Public Lecture by Dr. Sharon Todd – Worlding Pedagogies: Educational and Aesthetic Encounters in the Time of Climate Emergency

Dr. Sharon Todd’s public lecture will be hosted by the Pedagogist Network of Ontario on October 25, 2023 at 5:00pm EDT at York University and streamed online.

This presentation explores the significance of ‘worlding pedagogies’ as a generative mode of engaging children and youth around their experiences of environmental collapse, which often bring with them polarised narratives of hope and despair. Unpacking the idea of worlding to include multiple worldviews and sensory encounters, the paper examines specifically the aesthetic dimensions of pedagogical practices and how they allow for new forms of co-becoming between children and their worlds. The first part of the paper explores the difficulty educators face in pedagogically traversing a difficult terrain in teaching about the climate emergency. Here I suggest a way of doing so is to find paths of co-creation, implication and beauty beyond hope and despair. The second section delves into both the idea and practice of worlding and its pedagogical value, drawing on a number of examples from educational research. The third section offers a reading of a sculpture by renowned artist Cecilia Vicuña, entitled Brain Forest Quipu, in order to suggest how aesthetic encounters can further our understanding of the power of worlding pedagogies. Finally, the conclusion outlines what I see are some directions forward for thinking about teaching children and youth in the time of climate emergency through staging educational encounters that are fundamentally sensorial and aesthetic.

Sharon Todd is Professor of Education and member of the Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy at Maynooth University, Ireland. She has published widely in the areas of embodiment, social justice and ethics in education and is currently engaged in making connections between the climate emergency, art practice, and political aesthetics in education. She is author of The Touch of the Present: Educational Encounters, Aesthetics, and the Politics of the Senses (SUNY Press, 2023), Toward an Imperfect Education: Facing Humanity, Rethinking Cosmopolitanism (Paradigm, 2009), and Learning from the Other: Levinas, Psychoanalysis and Ethical Possibilities in Education (SUNY, 2003) and her co-edited volumes include Re-imagining Educational Relationships: Ethics, Politics, Practices with M. Griffiths, M. Honerød and C. Winter (Wiley, 2014); Philosophy East/West: Exploring the Intersections between Educational and Contemplative Practices with O. Ergas (Wiley, 2015). She is currently involved in an EU funded Marie Curie Innovative Training Network ‘SOLiDi – Solidarity in Diversity’ and a Swedish Research Council funded project, ‘Forms of Formation: A Pedagogical-Philosophical Inquiry into Embodied Tensions around Gender and Social Equality in the Classroom.’