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Crisis as transformative opportunity?
Humanity is experiencing several existential crises that threaten our existence, our ways of living, and the delicate balance that shape their conditions of existence. Surviving and finding ways of living that are life-giving and create a sustainable world where all creatures and nature thrives will require shifting our fundamental beliefs–our ways of being, knowing and doing. We suggest that the diverse global existential crises are a blessing in disguise, for they create and reveal disorienting dilemmas that can spark individual and collective transformative learning.
In this interactive panel, we will together explore why and how crises may constitute transformative opportunities and how we could utilize these experiences. We will start the panel with each panelist briefly offering their different yet complementary lenses as scholars and/or practitioners from diverse disciplines, fields, professions and countries. Then the panelists will engage in a conversation with each other and the participants to deepen and expand the collective inquiry.
Petra will set the scene by offering her thinking regarding the spiritual, ecological and cultural sources of our existential crisis and the value of the Western culture engaging in a paradigm shift towards returning to a more expansive worldview that is metaphysical, including the invisible realm, ecological, feminine and equalitarian.
Michel will inquire into the assumptions we have about the concept of crisis itself and how they influence the ways we conceive (trans)formative processes in adult education. He will discuss the implications inherent in the adoption of event-based versus processual approaches to crises. His contribution will highlight the difficulty of capturing the fluidity of learning and (trans)formative dynamics revealed by critical situations. Inspired by Edgar Morin’s (complexity informed) theory of crises, and his own research on rhythm theories, three principles will be briefly defined to help conceiving what structures, regulates and reorganizes such dynamics.
Elizabeth will discuss “crisis” in terms of epochal shift and the cosmo-onto-axi-epistemological transformations currently underway. She will describe the role transformative sustainability education can play in rethinking and reclaiming education from within a Relationality perspective.
Shirley will argue that transformation relating to the climate emergency is unlikely to be led by those who have created the problem. Movements from below are key vehicles to build pressure and create systemic alternatives. Within civil society, prerequisites for learning for climate justice are activism and engagement in real world climate crises within particular contexts.
This event is open to the public and is free for ITLA Members.
Petra Buergelt is a transdisciplinary social scientist who works at the University of Canberra (Australia) as Associate Professor. Through her education, award-winning novel translational research, and diverse community engagement and service at the nexus of disaster risk reduction-transformation-Indigenous ways of being-knowing-doing she is passionately contributing to creating a paradigm shift that restores and regenerates humans fulfilling their designated custodial role and living in harmony with nature/environment in sustainable ways.
Michel Alhadeff-Jones is psychosociologist and philosopher of education. He works as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University (USA), and he is the Director of the Certificate of Advanced Studies “Life Narratives and Biographical Coaching” at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). Michel is leading the Temporalities, Rhythms and Complexity Lab at the Sunkhronos Institute (Geneva, Switzerland), where he develops his research on rhythmic intelligence, in order to study how people learn to interpret and regulate the transformative processes they experience throughout their lives.
Elizabeth Lange is Honorary and Adjunct Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney (Australia). She served three Canadian universities in adult and lifelong education with 40 years as a formal and nonformal community educator. Her forthcoming book is Transformative Sustainability Education: Reclaiming Education (Routledge Earthscan). You can find her at https://elizabethlange.ca.
Shirley Walters is professor emerita of adult and continuing education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She is president of PIMA, an international network of adult education and lifelong learning practitioners and scholar-activists. She has been active within social justice oriented civil society organisations for over 40 years both locally and globally.