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 here
Veronica Larsson, artist and
international Subtle Body Anatomy expert

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Who is this Workshop for?

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

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

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

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


Here’s what an ecoliteracy course can do for you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How will this 6-week online course work?

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

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

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

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

Remote Course Delivery Format and Dates

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

THE ESSENTIAL ECOLITERACY COURSE: WEEKS 1-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Summarise:

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

On top of the lessons, you also get:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s why this course works

As I have a background in:

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

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

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

 

What does the online 6-week course cost?

All That, And It Only Costs…

€89

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY REMOTE LEARNING IS GOOD VALUE

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

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

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

But Wait, Will This Work For Me?

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

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

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

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

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

“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.

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Haumea Ecoliteracy Services for the Arts:

New One-day Workshop in County Carlow, Ireland

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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.

 

 

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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Welcome news: Green Arts Initiative for Ireland launched

Huge congratulations to Caitriona Fallon and Theatre Forum Ireland, who under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland’s team and their Scottish Green Arts Initiative, have set up an Irish Green Arts Initiative to ‘provide Irish arts organisations with the resources and support to help build a green Irish arts community.’ #culturedeclaresemergency #ireland

Huge congratulations to Caitriona Fallon and Theatre Forum Ireland, who under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland‘s team and their Scottish Green Arts Initiative, have set up a Green Arts Initiative in Ireland to ‘provide Irish arts organisations with the resources and support to help build a green Irish arts community.’

I have written at length about the absence of supports and information for the Irish Arts Community in regards to engaging with eco-social concerns, and had indicated that replicating Creative Carbon Scotland’s strategies would suit particularly suit the Irish context. I literally knocked on Creative Carbon Scotland’s door in 2016, asking for their support to for my research on overseas art & sustainability programmes. CEO Ben Twist and his colleague Gemma Lawrence couldn’t have been more supportive.

Caitriona was in touch with me last year and again more recently and she is passionate about this area too. As the former CEO of Siamsa Tíre, the Irish Folklore Theatre and Gallery in Tralee, she was instrumental in getting the first Green Accreditation for a cultural space in Ireland ‘Greening Siamsa Tíre‘ and creating internal policies for waste and water management, energy, biodiversity, transport and travel, green teams and green procurement, through Julie’s Bicycle, the English art and sustainiblity organisation. Therefore, the launch of the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland by someone who is experienced in Greening a public cultural space and organisation is very welcome news for everyone in the Irish arts community, not matter what art discipline you pursue.

And if  you are unfamiliar why its so important to bring arts and sustainability ideas together, there are strong and urgent moral reasons why all workers in cultural institutions should engage with these developments. (I share environmental philosopher and writer Kathleen Dean Moore’s clear explaination as to why moral reasoning compels us all to act now in Chapter 2.2 of my review of overseas art and sustainability programmes). Having a Irish Green Arts Initiative will undoubtedly help Ireland’s arts community appreciate that the arts have a key role, alongside science, to engage our diverse communities in rural and urban Ireland for a better and more beautiful world.

Greening Ireland’s ‘Organisations’ is one key strategy that Creative Carbon Scotland and Julie’s Bicycle recommend. Hopefully before too long, other developments to support ‘Artists’ and ongoing ‘Strategy’ (as seen below), central to both the Scottish and UK’s programmes, will also be adopted in Ireland to enable our arts community to effectively engage with this topic for all their audiences.

The three main areas for Creative Carbon Scotland’s and similary for Julie’s Bicycle art and sustainability programmes in the UK. Image: Creative Carbon Scotland, 2019.

These are the first aims that Catriona and Theatre Forum will be looking at below.

If you are involved in managing or work at an Irish cultural space or organisation please contact Caitriona below:

Run by Theatre Forum and Catriona Fallon, under the guidance of Creative Carbon Scotland, the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland aims to:

  • Support members with practical advice on reducing their carbon footprint and overall environmental impacts.
  • Provide members with opportunities to enhance their sustainability competencies through training and networking.
  • Collect information about what organisations are currently doing to improve their sustainability.
    It would be really helpful if you could complete our survey.

Useful Resources 

Here are some resources that we’ve created – more to come!

Email info@theatreforum.ie for more information.

This information was originally posted in the Creative Carbon Scotland newsletter 28 June 2019.

Cathy Fitzgerald is developing ecoliteracy courses for the arts in Ireland

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I am delighted to share news of support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office and the Carlow Arts Office in my work to develop ecoliteracy courses for creative workers


I am very grateful to both organisations for these opportunities to develop courses for creative people who wish to develop informed and impactful works on critical eco-social issues.


I am undertaking a feasibility study of online course development with support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office. Please email me if you want to be involved in developing the pilot online course: I am interested in hearing from creative workers looking at eco-social concerns from anywhere on Earth.

In September, 2019 I will be offering through a Carlow Arts Office award a seminar on essential ecoliteracy in South County Carlow, Ireland.

For more updates on these courses, ‘follow’ my site by entering your email on the homepage or you can email me for further information at cathy@haumea.site