Storytelling, Education and Climate Change

25 February 2015, 14:30 - 16:30

Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Tom Moorhouse (Children's author & Ecologist at Oxford University)
Keri Facer (Professor of Education, Bristol)


Keri Facer and Tom Moorhouse will explore some ways in which children might be empowered to deal with the notions of change and the future.

Tom will talk about how authors address change when writing books for children. He argues that "change" is the motivating factor in most children's writing - it's what give the impetus for the story, and starts the journey the characters must make. To act as an agent "change" must pass from being a nebulous concept to something that is not only concrete and immediate, but which affects the characters deeply. Tom will discuss how authors manage this trick when using books to convey a message about given types of change, and how such a message must be balanced with the correct level of peril, fun and action.

Keri's talk will argue that ideas of the future in educational discourse are characterised by three tendencies: optimisation, colonisation and protection. A more democratic orientation to the future is proposed through the idea of a Pedagogy of the Present premised upon the ontological assumption that the future does not exist. This pedagogy treats education as occupying a distinct temporality. From this perspective, the role of the educator is reconceptualised as creating conditions that 1. enhance negative capability (openness to the threshold of potential in the present); 2. sustain utopian impulses (the forward dreaming that can pull realities into being); and 3. nurture friendships and courage (that enable receptivity to the new possibilities that emerge). The talk will outline some tentative ideas about this pedagogy and encourage a discussion about the twin dynamics of keeping space open for both emergence and hope.



Open to all.  No registration required
Part of the Climate Histories Interdisciplinary Research Group Seminar Series