Media, Arts, and Humanities Sustainability Educator Toolkit

Walton, Joseph, Eldridge, Alice and Oji, Adaora (2022) Media, Arts, and Humanities Sustainability Educator Toolkit. Project Report. Sussex Humanities Lab.

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What is sustainability? It isn’t simply defined. Sustainability is to do with responsibly stewarding limited or fragile resources; it is to do with aligning our activities to the actual capacities of the planet, for the benefit of all those alive now and for future generations. Sustainability is to do with fostering wellbeing and flourishing for all humans, life, and ecological processes. Sustainability is linked to all kinds of issues in social and ecological justice.

Sustainability sometimes gets divided into environmental, social, and economic sustainability. This toolkit places some emphasis on environmental sustainability, but also emphasises that all three aspects are inseparable. Sustainability is a field of research and practice in its own right. But it is also a basic modus operandi and philosophy: sustainability is relevant to all teaching and learning. Our teaching practices themselves must be sustainable, but we can also embed sustainable themes in our teaching. Sustainability might be about finding solutions to environmental, social, or economic problems. Sustainability is also always closely tied to politics, power, and knowledge. We think that Media, Arts and Humanities have an unrealised potential in surfacing and thinking through these issues.

The United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form one important touchstone. Universities, organisations and governments use the SDGs as an overarching framework to steer and assess the impact of our work. However, as educators, we don’t need to accept the SDGs as the final word on sustainability. Our role includes creating space for critical debate around the SDGs (and around the term “sustainability” itself).
The University of Sussex, where this toolkit was put together in mid 2022, has a commitment to embedding sustainability across our curriculum within the Ethical Educators workstream of our Sustainability Strategy. We offer this toolkit as a first step toward that important goal.

The toolkit’s six themes surfaced through participatory workshops with colleagues in MAH and ESW; they may evolve in coming years.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Project Report)
Keywords: sustainability
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Humanities Lab
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2022 11:17
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2023 14:27

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