AUN-EEC: Agents for Change through Sustainability in Action

By Rocio Maria Francesca Tabamo, AUN Intern
21 December 2020

The AUN-EEC Conference on Ecological Education and Culture: Cultivating Ecological Mindsets and Lifestyles on 17 November 2020 showcased various workshops that revolved around the themes of The Role of Arts in Promoting Sustainability and Citizen Science. The former theme included a variety of art-related workshops that included creative writing, storytelling, and promoting empathy in communication. Among these included Movement Design and Sustainability, which took an unorthodox approach on raising environmental social responsibility.

The workshop revolved around five different sustainability issues, namely 1) single-use plastic, 2) fast fashion, 3) green spaces, 4) mobility, and 5) slow food which all came with their respective exercises. They were introduced by Dr. Ricardo Abad, sociologist, Founder of the Fine Arts Department and the Artistic Director of Areté at Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU). The discussion was meant to convey a better understanding about the gravity of the issues regarding environmental sustainability.

Following the discussion, Ms. Clarissa Mijares-Ramos, a Dance Anthropologist and faculty member of ADMU facilitated and guided movement theater exercises throughout the workshop intending to make the participants move and communicate with their bodies. Initial parts of the exercise involved warming up by having the participants write their names with various body parts, simulate walking through various scenarios like a plastic pile or a highway, and encouraged to feel the vastness of space based on images and even mimic the growth of a tree. Additionally, participants were instructed to list down their daily routine, mimic them, and dance to them, accompanied by their respective Zoom virtual backgrounds and music. Finally, participants were instructed to choose their virtual background that reflected the sustainability issue they wanted to advocate for or support and were asked to determine ways in which they could help ease the impact of human lives in connection to the environment.

The AUN-EEC Conference featured many such artistic workshops that aim to promote an empathic connection to the environment, away from the current human dissonance with the natural world. The Movement Design and Sustainability Workshop highlights this objective through the lens of human physicality as the medium of expressing environmental social responsibility. By reconciling the highly conscious managed construction and the unconscious embodied construction of daily life, participants may leave the workshop with a more lingering sense of ecological awareness.