘under-the-ground’ tracks, we each of us drew our own ‘flower of sustainability’ (a personal map-making drawing exercise designed by eco-social artist Dr Insa Winkler). This allowed us to reflect and visualise our unique gifts, intersecting interests, concerns and joys, as an ecology of practice for these urgent times.

Overall, it was a day full of sharing, laughter, feet stamping, reflecting, feeling, learning, tears, leaning on each other,  and great local vegetarian food by Trish Markey (who I later discovered had done cookery classes at Ballymaloe – how we did enjoy the food Trish).

My Interview with Rachel Andrews for Lyric FM

Rachel Andrews

Also, it was a real surprise to be interviewed by one of the workshop participants, writer, journalist and cultural researcher Rachel Andrews for Lyric FM’s Luke Clancy Culture File Weekly show. Thank you so much, Rachel, for recording the day. What an unexpected gift to reflect on too!

Listen to my interview with Rachel, and introduced by cultural broadcaster Luke Clancy below. (Participants will smile when they hear the intro to the Katie Goodman music clip that I shared during the workshop 😉 )

These are just some of the highlights of the day – its a day I will treasure for all the insights and learning.

More Workshops and an Online Course early January 2020

PS – I’ve had invitations to give more workshops across the country and I will shortly be offering a 6-week online version early in the New Year.

Please subscribe to this blog to hear of future workshops and online courses.

Thank You Everyone!

Very special thanks to my philosopher coach and anam cara, Dr Nikos Patedakis; to Veronica Larsson, what a joy to reconnect recently and thank you for the gift you gave us – we all felt so supported and connected to new understandings in our bodies. Heartfelt thanks to my magic biz-tech-art mentor Mary Carty, my wonderful sculptor Lithicworks husband Martin Lyttle and new dog Willow. Hugs to Kate Flood and thanks for setup and ongoing support from Jules Michael, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Mairead Holohan, Dr Eileen Hutton, Rosie O’Gorman, and Orla Callaghan. Thanks also to Drs Iain Biggs, Paul O’Brien, Karen Till, Gerry Kearns and Nessa Cronin. Thanks also to all the participants who have given such rich, detailed feedback. Also a big thanks to Arts Officer, Sinead Dowling and all at the Carlow Arts Office. And to the Rathanna Community Hall Committee – the venue was perfect. Thanks also to the Local Carlow Enterprise Board, business mentor Bernie Tracey and my online course mentor Jim Wright at Mirasee, Montreal.

New One-day Workshop in County Carlow, Ireland: ‘Everything Must Change’: Essential Ecoliteracy* for your Creative Practice or Teaching

<img class=" wp-image-259 alignleft" src="https://myhaumea.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/cropped-cropped-smallhaumea_logo1.png&quot; alt="ClipArt Source : Koru Clipart” width=”68″ height=”68″>Update: Fully Booked! but please email me to be placed on waiting list or list for future courses.

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 15.43.42

Haumea Ecoliteracy Services for the Arts:

New One-day Workshop in County Carlow, Ireland

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 15.57.06
allartforearth

with ecological artist, educator and former scientist, Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD


<img class=" wp-image-259 alignleft" src="https://myhaumea.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/cropped-cropped-smallhaumea_logo1.png&quot; alt="ClipArt Source : Koru Clipart” width=”58″ height=”58″>*  Ecological literacy – “ecoliteracy” is about gaining the environmental and ethical knowledge of what makes life on earth possible, just and sustainable. Ecoliteracy will deepen and empower your creative practice for these urgent times.

‘In knowing what we have to do, we have to do the science, but we have been making a mistake in thinking that’s enough. We equally have to decide on what we most deeply value, we have to talk about the ideals the move us, we have to figure out what we hope for our children, we have to decide what we believe in… AND THIS IS THE WORK OF ART, POETRY, LITERATURE AND RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY – ITS THE WORK OF CIVIL COMMUNITY – IT IS STORY-TELLING IN ALL ITS FORMS’

Writer and philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore, 2013


‘Everything Must Change’:
Essential Ecoliteracy*

for your Creative Practice or Teaching:

One-day Workshop

Saturday 2 November 2019

10.30am  – 4pm

Rathanna Community Hall
Rathanna Village, County Carlow

Eircode R95 ND00

Fee: €20  for County Carlow residents,
€30  for those living outside the county.

Vegetarian lunch and refreshments will be provided. Free car parking opposite the Hall. Hostel accommodation at Osbourne’s Storehouse Hostel and local Air B & B’s.

Who is this Workshop for?

This workshop is for working creative practitioners of ALL art and craft disciplines. As an ecological view fosters collaborative activities, the course is particularly relevant to community art and social art practitioners & educators. SEE FULL COURSE INFORMATION BELOW.

BOOK EARLY! MAXIMUM of 15 PARTICIPANTS

Email cathy@haumea.site to confirm your place

Places are limited. Note: This is a pilot group workshop where we will learn and share together. An online pilot course will also be available in the near future.

Please note, this is NOT a workshop to make an environmental artwork. Rather, it is a course to start thinking about how you might transform your practice or your teaching for the environmental-social emergency.
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Grateful thanks to the Carlow Arts Office. Workshop development and places
are subsidised by a generous 2019 Carlow Arts Office Award.

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Full Course Information

‘Everything Must Change’ :

A Paradigm Shift for Society and the Arts

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Stark environmental reports have made headlines in the last year. An estimated 8 million people worldwide have recently joined marches to demand new Earth-aligned actions. Scientists began alerting humanity decades ago of the impending catastrophe. Yet there is only dawning appreciation that we are in the midst of an unprecedented cultural crisis. The catastrophe rapidly unfolding is because Western culture has long promoted a way of living that is incompatible with life on Earth.

A necessary ecological worldview fundamentally challenges modern cultural beliefs and creative practices to expand awareness of the necessity of all species thriving within healthy ecosystems. However, few art institutions are offering teaching for this enormous societal shift. As environmental writer-activist Naomi Klein argues, ‘This Changes Everything!’ and everything must rapidly change. Bringing art and ecology together makes creative practices more complex. But creative workers have enormous skills to engage society, to help us all imagine and experience new ways of living well with the Earth and all of its inhabitants.

Learn about ecological knowledge for your creative practice or teaching 

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 but don’t know where to start?

Gain confidence and competence for this urgent new topic

In this supportive, information-sharing one-day workshop you can connect with others, and learn with Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD, a Carlow-based local ecological artist,researcher and educator. Cathy, a former science researcher, is a nominated member of the International EcoArt Network and a Research Fellow at the Burren College of Art. Cathy’s in-depth knowledge and practice insights on why creative practitioners have a key role, alongside scientists for the planetary emergency, are based on many years first-hand creative practice experience, and in-depth research of others’ ecological art  practices.

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In 5 modules, I will share my ‘Ecoliteracy Guide’ to introduce you to:

  • the historical roots of the environmental-social emergency,
  • a means to navigate environmental science with ease,
  • self-care supports for this often confronting topic,
  • understandings of why the incoming ecological worldview challenges
    conventions of  modern art practice,
  • understandings to situate your work within an expanded Earth ethic

Overall, you will become aware of the exciting, inclusive social power of bringing ecological concepts and art together for yourself and your audiences. The information in this course will be valuable for writing about your creative practice and empower you for future opportunities in the art and ecology area.

All attendees will be provided with resource material, handouts and be shown examples of diverse practices.

Testimonials:

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Remember – Book early! Maximum 15 participants

Email cathy@haumea.site to confirm your place or to ask further questions.  

Note: This is a pilot group workshop in Rathanna village, south County Carlow. An online course pilot will also be available in the near future.

Please follow this site to be kept informed of future courses.


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*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.”

#FridayArt4Emergency: Lisa Fingleton’s annual 30-Day Local Food Challenge

It is not easy to eat local Irish food all year round and I know that. There are hungry months in late Spring when the food is just not ready after late frosts. So three years ago I decided to do a trial month: A 30 day local food challenge. September seemed a really good option as the garden is truly abundant with tomatoes, kale, spinach, herbs, peas, beans, onions, garlic, beets, carrots, parsnips and the list goes on. It is a luscious month in the gardening calendar. To eat Irish still means doing without what Barbara Kingsolver called ‘botanically outrageous’ foods, but it is somehow easier this month with all the food on offer in the garden and hedgerows.

Lisa Fingleton talking about the annual 30 Day Local Food Challenge

A creative eco-social art practice that I really admire is Irish artist Lisa Fingleton’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge. The creative idea grew several years ago when Lisa was horrified to read the 40 listed and many imported ingredients in a BLT sandwich, and then and there, decided to challenge herself to just eat local Irish food for a month. She then shared her challenge on social media and others became involved.

Growing up in a household where her father grew all their food and now living on a small farm with her partner in Co. Kerry, Ireland, Lisa’s creative practice awakens awareness of the unsustainability of the globalized food system for herself and her local community. Her work highlights the shocking statistic that only 1% of Irish farms grow vegetables, the lowest in the EU  (which is doubly shocking considering Ireland’s history of famine). Most heartening is that Lisa’s practice has uncovered and promoted networks of local food producers in a fun and engaging way.

Lisa brings many strands of artist activity together and through drawings, photos, keeping a diary, and great conversation fosters much needed community awareness about an urgent topic for us all.

Over time, Lisa’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge has developed considerable national press and radio attention. Lisa has since toured the project to other counties, conducted children’s workshops and created a very delightful, informative book about the project (which can be purchased from her website (http://lisafingleton.com).The-Local-Food-Project-Book-For-Sale

Three years later, this year’s 2019 Challenge is underway for the month of September and I’m happy to see the idea is catching on across the country. To join in, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/30daylocalfoodchallenge/

And, it is a challenge once you start, to only eat food from your country and forgo all the imported treats and exotic fruits. However, making decisions about your food does makes real how the industrial food model all too easily has alienated us from being sustainable and self reliant. When environmental writer Naomi Klein writes thats ‘everything must change’, Lisa’s work shows how creative workers can help communities foster ecoliteracy, fun and agency for a better world we know is possible.

 

 

#FridayArt4Emergency: ‘Solastalgia’ – the film

I have been thinking for some time, in my development of an online course for essential ecoliteracy, that I should begin sharing creative works.

Many people have asked me how to develop creative work for the ecological emergency that is not too preachy. This sometimes seems a hard thing to achieve with a complex topic in which many creative workers and their audiences are little informed of the environmental collapse that modern civilization promotes. In these urgent times, we need all types of creative approaches to envision and inspire a new ecological way of living, that safeguards lives now and for the future.

I also wanted to chime with Greta Thunberg’s extraordinary efforts, and many other young people across the world who are raising awareness that we must all understand the environmental science that confirms our way of living is causing accelerating ecological collapse and mounting social injustice in many countries. With Greta and the children schoolstriking every Friday, I will likewise post an art practice every Friday that I feel touches audiences and inspires creative workers too.

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For my 1st post of #FridayArt4Emergency, I’m starting with a new short film work that incorporates dance, spoken poetry, and audio-visual recordings of the other-than human world. The film work is titled Solastalgia (2019, Pascal Tremblay and Sean Stiller, British Columbia). The film embodies responses to a new term for the grief many of us now feel for our environment ‘solastalgia’, particularly highlighted these last few weeks with the devasting increasing deforestation and fires set off across the Amazon region.

Although the film doesn’t mention it, the film also ably depicts, through dance, image and words, a powerful, underlying ‘soliphilia’, our graditude and love for the Earth.

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These new terms, solastalgia, soliphilia, and more, are from Australian farmer-philosopher Glenn Albrecht. In his recent book Earth Emotions: New Words For a New World (2019) (which I previously have written about here), he details how such terms, and shared in creative works have much power to inspire a new, sustainable way of being with the Earth. He believes that creative workers will be at the forefront to share ideas of a new age, the Symbiocene, where we live life so all beings thrive.

Solastalgia the film below conveys the context of the crisis many creative people are now approaching in a emotive, engaging way. Works like this can move us in ways science can’t – we need both understanding and engaging ways to change societal behaviour to the better world we know is possible.

Congratulations to the communication agency, Good Kind Films – their ethos speaks to a new ecological age, the skilled filmmaker, dancer and world renowned eco-poet and educator Craig Santos Perez from Guam.

Lets share this film, this meme for the Symbiocene, far and wide.

The background story to this film is here

PS I have found other filmworks on Solastalgia made in recent months since writing the above. It’s so fantastic to see more creative expressions, more ecoliteracy fluency and confidence developing in the arts, for these urgent times.

Do feel welcome to share works that inspire you too!