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Restoring our senses, restoring the Earth. Fostering imaginative capacities through the Arts for envisioning climate transformations
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
(English)In: Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, E-ISSN 2325-1026Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Humanity has never lived in a world where global average temperature is above two degrees of current levels. Moving towards such High-End Climate Change (HECC) futures is likely to involve high uncertainty, non-linear dynamics in global ecologies and a fundamental challenge to current governance structures. Responding to such a world will require more than technical and conventional solutions. We depart in this paper from the notion that human imagination may be a central capacity to support multiple learning processes necessary in triggering transformative change. We developed a three-years long art-based approach to knowledge co-creation  We explore the possibilities of fostering with the intention to boost imaginative capacities in support to the development of transformative societal visions. The process combines a range of performative, visual and reflexive practices with the ambition to reach out to more-than-rational but also practical elements of future visioning processes. The empirical case was realized alongside a science-led participatory knowledge co-creation process within the EU project IMPRESSIONS, in the Iberian Peninsula. Our analysis focuses on the ways in which this art-based approach brought new ways of seeing, feeling and interpreting the world given the present climate challenge. The approach supported participants in the development of a sensibility towards the future and suggested ways in which the future can be made present in order to empower and infuse action. 

Keyword [en]
art-based research, social-ecological, art-science, high-end climate change, knowledge coproduction, action-research, transdisciplinarity
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152291OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-152291DiVA, id: diva2:1178661
Available from: 2018-01-30 Created: 2018-01-30 Last updated: 2018-02-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Transformative Imagination: Re-imagining the world towards sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Transformative Imagination: Re-imagining the world towards sustainability
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A central task for sustainability science in the Anthropocene is to offer guidance on alternative pathways of change. Even though this search and implementation of pathways towards sustainability is likely to require profound social-ecological transformations, little is yet known about the individual and collective capacities needed to support such transformations. This thesis explores the connection between human imagination and sustainability transformations, and introduces the notion of the transformative imagination to support methodological innovation in sustainability sciences, and practices aiming to support transformations towards sustainability. The transformative imagination is suggested to support fundamentally new ways of seeing, feeling, encountering and envisioning the world. The thesis takes a transdisciplinary action-research approach and studies how specific participatory practices, including the arts, may foster the transformative imagination as a means to more skilfully respond to, anticipate and shape social-ecological trajectories in the Anthropocene. The four included papers, each explores how practices may support particular features of the imagination as a transformative capacity. Paper I analyses a case in coastal Kenya where participatory modelling and future scenarios are applied to foster imagination of dynamics of interdependences and trade-offs within the context of poverty alleviation and ecosystems change. Paper II explores system diagrams and scenarios as practices for the development of social-ecological narratives that may support robust interventions in coastal Kenya and Mozambique. Paper III implements, and studies how an art-based approach based on performances, visual methods and an art installation, could support transformative visions of the Iberian Peninsula in the context of extreme climate change. Paper IV is a literature review of the potential contributions of the arts to transformations, in the context of climate change. These papers focus on different features of imagination, which under certain circumstances may progressively develop into societal transformative capacities with the potential to re-structure current social-ecological realities. Overall, this thesis is a step towards forging new kinds of reflexive, imaginative and deliberative practices that can support the emergence of local arrangements of a sustainable world where life can carry on.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2018
Keyword
ways of knowing, transformations, complexity, futures, practice, transdisciplinarity, creativity, art-based, embodied meaning, action-research, science-policy
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152294 (URN)978-91-7797-137-5 (ISBN)978-91-7797-138-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-03-15, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-Salen), NPQ-Huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-01-30 Last updated: 2018-03-06Bibliographically approved

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