The workshop seeks, through intense on-site immersion, to expose participants to an understanding and deepened appreciation of the complex inter-relatedness of natural and cultural phenomena as exhibited by a particular landscape and ecosystem. Field-based, cross-cultural, place-based learning pulls the study of sustainability out of a purely academic context and engages in living the experience of communities and the unique issues and conditions of surrounding ecosystems, bioregions and watersheds. The program will encourage understanding of the natural world through experimentation, data collection, drawing, photography, digital visualisation, reviewing of historical records and exchanges with the community.
Through immersive observation of a place rich in biodiversity and characterized by geographic and social complexity, we will work to become more acutely aware of the patterns and behaviors of the natural and human communities that characterize place and see how our studies might constitute a model that could be applied to other locations.
The program puts an emphasis on systems, connectedness, interactions, and emerging ideas about nature and life, evolution, life structures, and the nature of individual organisms. We will work under a guiding idea that understanding this connectedness is critical to successfully resolving challenging environmental and social issues in our rapidly changing world.
Ecology — hydrology, soils, climate, microclimate, biological systems, etc.
Landscape dynamics— planning, land-use history and architecture
Socio-cultural dynamics — political history, gender dynamics, social systems, economics, language and participatory processes
Surveying and data collection
Introduction to drawing, visualisation techniques and other research instruments
Identification of core issues, variables and analysis of key stakeholders
Participatory planning with community
Strategies and skills for communication — Narrative and visualisation — system understanding, interpretation and articulation
Strategies for implementation and potential applications— knowledge transfer and means of dissemination — sharing work locally and broadly
Participants and faculty are expected to participate in daily seminars and develop their own research agenda within the framework set by the program team. Participants will synthesize their observations and experience through the use of different media, formulating clear positions and relying on both conventional forms of reports as well as more experimental methods.
Some projects may entail recording and monitoring of local conditions, analyzing ecosystemic changes, participating in the restoration of physical and environmental spaces associated with the workshop and establishing partnerships with local actors.
Research outcomes will be made available to a broader audience on this website.