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Series Editor: John Baldacchino
In the arts, the concept of theoria goes back to the original notion of thinking as a form of reflection/contemplation that remains integral to practice as both a practiced thought (phronesis) and as critical practice (praxis). This book series is aimed at capturing and reasserting the wider possibilities that we give ourselves by doing the arts. It explores how the arts and education can only converge through paradox, where what we seek by doing arts thinking remains an open work and in continuous inauguration.
Thus Doing Arts Thinking is an alternative view of arts education. Rooted in arts practice and arts research, it purposely retains a degree of ambiguity. It is not limited to “thinking about the arts”, or engaging with art theory as a separate entity from practice. Rather, this book series intends to show that to mistake arts thinking for abstract theory would be as false as dismissing arts practice for mere making; which would result in a narrow view of both arts practice and arts research, especially when a third element – that of arts education – is involved.

Cover Artwork by Jeremy Diggle. Title: 'Shield Bearer'. Acrylic on canvas. 120 cm x 160 cm. Date 2019

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts by e-mail to the Aquisitions Editor, John Bennett.
Arts-Based Thought Experiments is a highly visual offering that engages visual arts, photography, poetry, creative non-fiction, memoir and speculative fiction. In this novel book, the authors lean deeply into concepts of the imaginary, and through artful experiments with thought, trouble the tensions between the human, the posthuman and the more than human. In the Anthropocene, with its intractable challenges and cataclysms, engaging posthuman positions when thinking of learning in socioecological terms is paramount to human survival. In this sense, the arts offer creative and critical thought for the possibilities of a post-Anthropocene earth.

Contributors are: Raoul Adam, Marilyn Ahearn, William Boyd, Euan Boyd, Adrienne Brown, Shae L. Brown, Teresa Carapeto, Philemon Chigeza, Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, David Ellis, Katie Hotko, Rita L. Irwin, Marianne Logan, Ferdousi Khatun, Alexandra Lasczik, Alys Mendus, Yaw Ofosu-Asare, Maia Osborn, Marie-Laurence Paquette, Jemma Peisker, Ziah Peisker, Adrienne Piscopo, David Rousell, Ben Ryan, Billy Ryan, Lisa Siegel, Helen Widdop Quinton, Thilinika Wijesinghe and Tracy Young.
Chapter 9 Agency, Power and Resistance from the Perspectives of All Beings

Abstract

This response is a creative and representation of socioecological learning through a posthuman framing. In order to facilitate environmental, ethical social and political change in a rapidly changing world we look beyond humans as being exceptional and ‘saviours of the world’, and encourage an awareness of the remarkable capabilities of other inhabitants of the Earth and the Earth itself. Agency, together with discourse, power and resistance are reimagined from the perspective of all beings. While immersed in the environmental crises that surround the Anthropocene Era,=this response attempts to rethink the very concepts of ‘nature’ and the boundaries of ‘human beings’. Rather than privileging ourselves as humans at the expense of all others we embrace the tangle of relationships in which we are enmeshed. We acknowledge and explore the power imbalance between humans, and between humans and all other inhabitants. This visual ethnographic interpretation is mapped out with concrete poetry, three-dimensional object photography, and narratives. This interpretation of the intricate loops and threads of its corresponding chapter endeavours to provoke thought and inspire agency and action with a diverse perspective.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Chapter 6 Big (Hi)Story

Abstract

This chapter explores the significance of the deep-time story of the universe to environmental education, reimagining the place of socioecological learning within the contexts of the evolving deep-time scientific story and the Anthropocene. We use the concept of ‘journey’ as the metaphor to transcend ‘in-between’ entanglements (, ) of place/deep-time, adding richer layers of intuitive understandings to the existing scientific evidence on this subject. We incorporate arts-based forms through imagery, photography, art, prose, poetic dialogue and reflective discourse to forge broader perspectives, new connections and understandings of interdependence within the increasing unfoldings of our complex universe. The 13.8-billion-year Big History framework is reviewed through three pivotal signposts in time. The interconnected signposts traverse the flaring forth of the universe and its boundless possibilities, continuing its projectory through the emergence of elements as building blocks for non-living matter, nature, creatures, humans and the ticking clock of future possibilities for everyThing and everyOne. Our hope is that our intuitive interpretations of the scientific universe story resonate with socioecological learning, thus empowering hope and agency, in encompassing all aspects of the environment, the ‘non-human’, the ‘human’ and the ‘more-than-human’.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Afterword Entangled Found Poetry as Afterword
Author: Alys Mendus
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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Prologue Fold, Unfolding, Enfolding
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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Chapter 8 Playing with Posthumanism with/in/as/for Communities

Abstract

Theorising to disrupt humancentric ways of knowing, doing and being is increasingly pursued in these eco-catastrophic times. Building on previous conceptualisations of human-non-human community learning, this chapter experiments with the practicalities of thinking and being with an entangled, beyond-human sense of community. The intention is to re-frame learning and being with/in/as/for all community. Posthuman concepts and perspectives are engaged with through multimodal, embodied, abstracted and layered thought experiments. By bringing ourselves as authors into purposeful, sensory, artful ‘conversation’ with the living and material co-dependents of our ecology, we experiment with ways of thinking and being in a world not centred on the human. Beyond-human physical and metaphorical experiences are entangled with body, self, other (human and non-human), concepts, place, space and time. These practices extend thinking, knowing, doing and being with/in/as/for community. Notably, these efforts unsettle our deeply held prejudices of being human that are difficult to detach from. These generative thought experiments reveal rich, embodied and creative ways of knowing and being, as well as provocations and tensions shared with the aim to spark beyond-human conversations with/in/as/for human-non-human socioecological learning communities.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Chapter 2 Posthuman Arts-Based Experimentation through Place-as-Event

Abstract

This chapter places learning in a posthuman experimentation. This posthuman experimentation engages ‘place as event’ extending from ‘nature as event’ as framed by and formerly by , and . This process of working-through or experimenting attunes creatively to affect and the sensorial as a key engagement of socioecological learning through passages of poetry, photographic essay and creative writing. In effect, the posthumanist learner (re)adjusts to being already entangled as nature and not separated or dominated by humanist dispositions. In this process we acknowledge the everpresent and sometimes incomplete traces of the posthuman, socioecological learner.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Chapter 4 The Risky Socioecological Learner

Abstract

This chapter seeks to enact socioecological portrayals of risk through artful thought experiments. Through scaffolded and considered risky activities, students and children are able to practise the skills to manage risks, exercise judgement and responsibility, and take the lead in their own learning processes. In a time where risk aversion culture is prevalent in schools, young people need exposure to scaffolded reasonable risk-taking activities to improve decision making and cope with unexpected events. As parents and educators, we have the opportunity to motivate children and students to engage ‘risk’ (and failure) as an opportunity to grow, and develop grit and resilience. This chapter captures the experiences of two teacher-parents as they embrace the risky business of teaching, and their two student-teenage-children as they encounter the risky business of learning. The form of this chapter, in its arts-based experimental portrayals that include the voices of young people, could also be considered a risk in academic publishing. Yet as the activities and the experimental presentation of this chapter reveals, when risks are calculated, and young people allowed their agency, socioecological learning flourishes.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion
Chapter 7 Sight/Site/Insight-ful Socioecological Learning Revisited

Abstract

This chapter draws from work on the becoming-socioecological learner through collaborative artmaking practices. Through further Artful experiments, the collective production of ‘site/sight-specific’ images and poetic texts are again experienced as a series of socioecological thought experiments. The touchstones of the posthuman and creative milieux of socioecological learning are further unpacked as we again seek a generative and visually critical expose, which locates the emergence of the socioecological learner as a larval subject – always becoming, always emerging, in a dynamic potentiality. The concept of the larval subject is teased out further through a distilling, and a processual engagement in further collaborative artmaking, poetry and visual essay.

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In: Arts-Based Thought Experiments for a Posthuman Earth: A Touchstones Companion