Haumea Online: 2nd Pilot Ecoliteracy Course for Creatives and Art Professionals – booked out

This is the time for a Great Reset. Let’s use it to change the way we see ourselves and our place on Earth. The conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote that “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen.” But if everyone has an ecological education, we will not live alone, and it will not be a world of wounds.

George Monbiot, ‘Coronavirus shows us it’s time to rethink everything. Let’s start with education’, The Guardian, 12 May 2020

I was thinking that I would be writing this post to attract more participants to signup for my 2nd 6-week Haumea Online pilot course ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals’. I am trying to make an accessible and inspiring online course on key ecological knowledge, eco-philosophy, eco-ethics for people working across the creative sector.

Instead, before I knew it, the 2nd pilot has been booked-out from people on my waiting-list in just a couple of days. I’m delighted of course, but I do wonder if creatives, like George Monbiot (above) are sensing that eco-learning is an important and urgent topic that is not been adequately addressed in the arts.


My 6-week ‘Essential Ecoliteracy’ is still a pilot course. I’m learning a lot about how to best develop a great self-paced and collective learning experience. I started with multi-media pre-recorded videos for self-paced learning in each week’s module on what I think are essential topics to prepare creatives to work in this area (see the course details here). This meant filming myself delivering the material – my broadband is a bit limited due to the pressure on the local Internet – so my voice was a bit out of sync, but the participants were enthusiastic nevertheless.

The online course weekly group meetings were a bit nerve-wracking at first (not helped with our young dog who heard one of the others participants dog’s barking on Zoom). But over the weeks, I began to really cherish these group sharing times; and the group felt it too (you can read what they say about the course here).

My co-host for the live meetings, an experienced educator and philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis (beaming in from California), helped enormously and we offered an extra half hour to those who wanted to go deeper with the material. Getting used to recording Zoom sessions I found myself naturally reaching out to experienced ecoart workers for interviews too. I’m pretty introverted, so I was staggered that I found I was connecting with my peers in this way. It was all, despite some technical hiccups, so rewarding.

I will be repeating this ‘Essential Ecoliteracy course’ again in September, so please contact me if you want to be put on the waiting list.

Nikos and I are also preparing a complementary new course, working title ‘Creativity as a Practice of Love’ too. Over some weeks, this course will explore why philosophy has much to guide creative practice in these urgent times and we will be hosting online audience critique exercises.

Acknowledgements:

I haven’t managed all this on my own; my husband Martin has been a real trouper, managing the tech-side of the Zoom meetings and our wilful young dog Willow; Nikos is mentoring me with all manner of eco-minded philosophy and teaching ideas, and I have the best art-tech business strategist, Mary Carty guiding me as well. Art researcher Dr Laura Donkers is reviewing this pilot course at a distance in Aotearoa New Zealand – her insights I really value. Leading Irish online eco-print textile artist and teacher, Nicola Brown, has also been so enthusiastic for many years that I explore sharing my knowledge in this new way. And the generous feedback from my first participants was so valuable too. Thanks everyone!

I also want to thank my long-standing PhD supervisor, my MA tutor in virtual realities and under-grad tutor in aesthetics, Dr Paul O’Brien (formerly of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin) who really supported this online learning idea way back in 2016 when I submitted my PhD. He agreed, there did seem potential to use online learning to get ecoliteracy out quickly to the art and creative sectors. I’m so glad I’ve followed this through and I must give a special mention to the magnificent Prof Tara Brabazon in Australia, who inspires all things for advances in doctoral and digital education. “Boom! Lets do this!” is what she says! Yes, the Haumea Online Ecoversity is here at last!

I was keen to mention online ecoliteracy learning in the conclusion of my PhD thesis (The Ecological Turn… Fitzgerald, 2019)

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

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

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

About Haumea Ecoliteracy Essentials On-Line Course Development

During February 2019, I was awarded a Carlow Local Enterprise Feasibility Study Award to explore online course development with support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office and business mentor Bernie Tracey. The Feasibility Study Award allowed me mentorship with the Canadian Online Course Builders Laboratory by MIRASEE and award-winning Irish art-business-tech mentor Mary Carty. I delivered a live ecoliteracy workshop in November 2019, with the support of the Carlow Arts Office and the course programme has been greatly enriched with the knowledge and experience of Dr Nikos Patedakis and Veronica Larsson. Thank you all!

Carlow Local Enterprise Office, with thanks to Pauline Hoctor & Business Mentor Bernie Treacy.
The Course Builders’ Laboratory Programme developed by Educational Entrepreneur and Author, Danny Iny. My mentor at MIRASEE is Jim Wright.
Eco-philosopher coach/mentor Dr Nikos Patedakis

“I love the story of ‘the little wood that could’. Hope lots of people get to know it.”

Above: a comment shared on twitter by Irish architect Helena Fitzgerald 3/5/2020. Image from within Hollywood forest, looking out to the wider world – from The Hollywood Forest blog by Cathy Fitzgerald.


‘uplifting and insightful writing, and images to delight the eye’ –

‘Getting Out into Nature with a Good Blog’, Paddy Woodworth, The Irish Times, 3 May 2020

I was honoured that my ‘Hollywood Forest Story’ was one of several eco-blogs featured in 🇮🇪 The Irish Times today!

I was also delighted to be in the company of others’ important work in this article – those who have long sought to raise appreciation and awareness for the wonder and plight of the living world. US author David George Haskell’s Song of the Trees (2017) is a favourite book of mine (the last book my late mother gifted to me) and I much admire Director of the Irish Biodiversity centre, Liam Lysaght’s unfailing energy to share the wonders of Irish biodiversity through social media. I’m looking forward to following others mentioned in this article too.

Confined as we are now under unsettling, shelter-at-home orders, writer and Irish Times journalist Paddy Woodworth chose to reflect how bloggers’ longer, multi-media articles help deepen our appreciation of life around us. In this great global pause, many of us are noticing and are more grateful for nature’s unceasing life-giving generosity – the birdsong, the freshness of trees, and those startlingly quiet, unmarked skies. The blogs listed in Paddy’s article take us deeper into understanding and knowing our wonderful world.

And aren’t we remembering something else too? If we look deeply at the living world now, if we can forgo the noise of 24h-news cycles, we can re-acquaint ourselves with what is fundamental for wellbeing. We are sensing and realising more, that our wellbeing is interwoven with planetary wellbeing. How could we have forgotten this essential knowing of how to live well with life? There is a crisis deep in the heart of the dominant culture, and I daresay our education, when our living has become so untethered from wellbeing. Lets hope this pause will invite more of us to learn what constitutes a healthy planet and healthy living, post-pandemic.


The Hollywood Forest Story blog

My blog tells my account from 2008 onwards, of my and my husband Martin Lyttle’s work to transform the monoculture tree plantation we live with, into a forest (and my work to help reimagine national Irish forest policy along the way). My blogging is also integral to my ongoing eco-social art practice too ( I argued in my doctoral research that blogs are a fantastic mechanism to share ecological arts practices that do not fit within short-term gallery programming). In my research, I highlighted the significant award-winning work of Australian Dr Lucas Ihlein, who details why blogs have a critical function for eco-social art practice and audience engagement for these urgent times.

Blogging is a craft, a creative ecology of practices for me. Walking in amongst the trees that form Hollywood forest, a neverending stream of inspiration bubbles up to fill my posts. Blogging has been my means to gain and share my ecoliteracy and then my unexpected agency for trying to change national forest policy, to act forests’ wellbeing here and elsewhere. Being all of 2 and a half proud acres, is why my followers know Hollywood forest as ‘the little wood that could!’

And a blog’s hyperlinked form mirrors the interconnected, interwovenness of life – its obvious to me – blogs are ideal media for promoting an ecological sense-ability, and hopefully store ecological good sense for others.

My grateful thanks to Paddy and everyone who shares the Irish ‘story of the little wood that could!


Visit my blog here (click on the image)

https://hollywoodforest.com/

Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts with Cathy Fitzgerald PhD

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

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

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