Welcoming Communities Near and Far: Art for Transforming

Last week we begun a dialogue with Kristina Sehlin-Macneil and Charlotta Svonni at Várdduo, the centre for Sami research at Umeå University. We are investigating how, what and why different communities facilitate education for sustainability to learn about education systems from different perspectives. We are also specifically interested in how art helps to facilitate education for sustainability in different communities.

We are planning to present our research idea about art in indegenous communities for colleagues at Várdduo in the Autumn. Kristina and Charlotta gave some very encouraging feedback from our initial ideas, and we hope to collaborate on our research journeys soon. We were provided with lots of useful reading material and further contacts to pursue the project. Thank you very much for the opportunity to present our work and we look forward to a constructive seminar session after summer.

Art in all its forms can offer opportunity for learning through experience and provide the impact needed to create action for sustainability. Art is also useful when implementing intrapersonal thinking into a lesson. As art transforms it also transforms mindsets to experience through different perspectives. Recently, I came across this video by artist Ren;

A psychology lecturer, Dr Nic Hooper, at Cardiff University, gave his perspective about the same video using a model he applys in class, called ACT (Acceptence and Commitment Therapy);

Here is a guitar teacher providing a music theory perspective by guitar,

and here is a vocal teacher’s perspective.

There are many other videos showing how different perspectives can provide more opportunity to experience the same art through different understanding, such as videography, poetry and more. So many different kinds of people who love different types of music and art are showing that they have been able to reflect over their intrapersonal thinking after watching this art performance. Do you dare to go down the rabbit hole of the YouTube community of art?

We also met again with Emma Sjöberg and Mónika Rüll Lundin, from Helsingborg, as well as Karin Borman and Mats Hansson from Skolverket (Swedish National Agency for Education) to discuss our project about the Sustainability Competence Mindset Mapping tool. We are planning to test the tool in Gymnasium schools (years 10-12) at schools across Sweden. There is a strong indication that schools in Umeå, Gävle and Helsingborg are very engaged with education for sustainability and that the whole community is getting involved with different projects in sustainability. We look froward to connecting to more places and would like to thank everyone for their support and great feedback as we move forward with this project.

Most excitingly, we have news about a new symposium that we have been asked to host at Umeå University. Professor Walter Leal, affiliated with Hamburg university and Manchester University, reached out to us after presenting our work at a symposium in February to plan a new event about sustainability competence in higher education programs. We presented our idea to UTRI, a research organisation at Umeå University that work with inspiring transdisciplinary research in sustainability, who gave a very positive and encouraging response. The event is expected to engage a large crowd and calls for abstracts/papers for those interested to present will be released soon.

In the discussion forum this week, we ask; What research or project would you like to present or listen to at the symposium? What art has provided you with an experiential journey?  What is art for you?

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