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Ecological Aesthetics: new spaces, directions, and potentials

Rousell, DS and Williams, Dilafruz (2019) Ecological Aesthetics: new spaces, directions, and potentials. In: Research Handbook of Childhoodnature: Assemblages of childhood and nature research. Springer International Handbooks of Education . Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-67285-4

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In this final section of the Handbook, we turn to ecological aesthetics in response to radical changes in both the nature of childhood and the nature of nature in the contemporary world. Artistic and aesthetic approaches have become increasingly relevant as children encounter a world typified by the acceleration of social, technological, and environmental change, and the mutually reinforcing conditions of planetary instability, inequality, and precarity. Anthropogenic climate change, the mass extinction of plant and animal life, and the chemical contamination of air, food, soil, and water resources are transforming not only what we might think of as “the environment”, but also the aesthetic qualities and environmental sensibilities that constitute the experience of being alive. For many scholars these changing conditions of Earthly life have taken on the name of ‘Anthropocene’, an epoch defined by the total imbrication of human life with more than human planetary systems and technologies. The authors in this section take up ecological aesthetics as a relational, experimental, and theoretically adventurous field which aims to grasp the experiential qualities of life under these changing conditions, and to imagine alternatives. With chapters focusing on the role of movement, nature-study, poetry, pattern, sense-awareness, and the creation of experimental works of art, this section highlights interdisciplinary research and pedagogy which attends to richly textured compositions of childhoodnature experience through a diverse range of material, social and conceptual practices. In drawing together a range of Indigenous, speculative, sensory, cultural, empirical, and artistic approaches, the range of chapters collected in this section attests to the diversity and emergent shaping of ecological aesthetics as a field that is still very much in the making.

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