A hidden (re)connection is stronger than an obvious one : ‘the arts’ of channeling social learning in Southern marginalized communities
Sammanfattning: Marginalized communities in Southern contexts are among those most vulnerable to the effects of our drastically changing climate and environmental systems. Therefore, pathways leading to the transformation of our unsustainable systems, structures, and behaviors affecting these communities must be explored. To achieve transformation, some researchers argue that social learning is one such pathway. Emerging research at the nexus of art and sustainability science suggests that artistic methods may possess social learning capacities that may transform the unsustainable systems affecting marginalized communities in these contexts. This thesis will explore how art can play a role in social learning processes for Southern marginalized communities. To gain a better understanding of the potential of the arts in this context, four artistic projects based in Pakistan, Morocco, Peru, and Ecuador were selected for this study. A grounded theory approach was employed to analyze qualitative data collected from in-depth artist interviews, associated project documentation, artistic works, and multimedia content. Results from the data analysis indicated that the artists have (1) highly nuanced problem framings which link urbanization, development, normative aspects, and lack of human-nature connections to drivers of social-ecological challenges in the respective contexts; (2) the artist projects and the artistic methods used, facilitated a variety of social-ecological interactions and/or connected broader audiences to social-ecological challenges of the marginalized groups; and (3) 3 out of 4 artists claimed that the projects empowered the marginalized groups in the respective contexts. The artist projects revealed that they facilitated processes of social learning through their nuanced and contextually relevant framings that addressed the complexity of social and environmental challenges present in the various Southern contexts. Furthermore, the analysis suggested that certain artistic methods were more conducive to facilitating social learning processes than others. Despite climate and environmental change uncertainties in Southern contexts, the four cases provided examples of potential sustainability applications of artistic methods for addressing present and future sustainability challenges.
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