2c. Beyond the Resilient Subject: Art, Education, and Imagination

Track Chairs

Goals/objectives and areas of the track

This track asks how art and education can provide a space for imaginative action as an alternative to current educational discourses of ‘resilience’ and the political subjectivity they promote. In current debates about environmental crisis, economic austerity, and developmental education, ‘resilience’ has emerged as a keyword. For example, we are told that West Cork beat the recession through resilient creativity (RTÉ, July 2018), that the ‘shell-shocked’ residents of Ahrweiler, Germany are showed their resilience in the face of torrential flooding (Washington Post, July 2021) and that the European Union should be lauded for its resilience in the face of the Covid19 pandemic (Irish Times, April, 2021). Where Irish educational policy promotes resilience as a requirement for wellbeing (Department of Education and Skills, Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice, 2018-2023, 2018), in Sweden the self-serving resilient individual is all the more upheld as an ideal citizen in the neo-conservative turn in educational policies.

Whilst resilience is vital to face the growing difficulties of the Anthropocene, our concern is that current discourses coupling an ecological subject with an economic subject replace the political tools of collective bargaining and resistance with those of individual survival and adaptation to the market economy and ecological crisis. Within this context, the prevalent images are of those who survive rather than flourish. This panel proposes a renewed role for the imagination in the art and education of the Anthropocene, to promote courage, collectivity and human flourishing rather than individual resilience and survival. We invite papers on the role of education and art practices in the critique of resilience and in fostering this reimagining.

We are particularly interested in papers that emphasise the practice of education itself, rather than the application of different theories on education and teaching. In what way does an educational practice resound with art practices in order to reconfigure discursive realities taken for granted in current configurations of education in the Anthropocene? In what ways are imagination already a vital part of those practices, in which the poetry of improvisation in art, education and teaching initiate new beginnings?

Length and content of the proposed abstract to the track

Each proposed abstract (in connection to an area pointed out above) of between 300 and 500 words (including all aspects),

  1. shall be best organized (without headlines) along usual structure: introduction, methods, findings or results, and discussion/conclusions.
  2. does not need but can include references.
  3. shall provide a final section indicating
    1. how the proposed abstract relates to the sustainable development goals SDGs and SDG-targets (e.g. “SDG +Target: 14.1.”).
    2. briefly how the proposed contribution relates to the theme of the Conference – “Sustainable Development and Courage. Culture, Art and Human Rights”.

Potential publication channels

We plan for one or more special issues in scientific Journals following from presentations under this track. Regarding potential publications, depending on the number and quality of contributions the following publication opportunities have already either been inquired or confirmed:

  1. Confirmed: The Journal Anthropocene, Human, Inhuman, Posthuman
  2. Inquired: The Journal Environmental Education Research


Please submit your abstract by visiting the abstract submission system (you will be required to setup an account first): www.2022.isdrsconferences.org

Deadline for abstracts: See Submissions


Carl Anders Säfström, is Professor (full) and Director for the Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy, Maynooth University, Ireland and adjunct Professor of Education at University of South Australia. He publish regularly within the fields of philosophy and theory of education, policy of education and concerning teaching and teacher education. His latest book “A Pedagogy of Equality in a Time of Unrest. Strategies for an Ambiguous Future” was published by Routledge 2020. He is currently working on a book on “Teaching as a Sophistical Practice” for Springer. He is involved in several research projects and research networks concerning sustainability, democracy and education.

Glenn Loughran is an artist and lecturer at the TU Dublin School of Creative Arts. He is Programme Chair of the the MA Art and Environment (West Cork) and the B.A in Visual Art (Sherkin Island). Exhibiting nationally and internationally, his artwork has developed hybrid forms of artistic research at the intersection of artistic practice, pedagogical process and evental philosophy. Key projects include: The Hedgeschoolproject (2006 – 12) / After the Future…of Work (2016 – 20) / What is an island? (2018 – 21).