Learning about climate change in, with and through art

Effective strategies to learn about and engage with climate change play an important role in addressing this challenge. There is a growing recognition that education needs to change in order to address climate change, yet the question remains “how?” How does one engage young people with a topic that is perceived as abstract, distant, and complex, and which at the same time is contributing to growing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety among them? In this paper, Julia Bentz, Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (ce3c), Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon argues that although the important contributions that the arts and humanities can make to this challenge are widely discussed, they remain an untapped or underutilized potential. 

Bentz presented a novel framework and demonstrate its use in schools. Findings from a high school in Portugal point to the central place that art can play in climate change education and engagement more general, with avenues for greater depth of learning and transformative potential. The paper provides guidance for involvement in, with, and through art and makes suggestions to create links between disciplines to support meaning-making, creating new images, and metaphors and bring in a wider solution space for climate change. Going beyond the stereotypes of art as communication and mainstream climate change education, it offers teachers, facilitators, and researchers a wider portfolio for climate change engagement that makes use of the multiple potentials of the arts.

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