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Symposium 'Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change'

From 27-30 November 2018, the third “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges” international network meeting took place in Maynooth University, Ireland.

In preparation of the meeting, a summary of the discussion in the network so far has been send out and all the participants wrote a 1 page response to this. This facilitated the discussions in view of a joint publication on the network’s topic (see below).

The programme of the meeting was the following:

Symposium "Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change"

Tuesday 27/11

12.00-13.30 Welcome and lunch

13.30-14.30 Introduction: Discussion so far and aims and scope of this meeting

14.30-16.00 Guest lecture Ailbhe Smyth (open for a wider public)

Ailbhe Smyth is an Irish academic and feminist activist. She has led women’s rights campaigns, e.g. campaigns to liberalise abortion law, since the 1970s. In May 2018, a referendum was held in Ireland to repeal the Eighth Amendment, a law that gave the unborn and the mother equal rights to life. An overwhelming majority of voters chose to change the country's restrictive abortion laws. Ailbhe was one of the driving forces behind the Yes campaign. This case exemplifies Irelands dramatic change over the last years and is as such an example of the kind of radical and fundamental societal change that we have discussed in the network. The activism and actions that were organised, can be discussed as practices of public pedagogy. The Yes campaign organised itself as a grassroots social movement, travelling the whole country arranging countless public meetings, and door to door tactics. Ailbhe willshare her experiences of organising this social movement.

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.30 Small group discussions: (Why) is the presented case an example of public pedagogy? What are interesting characteristics of the practices Ailbhe talked about? The topic of the campaign was not a typical sustainability issue: Do you see similarities and differences? Can we draw lessons from this case?

18.30 Dinner

Wednesday 28/11

09.00-10.30 Lecture Heila Lotz-Sisitka (open for a wider public)

Heila Lotz-Sisitka is a distinguished Professor and SARChI Chair on ‘Global Change and Social Learning Systems’ at the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University. She will address the topic of ‘Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change’ from a Southern African perspective, drawing on her research expertise and wide experience with grassroots movements and education practices. The issues and practices she discusses will challenge us to think about the connections and tensions between concerns for (public) pedagogy, activism, action and change in the face of address far-reaching, urgent and tangible sustainability problems.

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.00 Small group discussions: Did Heila’s lecture make you re-think some of your ideas and concerns about public pedagogy and sustainability issues? Can you now add or refine research challenges for this network?

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-18.00 Excursion: The artworks and projects of Deirdre O’Mahony

As an artist, Deirdre O’Mahony examines ideas of sustainability, food security and rural/urban relationships, through potato projects in Ireland, USA, Spain and the UK. Deirdre is also an academic and lecturer at the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT, Galway. She wrote a PhD thesis on “New Ecologies Between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice” at the University of Brighton in 2012. Her recent research is focused on spatial politics and the relationship between the social, natural and political ecologies of rural and urban 21st century life. The excursion and discussion will provide food for thought on the potential of artistic practices as/for public pedagogy in the context of sustainability challenges.

18.30 Dinner

Thursday 29/11

09.00-10.30 Lecture Glenn Loughran (open for a wider public)

Glenn Loughran is an Artist and a Lecturer in Fine Art at the Dublin Institute of Creative Arts and Media (DIT). He is also programme director on the B.A in Visual Art (B.A.V.A) on Sherkin Island. Being both an educator, working within the framework of informal education, and an artist, working within the framework of Participatory Art, his work across two fields of practice (incl. artistic research and pedagogy) will further inspire us to explore the relation, differences and similarities and potential cross-fertilisation of artistic and education practices in the face of sustainability issues.

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.00 Towards a Special Issue on “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change”: Exploring fruitful partnerships. One of the aims of the network is to engage in joint writings. During this meeting, we will start collaborating on a special issue. An academic ‘speed dating’ session will give all participants the opportunity to talk to each other in view of identify topics of shared interest as well as possible co-authors for papers.

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-13.30 Towards a Special Issue on “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change”: Author teams and paper topics. We create small groups of co-authors that will collaborate on paper proposals for the special issue.

13.30-15.30 Towards a Special Issue on “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges:

Activism, Action, and Change”: Poster workshop. Each writing team drafts a poster that summarises the envisioned paper.

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-18.00 Towards a Special Issue on “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change”: Abstract writing workshop. Each writing team drafts an abstract of the envisioned paper.

18.30 Dinner and social activity

Friday 30/11

09.00-11.00 Towards a Special Issue on “Public pedagogy and sustainability challenges: Activism, Action, and Change”: Sharing preliminary results. The writing teams present their posters and abstracts.

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-12.30 Next steps and prospects of the future of this network

12.30-13.30 Lunch


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