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Pathways Project

 

Pathways to Understanding the Changing Climate: Time and Place in Cultural Learning on the Environment

A 5-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Pathways

This project was a collaboration between anthropologists, educationalists, children, teachers, artists, and community members.

It set out to investigate how people perceive their environment; whether and how they see things to be changing; how they imagine their futures; and to what extent questions of global climate change feature in that thinking.

The project team worked with young people from ecologically vulnerable places across the globe: the fens and the broads of East Anglia, the Arctic tundra of northern Alaska, the steppes of Mongolia and the pine forests of the Sierra Norte in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Children-led walks in East Anglia and Mongolia

We asked students in all the participant schools to plan a route to walk through their local landscapes and allowed them to guide us, talking about what their environment meant to them. 

Another aspect of the research was a choice of school activities designed to enrich our understandings of children’s perceptions of environments over time and space. They were able to take part in archaeological digs, work with storytellers and artists to explore textures, narratives and images of the landscape.

We also arranged a series of virtual links between the participating schools in different parts of the world so that the children could interact with their contemporaries located in countries with different cultures and environmental challenges.

In addition to reports, workshops and research publications the project also produced an exhibition ‘Sensing Landscape: artists and children working together’ at Prickwillow Museum, in rural East Anglia. It displayed artistic work by the children and artists involved alongside photographs taken on the children-led walks revealing strikingly contrasting landscapes—the fens, tundra, steppes and mountains—and challenges they present to inhabitants, particularly in the face of environmental change.

The project also worked with teachers in dedicated workshops to develop understandings of children’s experiences, situated at the intersection of issues that are both global and local, current and intergenerational. In order to disseminate the findings national and regional policy makers were invited to join a discussion with a view to stimulating fresh thinking.

Further details and access to database of interviews and stories from the Fens and Broadlands of East Anglia available on the project website Pathways Project website, or contact Libby Peachey, at .

 

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