Following to the conference program, here you will find most of the contributions in different formats (image for posters; audio for Thursday sessions; and video for Friday sessions). We are uploading them progressively as they are getting ready…
AUTHORS INDEX (Click on the authors name to go straight to the presentation)
SESSION 1. Thursday, Sep 05.
Pablo Aránguiz, Deborah MacDonald & Kate Tilleczek
Title: We are all Children of Mapu ñuke: Youth Voices for Transitions Towards Sustainable Development and Education in a Common World.
Abstract: We have much to learn from Indigenous cosmovisions, knowledge systems, and practices of well-being and resilience as we embark on the ever more urgent local and global transitions towards sustainable development in this desperate epoch. How do we –as non-Indigenous academics—actively and respectfully participate in the process of bringing these aspects to the forefront of global efforts towards the SDG’s?
We draw from the concept of wekimün (meaning “new knowledge” in the Williche language Mapudungun) as a source of inspiration that integrates the theoretical framework of biocultural ethics within systems of Williche knowledge, modern sciences, the arts, and philosophy in research practices, education, and biocultural conservation. It also represents socio-ecological innovation as this methodology has served to connect concepts and practices of the sciences and biocultural ethics in unique and intercultural educational programs.
This paper presents selected results from a number of collaborative, educative research projects, including the writing, piloting, and development of a youth-attuned curriculum about young people in our modern world, to highlight the lived experiences of youth as they face our greatest transition towards sustainable development – one that is (and must be) based in the care of the common world, or Mapu Ñuke. We examine the role of biocultural ethics in our work with, for, and by young people and we question and criticize the budding principles and values that support the rise of the notion of Anthropocene, the Anthropocene itself, and our common place(s) within it.
Biographies: Pablo Aránguiz is the Professor of Sustainable Development at the Fundación Wekimün Chilkatuwe, Chile; Associate Researcher at the Young Lives Research Lab at York University, Canada and a doctoral student in Local Development and International Cooperation at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain. Deborah MacDonald is the Senior Research Associate and Project Manager at the Young Lives Research Lab at York University, Canada. Dr. Kate Tilleczek is a Professor and Canada Research Chair (Youth, Education & Global Good) and the Scientific Director of the Young Lives Research Laboratory at York University, Canada.
Lucas Walsh & Rosalyn Black
Title: Reacting to Uncertainty: The University Students as Homo Promptus
Abstract: Drawing on interviews with 30 young people in France, the UK and Australia as well as on an extensive youth studies scholarship (e.g. Antonucci et al. 2014; Bessant et al. 2017; France and Threadgold 2016; Furlong 2016; Kelly 2016; Wyn 2016), we argue that the driving impetus for young people’s dispositions and behaviours in the anthropecene is the uncertainty that attends their current and imagined future working lives, although this also manifests itself in young people’s lives has family members and political actors. This uncertainty as its roots in morphing and collapsing global systems, but its effects are deeply individualized.
Drawing from our recent book, Imagining Youth Futures: University Students in Post-Truth Times, we combine insights from previous research and young people themselves to explore the young person as homo promptus – a term used by the authors to describe the individualised and entrepreneurial self that is produced by neoliberal education and labour market forces and discourses, and actively cultivated by young university students in response to these forces and discourses. In proposing this, we build on Peou and Zinn’s typology, which describes the ways in which young people approach the future either in entrepreneurial mode, as something to be planned and enacted proactively, or in ‘situational’ mode, as something that is ‘mainly unknowable’ (2015, p.734-736). We suggest that homo promptus combines these two modes within a youth selfhood that has five dispositions or behaviours: homo promptus is entrepreneurial and strategic, is expected to constantly plan for the future while living life in the short-term, is not tethered to a single place, is permanently in ‘situational’ mode, and lives in waithood. We also suggest that homo promptus provides a new way of thinking about the role of education as an intervention in young people’s well-being, resilience and enterprise.
Biographies: Lucas Walsh is Professor of Education Policy and Practice, Youth Studies, and Interim Dean of the Faculty of Education at Monash University. He is exploring responses to the questions: what does the world beyond school look like for young people and what types of education and training do they need to navigate it? His research focuses on the political, economic, cultural, social and technological dimensions of young people’s participation, and the implications of these for educators and policy. Recent books include Educating Generation Next: Young people, teachers and schooling in transition (Palgrave Macmillan) and with Rosalyn Black, Rethinking Youth Citizenship After the Age of Entitlement (Bloomsbury Academic) and Imagining Youth Futures: University Students in Post-Truth Times (Springer). Previously, Lucas has worked in corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors, has held four research fellowships and been invited to governments at all levels. Twitter: @DrLucasWalsh. Rosalyn Black is Senior Lecturer in Education at Deakin University. Her research interests meet at the intersection of the sociologies of education and youth. They draw on poststructuralist perspectives to critically analyse the role of schools and universities in constructing young people as citizens as well as the nature of young people’s lived experiences of citizenship in contexts of social inequality. Her most recent books (with Lucas Walsh) are Rethinking Youth Citizenship After the Age of Entitlement (Bloomsbury Academic) and Imagining Youth Futures: University Students in Post-Truth Times (Springer).
Meave Noonan & James Goring
Title: Confident, Creative and Enterprising Young People? The School Strike for Climate and Lessons for Australian Education
Abstract: In contemporary Australia, and in many of the other ‘over-developed’ economies of the EU/OECD, discourses of young people’s enterprise and innovation provide a counter-narrative to the prevailing material and symbolic consequences of industrial decline, job losses, digital disruption and environmental crisis. These ‘enterprise’ discourses suggest that young people must develop and perform types of selfhood –confident and creative, enterprising, resilient– that promise to equip them with the skills, capabilities, behaviours and dispositions that will enable them to solve the problems of these precarious, disruptive, uncertain presents and futures. This paper emerges from two genealogical PhD research projects that consider the ways in which young people, the futures that they face and the skills that they need, are conceived in Australian education, training and labour market discourses. We describe the kind of young person that is imagined, in key documents such as the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, and the Foundation for Young Australians’ New Work Order series, as being best equipped to deal with the present and possible future disruptions of human and environmental systems. Building on these projects, we explore how young people in the School Strike for Climate in Australia show us other, collective ways of telling truths about what it means to live in the Anthropocene. By telling this story we hope to illustrate the tensions, ambivalences and contradictions of becoming confident and creative, enterprising and resilient in Australian education.
Biographies: Meave Noonan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Education at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests are the sociologies of youth and education, and in particular, the impact of processes of de-industrialisation, ‘neoliberal’ globalisation and digital disruption in shaping the discourses around young people’s participation in education, training and the labour market. Her PhD research utilises a genealogical approach to problematise the concepts of ‘employability skills’, ‘innovation’, and ‘enterprise’, asking how they have emerged as the ‘solution’ to the problem of youth unemployment. This research is grounded in the de-industrialising city of Geelong in Victoria, Australia. Meave’s most recent publication, co-authored with Peter Kelly, is ‘Young people and the gendered and aesthetic dimensions of “enterprise”: Stories from a “Rust Belt” city’, in the Journal of Youth Studies. James Goring is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. His research interests are the sociologies of youth and education. His PhD research utilises a genealogical approach to examine how it is that in contemporary discussions about education, training and work, 21st century skills have come to be identified as the solution to the problem of producing young people who can thrive in complex, uncertain and risky presents and futures.
SESSION 1 Discussion
Title: Plastic Childhoods
Abstract: This paper will discuss a project that seeks to instigate a critical analysis of ‘plastic childhoods’. It will cut through manifold concerns about the state of contemporary Western childhoods to examine the many ways in which children’s lives are entangled with the plastics circulating through social, ecological, hydrological and technological systems. It will explore findings from experimental, interdisciplinary approaches to plastic childhoods, which are virtually without precedent in social-scientific childhood studies. These include nano-scientific studies of the circulation of nano- and micro-plastics through children’s bodies and environments, and analyses of traces of plastics through different social media. Thus the paper will discuss how we might develop a more multi-faceted view of how plastics (literally) enter and leave children’s lives, their bodies, and their environments, across scales ranging from the very tiny (the nano) to the global.
Biography: Peter Kraftl is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Honorary Professor at the School of Education, RMIT, Australia. He is the author of seven books and over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles, which explore intersections between childhood, youth, education and material environments. Peter has been an Editor of Children’s Geographies and Area journals. He currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship called Plastic Childhoods.
Title: Reconfiguring the plastic-scenes young children live with
Abstract: The presentation will respond to the question ‘how might we engage in world-making with children at a time of climate crisis?’ Using a feminist common world methods I will story the making of a synthetic classroom that engages children in reconfiguring their modes of attention and refigure their relationships with plastics beyond capitalism.
Biography: Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw is a professor at Western University and Principal Investigator of two SSHRC-funded projects: Transforming Waste Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education, and Exploring Climate Change Pedagogies with Children. Her writing and research contributes to Common World Childhoods Research Collective (tracing children’s relations with places, materials, and other species), and the Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory (experimenting with the contours, conditions, and complexities of 21st century pedagogies).
Teresa Elkin Postilla
Title: What can society learn from children about environmental issues concerning water?
Abstract: What happens when preschool children’s curious questions about water meet well-educated and experienced water experts’ handling all types’ issues concerning water and waste on daily basis? What did the water experts do, and how did they reason with the children’s experience and observations of their local environment such as the changing water levels in a storm water pond and in a small stream?
In this paper, the meeting between children’s enquiries, understood as minor and subordinate questions and adults’ more established scientific knowing is investigated and analyzed. To do this Isabelle Stengers’ book Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science is read with two different data sets produced during a nine-month long field period. The first was produced together, preschool children and researcher, and consists of narratives from preschoolers’, researcher’s and water-experts’ meetings with storm water ponds and a small stream. The second was produced by the researcher and is composed of narratives from the researcher’s and water-experts’ meetings.
This paper unfolds alternative and slower ways of doing science about contemporary environmental issues where children might become competent colleges. During these slow science processes, children’s questions and matters of concerns had impact on the research processes by defining what was investigated during the sessions. Further, during these sessions thinking together, pre-schoolers, researcher and water-experts, involved accepting each other’s matters of concern as well as taking cooperative responsibility for the questions investigated. The paper display children’s and water experts’ unpredicted and multiple knowledge exchange with anticipated consequences, thus this paper is also an invitation for further knowledge exchange between young children and experts, which makes other questions possible as well as alternative methods conceivable.
Biography: Teresa Elkin Postila (MSc. GeoSc., MSc. Edu.) is a Doctoral Student in Early Childhood Education at Stockholm University, Sweden. Her ongoing Thesis is designed within a Feministic Posthuman framework and combines methods from the Geosciences and Early Childhood Education, for most explorative working methods common in Swedish Preschools. The Thesis project aims, to examine how Preschoolers, aged three, four and five years may be included in research about environmental issues concerning water during collaborative research sessions. Further, the Thesis aims to examining what questions about water are important and interesting for Preschoolers to examine. The field period was conducted during
January until September 2018 and the Thesis project is expected to be concluded in autumn 2020. Combined with the Thesis project Teresa teaches at the Programme in Early Childhood Education at the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Stockholm University, at the courses Early Childhood Education Focusing Science and Education for Sustainability and Early Childhood Education Focusing Mathematics and Technology.
Mindy Blaise, Jane Merewether & Joanna Pollitt
Title: Recalibrating resilience: A feminist intervention towards understanding children’s water, weather, and waste relations in uncertain times.
Abstract: Feminist scholars’ critiques of the Anthropocene shed light on the necessity to generate new ways of thinking and doing to respond differently to the unique qualities of our contemporary world (Gibson, Rose, and Fincher, 2015). Affrica Taylor’s recent scholarship (2019), shows what is possible by bringing together feminist environmental humanities with her common worlds ethnographic research with children and wildlife by challenging some of the ‘masculine conceits of the Anthropos” (p.2).
Inspired by Taylor’s feminist and intentional research practices of slowing down, scaling down, and paying attention to what is already happening in children’s common worlds, we use these as a starting point in our own Anthropocene-responsive common worlds research. In particular we experiment with these across three different, yet interrelated multispecies ethnographies of children’s relations with water (Blaise), weather (Pollitt), and waste (Merewether) in Perth, Western Australia to recalibrate notions of resilience. Our presentation highlights how these feminist interventions are activating new research practices that move away from a logic of autonomy, flexibility, and ‘springing back’ that dominate current understandings of children’s worldly relations. In particular we will show how embodied interventions of attention are making space for a logic of connectivity that is ethical, generative, multiple, and ephemeral.
Biographies: Mindy Blaise is a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University. She is a co-founder of the Common Worlds Research Collective and #FEAS: Feminist Educators Against Sexism. With Jane Merewether, Jo Pollitt, and Vanessa Wintoneak, she has recently co-founded The Ediths, an ECU group of feminist interdisciplinary researchers currently researching children’s waste, water, and weather relations. Their ecologically responsive, embodied, and experimental research aims to carry on the legacy of Edith Cowan, by working for better more-than-human relations in times of climate crisis. Mindy’s feminist research highlights the multiple naturecultures that children are already part of and explores how we can think-with natureculture childhoods to shape conditions for multispecies flourishings. Jane Merewether is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University. Her research explores children’s common world relations and the entanglements of childhood studies, early childhood education, feminist new materialisms, and environmental humanities. Jane is particularly interested in working with children’s propensity to ascribe liveliness to the nonhumans they encounter. Jo Pollitt is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University and the co-creative director of BIG Kids Magazine. As an interdisciplinary artist and researcher, her work in dance, dramaturgy and writing is grounded in a twenty-year practice of improvisation. Her current research is invested in interdisciplinary methods of expanded embodiment and creative response in researching children’s relations with climate futures.
SESSION 2 Discussion
Posters. Thursday, Sep 05.
Title: Anthropocene and Two-Faced and Reactive Responsibility of Young People in European Well-Fare Regimes
Kari Paakkunainen’s poster. Click on the image to expand it.
Abstract: In the beginning of this century the cohorts of European youth were attributed as “freedom’s children” (Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens). These new generations displayed an unarticulated ‘double strategy’ in politics. “Un-political” younger generation was active and took the life out of the self-involved institutions with their ambivalent faces. Freedom’s children practiced a seeking, experimenting value-reflection that ties together as egoism and altruism – work, innovation and entrepreneurship. Beck and Giddens wrote on new individual, post-nationalist, reflective responsibility – ‘Sub-politics’ and ‘life-politics’ living active way in globally-dialogical-internet arenas. Contingent (actualizing a need of resiliency and responsibility) political space and (robust) knowledge were, especially, a condition for the reinvention of the modern politics in the constructing of new democracy, responsiveness and engagement.
Global economic risks persuade new means into the reflection of the ‘Second Modern’ and cosmopolitan media. But many conditions and indications of youth’s political culture has drastic way changed and manifested in several high-qualified quantitative datas and textual materials (esp. EUYOUPART 2003-04, FYRN’s Entrepreneurship-data 2007, ESS 2002-2016, Eurobarometer 2004-2016 and MYPLACE 2013-14).
By the European four-faced triangular data (on 1. contingent experiences, 2. economic crises and (un)democratic mobilization, 3. environment/climate politics and 4. responsible entrepreneurship) comes up critical question: were the thesis on Anthropocene via Beck and Giddens only a little bit elitist Zeitgeist-Illustration of 1990s – normative ´beyondism´. There are many undemocratic and even totalitarian and collective trends, inequalities, crucial gaps and paradoxes in the present life-political participation arenas striking back against the thesis of the ‘new modern’ and reflection’. The contingency experience is overheating – There are two faces to meet situation of Anthropocene: impatient and responsible. European four-faced data is open for dialectical interpretations on reactions and activities of/between young people in five well-fare regimes.
Biography: Kari Paakkunainen is University teacher in Political Science of the Open university, University of Helsinki. He has worked continuously in teaching and research circles and research departments of Helsinki University during the years 1993-2019 and have several funding networks and institutions such as the Finnish Youth Research Association.
Title: Equipping young people for a changing world? Experiences and expectations of the expansion of schooling in Lesotho, India and Laos.
Abstract: Remote rural environments in the global south are often thought of as remote from processes of global change – left behind by economic and cultural innovation. Yet rural livelihoods are undoubtedly among the most disrupted by environmental change and are integrated into global processes in surprising ways. They are also home to growing numbers of the world’s young people.
Schooling now features prominently in the lives of the vast majority of rural youth, even in poorer countries – an outcome of high levels of government and donor investment in education over the past two decades, aligned to global goal setting. Yet the content and structure of education often seems very remote from rural young people’s everyday lives and likely futures. Drawing on ethnographic research in schools and rural communities in Lesotho, India and Laos, I explore how young people imagine their futures and the roles school plays in shaping these ideas. I also show how misalignment between the goals of education systems and the expectations of young people in all three settings is resulting in forms of educational (non)engagement that leave both parties dissatisfied.
Biography: Nicola Ansell is Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Brunel University London. Her research focuses on social and cultural change in the lives of young people in the global south, particularly in southern Africa, and the policies and practices that produce or seek to respond to such change. She is currently working on two projects. One explores the relationships between education and aspiration in rural Lesotho, India and Laos, and the other examines the impacts that cash transfer programmes are having on generational relations in rural Lesotho and Malawi. She is the author of Children, Youth and Development (Routledge, 2nd edition 2017) and runs an MA in Children, Youth and International Development.
Selena de Carvalho
Title: Participation is the new consumption
Abstract: How do we deal with decline? In a culture so predicated on economic growth and extraction, the elephant in the room is the inevitable question of decline. What becomes of a place and its people when extractive economies are exhausted? Together with local youth, works and workshops have been realised in collaboration with Unconformity Festival in Queenstown, Lutruwita (Tasmania, Australia). With a visibly dead acid mine river central to this remote post-industrial ex-mining settlement, the surrounding hill sides are rock bare, as a result of acid rain. A toxic glitch amidst ‘pristine’ world heritage rainforests. The isolated posture of Queenstown fosters an inward-looking perspective, not only in the form of geological prospecting. Queenstown, notably has numerous memorials dedicated to mining disasters. Stories emerge from specific histories and engender material effects. Memorials reflect important values within the community that are documented and preserved in public space. The Space Between documents the dispersal of plaques (memorials) to the future, written by Queenstown youth, and aims (discreetly) to add to the public discourse of alternate cultural/ political narratives. Collaborative learning is a process of listening to understand as opposed to listening to prove one-self right. The objective is not to consume art, but to be pressed by it, art asks questions of us. Questions that often lead to more questions. These community engaged projects look to the past to re-imagine a future that questions the Anthropocene.
Selena de Carvalho is an interdisciplinary experimental artist based in Lutruwrita (Tasmania), her current research is centred on the creative translation of witnessing more-than-human witnesses to the Anthropocene. Part of her practice includes engaging with community in the form of workshops and co-designed projects. https://selenadecarvalho.com/
Jenny Anghelikie Papasotiriou
Title: How to do things with words, things, humans and all the ‘rest’… Youth, the Anthropocene and the Museum
Abstract: If “the fundamental event of the modern age is the conquest of the world as picture” (Heidegger), we might now claim that the fundamental event of the Anthropocene is the conquest of the world as package. This intervention will provide a terrain for questioning the package of words and concepts that we serve our young people and will explore mechanisms to build sustainable development of questioning within the fabric of various packages, including the one of UN’s sustainable development goals.
We will examine what or who confers authority to these packages, looking for ways to cocreate knowledge, to reinstate ‘the political’ in politics and into policies and to resist youth and education policies that still operate on conveniently packaged dos and don’ts and on a commandments type delivery, where authority takes over authorship, authenticity and thus responsibility.
What is this thing called ‘entreprise’? What do we make of ‘wellbeing’? Museums create entreprises, claim to contribute to well being, impose and propose worlds, packages, concepts and ‘parliaments of things’. From one curatorial decision to another, these worlds frequently shift. At this intersection of the parliament of things and the exhibitionary complex, we have found a platform to launch these discussions with young people, drawing tools from kindred spirits, working on ‘what is’ questions and turning the responses into speech acts and ‘real’ acts. In the 7th thesis of his Philosophy of History, Walter Benjamin questions the authority of ‘cultural treasures’, showing the barbarism through which they become authoritative and ultimately authoritarian, while Gert Biesta cautions learning subjects and their educators to question whether the environment to which they are asked (to learn) to adapt is worth adapting to. The package of certainty is further shaken by Wittgenstein’s games and ordinary language philosophy. This workshop is about how to do things with words, reclaim meaning and critically engage with packaged worlds.
Biography: Education curator whose practice incorporates artistic and experimental processes, philosophical enquiry and critical approaches that combine the museum and the public realm. She has designed and delivered courses for diverse communities, including youth groups, and has collaborated with galleries, museums, artists, scientists, historians and youth workers across Ireland and Europe on participatory socially engaged projects. She is currently with the Heritage Services of the Office of Public Works as Head of Education in Dublin Castle, Ireland (and formerly as Outreach Officer with the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht).
Title: Soil as thinking. New ways: unearthing old ways
Abstract: Trans disciplinary knowledge making encourages the collaboration of multiple disciplines and perspectives to work together to create new conceptual, theoretical and innovative approaches, new ways of thinking, time and space relevant cultural scaffoldings. In my practice as pedagogue and artist, I use processes that unearth indigenous ways of knowing such as storytelling within psycho- geological spaces coupled with western scientific theories and framed within an ongoing social practice, to encourage a relational ethics. The process of collaborative relational ethic making speaks to processes around well- being, responsibility and resilience building.
A tree is only as strong as the forest around it,
a person only as strong as the community around it.
My practice as ecological storyteller seeks to find patterns, shapes and opportunities for interpersonal relationships to occur based around metaphoric conceptual blending. Developing methods for trans disciplinary knowledge making is an exciting methodology as we move into the Anthropocene. Resilience within ‘natural’ ecological systems is often attributed to the diversity of the system and how strong the relationships are within the systems. This can be applied to humans, in the way of encouraging a diversity and appreciation of discipline thoughts as well as strong relationships within those connections. How do we build these connections and opportunities of collaboration? Can this process enhance the capacity to embrace fluid, reflexive and iterative thought – an increasingly advocated tool for tackling the complexities and unknowns of the Anthropocene.
In this presentation I illustrate these possibilities with a description and discussion of a workshop that I facilitate with young people (Soil thinking) that engages critically and sensually with what is beneath our feet, honouring the soil beneath us that supports life. Through an immersive process we explore the deep time (past and future) stories held within these landscapes. Asking what is our responsibility to honour and unearth the negations of the soil around us. Through this process we will unravel the materiality that binds all things through the matter cycles of soil and the sedimentation of our imaginations, building new ways of knowing, from old ways of being, by constructing knowledge together.
Biography: Aviva Reed is an interdisciplinary visual ecologist. Her practice explores scientific theories, particularly concepts associated with evolution and the ecological imagination. Her work aims to explore time and scale using storytelling, visualisations, soundscapes and physical movement to explore emergent systems occurring through complexity. Aviva is also a core member of the Small Friends Books team (published by CSIRO Publishing), as well as co-designer and facilitator of workshops inspired by these award-winning publications. These books explore the world of microbes. Her most recent project is Oekologie Studio, an art/ science studio. Its first publication in 2017, Eon, the Story of the Fossils, explores what we can learn from billions of years of being part of an evolving ecosystem. Oekologie Studio uses the Biotic Potential methodology, a technique that incorporates art making, storytelling and educational theories to explore complexity to create experiences and training in the ecologies. She also teaches hands on eco-literacy with Foodweb Education in schools through a gardening program.
SESSION 3 Discussion
Itinerant Presentation. Thursday, Sep 05.
Sandra González Durán
Title: ‘The river was death’: postindustrial voices and narrations along the River Nervión
Sandra González Duran in the last stop of her presentation along the different bridges of the river Nervión in Bilbao.
Abstract: This walking presentation is based upon my PhD Dissertation that was titled “Inhabiting the ‘Post-industrial’ Periphery. Spatial Imaginaries, Narratives and Practices in the Left Bank of the River Nervión in the Metropolitan Bilbao”. However, its aim is to revisit and explore its fieldwork from a new standing point: the relation of the inhabitants with the pollution, in general, and more specifically with the Nervión River. The context for this relationship are the structural changes caused, first, by the late Spanish industrialization of the 50’, second by the European industrial crisis of the 70’s and 80’s, and third by the urban regeneration process that started in the 90’s. In methodological terms this paper is not a qualitative analysis, instead considering its ‘walking-communication format’ the voices of the interviewees will be the protagonists. The intention is of using the verbatim themselves as a way of relating with the inhabitant’s past and present landscape of Bilbao. There will be the departing points to explore the memoirs of working and living along “a death river”, the mourning of a lost intimacy with the river and the joy of seeing it coming to life again. But, what sort of life and what sort of relationships with the river have emerged? Is there a place for intimate relationships with the river it in the current era of urban regeneration?
Biography: Sandra González Durán is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology 2 at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). She is currently a visiting fellow at University of Southampton. Her current research project addresses experiential knowledge, self-management practices and forms of self-governance regarding psychic suffering. However, her proposal at the conference is linked to urban sociology, her other line of research that is derived from her PhD dissertation in which she explored the on-going transformations of the Left Bank of the Nervión River through their inhabitant’s narratives on industrialization, its crisis and urban regeneration.
Activity at Bulegoa Zb. Thursday, Sep 05.
The internationally recognised office for Art and Knowledge, Bulegoa Z/b will hold the night sessions of the conference. On Thursday Sep 05, after its presentation by one its founders (Beatriz Cavia), curators and writes Chus Martínez and Ingo Niermann will conduct the next session
Chus Martínez & Ingo Nierman
Title: A Session on Love, Oceans and the Emergence of Affective Political Thought
Abstract: It seems excessive to think of an animal that decides to negate its instinct and abandons hunting other animals or even humans … even so the idea fascinates me. I imagine that lion in the jungle, at ease, thoughtful, leaving behind, without a nostalgic hint, his time as ferocious predator. I fantasize about the conversations he has with the lionesses (who were really the true hunters) and lions about the struggles of the past, the life battles that an accurate bite stopped at once. Ah! Now the rejoicing is another, hours of conversation with the gazelles… what world of theirs…
Let us now think of another concept of “climate change.” This seems to be a change and thus the notion adds –almost positively– to a whole chain of other cultural changes, to all the changes that inevitably new times bring … The media and the socio-political discourses use the term continuously without a note on its euphemistic character and how it denies the radical transformation that human activity imposes on the natural environment, on life.
So, in this session we will be connecting the extensive thinking of contemporary artists on nature, with the literary and filmic project of Ingo Niermann dedicated to offer fiction as the most suitable substance for a new thinking on care, a new social function of love. Artistic practice should be seen as the legitimate terrain for the forming of new theories, practices and behaviors able to influence the way we act.
Chus Martínez (Ponteceso, A Coruña) lives and works in Basel. She is the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. From 2018 till 2020, she will be the expedition leader of The Current, a project initiated by the TBA21 Academy. She has been the Chief Curator at El Museo Del Barrio, New York. She was dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department, and Member of Core Agent Group. Previously she was Chief Curator at MACBA, Barcelona (2008 to 2011), Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005–08) and Artistic Director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002–05).
Ingo Niermann (Bielefeld, Germany) lives and works in Basel. He is a writer and the editor of the speculative book series Solution at Sternberg Press. His debut novel Der Effekt was published in 2001. Based on his novel Solution 257: Complete Love (2016), Niermann initiated The Army of Love. His most recent book, co-edited with Joshua Simon, is Solution 275-294: Communists Anonymous (2017).
SESSION 4. Friday Sep 06.
Title: Wasted Spaces? Young People, Place Attachment and the Practice of Reanimating the Post-industrial Landscape
Abstract: This study explores the seemingly ‘dead’, ‘decaying’ and ‘unused’ landscapes of Northern England. Through a series of multi-sensory ethnographic walks and focus group interviews the research investigates how young people navigate and interpret the post-industrial Anthropocene. Of particular interest is the techniques through which young people reanimate and enliven the landscape, giving it new meaning and use in the contemporary period. This suggests that young people are active subjects, recreating place through acts of fictive belonging. At the same time, young people could be seen to exert exclusionary forms of urban territoriality in an effort to reclaim ‘left behind’ spaces and develop ideas of locality and nationhood. This suggests that the young people’s micro-geographies are a critical component of place-making practices in the post-Holocene moment.
Biography: Anoop Nayak is Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle University, UK. His research interests are focused in Race and Ethnic Studies, Youth Culture and Social Class and Gender, Masculinities and Social Change. Anoop has published widely in these areas and is author of Race, Place and Globalization: Youth Cultures in a Changing World (2003 Oxford: Berg). He is co-author with Mary Jane Kehily of a joint monograph Gender, Youth and Culture: Global Masculinities and Femininities (2013 2nd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan), and has published a social theory book on spatial relations of power with Alex Jeffrey entitled Geographical Thought (Routledge, 2013). Anoop is currently leading a funded project exploring ‘Young People, Diversity and Belonging in a Post-Brexit Age’ (REA) and an ESRC co-production award, ‘Boys to Men: Developing New Templates for Masculinities in Primary Schools’.
Title: Ghosting Pedagogies: Restorying peculiarities in times of ecological precarity
Abstract: This presentation contributes to the ongoing discussions of how to best support young children’s agency in responding to the known and unknown effects of living in the Anthropocene. We seek to understand how transformative pedagogies affect children and educators’ encounters with various landscapes in a time of climate change and environmental degradation. Within the broader context of human and more-than-human entanglements with land, we wonder how such pedagogies might resituate or unsettle place. Our collaborative work is guided by the question: how do children’s understandings of place shift when educators commit to disrupting pedagogical norms? Thinking with a “common worlds” framework (Taylor & Giugni, 2012; Taylor, 2014), children, researchers and educators grapple with tensions that arise in understanding place under the environmental and socio-political realities of the Anthropocene. The concept of place in early childhood settings is frequently culturally constructed as a “mute backdrop” (Nxumalo & Cedillo, 2017) that transcends the social, political and historical tensions from which they emerge. Through restorying place (Hamm, 2015; Nxumalo, 2015), our project attends to the dynamic edges – both metaphorically and physically – to orient our pedagogical attention toward the in/visible tensions inherent to place while emphasizing the practices of noticing, lingering and presencing. Accordingly, our project is informed by a commitment to baring witness to capitalism’s ruinous legacy of refuse and precarity in a co-constitutive common world. (Tsing, 2015) By attending to theses multitudes of “situated knowledges” (Haraway, 2008), our work focuses on “learning with” rather than “learning about” place (Taylor, 2017). In this way, our pedagogies of noticing, lingering, and presencing are guided by a commitment to the process of slowing down and paying attention to the particular and peculiar edges that trouble pedagogical norms in these ecologically precarious times.
Biographies: Kelly-Ann MacAlpine is a PhD candidate in Curriculum Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Her area of study in early childhood environmental education promotes children’s sensitivities to, and relations with, nonhumans in environmentally precarious times. Her current research focuses on exploring how pedagogies of witnessing, lingering and excess, invite new ways of thinking with plastics. As she stories the peculiar child-plastic relations that emerge in everyday encounters, she wonders how children might live ethically alongside nonhuman others in a plastic world. John Drew is a PhD candidate in curriculum studies at the University of Western Ontario. His research is situated at the intersection of educational and critical animal studies, and he is particularly interested in the potential for literature and popular culture to help foster multispecies empathy. His article “Rendering Visible: Animals, Empathy and Visual Truths in The Ghost in Our Machine and Beyond” was published in Animal Studies Journal. Before returning for doctoral studies, he was a secondary English teacher. He is the proud co-guardian of two rescued German Shepherds, Buster and Sunny. Cory Jobb is an early childhood educator and PhD student in Curriculum Studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is interested in thinking with pedagogies of place to explore how young children and educators make meaning of the tensions within landscapes that disrupt the nature/culture divide. His current research focuses on exploring pedagogies of place with young children and educators at a former municipal landfill-turned-public-space in Southern Ontario.
Ana Sofia Ribeiro
Title: I am from here: Rural youth belonging after wildfire disaster in Portugal
Abstract: Disasters caused by extreme weather events are increasingly frequent all over the world, impacting negatively families, villages and nature. In Portugal, the 2017 summer brought catastrophic wildfires that killed 112 people (9 under 20 years old) and destructed the industrial and ecological system of the inland region of the country already fragilized due to the exodus of many to the coastal areas and ageing of its remaining population. These occurrences constituted the first major materialization of the Anthropocene effects on the Portuguese society and are leading to major shifts in civil protection and territorial development policies. Communities themselves have also created their own responses, such as victims’ associations and collective strategies for managing the land.
Taking a capability approach, this contribution proposes to analyse how relationships to place of young people were affected by wildfire disasters. It focuses the recovery of 20 young people aged between 14- and 22-years old, inhabiting one of the municipalities impacted by large wildfires in the summer of 2017. Using biographical narratives and art-based methodologies, it brings forward the embodied experiences of rural youth with disasters, and how this impacts their sense of belonging and of identity.
Biography: Ana Sofia Ribeiro is a researcher in the field of Education and Social Sciences. She holds a Licenciatura degree in Educational Sciences (University of Coimbra), an Erasmus Mundus master’s degree in Higher Education (University of Oslo, University of Tampere, University of Aveiro, 2010) and a PhD in Education (University of Bielefeld, 2015). Between 2006-2007 she worked at the Portuguese Unit of Eurydice Network. Between August 2010 and July 2013 she was an Early Stage Researcher under the Marie Curie ITN EDUWEL, working in Germany and Poland, researching widening participation for first generation students. In 2014 she returned to Portugal and began her collaboration with the Institute of Social Sciences in a project about funding and management of schools. Between 2016 and 2018 she was a postdoctoral researcher in project’s CUIDAR team (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/cuidar/en/), researching children participation in disaster risk reduction. Currently she researches rural youth recovery from wildfire disasters, funded by the National Foundation for Science and Technology Scientific Stimulus Program 2017. She is interested in sociology of education, children and youth, human development, inequalities and disasters.
Title: Ecologies of Care and the Cultivation of Well Being Youth and the Relational Worlds of Gardens in Vanuatu, SW Pacific
Abstract: According to the World Risk Index (2015), the archipelago of Vanuatu in the southwest Pacific is the most at-risk and disaster prone country in the world. This paper draws on a project with youth entitled “Ecologies of Care and the Cultivation of Wellbeing: Youth Gardening Knowledge and Practices” (2016-2018) which took place on the southern Island of Tanna in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone of 2015 which destroyed infrastructure and the essential food gardens. This project for and with youth, aimed to train young people to design and conduct basic research about gardens, to document indigenous knowledge and practices to interview young people about their knowledge of gardens, their aspirations and their experience of the catastrophic cyclone of 2015. Gardens in Tanna materialize the multiple relationships among humans and the more-than- human world. They have facilitated self-reliance, equity and a gift exchange economy that cultivates a particular kind of person. There is, however, concern that interest in traditional knowledge and practices among youth is declining. This paper discusses how young people navigating the relational ontologies of customary life and the instrumental logics of Western education and markets as the sea level rises and the earth warms. Gardens grown with magic and care offer a rich site for attending to the counter-narratives of young people, and for critically reading the expert discourses of the Anthropocene rife with warnings of impending danger and the necessity of adaptation.
Biography: Jean Mitchell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. She worked with UNICEF in India for five years and has conducted research in the South Pacific Islands for over twenty years. She started the Young Peoples’ Project with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre which facilitated youth-led research, action and advocacy. She wrote the first situational analysis of women, children and youth in postcolonial Solomon Islands and participated in a collaborative education project for Indigenous youth in Chiloé, Chile. She has written about gender, youth and modernity flagging violence and the marginalization of youth in urban and rural areas. She has edited and co-edited three books on Canadian writer L.M. Montgomery. Her current collaborative project with youth in Vanuatu, focuses on the environment, food gardens and customary knowledge in the context of catastrophic cyclones and climate change.
SESSION 5. Friday Sep 06.
Sarah Hennessy & Adrianne Bacelar de Castro
Title: beingS-of-the-world within a common worlds pedagogy
Abstract (extended): The Anthropocene offers challenges and asks for different responses within curriculum and pedagogy. Young children are usually associated with futurity and possibility, but the Anthropocene presents a bleak future. How do we work with the children of the present when we acknowledge the reality of living in the Anthropocene? With increasing recognition of pan-planetary ecological challenges and the increasing climate-related risks children face (Government of Canada, 2013; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014; UNICEF, 2007, 2015) it is time for creative, new ways of thinking. Instead of learning about the enormous and intangible aspects of the problems of climate change, we are enacting in our research a response that calls for the arts of noticing, slowing down and paying attention to our worldly realities. Through encounters with materials, we consider the pedagogy necessary in creating common worlds citizenship.
In the presentation, we will engage with moments from our ethnographic research in a child care centre in Canada as we explore pedagogical considerations through particular moments of children and educators engaging with materials and places like charcoal, paper, cardboard, and a forest. Our co-authored research begins together with charcoal. This beginning acts as an intersection of different directions for us individually. It will take us through one direction in thinking with being and beingS, acts of contemplation and care in considering early childhood in the Anthropocene. It also leads us to consider what role being and beingS play in considering a common worlds citizenship as we reflect on the implications of a new epoch.
We discuss these interactions as we distance ourselves from the consuming behaviour that go unnoticed in our routines in child care settings and everyday lives. We examine how these encounters allowed curiosity, different movements, new experiences but also made room for frustration and boredom. We take these as sources of creativity, new ways of thinking that provoke questions: What is a material rich environment in early childhood? How do we shift this perspective to create more attuned, attentive and sensitive behaviours to more-than-humans? Through our encounters and questions we continuously challenge child-centric and solely developmental doings in early childhood education and how these practices may reinforce individualist and human-centric positions (Taylor, 2017; Taylor & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2015). In this case, we embrace well-being as a move towards collective thinking and common worlds citizenship as we consider our entanglements with it. Citizenship, a controversial, political and contested term remains reserved for the human and directly contributes to anthropocentric thinking.
Challenging ways of thinking about early childhood education, we bring the possibility of including the pleasure of sensations, contemplation and feeling movements into a collective space where children can engage with those sensations. Simultaneously it is a space where adults are also part of the experimentation and inquiry. In such a space, the individual is not more important than the collective practice. Through moments of encounters with materials in a child care center, where researchers, educators and infants engage together, we allow for a space where we all can engage deeply with each other and materiality, and we give space to pleasure, joy but also for distance and tensions that are present in the relations with our common worlds (Latour, 2004).
This presentation is positioned within the Common worlds theoretical framework (Taylor, 2013, 2017; Taylor & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2019) inviting the arts of noticing a world as an imbricated participant, challenging the nature-culture divide. When entering the space of the pedagogical doings with the common worlds framework, we challenge what it means to live well in this world. The tensions lived with parents, researchers and educators with the choice of material, charcoal, challenged the relations of well-being and health in childcare in relation to norms of clean, aesthetic, productive and instant gratification in a consumption-focused society. Being and living well means giving place to tensions, sadness and boredom as generative in developing common worlds citizens. At the same time, the search for this instantaneous and constant happiness that is also very much present in ECE contexts does not allow for simple moments such as those that address contemplation. To look, to stay quiet can be seen as being passive or non-participative (Buitoni, 2006).
There were encounters with charcoal, cardboard and forests that shifted us, our dialogue, and our considerations in rethinking the dominant model of future neoliberal citizenship so pervasive in this era of the Anthropocene. We challenge this generation of productive consumer citizens with tensioned thinkings of a common worlds citizen. These charcoal/cardboard/forest moments were pivotal in crystallizing various interpretations (Richardson, 2000). In considering two directions, we move from the intersection towards Common Worlds citizenship, care, and beingS as we stay with the trouble of charcoal’s literal and metaphorical mess and unproductivity. In so doing, we dismiss well-being in favour of common worlds beingS.
The implications of these questions in anthropogenic times act as reminders of the benefits of thinking with lived experience, not finding concrete answers towards set ECE curriculum models and leads to new questions: What role does pedagogy in Early Childhood contribute to new ways of thinking with the messy environments of our existence and practice? How do we stay with the generative nature of trouble in rethinking practice? What contributions to common world citizenship are found in these encounters?
Biographies: Adrianne Bacelar de Castro is an Brazilian educator who is currently an M.A. student in the field of Curriculum Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Her research is focused on enacting common worlds pedagogies, challenging the human-centric approach in Early Childhood Education. Sarah Hennessy is a PhD student in Curriculum Studies at the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Education. With particular attention to early childhood education, she is curious about the multiverse, art (as artist, audience and educator) and how to engage in lifelong inquiry and the complexification of living and learning with others, more-than-humans and humans alike. She remains intrigued by posthumanist perspectives and moving towards the bounty of multi-discourses to counter dominant narratives – always asking ‘what are we missing’? With more than two decades of facilitating learning, she continues to explore learning as a collaborative, rhizomatic process where there is always a place for art.
Title: Young people, Asinotherapy and Trust: Experimental Sociologies for the Anthropocene
Abstract: The presentation engages the burden that human exceptionalism and methodological individualism entail for sociologically thinking some of the challenges posed by the Anthropocene (Haraway 2016). I do that by engaging with the relatively recent ‘re-emergence’ of two donkey breeds in parts of Spain and Portugal – in many respects as the result of multi-agency interventions, and as the consequence of several initiatives that try to counteract environmental problems, rural depopulation, the disappearance of preindustrial knowledge, etc.
Second, the presentation will analyse one of the most innovative applications of this donkey breed: asinotherapy. This methodology employs the donkey as a co-therapist taking advantage of its ‘patience, attentiveness and intelligence’ and it has been proved particularly effective for children and young people diagnosed with disabilities, emotional disorders, etc. For our purposes, asinotherapy becomes a challenging study case because by emphasising the agency of the donkey, it blurs modern dichotomies —such as the human/non-human or nature/culture ones— and troubles both human exceptionalism and methodological individualism.
Based on exploratory qualitative fieldwork carried out in a three-day asinotherapy workshop the presentation will consider the donkey as an active mediator not only in therapeutic practices involved in young people’s wellbeing, but also in techno-scientific activities about ‘sustainability’. Overall, this experimental work seeks to foster the debate around what kind of sociological imagination we need to develop in order to face the challenges posed by the Anthropocene.
Biography: Diego Carbajo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology 2 at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). His main research interests articulate the concepts of youth, precarity and entrepreneurialism, and it is concretised in research and publications on the discourse of entrepreneurship, contemporary residential transitions, the phenomenon of ‘lonjas’ and the squatter movement in the Basque Country. Within a divergent line of research and grounded on posthuman theory, new materialism and multispecies ethnography, he seeks to force the limits of enunciation of Sociology with more experimental works around artistic interventions, popular sports and the new uses and meanings of certain donkey breeds.
Title: Wolves and young people in the Anthropocene
Abstract: The so-called Anthropocene sums up the idea that human action has become a causal force for geological transformation. But there are reasonable doubts about the ability of political rhythms and structures to respond in time to social and environmental needs that are becoming crucial. Faced with this disturbing situation caused by the catastrophic future announced by scientific knowledge, and the political impotence to curb it or to offer alternative models of governance, the wolf, with all its mythology and allegorical power, easily becomes a focus of our fears and projections. For some it represents a devastating enemy that is going to end their world. For others, it symbolises the restitution of nature, of a world in equilibrium not corrupted by human presence. In this presentation I will examine what young people in rural areas in Spain —those most affected by conservation policies promoted by the EU— think, and how do they live with a so-called wolf conflict? I will explore how the Anthropocene, as an operative category, enables us to think about these kind of conflicts.
Biography: Olatz González Abrisketa is a lecturer in social anthropology and Deputy Head of Education at the Doctoral School of the University of the Basque Country. Her book Basque pelota: a ritual, an aesthetic was published in English in 2012 by the Basque Studies Center of the University of Nevada. She is also the author of the article “Displaced bodies: Gender, sports, and cultural protagonism in the Basque square” (2013), AIBR prize for the best article on Ibero-American anthropology and “The ontological opening of contemporary anthropology” (2016), co-authored with Susana Carro-Ripalda. Dedicated also to visual anthropology, in 2007 she produced her first documentary feature film “Jørgen Leth on Haiti”, edited by the Danish Film Institute in 2010. Another short film,”Carmen” (2011), won the best ultra-short film award of the Society for Visual Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Her latest film, co-directed with the Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth, “Pelota II”, was released at the end of 2015.
Title: Borne out… of adversity? Exploring looked after young people’s transition experiences in the Anthropocene.
Abstract: Young people in public care experience transitions during and at the end of placements that can impact upon their psycho-social wellbeing. Bywaters et al. (2018) four-nation UK study has shown for the first time a link between levels of deprivation and the likelihood of a child being accommodated or looked after in public care. The population of looked after children will continue to be relatively high, with the numerous placement changes as children move into, within and out of public care. The ecology of public care is explored less often, but has intrinsic value to understanding young people’s development (Ungar, 2013) as the discourse is often dominated the perspective of outcomes in early adulthood – educational achievement, gaining employment, mental wellness. The focus on outcomes is posited on notions of ‘resilience’ and ‘agency’. In the United Kingdom, the population of young people in public care continues to rise steadily, fuelled by a regime of austerity and neo-liberal ideology, and described by some as at a crisis point.
Focussing on participatory research, which enables young people’s voices to be heard, I will explore what transition may mean for young people and how this will be researched in the ‘Hear Me Out’ study. Is there a shared understanding of transition for children and young people? The poster will feature young people’s poetry and is the first stage in a longer research project using a grounded theory approach with young people in residential and foster care in the UK. How will the young people ‘talked of’ as vulnerable and marginalised in the international discourse fare in the Anthropocene – are they better prepared for our shared future due to their development in adverse conditions?
Biography: Gareth Millar is a lecturer in the Department of Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and a registered social worker in England. After 20+ years in social work with children and families in a variety of roles, he has made the leap across to full time academia in the last year. Throughout his professional career, he has focussed on supporting families, protecting children and enabling good social work practice. His teaching and research areas reflect this – with specialisms in child protection law, risk assessment and children in public care. He is programme leader for the Step Up to Social Work course at Manchester Metropolitan that trains social workers in three regional partnerships across England and he contributes to the Continuing Professional Development courses. In the first year of a PhD he is exploring the experiences of children and young people around transition within and from public care in England.
Estefanía Henríquez Aldayuz
Title: Racism in the Classroom: Encounters and Struggles of Identities
Abstract: In recent years, the increase in the migration flow to Chile has generated an impact and garned relevance in different social spheres, such is the case in education, which plays a fundamental role in light of this new reality. However, at the same time, the deficiencies that education possesses have been noted, in addition to the fact that this “otherness” has revealed numerous prejudices and stereotypes emmanating from key contextual actors: teachers. Drawing from preliminary results of an investigation situated in different Chilean schools, evidence suggests that behind discourses of good intentions – although nevertheless paternalistic – herein hides a racism that has been learned, normalized and located as part of the beliefs and identity of each teacher. This racism is explicitly apparent through comments and attitudes, in addition to a denial – through various mechanisms – regarding the existence of racism within educational establishments. How does the daily racism of these teachers affect the construction of the social identity of children of other nationalities – as well as nationals – when revealed, based on the treatment they receive from adults, that they are “different to”, or that there is something in regards to their bodies and/or accents that exude an exaggerated attention and “limits them to”? The research conducted has illuminated various challenges that exist in the Chilean educational context, which could present insight with respect the evolution of teachers’ own identity. As a result, this would imply processes of unlearning as it pertains to obsolete and damaging paradigms, which have a direct impact on the definition of the self-concept of children in crucial stages of development.
SESSION 6. Friday Sep 06.
Title: Young People and the Anthropocene: Futures Past and Present?
Abstract: Our present is marked by profound and highly consequential crises in multiple earth systems – oceanic, atmospheric, terran and capitalist. In Staying with the Trouble, Donna Haraway (2016) highlights the crises of earth systems that situate us, all, ‘in the midst of the earth’s sixth great extinction event and in the midst of engulfing wars, extractions, and immiserations of billions of people and other critters for something called “profit” or “power” – or, for that matter, called “God”.’
Neo-Liberal capitalism has gorged itself on the four ‘cheaps’ – food, labour-power, energy and raw materials (Moore 2015) – and is now devouring its young and their futures. Our present is marked by a growing awareness – in various symbolic, discursive and material spaces and practices – that our futures, young people’s futures, have already been used up, consumed, exploited. That the crises that we encounter in our presents both portend more profound crises to come, and foreclose any sense that we can do anything about our probable futures.
In this presentation I will develop recent work on a political economy of youth, and the rethinking of young people’s marginalisation, to consider how orthodox sociologies of youth can move beyond human exceptionalism and methodological individualism. The aim here is to make a modest contribution to re-imagining the thinking technologies and knowledge practices that sociologies of youth can bring to the task of ‘staying with the trouble’ that we and young people find ourselves in. In our future presents.
Biography: Peter Kelly is Head of UNESCO UNEVOC at RMIT University, and Professor of Education in the School of Education. He is a sociologist of youth, education and work who has published extensively on young people, globalization, education and work. His current research interests include a critical engagement with young people’s well-being, resilience and enterprise in what has been called the Anthropocene.
Title: Knowing Global Youth in/of the Anthropocene
Abstract: Today there are 1.8 billion young people on the planet, comprising 25% of the earth’s population and the largest youth cohort in history. Young people are in distinctive positions to illuminate contested terrains about ecological devastation, sustainable lives and wellbeing in the nascent era of the Anthropocene. Indeed, I suggest that youth are a human face of the United Nations’ global Sustainable Development Goals and can teach us critiques of the developmental paradigms of modernity to which they fall prey. My paper will be discursive and outline and discuss a set of educative projects with, for and by Indigenous youth, their peers and communities. By engaging across places and generations and with unique forms of ethnographic inquiry that are global/local, decolonizing, enabling, youth-attuned and educative, our team is working to open diverse spaces for emergent understandings about wellbeing and the lives of young people in the Anthropocene. New knowledge and practice is both generated and shared with, for and by youth across the globe, into educative curricula and with public/scientific audiences. Our projects inquire into the following: What are the relationships, knowledges and practices that enable sustainable lives and wellbeing for youth in the Anthropocene? How are futures of peoples, lands and seas being written by young people and their communities in the Anthropocene? How can we authentically engage and learn from youth to broker new forms of global education with, for and by them? The discussion will share teachings from our work as might illuminate youth studies as an emergent and entangled discipline.
Biography: Dr. Kate Tilleczek has been examining the lives and times of children and youth for nearly three decades. She is currently a SSHRC-funded Canada Research Chair (Young Lives, Education and Global Good) and Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University in Canada. Kate aims to witness and make space for dialogue across generations, place and time about the ways in which young people (now the largest global youth cohort in history at 1.8 billion) negotiate, experience and teach us about their global and local contexts. She is founder and director of the Young Lives Research Laboratory and is pleased to work with interdisciplinary and international teams of wonderful and talented people on 4 clusters of inquiry: 1) how youth and their communities negotiate the Anthropocene and Digital Age; 2) youth pathways into and out of wellbeing; 3) re-imagining education with/for and by youth; and 4) emerging theories and methodologies with/for and by youth. More info: younglivesresearch.ca
Title: “In a Drunken Sky”: The Paradox of the Anthropocene
Abstract: The Anthropocene is the most recent and far-reaching expression of a human ambition that can be traced back to the beginnings of the modern era, and whose religious and philosophical roots extend into antiquity. The ambition to master nature in order to escape the vicissitudes of human existence is an ancient one. For most of human history that ambition was confined to texts and ritual. With the achievements of modern science, the advent of the industrial revolution, and the subsequent development of contemporary western technological civilization, that ambition increasingly made its way into concrete activities whose implications for nature have become so profound they define a geological epoch.
This paper explores a fundamental paradox of the Anthropocene: as human beings increasingly dominate the world, they themselves are slowly disappearing from it. Not physically, of course. Not yet. But basic human capacities and attributes – freedom, thought, desire, choice – are all quietly vanishing. The paper argues that this paradox is not new, that it was understood in antiquity by those who had examined the ambition for mastery most carefully. For the ancients there was a limit to human effort beyond which lay its undoing. The architects of the Anthropocene reject limits in their quest for mastery and treat the failure the ancients understood as warning merely as encouragement to greater mastery. Albert Camus describes the attitude precisely: “We, who have thrown both the universe and mind out of orbit, find such threats amusing. In a drunken sky we ignite the suns that suit us.” The paper argues that the Anthropocene’s economic, environmental, and social excesses cannot be corrected if the ambition on which it rests remains intact. It contends that all strategies to ameliorate the most deleterious consequences of these excesses for young people – cultivating ‘resilience,’ implicating youth in the anthropogenic enterprise, encouraging them to capitalize on its achievements (entrepreneurship) – are little more than palliatives for the grave personal, economic, and political harm done to them.
Ron Srigley is a writer and academic. His work has appeared in The Walrus, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and L’Obs, as well as in scholarly journals. He teaches philosophy and religious studies at Laurentian University and in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Humber College, Toronto. He is author of Albert Camus’s Critique of Modernity, Eric Voegelin’s Platonic Theology, and translator of Albert Camus’s Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism. He has written chapters with Kate Tilleczek for Youth in the Digital Age and The Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood.
Title: Is there such a thing as youth in the Anthropocene?
Abstract: The title of the symposium confronts us with radically different temporalities: a certain phase in an individual’s life between childhood and mature adulthood more or less arbitrarily classified as “youth,” on the one hand, and a geological age alluding to “deep” planetary time, on the other. It is possible, obviously, to analyse the disproportionate effects of the era known as the Anthropocene on young people. But what is a period of human life consisting, at best, of a couple of decades, compared to the life of our planet, which is, to be sure, also quite young in cosmic terms, as it still has a hot and liquid core?
More interesting, perhaps, would be an approach that would counterbalance the question regarding human youths with that concerned with the youth of humanity. In this respect, the Anthropocene marks a breaking point where Homo sapiens sapiens, a species that is also young on the evolutionary scale, is no longer so, to the extent that it becomes, with the help of its technological prostheses and the accumulation of their unintended consequences, a planetary force. The Anthropocene is supposed to signal the maturation of the human species, the establishment of its all-pervasive global presence in the manner of much older biological kingdoms, such as plants and bacteria. Yet, it is a tragic maturity, achieved thanks to immature modes of thinking and behaving that, in the name of short-term adaptability, undermine the very material conditions of possibility for human and nonhuman lives.
And here we circle back to the somewhat amorphous figure of young people as the ones who will spend more of their (our) lives contending with the fallout of the Anthropocene and will experience its impact more intensely than those who no longer belong to this age category. The clandestine hope I have is that another model of maturation would germinate in the generation of youths severely affected by the Anthropocene, so that human psycho-cultural ontogeny would no longer recapitulate the phylogeny, projected, moreover, onto the geological and planetary domains. At issue is a possibility of maturity that depends on meaningfully accepting individual and collective responsibility (even for destructive actions that are not one’s own doing) and developing ways of thinking and being that respect the world we live in.
Biography: Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from The New School for Social Research in New York. Prior to coming to the Basque Country, he taught at universities in the United States (Georgetown, George Washington, and Duquesne Universities) and in Canada (University of Toronto & University of Saskatchewan). In addition, Marder has been a visiting professor at the University of Bristol (UK), University of Lisbon and University of Coimbra (Portugal), University of Sichuan (China), Diego Portales University (Chile), and Forum on Contemporary Theory (India). His writings span the fields of phenomenology, political thought, and environmental philosophy. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and thirteen monographs, including Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (2013); Phenomena—Critique—Logos: The Project of Critical Phenomenology (2014); The Philosopher’s Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium (2014); Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze (2015), Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger: Phenomenology, Ecology, Politics (2018) and Political Categories (2018) among others.
Activity at Bulegoa Zb. Friday, Sep 06.
SPOKEN WORD FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE
By: X. López, M.Mariskal, S. Noain & K.Osinaga
Spoken Word for the Anthropocene Session
The aim behind our humble session of music and poetry is quite specific: to create —through words and unhurried instrumentation— an atmosphere for both rational and emotional listening, as we stop routinary time and action.
We do strongly believe that no real change comes unless, firstly, we learn to stop, which is to say, we learn to listen. We find the need to slow down —and therefore to think beyond the surface— just essential for our very survival and sanity. Real change asks for real thinking; real thinking demands new languages; real humanity needs construction of free expression, emotions and understanding.
We believe in arts and poetry as a humanizing force essential to fight against nihilism, consumerism, exploitation in all its manners, the increasing functional illiteracy, the excessive desire for vane entertainment, a true force to confront this narcissist culture in which we confuse commodity with well-being. The earth is aching, and so is the human race within a system that exploits while obsessively offers new pleasures which —paradoxically— go hand in hand with the spreading of new fears. Let’s relearn the art of listening, let’s relearn how to have new conversations, let’s reexplore ourselves, and so, work towards new possibilities.</