QUADRAT A Model for Cross-Disciplinary Environmental Education Projects

The initial idea for the workshop was to draw parallels between ‘scientific’ and ‘artistic’ means of observing the environment, a source of inspiration for both disciplines. The idea was then explored as a residency for Appledore Arts Festival 2010, in collaboration with dance artist Katy Lee and ecology educator Dr Mark Ward of the Field Studies Council.

The use of scientific methods for observing the environment, such as quadrats and transects, mud-sifting and species identification and the consequential stories about life-cycles, feeding habits and the overall ecology of a specified habitat is a fantastic starting point for projects in all disciplines, whether it be ecology, painting and drawing, dance, film, sculpture or creative writing, and gives students a diverse range of opportunities to engage holistically with their environment.

From a teachers/facilitators point of view it gives opportunities to understand and see our practices from a different perspective, emphasising the interconnectedness of subjects and increasing the possibilities of developing engaging and stimulating teaching methods. Artistically, while gaining a deeper understanding of the world that we choose to interpret, we may look at a variety of artistic practices, both contemporary and traditional, putting our work into a social and historical context. Scientifically, by working with people from different areas of study, we may broaden our understanding of the subject in hand by developing experiential and sensual aspects to our study, while allowing ourselves the opportunity to emphasise the open ended and exploratory nature of scientific practice and teaching.

Practically, we hope to develop a package to be circulated to schools, educational facilities and community groups, proposing site-specific studies of local environments with the aim of producing bodies of work to be exhibited and performed within that community and as a compliment to evolving curricula activities. QUADRAT would be taken to 4 different environments (Rocky shore, Sand Dunes, Moorland and Woodland), through the 4 seasons and by 4 different community groups (children, youth, adult and elderly). The inclusion and involvement of the AONB and the National Trust with the project would continue to build and strengthen ties between the Arts and Environmental bodies within the area. The body of work produced would then lead to a multi-media educational and interactive exhibition.

Workshops are charged at £35/hr (minimum duration half day) + materials and expenses.

For further information or to discuss designing a workshop please contact me.