An ecoliterate person is prepared to be an effective member of sustainable society, with well‐rounded abilities of head, heart, hands, and spirit, comprising an organic understanding of the world and participatory action within and with the environment.

McBride et al., 2013, Ecosphere, Vol. 4, Issue 5.

Some of you might know, in addition to my ongoing Hollywood Forest Story work, that I’m exploring ways to help others in the arts gain ecoliteracy.

Since the end of last year (no doubt with the heightened awareness of the Earth’s plight from the most recent IPCC, WWF and UN reports), I’ve had an increase in creative people from various disciplines, photography, music, etc., seeking out my knowledge, even though I live in a rural area of Ireland. I’ve also found in the last year that I really enjoy teaching too. As a result, I’ve been looking at new ways to share my experience that don’t overstretch my and the Earth’s resources.

I have built a new website for this work,, and I’m offering to do talks for art colleges, art studios, workshops, ecowriting for art events, mentoring and research for cultural organisations. (You might want to check out the site, find out why I called it Haumea and sign up to the blog is this part of my work interests you).

But a keen interest, that I mentioned in the conclusion of my PhD thesis, is that I think there is potential for an online format to address the widespread lack of courses on ecoliteracy for the arts and which would provide more than a short talk or workshop.

In Ireland and Britain, for example, there are only a handful of places that look at this topic. Also, many creative people are already stretched financially so attending a college is beyond their means or doesn’t fit with their work and life commitments. Many art colleges are already overcommitted and changes in curricula take time, and WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME!! It is only dawning on the arts sector that it has a major role to help society reflect and transition to a radical new way of living well with the Earth and its inhabitants, so perhaps online learning may help. I too, don’t want to travel too much either – it doesn’t seem right, somehow.

My new site, influenced by my having grown up in New Zealand. The spiral logo is a 'koru', inspired by new shoots on our NZ tree ferns but its also a common ancient symbol of where I live now, in Ireland, the home of my ancestors.

My new site, influenced by my having grown up in New Zealand. The spiral logo is a ‘koru’, inspired by new shoots on our NZ tree ferns but its also a common ancient symbol of where I live now, in Ireland, the home of my ancestors.

A week ago I began sending out an email and a link to a short survey to all I thought might be interested in my proposed new online ‘Essential Ecoliteracy for the Arts’ Course

Some of you may have already seen the email. Thank you for all those who have responded already. This post was meant to have coincided with that email but I got struck with a sudden summer flu. I’ll be responding to those who have  already replied shortly. Thanks for the great insights already.

But, if you haven’t heard about my ecoliteracy for the arts course ideas, please read on and complete the short survey.

A new online ‘Ecoliteracy for the Arts’ course

by Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice in Ecological Art  Cathy Fitzgerald

Proposed course idea:

In this unprecedented time of ecological emergencies, I am developing an accessible and affordable online course* to increase ecoliteracy (ecological understanding) for creative practitioners, art educators, curators, art organisation staff, art activists and art historians in all art disciplines.

Ecoliteracy is the basis of creating impactful work and strategies to inspire audiences and communities for the better world we know is possible.

The proposed ‘Ecoliteracy Essentials for the Arts’ course is NOT intended to instruct people on how to make environmental art.

Rather, the course lessons and resources will help creative workers to confidently:

  • navigate environmental science
  • explore the root causes of the eco-social crises
  • give examples of best practice
  • know the key thought leaders on cultural responses to the ecological emergency
  • be aware of key texts, and other resources

An online format also has the potential for networking, developing a community for support and can enable peer-to-peer learning and sharing.

I would be very grateful for any ideas and feedback on how this topic might be of interest to you. Filling in the questionnaire does not mean you have to do the course.
Please note: if you are already familiar with this topic, I do invite you to fill in the questionnaire.
This may help others who are struggling to find adequate learning for this topic and develop the art and ecology field further. This is a field of creative practice that will have immense importance in the years ahead.


Please find a link to the short survey here:

Note: Survey will Close on the 31 July 2019.

With much gratitude everyone!


PS if the idea of learning online is new to you, I have summarised some key benefits below.

Online courses benefits over learning in an education institution:

  • you can learn from home, therefore eliminating the costs of living away from home and / or  the resources used in travelling
  • online courses are much more affordable than courses offered by institutions as there are few overhead costs
  • you can learn at your own pace, at a time and in an environment, that suits you
  • online learning provides accessible opportunities for learning if you are working, caretaking or have other difficulties in attending a class
  • online courses require motivation, you will improve your work habits
  • online course providers can offer topics that may take traditional colleges years to develop
  • you can have access to experts and like-minded people in online discussion forums, who may or may not live in your country

I wish to gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organisations and people for mentoring and inspiring me with new understandings of online education and connection:

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One thought on “Introducing Haumea and a proposed new online ‘ecoliteracy for the arts’ course: your ideas welcome!

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