This book shows how creative methods involving stories and art can help educators to address the challenging topics of climate change and peace via new channels that inspire their learners and underline the role of each individual, with their specific talents and worldviews, in engaging with the crucial questions of this generation. Where climate change and human conflict meet, there is a particular potential for approaches beyond language and traditional classroom methods to offer students new channels of engagement. This book explains the reasons behind this and offers examples of such new channels in an inspirational resource for educators.
This book has been a project very close to my heart that has given me great joy during the development and writing process. It is a guide for educators and everyone who wants to learn more about creative approaches to climate change and peace education. It is a hopeful book, cultivating the kind of learning that can prepare us to be hopeful climate and social justice educators and activists
This book is the result of collective efforts. I want to acknowledge the work of the the editors Marte Skaara and Wendy Anne Kopisch; the storytellers Janna Articus, Michael Chew, Burcu Eke Schneider, Dimitrios Gkotzos, Marina Kalashyan, Anna Malavisi, Munir Moosa Sadruddin, Aditi Pathak and Stefanie Vochatzer; the artists Anirudh Kadav, Burcu Koleli, Carolina Altavilla, Luise Hesse, Hazim Asif, Neethi and Harutyun Tamaghyan; and the graphic designer Stefanie Bendfeldt. Thank you all so much for a lovely collaboration
The editorial of this Special Feature entitled “Beyond the blah blah blah: exploring the how of transformation” (Bentz et al. 2022) gives an overview on the 15 articles of this Special Feature and argues for integrative approaches to sustainability transformations that integrate both the means and the manner of transformation.
What’s the potential of art and transformative learning to empower young people to address climate change?
In this new article, Karen O’Brien and I explore how climate-related art projects in education shift mindsets and open up imaginative spaces where students explored and discovered their role in addressing climate change and sustainability challenges.
Young people represent a powerful force for social change, and they have an important role to play in climate change responses. However, empowering young people to be “systems changers” is not straightforward. It is particularly challenging within educational systems that prioritize instrumental learning over critical thinking and creative actions. History has shown that by creating novel spaces for reflexivity and experimentation, the arts have played a role in shifting mindsets and opening up new political horizons. In this paper, we explore the role of art as a driver for societal transformation in a changing climate and consider how an experiment with change can facilitate reflection on relationships between individual change and systems change. Following a review of the literature on transformations, transformative learning and the role of art, we describe an experiment with change carried out with students at an Art High School in Lisbon, Portugal, which involved choosing one sustainable behavior and adopting it for 30 days. A transformative program encouraged regular reflection and group discussions. During the experiment, students started developing an art project about his or her experience with change. The results show that a transformative learning approach that engages students with art can support critical thinking and climate change awareness, new perspectives and a sense of empowerment. Experiential, arts-based approaches also have the potential to create direct and indirect effects beyond the involved participants. We conclude that climate-related art projects can serve as more than a form of science communication. They represent a process of opening up imaginative spaces where audiences can move more freely and reconsider the role of humans as responsible beings with agency and a stake in sustainability transformations.
The idea was to meaningfully and creatively engage young people and give them a voice to express themselves about climate change and possible responses. The video was co-produced with and about young people and their views on climate change. Students of Antonio Arroio Art High School and St. Julian’s School, Lisbon were interviewed about their perceptions of climate change responses. The film project aims to raise awareness and climate change engagement. The video was displayed for the first time in the Closing Plenary of ECCA and is currently being distributed in social media.
Worldwide, there are few young people participating in public decisions around climate change. These same young people are disproportionately affected by disasters and climate change hazards: they have limited voices in the decisions and policies related to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and community resilience despite calls for their empowerment as important stakeholders in these issues. In addition, young people will grow to fill leadership roles in decision-making organisations, while inheriting the consequences of climate change, policies and actions that are co-constructed today. Actively engaging and empowering children and young people to address the complex problems of climate change is a critical step to achieving resilience at local, regional, and national levels.
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