STATES describe the diverse modes of existence which are encountered in learning environments: being, dwelling, thinking and making. Each STATE contains three conceptual practices, each of which corresponds with a different TERRITORY.
Becoming-Knowing describes the diversity of being and knowing in the world.
Affect-Feeling describes how you affect and are affected by people, places, things and ideas.
Engagement-Sensing describes what you can hear, see, touch, taste and smell in the learning environment.
Embodiment-Moving describes the learning experience of a body moving through the environment.
Emplacement-Mapping describes the process of mapping connections between people, places, things and ideas.
Mediation-Designing describes the ways that media, architecture and technology afford learning experiences.
Network-Ecological Thinking describes thought that operates across mental, social and ecological systems.
Justice-Critical Thinking describes thought which questions the equity of human and nonhuman experience.
Sustainability-Future Thinking describes the future of thought if humans are to survive on the earth.
Materiality-Expressing describes the expressive and aesthetic potentials of matter.
Collective-Collaborating describes the common worlds formed between humans and nonhumans.
Imagination-Creating describes the process of creating new compositions and possible worlds.
Taken together, these twelve components of the network serve to materialise a unique conceptual framework for sustainability in higher education, which also serves as the basis for onging curricular and pedagogical innovation. States and Territories can be understood as a social, conceptual and material cartography that students, staff and the wider community can encounter, navigate, engage with and modify in their own particular ways. Fundamental to this design is the actual experience of walking the network, and engaging with the rich sensory environments which the campus has to offer. The network is also designed to foster emerging and transitional processes associated with sustainability, which respond to accelerating changes, risks and uncertainties regarding the Earth’s social and ecological systems (Wals & Cororan, 2012).
As suggested by the ecologist and anthropologist Gregory Bateson (1979), flexibility is taken as the fundamental currency of a sustainable socio-ecological network that can adapt to rapidly changing material conditions. Imagination is also taken as the ‘primary requirement’ for dealing with the ‘paradox, uncertainty and complexity’ that defines the contemporary moment of both social and ecological upheaval (Brown, Harris & Russell, 2010, p. 5). The conceptual framework set out in this project thus differs from sustainability education frameworks that are prescriptive in their content, intentions and outcomes. Rather, the framework outlined here presents twelve transdisciplinary concepts and actions that can be assembled into a multiplicity of configurations by teaching and learning practitioners themselves. Also central to this conceptual design is its rigorous underpinning of ecological, aesthetic and pedagogical theory, as drawn from the theoretical framework of eco-aesthetic pedagogy (Finley, 2009; Rousell, 2014).
The conceptual framework for the States and Territories draws on substantive and empirically-grounded theories in philosophy, anthropology, geography, ecology and education, among other disciplines. It is comprised of twelve conceptual practices that are framed within four fundamental modes of experience in relation to the environment: being, dwelling, thinking and making. This is not to privilege human experiences over those of other beings, but rather to focus the framework on fostering sustainable patterns of human thinking and action within learning environments as naturecultures: common worlds shared with more-than-human others (Whatmore, 2005; Latour, 2004; Taylor, 2013).
As a result, each concept in the framework is aligned with a specific practice or action, such that a clear link is established between the abstract concepts and the concrete learning activities that participants are engaging with. Each concept is thus operationalised as a ‘dyadic praxis’, rather than being presented solely as an abstract idea. This enables participants to make their own substantive connections that mutually enrich their understandings of both the concepts and the practices which are enacted in the learning environment. In this way, each dyadic praxis in the framework is designed as a ‘practice which pries open existing practices... in a way that makes their potential reappear at a self-abstracting and self-differing distance from routine functioning’ (Massumi, 2011, p. 53). Accessibility is also taken into account in attempting to enable participants of all ages to engage with relatively complex concepts and their associated learning activities.
The following sections on being - dwelling - thinking - making describe each of the concepts and practices in the context of the experiential mode in which they are situated. A simplified operational definition is also given for each dyadic praxis to form the basis for developing public engagement and learning activities.