The Master’s programme at the ELRC has always been lauded as a flagship programme in mobilising the capacity of educational change makers in cutting edge research praxis that is responsive to the questions of our times. This year’s M.ED programme welcomes the critical questions that experienced teachers, practitioners and researchers hold in their practice towards Regenerative African Futures and Sustainability.
We are excited to welcome a new cohort into a collective process- led social learning space where we learn from each other in ways that strengthen environmental educational practice, transgressive learning and education for sustainable development. We will gather from South Africa, Namibia and Peru (!) to discern the contextual realities that we face in ways that surface the entangled threads of experience that underpin the mounting experiences of greater vulnerability and precarity that arise from the ecological stress and the unsustainable patterns of economic predation and consumption that fuel it. We will gather in ways that acknowledge how easily these protracted crisis fall from view in normalised settings where our aspirations are trained to mimic neo- liberal aspirations that pave a way to the future that dangerously exceeds itself.
The emphasis on Regenerative African Futures this year asks us to be rigorous in taking stock of the absences that have been produced by colonial modernity in generative emergent ways especially as they intersect with the daily lives of those long exiled from visions of development growth that the state has championed (De Sousa Santos, 2014, p 233). In doing so, we humbly gather to clearly apprehend the spell of separation as it impacts our relationships with ourselves, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with the land and all sentient beings wondering…:
“ if much that ails our society stems from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be cut off from that love of, and from, the land. It is medicine for broken land and empty hearts” (Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2013, p136.)
Apprehending these gaps is nothing new, the work of the centre has always done this, what is of renewed value here is a focus on regenerative works that build new cultural archives of translatable artefacts that bring back our sense of belonging. Our work as educators and researchers whether we are engaged in empirical work or co- engaged praxis hinges upon translatable works that can gently suture the disconnections and separations that modernity literally capitalises on. This kind of knowledge production can create “practices that are strong enough to provide credible alternatives to the current phase of global capitalism, characterised both by the threatening of nature’s restoration cycles on an unprecedented scale and by subjecting all life to a mercantile logic” (De Sousa Santos, 2014, p 234).
We gather to discover how different “ignorances” have “shattered us into fragments” whilst affirming the ways in which our research practices can help us “unearth ourselves piece by piece to recover such unexpected relics even we wondered how we could hold such treasures” (Busia, 1992, p869). These regenerative works aid us to see how we have always been connected to the great orchestra of life through many languages and embodied gestures that have fallen from view. These vital constellations of practice challenge us to boldly envision and reveal alternative African Futures in ways that confound mainstream meaning making. We are grateful to the incoming scholars for the boldness of their questions that serve the contexts that they come from and look forward to what we can learn from each other as we gain mastery in our educational research practices for the common good.Source: ELRC-Environmental Learning Research Centre