Take a Bow … From the Woods into the Community
Centre Figure: Dansk Holmegaard bow lavet af Elmetræ…translated from Danish to English: “Danish Holmegaard bow made of Elm Tree”. The oldest extant one-piece bow dated to 9,000 BCE; the Mesolithic period.
We examine the bow as an artefact and its transformation within New Zealand culture. We describe how the bow originated in that country and later developed a cultural intrigue through acquisition. We discuss how an everyday life activity such as hunting changes into a form of war, and will further evaluate archery leisure showing post-consumer societies through philosophical, educational and cultural contexts. Our opening title and the simplicity of the illustrations has led us to research exactly how the bow has changed from its most raw sense and become part of a modern community.
Climate changes, weathering and degradation significantly limit how far back we are ever likely to find a bow made from perishable materials. Four-thousand-year old remnants have been discovered in Egypt, and in Germany, bow fragments dating to 8000 BCE have proved the use of bows from that time. Traces of arrowheads have been found dating back 70,000 years. But what use would an arrow be without a bow? The answer comes from a primitive spear discovered by archaeologists. This ancient shaft led to a smaller version becoming an arrow with feathers, which was first thrown rather than shot. As that method has expired, so too should the ambiguity about whether it was hunting or war that produced the first bows. The oldest depiction of war recorded on stone was from 2700 BCE with reference to the war between Sumer and Elam under the Akkadian Empire in what is now southern Iraq. Chronologically, evidence that the Danish Holmegaard bow had over 6000 years of use before the first recorded bow use in war, and arrow remains that back a further 67,000 years, also suggest the bow began for purposes other than combat. It probably began as a tool to stalk prey through hunting and self-defence (not just in war), which in medieval times needed an evolutionary catalyst for greater firing distance, impact force and accuracy that the bow came to provide. The bow changed through history by staying ready for war, training on targets and progressing into a social leisure movement, which popularly commodified itself into a universal art and wartime artefact. Thus, the respected bow rearticulates as winning many battles and competitions, although it is more noticed for the weekly discipline and commitment of training. This transformation caught on around the world and influenced how cultures hunted, fought and identified themselves.
Periods of transformation
All the history described above is culturally and geographically distant from New Zealand. Framing the topic of archery and bow artefacts in our New Zealand upbringing and combining it with Maori cultural perspectives will focus on how the bow came to arrive in New Zealand and what it means. According to Best (1976), there is “no evidence to show the Maori folk of New Zealand ever used the bow and arrow, even as a toy” (p. 183). Best revealed that bows and arrows came from the South Seas trade, which developed after Europeans had fought with the Maori and colonized their land and soon after making peace. This trade was partly driven by the British revolution that influenced cultures, economies and environments. These exploration voyages reached across the globe, later sharing manufacturing and economic thinking. As early as 1842, the first Friendly Society (originating from the United Kingdom) started in New Zealand for the security and leisure of gentlemen. Interestingly, one of these groups had a close affinity with archery; it was known as the Ancient Order of the Foresters (AOF) and was established in New Zealand in 1852. It was the first dedicated informal archery club, where later formalities established another at One Tree Hill in Auckland in the 1870s. This reflected the development of the Romantic period when New Zealand archery formed and influenced the use of the bow during the country’s growth into a modern society. Urbanites popularised the competitive sport and leisure side of hunting through a regulated and representative body set up in Auckland during 1942 known as the New Zealand Archery Association. The archery clubs of the 19th century began to disappear in New Zealand when the art of bow-making also faded away. The World Wars halted production of bows and participation in archery clubs, but military technology and materials caused them to make a strong return thereafter. Later, the modern (compound) bow appeared after all traditional (recurve) bow disciplines settled, and later featured specifically for hunting. It is a more compact, transportable, efficient and accurate form of bow than the recurve style. In New Zealand today, both styles of bow appear in all disciplines of archery and hunting. Yet the recurve is a slight opposition to the compound because the latter uses advanced technologies to simplify the skill, which neglects the former’s traditions. Through these periods of disciplinary distinctions, a dealing of cultural practices grew; sourcing new woods from nature and adopting techniques. Some people enjoyed crafting their own bows, being self-reliant, using raw materials and not conforming to modernity.
Bow preservation and reproduction
Studies of literature have metaphorically placed bows through hermeneutic interpretations of written, verbal and nonverbal communication. These works feature representations of what it meant and means to be human, well-kept through taxonomy, statue work, poetry and paintings. This ekphrastic symbolism has been popularised in everyday life hobbies and habits by public museums where one can view the world’s oldest bow. It is less common to venture out alone or in small groups with a primitive weapon into the bush and kill an animal. War and hunting has brought forth public ambivalence towards primitive weapons and methods situated in sublime states as horrible, unsettling, or anxiety-provoking that considered military and medieval metaphors of arrows that “fell like snow” and looked like “the death arch”, all embedded within the ekphrastic nature of poets who like to represent imaginary existences. The bow and its intentionality was precarious and perilous; the idea of the hunter, the hunt and the hunted. Because the bow preceded the 1750–1850 sublime period, it did not begin full of awe, which suggests an emotional and symbolic turn later. Such notions show that studies of literature and art serve as a way to explore nature through archery. This turns into a romanticised and enlightened experience as something that is pleasurable, aesthetic, and life-affirming. Shooting a bow served as a nostalgic reimagining of preindustrial eras that romanticized Greek figures like Apollo (the god of archery), who metaphorically shot invisible arrows and Artemis (the goddess of hunting). Myths, legends and stories persisted and permeated in our cultures which led to a focus on combat, where the influence of the bow is most readily seen through the records of ancient and medieval warfare. Sports drawn from military practices seen in New Zealand archives included archery that, since the 1990s, has had groups forming to re-enact historic battles. The AOF traced their mythical beginnings to the Forest of Sherwood where the Robin Hood story was central to their membership, symbolism and rituals. The AOF courted scenarios based on Robin Hood and his followers, involving at least one person carrying a bow and arrows to threaten initiates until they were formally accepted into the society. Once accepted, a member would receive a membership certificate.
These practical representations and the bows’ provocation share historical roots, as seen in literary studies of New Zealand schools educating students who might recall this battle of societal power: the 13th of August 1346 BCE in Paris Normandy where Edward III of England with 7000 archers invaded 25,000 French enemies during the Hundred Years Wars at the battle of Crécy. Edward IIIs’ archers were successful against the French cavalry, but that a captured English archer had his right index and middle fingers (used to draw back the bow) cut off. English archers prove themselves as a threat by intimidating the French before battle with these two fingers still existing. We suggest the bow – not the two-fingered (or lack of) gestures – carries the terror. This leads us to believe that the taunting of an archer towards an enemy or animal has changed humankind through an objective power and instrumental symbolism over everyone’s lives. These scholarly tones linger in children’s stories such as Robin Hood. Robin Hood was a bourgeoisie Yeomen who, despite rebellious thievery, makes a statement: his name today echoes with the best archers, not the best thief as it did then. In New Zealand, Robin Hood has influenced the way in which many scouts and bush craftspeople dress; with or without a bow. The characters depicted on the AOF advertisement (figure 2) are in formal attire and one of them is an archer. This enlightens not just a liberal and moral movement but also heroism and symbolic messages through archery and the bow. Robin Hood was a celebrated figure of radicalism where such idolism of superstars is showcased by modern cinematic characters who are heroic (for example, Legolas) and patriotic (such as Katniss). What these three characters share is a moral reasoning of egalitarianism by challenging inequality, fending off evil to keep peace, and fighting for justice, respectively. Since The Lord of The Rings and later The Hunger Games, sales in archery equipment have risen. Recurve bows and the use of the back-mounted quiver are popular choices, as compared to the modern day side-hip quiver and compound bows.
Symbolic bow use in modern New Zealand
This space of archery has transformed and settled now in two domains of hunting (shooting living animals) and leisure (shooting manufactured targets, either inside or outside). The meanings of the hunt and the pursuit of target shooting will explore the heritage, traditions and advances in practices as they relate to modern New Zealand society. The use of target bows in New Zealand is mainly in outdoor settings, conducted with rich nature and three-dimensional dense-foam animals that sustain sublime milieus. Hunting in New Zealand romantically portrays nature and animals as an idyllic backdrop during the hunt and remains this way.
The story of hunting and its various meanings in New Zealand reveals cultural values and practices of the bow. Changes through intellectual enlightenment underlined a reasoning of ideals that rationalized the use of bows. Bow use in New Zealand has transformed into a strong personal leisure hobby, losing its original connotations of defining a whole culture and hunting for food. As civilization has spread out and natural land areas have shrunk, hunting has become more controlled and regulated, yet the desire to hunt remains part of human nature. Today, New Zealand’s expansive forest affords less direct supervision, which can result in poor morals. There are stories of drunk hunters firing rifles from a high vantage point. This is less hunting and more a sport of shooting, further complicated by the contested approach of ‘heli-hunting’ transport (an industrially derived, quick, thrill-seeking and often paid-for experience), which is less about the hunting, the tool or the journey through the forest. Rather, in our view, hunting should be more about the primitive use of a bow, and deep connections with flora and fauna. These differences and liberalisation within hunting has encouraged activist arrangements in New Zealand that underline the roots of archery by resurfacing human-nature and animal affairs . A demonstration like this through media and forms of participation captures the benefits of bow hunting but shows public opposition and dualism of bow use and firearms. Issues of ‘heli-hunting’ on public land managed by the Department of Conservation have raised debates. Protestors who argued that such methods constituted an ‘unfair chase’ for other foot hunters were unsuccessful in having this practice banned. Counter-arguments from such debates bring forth incongruities of hunting, suggesting among other things that bow hunting has unethical wounding and slow times to reload, subjecting itself to inhumane, unsafe and unskilful practice. The persistence and popularity of archery has proven many notable qualities by chasing a closer bond and ethical ethos towards animals and undertaking hunting under indirect supervised national frameworks as best practices. Today the ability to get close to prey remains the essence of all bow hunting; the average shot distance is about 25m, which emphasises the skill of stalking within close range. Bow hunting should depend on an understanding of nature through holistic experiences where more skills than just aiming are necessary and trained.
Sport and leisure through archery has similarities to hunting, such as clubs and competitions commonly shooting from 25m, being surrounded by nature, politicising the ‘state of play’ and managing the disciplines of archery. Although hunting with a bow and archery leisure are distinctive activities, there is a link that binds a city’s nearness with nature places. Many New Zealand archery clubs are located in green reserves, which interweaves the past and present as well as the raw and industrial. Therefore, the distinction of demography and archery is less clear when many people live in urban spaces and escape to secluded natural locations to participate in archery. Urbanisation is not a strictly demographic way of life. Target shooting is often performed outside on green field reserves, away from public and in the bush. Natural places were where the bow was once predominantly located, partly functioned to hunt animals: a consequent interaction and creation of the human–animal hyphen that assumes history emancipating humanity over animals. Now the bow has found its way into the suburbs, where experiences are intersubjectively connected within archery that offer the bow as a medium within which to explore oneself. Work too becomes entwined through play; many long-time New Zealand archers have used archery as a hobby. Later, they have transformed it by professionally teaching archery through an apprenticeship and diversification of cultures that engage in this pursuit. Target archery shooters who hone their skills become similar to the historic archers who traditionally prepared for battle. These archers moved from the discipline of work (to serve an empire) to a joy of leisure (hunting for food and recreation). This symbolic use of the bow means a change in practices that we believe is now instrumental. People form part of their identity through changed lifestyles because they want to, not because they have to for survival.
Cultural change through people’s livelihoods
The last chapter is about symbolic change through communities gathering for leisurely shooting, differences in hunting and how the environments appear according to people’s living needs. These different meanings further change people’s living through cultural change. Thus, social classes of participants form through bow and archery participation. The activity of shooting a recurve bow in New Zealand is, among other things, reflective of the shooter’s social circles. People identify similarly to other recurve shooters and commonly feel to be older and less accurate. We colloquially define culture as “the way we do things around here”. Therefore, the choice of bows depicts an otherness, whether it is the craft and skill of a recurve or the complexity of a compound bow. For humans, weaponry and tools are relevant to our livelihoods; Maori in New Zealand continued to use their primitive weapons despite the modern alternatives that their imperial English colonials had. Thus, objects and possessions say something about people as they symbolise our societal position, environmental contact and economic or political (in)balances. Modern New Zealand culture and livelihoods are not chosen because of survival. Rather, they are socially sustainable and symbolic of ideals that are typical of ‘manhood’,
Pursuit in any of these realms holds high regard for the user and participants celebrated in social existence. The idea of this public receptiveness – renowned during times and places of Roman empires courting ‘games’ in Coliseums – was merciless then and has only become civilized recently. This is a subjective term becomes the Romans had a “civilization” and were therefore “civilized” by the definition at the time. Future generations may consider Olympic sports (such as boxing) to be “uncivilized”. The bow originally involved cruel entertainment but has become more socially accepted in the modern Olympic Games. This modern sporting event where archery first appeared in the Olympics at Paris in 1900 symbolizes a heritage of global cultures using the bow.
Archery as an education
Here we will examine archery and education (according to Jean-Jacques Rousseau), which admittedly is just one philosophy, to stage our argument. Rousseau said that three parts teach us: parents, nature and object; education is often a by-product. We believe that archery achieves all three of these areas, implying forests or grass fields as the space, with parents (as adult figures; these could also be teachers, peers, etc.) teaching their “children” how to use the bow in its construction, performance and technique. Herrigel (1981), a German professor who taught philosophy in Tokyo, used the objective bow within archery toward learning Zen. Herrigel overcame his early restraints and preconceived ideas and started to look toward new ways of seeing and recognizing not only the sport but life. In Japanese cultures, a significant feature of archery is to train the mind and connect it with the supreme reality. This activity and others are conducive to learning if in a stimulating environment. To strengthen this, we affirm the guide as a key driver, influencing participants in developmental courses that use environments, activities and objects to learn. This is important because motivation of self-teaching – especially of younger people – is low. Objects (bows in this case) can be designed with intentional educational goals. An education of archery could go beyond learning by doing through communities that discover how we fit the world and who we are. Such rhetoric would enable opportunity to explore a pedagogy of New Zealand places that have not had such strong ties to the bow. We believe that if archery were to take quality pedagogical principles adopted from cross-curricula teaching, such a method would be effective. Rather than have national curricula impede us from deeper connections with nature the whole educational experience and individual opportunities will not pass. The bow is a medium with which to explore self, place and others. This model is possible in New Zealand archery clubs but has not yet been implemented. In practice this could happen so that an archer apprentice understands more than just their performance, and instead absorbs the New Zealand context of curricula learning areas. We suggest that this could involve elements of archery associated with the following subjects: English (writing reflective accounts of hunting), arts (painting landscapes), languages (connecting with animal sounds), mathematics (calculating distances), science (awareness of scent traces), social science (understanding hunting or sporting comrades), and technology (knowing your equipment limits). Such practices can increase learning objectives resembling metaphors and memories. These could include discipline and training, understanding success not in a beginner’s luck kind of way, but in the consistent positioning of arrows and overcoming obstacles (metaphorically or otherwise). Alternatively, there are those that only use their feet to shoot the bow in archery so an exploration of gymnastic ability can arise. The bow as an extension of the body can also be good for disabled people; some people paralysed from the waist down have become involved in wheelchair archery. This idea of wholeness in participation comes to many New Zealand schools at a young age by teaching children and young people primitive and practicable lessons about having fun and having less technical focus on the mind and social skills. This is obvious in the lack of survival and outdoor equipment literature, which rarely suggests anything technologically advanced for survival. Rather, New Zealand primary schools embrace the simplicity who offer examples one can do with a stick, through over 70 ‘things’ featuring the bow and arrow. We prompt readers to go on an adventure … all you have to do is run outside and find a stick. Popular activities for young people in New Zealand include holiday or summer camps that often offer archery. Here, kids run from their cabins to participating in various events and pick up a bow, which to them is adventurous discovery. This does not suggest the presence of sticks or their crafting into bows means that it is educational, rather how one scaffolds education within a context is.
Ways of engaging with animals
Further than a general education as above, we address this capacity for further learning. Having discussed the pedagogue, and before that the school, parent, nature and object, we believe these all share – in an engagement – what animals can do for us as we can for them, eventually diluting this othering. Seen literally, humans are in a position of power and proximity that sees us (humans and animals together) as important to natures form. Instead, understanding animals in modernity has dislodged the theology of nature, replacing or supplanting human parts and roles with artefacts of technology. The importance of the bow can shorten the human and animal separation from urbanisation and commercialisation, thereby organising and conceptualising our worlds. We surfaced an interspecies relation of liberal modernity about animals educating us; people can re-inhabit spaces with nature and animals through a new urbanisation that interacts with humans. Affairs like these with fauna can trend toward interactions, relationships and bonds with animals that are wild, agricultural and domestic, respectively. These opportunities will exist forever. An example from the wild is hunting deer and an agricultural one is horses ploughing farm fields. Two hunters shared their report of shooting geese with intense engagement towards animal, environment and activity showing how thoughts and feelings can improve human to nature connections in a sense of biophilia. This biophilia is a fundamental and genetic human need affiliating the living. Our converse fear of distance from nature softens with relational schemas, which are good for justification towards attachment theories; the awareness of animal, environment and activity ties together, creating quality and duration of contact. As stated earlier, there needs to be a skilled teacher to guide them towards this education because people will experience various approaches. Another example is the ownership of cats, dogs, fish, chickens and birds, to name just a few of the animals that domestic relationships afford. This identity – the interplay and nuances of relationships – asks how nature and animal landscapes shape our lives through awareness of behaviour and culture. With regard to hunting, a farmer and rural residents may have large lands that are home to wild animals such as deer, pigs and goats. Such was the case in the Scandinavian Bronze Age showing how Danes kept bow and arrow use for land management and controlling unwanted species. This can display objectification that expresses social norms engaging with material that foregrounds relationships with animals, humans and objects. As agro-pastoralists, Danes invested their practices, mindfully integrating animal species through cohabitation. Living with nature in this way from a New Zealand example consists of practices – not with horse-powered agriculture but – with foreign cultures of people and traditions. Here, the bow as environmental appreciation and application is a constant reminder of the way Maori (who did not have the bow) engaged with nature. In the end, the emphasis is on regularity and closeness to animals achieved if fewer people use guns shot from further distances and step back into slow movements where animals are used for more than meat. Also, focusing on bows and nearness means there will be better ownership of one’s actions, dedication to the time invested and an awareness of landscape affordances and animal exchanges.
Cultural interactions and comparisons
By diversifying dealings of bow development, education and animals, we will analyse traditional interpretations and influences that have intrigued archery becoming a cultural phenomenon. The Japanese once used the bow for war, court ceremonies and games that now mostly practices physical, moral, and spiritual development. In New Zealand, that belief justifies many archers’ motifs, which we believe based on observations and experience gives a satisfying rejuvenation. Shooting a bow for sport or hunting is also a rite of passage for American Indians, whose use of the bow honoured their enskillment and means to provide for dependents. Their deeply rooted practices were for survival, while the only modern imitations in New Zealand are for food. Clothing (made from the animal’s leather) was essential for American Indians and killing the animal in this sense, as opposed to the otherwise sadistic focus discussed below, had to happen. The difference is the connection to these hunted environments and the engagement with the animal. Bows in New Zealand are not popular for reasons of survival (especially in the sense of defence) or clothing but as a means of adopting the Japenese Kyudo philosophy meaning: “the way of the bow” that looks at understanding one’s self. What is emblematic from the animal in New Zealand is trophy heads and various craft works made from antlers and fur hides as equipment and house furnishings. New Zealanders generally have a strong respect for nature and animals with various heritage and national parks, protected and endangered species, and many laws and controls that manage such spaces. By contrast, the behaviour of some European and North Americans, through wealth creation, moral superiority and mass economic territory, led to the term ‘white hunter’, named for professional big game hunters who shot animals for sport, predominantly in Africa and India. New Zealanders have mythical legends of a big game moose roaming the wild and restricted expanses of the South Island fjords, although this has yet to be proved. Exaggerating this as perilous, racial and colonial characteristics of the hunting profession displayed how white hunters and imperial British dignitaries believed between 1800 and 1875 that tigers (personifying Asian rulers) were dangerous and powerful kings of the jungle. By defeating tigers, the British symbolically believed they defeated three features of the Asians: their culture, politics and environment. New Zealand does not have exotic animals that have ever been popularly worthy of such controversy, although some New Zealanders still poach (sheep and deer) to provide food. We think New Zealand’s culture is more reasonable and ethical towards nature, animals and practices, which is the same in Denmark and others where legalised bows exist.
Intuition of the bow hunter and the practical use of the bow resembles old cultures and, in a fundamental sense, has not changed. However, losing an archery contest today or walking home after a hunt without meat on the kitchen table does not equate to death on the battlefield or starvation, as was once the case. Measuring the impact of these changes today does not focus on death, rather on pleasure. This centres the bow and archery more on humanistic instinct connecting fun, senses and subjectivity. Such individualisation must resurface opinions of the bow that can be deceptive. For example, the bow assumes use only if one is strong and able (disabled people and those shooting with their feet have dispelled this myth); cinematic stars are envied for their archery skills rather than primary aims of justice for example; threatened enemies (like the French in the Battle of Crécy) are so because of the bow not the bearer, whom without the bow is disarmed. This means that the bow can signify a plethora of values that have shown its conception as a hunting tool, its use by weaponry defence and later a leisurely and educational instrument. We note, when discussing archers, that it is unlikely the NZ Forester archer was ever anything but a minor diversion that was more symbolic than it was a serious pastime. Still, possession of a bow still sits subconsciously as a form of protection rooted in history. Consider the Maoris who drove New Zealand’s largest flightless bird (the Moa) to extinction without the use of the bow, instead the spear. The use of weapons is now contested by those who govern the rules through species and environmental policies stemming from British political ideology, since changed because New Zealand is no longer a colony. Development has been linear and constant towards modernity, focusing on understanding and awareness of this instrumentality and environmentalism. Such an activity and artefact can be cultivated in everyday life through homes, schools (sport and exercise) and work (pest control). Gradually introducing the bow in these areas would diversify the interest of unique individuals, while still achieving mainstream objectives by intentionality and theory of practice. The bow has been used by many cultures, has been listed as one of the top five inventions in the world and is closely connected to nature in its materiality and origins by timeline breadth. Following this journey in the future will remain interesting as the symbolism reflects a cultural revolution. Created within a socialscape and made from the landscape, the bow is natural; therefore, anyone can explore nature by taking a bow from the woods of its origins and doing what they please with it, in accordance with the law and morals.
Knowing your place is easy if it is personal. Do and learn with it what you want because ‘landscape is the work of the mind’ which all my referenced literature refers to! Knowing a place in particular is different as it might not be something autonomous. Knowing place is challenging because it requires an intuition of interpreting meaning and establishments of places with mysteries that lay below the landscape. Consider the 17th and 18th century English landscape which depicts only a particular representation of place (country houses and parks) (Hoskins, 1955). This causes constructs through philosophy and anthropology that consider spaces becoming a place. Construing London versus the Lake District; two diversely distinct places, humans through romantic writing and economic globalization have influenced the scaffold of perception (Hoskins, 1955). Places are ambiguously changing through environment and culture both documented and professed or unsighted and lost. This perplexes the unaware and uninterested about the age of an old British pub, the construction might be 400 years old but the design influences trace further back. These places of solitude and remnant artifacts carry age and place composition.
My place is of sensibility with a common trend found in mutual societies. This place cannot be exclusive because it is a place that many people experience, therefore I do not own it and so call it our place. Found elsewhere I settle on it being a plurality as our places. People bring with them ideas and imported education of landscape representations (Wattchow & Brown, 2011) to collective establishments.
Our places will be in a location on the boundaries and peripheries of a green environment nature park and urban industrial township. This will be in The United Kingdom; Bowness Bay; Glebe Road and A592 Promenade Lake Road Junction; 54.362174-2.922723. At this position you have within a 100 metre vicinity: ferries, Hotels, greenspace park, Cafés/Shops, Recreational Water, four road directions, flora and fauna, footpaths and signs to name a few. Here exists a super-modernity of excessive information and space that Augé (2009) ensures will enlighten us.
Evolving this place started in my brain and no doubt that of others. It can never be a non-place in absolute terms because individual identity is framed relative to otherness (Augé, 2009).
Places make us and we make them as sources of identity (Wattchow & Brown, 2011). In a pure sense, the Greenspace Park found here was part of a larger ecological biosphere with no human formed barriers. Spatiality suggests that this was never a place until human invention.
Defining a place in the simplest sense is to afford meaning and establishment to a space. If you don’t know where you are you don’t know who you are (Wattchow & Brown, 2011). This loosely spoken, I contend that we know where we are not and that we know we are nomadic or homeless! Social policies strive for social inclusion through psychological help. This bases problems of not knowing place which neglects the complexities and excessive social networks we live in (Scanlon & Adlam, 2013). Because Bowness Park has a name and distinguishes as a ‘park’ highlights the otherness and separation from what once was. The size and mass of Windermere has not changed other than its thermocline, clarity, purity, meaning and use. Contrast this to the Bowness Bay/Glebe public greenspace park. What made the park into the size it is today is because of industrialization. What has saved it getting any smaller is the romantic period.
With mass integration of construction, cultural hybridization and plans of dwelling in such places, one is overwhelmed with how such a place came to be and what it now means to them. Place needs to consider all complexities and intricacies beyond what might otherwise be romanticized (Convery, Corsane & Davis, 2012). Using someone’s (possessive) place (distinction) begins with establishment and meaning, introduced and interacted on through birth and embodiment. What draws one away from this stage is separating locality into others (becoming places) and sharing place (my-yours-ours…).
Evolving in this place as history has shown, we like to share our places and afterwards need to explain them through knowing and theorizing often in prescriptive and modulated ways. Modernity and post-modernity has caused the engineering and instrumentality of place. This lineage from what we can learn of ourselves and give to nature has taken a turn towards what we can know of nature and give to ourselves. Man [sic] was a part of nature now an exploiter of nature (Schama, 1995). Such places have led to perceptual disjointed industrial sites of nowhere non-places (supermarkets, cinemas & computers). These are found in most populated places where one can be lost physically, temporally or spatially (Augé, 2009).
This sees the potential future of our places and even in the aforementioned place project a confused and contested landscape of space. With individuals consuming, possessing, regulating, fixing boundaries and making different meanings of landscape, perhaps our places will become complicated.
Furthermore they are becoming places of ethical contestation of integrated individuals. Some Aboriginals originating from the outback of Australia have segregated into cities. Deposed indigenous cultures claim and reinhabit (see Gruenewald, 2008) public places as spatial identities (Pieris, 2012). Questioning the status quo that spreads habitation and right of access to any person in a city leads to decisions about dwelling in an aboriginally unorthodox way. Facilities for Indigenous communities are invariably designed by non-Indigenous architects and shaped by the profession’s privileges by which struggles are politicized. In the city Aboriginals juxtapose modernity. Showcasing tactic communes in a poverty perceived way has attracted surveillance and otherwise had them removed from the public gaze. Resistantly responsive, an Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra was erected to echo voice throughout the city.
A way to embrace landscape could be to settle them within moral and mindful places rooted in indigenous knowing. I witnessed this through a company named Woodsmoke in the United Kingdom. They pride themselves in such practices of indigenous knowing through places rich in all facets of specialization and transcendent inhabitation. Place refers to experiences of embodied and cultural interpretations restoring indigenous cultures, looking at connections between land and ecology; the former sustains the latter (Wattchow & Brown, 2011).
Two examples of appropriated positioning show how placement and naturalization afford dolphins in the ocean and Fish and Chips in Britain. Place the dolphins in a torrent river and a fish and chip shop in a landlocked Asian country and it is clear to see tolerance but obvious dis-placement based on habitation and colonialization. Ecologically, we have evolved from immersion in nature to more urbanized or industrialized natures. Technology is consuming our attention while giving potential to ways in which we can interact with these natures. Also, time becomes less an issue where one can share in a place (Mount Everest Summit) without being there through communicating with a satellite phone while one receives this at home (Australia). This has been possible through political evolutions controlling economies of wealth, working-classes and societies. Psychogeography makes one cognitively aware of this mind-set and urban jungle life, but also resists it. Societal evolutions have come to realize this through individualization but also with others. These ideas of commune and support are prevalent in the literature (Wise, 2014; Spinney, 2006; Knapp, 2005; Jagger, 2013; Gruenewald, 2008; Bennett, 2015).
On my module we had to share places as part of our study. Interestingly, we had visited our own places within a place (Ambleside town). Most memorable for me was visiting some new places but mostly the variable interpretation of places that I had already been to: reproduced by another person on my module. This reinforced my understanding of historical evolutions because in New Zealand I grew close to a rich nature environment with its fair share of urbanization and industrialization. Hearing my classmates stories of place, most of us shared this continuity from what we were born with and have come to be comfortable in. Those that chose a place depicted by nature and was in its purest sense natural was something consistent with their life.
Deviations will occur in our places by enablers (funding, population, access & geo-societal closeness) and variables (weather, capacity & continental nearness). Between these opportunities and barriers draws me to consider my underlying assumptions about our places and for my landscape interpretation project. My audience might already firmly place themselves so I wonder how I will strengthen and engage these places with them. I have chosen to engage and transcend people’s experiences with efforts to dilute the viscous transitions between urban and natural establishments.
Exercising the experience and landscape.
The location that I chose gave me a rich opportunity to engage with passersby. I politely gained their attention by making a joke that they were lost. They asked me for my justification by which I said they have just come back from a fell walk and should be in a pub with a pint and packet of crisps. Alternatively, they looked as though they should be fell walking. This view based on their appearance gave them insight into my judgement of them that they appreciatively understood. Fortunately, I received their time and began to explain my interpretation of their placement.
These people were a family: Mum, Dad, two young children and a Grandparent.
I kept my aims brief and simple, telling them that I wanted to increase their engagement and understanding of a place and its transitions of boundaries. The objective was having them walk away feeling a sense of awareness about fringes as a portal between problems of urban and nature as well as place departures and arrivals.
The planning for this landscape learning uses one of Mannion, Fenwick, Nugent and LÁnsons (2011) typology of place-responsiveness: place sensitive teaching plans (noticing environment). Through talking and walking, these mediums based five human senses for delivery. Stage one was to have them show me where they came from, this I did not directly state nor expect to be physical. They showed me on their ‘smart’ phones that they had come from Keswick. For stage two they had to draw me a map of where they came from to where they thought they are without technology; I gave them stationery. Stage three had them kinesthetically reenact the mobility of their arrival between these places, which was driving. Stage four had them separately and secretively write a top three list of reasons they chose this mobility. They shared these collectively showing that time pressure, access and appeal had them choose this. For stage five I had them share with someone by explaining or reproducing the sensuous experiences during this mobility. They enjoyed this idea which I called pedagogy of play. Stage six had them find or point out (in)animate things about the environment where they are based, knowing that they can move in any direction and choose what to do. I founded this on Manion, Fenwick and Lynch (2013) who state that “place-responsive pedagogy involves explicitly teaching by-means-of-an-environment with the aim of understanding and improving human-environment relations” (p.804).
Feedback from my audience had them fascinated about the thoughtfulness behind what was for them an everyday instance. The young children enjoyed the practicality of drawing a map and were stimulated by the sensuous reproduction. Comments from the grandmother addressed different perspectives from her grandchildren, the thoughts that I had helped and that of her own given what she brought to the place. The parents alerted an awareness of destination versus journeying. This place, after my time with them became a portal and opportunity towards elsewhere by exploring journeying between places that they neglect. They said that it is equally important to consider where they go, how they get there and what they feel along the way. The children spoke of enjoying the café they were going to because arriving tired from a walk gave them reason to enjoy their food and drink. The children said further that if journeying was stimulating they would sometimes talk about what it was they saw and gave reason to their feelings within place on arrival.
The family were intrigued with the idea of places within places. Using the earth as a place, I focused inwards to countries as smaller places, followed by major cities as popularized places that led to where they then stood. After this, I introduced the idea of a metaphorical and even imaginary place.
I responded philosophically and practically to landscape places as significant with signposts of place responsive pedagogy: being present in and with place, stories and narratives and apprenticing ourselves to place (embodied knowing) (Wattchow & Brown, 2011). I rearticulated an idea about park planning from Stewart and others (2007) in contexts of an urban-agricultural fringe and developing land as a metaphor for this family and place. This needed a transformation from a worked landscape (the experience) into land suitable for a park (the family). Distinct from wildland-urban links where planning is often about protecting what is, urban-agricultural contexts are about envisaging what should be. This gave reason for me bringing forth this families own outward projections of place. Stewart and others’ (2007) first principle of park development embodies public memories of landscape and provides the community ecology and cultural heritage. The families’ immediate genealogy provided a source of thick descriptions. The second principle allows for these memories to be based on community restoration; the children had needs that the elderly addressed. This I reinforced as an investment based on Stewart and other’s (2007) place-making being about nurturing that creates public value for the visions of a park (this family). Critical pedagogy of place considers ecological thinking, decolonization and reinhabitation as reflexive practice-why, where and what are we teaching for whom and when? (Gruenewald, 2008).
Reflecting on practice.
This reflexivity challenges my biased opinion, the choice of my place and the representation of such qualities. I draw from my experience joining Cumbria Universities Brathay module about experiential learning to support my exercise. This used theory based practice showcased during this course and inspired by Gruenewald (2008) that all educators should expand the scope of their theories. To this extent I integrated Knapp’s (2005) use of Aldo Leopold’s ways to look which encompass curiosity and inquisitive habits in various ways, where my idea of departure and destination surfaced.
Such scope had me expose my vulnerabilities by proving that I was to co-experience this place with them. Equality of experience requires an intervention that has terms and conditions to be accepted or not by the receiver (Scanlon & Adlam, 2013). Anyone not active in inclusion – as drifters – are actively excluding others and vice versa. Outside of my six-staged structure, I tried a side project based on interesting empirical study (Fini, Costantini & Committeri, 2014). This addressed perceiving near and far influences of an object or landmark from four visions: by self, with an object nearby, with a person nearby and then a model/dummy person (which I did not have). This offered ways to see the landscape and distract us but Fini, Costantini and Committeri (2014) say that near space is enhanced with a human and model/dummy. Humans located in the extrapersonal space could influence the self-centered, egocentric space classification. Here I found that only far objects were acknowledged through sight and further appreciated if closer. This family confirmed Fini, Costantini and Committeri’s (2014) study and also discovered the possibility of engaging the other senses mostly through close people and object interaction.
My place as a metropolis.
I know about different environments, especially the urban not pure enough to be raw nor humanly sufficient to lack constituent politics.
Cities offer a metaphor to my knowledge or ambition to know a place because they are towering and vast. Through breadth and depth of knowledge, like the shape of a city, I am positioned to be more mindful. This offers observations of dynamic novel ecosystems and the interactions of various complexities. If not in line with environmental purity, urbanity can provide a good contrast and density to study the oppositions and impacts on the environment. We can study how people remain in places, their departing motivations and boundary crossing into the other (Francis, Lorimer & Raco, 2012). My topic expertise expanded within reach of Bennett’s (2008) assertion about belonging being tangible/material/practical and sensing the belonging by being/movement/rhythmic which I was surprised by such an absolution. If belonging is taken for granted do people care about belonging? Bennett takes a pragmatic approach grounded routinely in daily life. Bennett’s article has shown how a particular form of ontological belonging can be practiced.
Participants’ knowledge of place.
Making sense of place is a multi-disciplinary concept understanding complex processes of defining ones interaction with nature (Convery, Corsanem & Davis, 2012). My exercise proved that this family could define boundaries and see the spatiality between. This led me to pursue research on neighborhoods as seen in Baltimore known as ‘a city of neighborhoods’. Opinions in these areas begin with official physical and social neighborhood boundary experiences (Kato, 2009). This was reassuring when the young children of my family exercise stated how they had played unofficial fun sports with no rules in the Bowness/Glebe Greenspace Park. I had already delved into research about sporting roles in place. Wise (2014) showed observations of sporting play with no painted line boundaries as in most excessively developed countries, yet it is fair to all whom play. They highlight this place through strata, starting with a plain field as flood catchment, then animal grazing, baseball and football; many uses and transitional frames likened to the idea of layers (See Schama, 1995). If any boundaries existed in Wises’ (2014) research it was from the excessive use of the sport and the consistency of play that had patches and lines where play had been etched into the land. Often boundaries would be physically made by the spectators and side liners through an autonomous and preferential act (Wise, 2014).
We can know a place independent and in relation to others. I took an approach to landscape by knowing it with knowledge of others that has influenced this place. A sense of place forms through relating other places (Convery, Corsane & Davis, 2012).
Current landscape is a product of variables (natural, social and political). Unpacking these places’ variable history tells stories. Interpretation and subjective assessments of these decides how we view landscape whether perceptually objective and subjective. How we communicate landscape to others is also affected by our values. We may deliberately or unwittingly stress a certain perspective. Communicating landscapes is therefore subject to criticism. As an educator I need to become an ecologically skillful student of place pedagogies though purpose and people (Orr, 2004). Yet, I am academically and organizationally obliged by word counts, referencing style and supported assertions through books and journals to produce such work thus hiding motivations and biases of writing (Wattchow & Brown, 2011).
The grandmother in my family exercise expressed most concern about the park space lessened over time. Yet Convery, Corsane and Davis (2012) express such a person’s view that mourns the loss of place and places needing to see that nothing has gone because of the compositions that are temporal and possessive. Kloek and others (2013) also addressed such worrisome concerns within greenspaces that border the natural and urban. They spoke of three interactive areas: conduct (behavior and food), social inclusion (perceived worries) and access.
What does a visitor of place search for? Most are consumers. We need to draw on anthropologists to suit the world that might coincide with Macnaghten & Urry (2000) basing the sociological body in human experience ‘of’ the natural: buying natural products, nature marketing images, nature conservatists, natural practices: (re)producing nature. We embody contested natures based on deliberation, meaning and negotiation that separates nature which claims to be valuable and therefore consumable.
Developing further experiences.
In an immediate and simple sense I would repeat the exercise many times for trustworthiness and truth based on research.
Practically I would like to look more into community mapping and the crafting of experience. This explores and signifies local knowledge, visions held by community members enabling ownership of experience and the representation of place (Jagger, 2013). Mental maps and conversations lead to a better understanding of sensed space (Wise, 2014). Objects sensuously extend human ability (Macnaghten & Urry, 2000). Through drawing we can show our physical senses based on our historical pasts to represent a mental view (Lavoie, 2005). Crafting is more than just a presentation but also a means of education. Eventually I would try for immersion of experience found in Bennett’s (2015) example of a research participant that duration in place improves meaning and care for it.
Criticalities of place and experience.
Meinig (1979) offers various perceptions of seeing landscape. Education about what is moral, humane, right, global, inclusive and more (Orr, 2004). Cloke (2003) further asserts there are types of perception through veneers, rhetoric and cultural gaze. These examples surface in modernity as the terms ‘focalization’ and its ancestor ‘point of view’. Such are dead metaphors likening the narrative perspective (another visual metaphor) to the act of standing in a particular spot and seeing the world from there.
Projecting nature sees new policy directions and conservation initiatives of biodiversity and sustainability terms modernizing. Going beyond picturing the landscape to ‘visceral apperception’ uses all the senses and therefore describes the unseen but also the imaginative through the other senses (Warhol, 2014). Narratological and novelist approaches desensitize us from the environmental sensing that would otherwise deepen our experiences. Furthermore, multisensory movement shapes place through corporeality of the bodily experience. Movement through place defines our engagement with it. Body-subject in mobility needs more exploring because transport is more than a way to see from but to feel from. The landscape is the practice that makes it relevant, the landscape offers more than it outwardly projects but what we embody into (Spinney, 2006).
Through my ideas, inclusion of literature and the interaction with my audience it is clear to see there are many ways one can know place through varied possibilities. Taking a rational perspective I fixed some grounds so accepting such ideas comes with reasoning. This guided my action project and as a result the reflections sought to address this.
Beyond learning by doing it is important to be aware of the power the mind can have over ontological and epistemological worlds. Thinking through tangibility integrates theory and practice which produces mental frames surrounded by environments and our lives (Ingold, 2013). An example are the roads of mobility as a paradigmatic infrastructure, supporting the information society and extractive economies of developing nations offering inward and outward pedagogy (Ingold, 2010 & Spinney, 2006).
More than we can outwardly project, on various occasions I drew attention to what the landscape can place on us through external features. Making meaning of elements through weather experiences exercises the human and nature relationship. Shaping a footprint in the bush from a weighted figure impressed into the ground shows such an immediate effect. The temporality of this feature exists in the interface of weathering changing its composition therefore providing a connection between the landscape, environment and person (Ingold, 2010). More than pragmatic; poetic and storied impressions imprint their stratification of the mind and landscape (Schama, 1995). We mostly experience the ‘solid substances’ of the earth. Multisensory weather experiences help us define our place. These change for people that follow a working ski season or chase summer seasons for romantic leisure; differing reasons but influenced by the weather. Through climate a somatic explanation of our habitus gives evidence to embodied knowing (Vannini et. al, 2012). Despite our efforts to manufacture the landscape, nature still blows through migratory evidence (species, seedlings, natural disasters). Nature still exists and occupies spaces reminding us that our reactions to such events are reflections on ourselves (Adams, 2003).
Addressing whose place a location belongs to and what place is was important. Understanding and agreeing on this is challenging which I cautiously approached. This provokes thought considering places we feel most attached to, what places offer the most stimulation and where our closest and most populated connections live. If home is of comfort and one is comfortable with the weather then one is at home. As the weather locates and travels in many spaces it therefore suggests that one has many places as homes along the weathers’ journey.
It is advised we focus on immediacy of environment by ‘walking along’; not accumulating particular places of elsewhere (Wunderlich, 2008) likened to ‘being present’ as alluded to in many self-help books. We might neglect the meaning of place but are passing through varied constructs. Inconclusively I write this as a summary not a conclusion which otherwise implies a finishing which would contradict place and its construction. Rather, it is best to be aware of all facets that integrate people and the landscape, taking the information available to us carefully. Often material will tell us how to live a better life, improve on something and change our paradigms based on othering. This might be better to consider a world that is not perfect nor about bettering but good enough which has us content in our ways and considerate of others.
Adams, W. M. (2003). Future nature: a vision for conservation. London; Sterling, Va.: Earthscan.
Augé, M. (2009). Non-places: introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity. London: Verso.
Bennett, J. (2015). ‘Snowed in!’: Offbeat Rhythms and Belonging as Everyday Practice. Sociology, 49(5), 955-969.
Cloke, P (2003). Country Visions. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Convery, I., Corsane, G., & Davis, P. (2012). Making sense of place: multidisciplinary perspectives. Boydell & Brewer.
Hoskins, W. G. (1955). The making of the English landscape. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Fini, C., Costantini, M., & Committeri, G. (2014). Sharing Space: The Presence of Other Bodies Extends the Space Judged as Near. Plos ONE, 9(12), 1-11.
Francis, R. A., Lorimer, J., & Raco, M. (2012). Urban ecosystems as ‘natural’ homes for biogeographical boundary crossings. Transactions of the Institute Of British Geographers, 37(2), 183-190.
Gruenewald, D. A. (2008). The best of both worlds: a critical pedagogy of place. Environmental Education Research, 14(3), 308-324.
Ingold, T. (2013). Making: archaeology, anthropology, art and architecture. London: Routledge.
Ingold, T. (2010). Footprints through the weather-world: walking, breathing, knowing. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, (16), 121-139.
Jagger, S. (2013). “This Is More Like Home”: Knowing Nature through Community Mapping. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, (18), 173-189.
Kato, Y. (2009). Where is Bolton Hill?: Drawing, Stretching, and Contracting Neighborhood Boundaries. Conference Papers – American Sociological Association, 1.
Kloek, M. E., Buijs, A. E., Boersema, J. J., & Schouten, M. G. (2013). Crossing Borders: Review of Concepts and Approaches in Research on Greenspace, Immigration and Society in Northwest European Countries. Landscape Research, 38(1), 117-140.
Knapp, C. E. (2005). The “I – Thou” Relationship, Place-Based Education, and Aldo Leopold. Journal of Experiential Education, 27(3), 277-285.
Lavoie, C. (2005). Sketching the Landscape: Exploring a Sense of Place. Landscape Journal, 24(1), 13-31.
Macnaghten, P., & Urry, J. (2000). Bodies of Nature: Introduction. Body and Society. 6(3-4), 1-11.
Meinig, D. W. (1979). “The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene.” In Meinig, D. W & Brinckerhoff Jackson, J (1979) The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays, edited by D. W. New York: Oxford University Press.
Orr, D. (2004). Earth in mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Pieris, A. (2012). Occupying the centre: Indigenous presence in the Australian capital city. Postcolonial Studies, 15(2), 221-248.
Scanlon, C., & Adlam, J. (2013). Knowing Your Place and Minding Your Own Business: On Perverse Psychological Solutions to the Imagined Problem of Social Exclusion. Ethics & Social Welfare, 7(2), 170-183.
Schama, S. (1995). Landscape and memory. London: Harper Collins.
Spinney, J. (2006). A place of sense: a kinaesthetic ethnography of cyclists on Mont Ventoux. Space and Planning, (24), 709-732.
Stewart, W., Barkley, J., Kerins, A., Gladdys, K., & Glover, T. (2007). Park Development on the Urban – Agricultural Fringe. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 25(4), 117-138.
Vannini, P., Waskul, D., Gottschalk, S., & Ellis-Newstead, T. (2012). Making Sense of the Weather: Dwelling and Weathering on Canada’s Rain Coast. Space & Culture, 15(4), 361-380.
Warhol, R. (2014). Describing the Unseen: The Visceral and Virtual Construction of Spaces in Bleak House. Style, (4), 612-628.
Wattchow, B & Brown, M. (2011). A Pedagogy of Place: Outdoor Education for a Changing World. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: Monash University Publishing.
Wise, N. (2014). Layers of the Landscape: Representations and Perceptions of an Ordinary (Shared) Sports Landscape in a Haitian and Dominican Community. Geographical Research, 52(2), 212-222.
Wunderlich, F. M. (2008). Walking and Rhythmicity: Sensing Urban Space. Journal of Urban Design, 13(1), 125-139.
Review of Beyond Learning by Doing (Roberts, 2012); chapters six and seven
Policy Making and Practical Context
Innovative and individualized teaching that targets meaningful action is a concept Roberts suggests is growing in 21st century education. The most influential voice of education, arguably, is Ken Robinson who has recently in 2015 written a book based on these premises.
Beyond learning by doing is a transformative process of questioning and critiquing a founding experience. Roberts suggests that students deepen their experience beyond simply participating as an arbitrary or ‘quirky’ exercise; making it more rigorous.
The ‘token’ pragmatics of a typical experience such as Roberts’ example of the touristic gaze down Grand Canyon he speaks of as normative; referring to more a result than theoretical perspective. The river that cuts through this canyon serves as a metaphorical supply in education through demand for which he calls the market economy. He uses rivers as metaphor toward the ongoing rationalization and modernization of our notion of experience in education. Experience and market mark ways in which the rising economies and variations of rationalism have normalized a particular notion of experience. Looking at “the river”, landscapes are environmentally congenial for the species. Instead of existing within the river, normative currents take place about the landscape. But our environment continues to be hardscaped through urbanization; influencing the river from the surrounding landscape. Consequently, the river currents become homogenous and may lose character, diversity and clarity. Still a river, no doubt, but changed and impoverished.
Altering our thoughts on education experience in today’s society favors a more practical or instrumental rationality which Weber has argued. We take this as a way to gain useful skills and increase potential. Weber argues this resulting phenomenon stems from the growth of modernity, rising market economies and bureaucratic processes.
Deeper meaning of literal water currents are a metaphor of social, economic and environmental learning of experience converging into wholeness. There is a correlation between democracy, education and experience. It has capacity to connect different approaches and build a new vision for education that takes seriously the interactive role of student, teacher and society in the democratic process. The river of experience is only alive in its conflicts, tensions and multiplicity. The impeded stream reminds us there is much to do, more to fight for.
In our own professional practices we have considered what value a decontextualized, prescribed and shallow learning agenda some schools and initiatives take. Experiential education is incomplete in two ways: its ‘roots’ and ‘fruits’. By this Roberts means that maybe we base our knowledge on shallow grounds. From where do we take our knowledge? Do we integrate all points of view? We need to expand the field’s roots; building connections. We can compare this to “rope-courses” from the 1960’s. The concern being an illusion of freedom, while it is not. The neo-experience makes individuals rational consumers with false choices of freedom, when in fact, they are laid out for them. There is no reflection involved, no social engagement, which Dewey (1958) considers to be essential in real experience. This colonization of experience in education shows larger shifts within educational progressivism. If experiential education practitioners are to address real concerns of inequality, marginalization and hegemony, we must learn a new civic hood; one that is based on the ideals of deliberation, community, and responsibility.
Teachers need to be aware of their inclusive planning that fosters rigor in transformative experiences. Dewey disagreed to Lippmann’s conclusion that experts should manage democracy. Dewey believed that people who had an understanding would have to contribute to involvement. In these chapters, writings show that experience goes beyond the knowledge learnt into social relations. These address daily life; contextually part of any education experience not seen as an obstacle but an essential element. Chapter six points to differentiation of behavior versus meaningful action, perhaps one sub conscious and one conscious, respectively. Interpersonal workshops addressed in these chapters showcase how to conceptualize student experience strengthening learning communities. In school, teachers need to organize these workshops, though a challenge of authentic experience dependent on the teachers’ active role through a democratic experiential education.
Weber steers social interaction towards a meaningful action as opposed to behavior. He was more interested in social interaction and how various players adjusted to conditions than he was in developing some functionalist theory. He came up with four different types of meaningful social action: traditional, affectual, value and practical. According to Benton, education makes better citizens who are more sensitive with the ability to accept reality, truth and beauty which helps them understand worldly pleasures. To Habermas, the systematic world becomes problematic when it expands on the education, family life and media. Weber formed a homogenous and abstract rationalization which critical theorists would argue: the process of rationalization is not inherent, rather explained by certain ideologies. Habermas talked about system (economy and administration) and the live-world (education, family and media). He says that these two elements had become homogenous through colonization. This critical theory suggests that culture, politics and ideologies play a part in rationalizing education. Habermas problematizes the encroachment of the system world on the lifeworld that leads to a form of colonization and means-ends thinking.
Engel and Ritzer show how instrumental reason is inhabiting public spaces in education. Four dimensions of “McDonalization” inspire the globe to be more homogenous. These are:
1) Efficiency produce tons of food in a short time,
2) Calculability quantitative over quality,
3) Predictability same products worldwide,
4) Control no human mistakes because the food is made by machines.
This article provides thought about neo-experiential education which is the shift from environmental education experiences to service learning action and more traditional classroom programs. Beyond learning by doing addresses understanding such school and experiential activities. By example, the affordances of a ski jump has one using skis and flying through the air. Going beyond this embodiment could entail understanding planning competitive events and the politics of rules and participation. In another example; rock climbing, the names of climbs are based on the choice of the first climber and they are often recreational. The current association of climbs are not mis-educative rather could be educating toward currents of future education where names are termed towards curriculum, learning and provoke thinking. We must also ask ourselves what is the purpose of experiential education. Does current curriculum allow for students to have a voice? We talk about autonomy and freedom but do these notions translate into our practice? The hopeful and imagined current sees experiential education as something not just fragile, rather as something that is incomplete and this we need to work on.
As a planner of experiential programs for participants, Dewey suggests that it is the teacher who is central to student experience. We think it is best to consider in what way the teacher conceptualizes experience. Chapter seven is about how fragile a democracy can be. It is about how to find the meaning and relevancy for a ‘real world’ education. Social participation plays a main role in democratic societies. Consequently, there is an argument on this topic about the practice of contemporary democracy. Moreover, this article explores the ways of experimental learning through democratic education where experience is enhanced by combining democracy and education. Therefore democracy holds a great potential to gain alternative approaches to learning. Finally, Roberts highlights that though experiential education does not always provide happy endings, we should celebrate not having all the answers. Sometimes we fail. The importance is how experiential education can help us in our progress towards a more democratic education field, where students, teachers and community interact.
Employee Wellbeing Programs
Never have healthy minds been more important in business. Being with others while outdoors doing exercise forms much of life and makes living far better. Organisations thrive with clear, creative thinking and people who collaborate. That’s kinda difficult with a strung out brain. Combine healthy exercise with being on the water for a workout or wind down that benefits mind and body.
Our activities help define leadership roles within teams, providing creative new ways to approach collaboration.
We’re on a mission for engaging more societies with more nature and more movement. People love what we do, and what we do together is amazing…
Try our ‘Nature Now’ concept: If your workers are stressed, fatigued and struggling at work – they can call us and go on a quick nature fix (at your discretion).
Choose nature for a unique way to get your team outdoors doing something active together, its what we do, its in our name! Take your staff off-site and involve them in newness and novelties to create a positive work culture. It helps networking, socializing, and getting to know each other better. Socializing and making friends in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office.
Team bonding activities improve workplace projects and boosting team performance. Learning to understand each other better and work together is vital to team success.
All our engagements allow for motivation and something to look forward to, fun, team spirit and celebration.
Because people have a larger imagination when around people they are comfortable with, we see increases in collaboration and the fostering of innovation and creativity. Successful team building brings people closer together and leads to more successful and creative workplace ideas. More so, communication improves and is the top reason why people choose team building.
Our adventure techniques result in high levels of involvement, insight and finally the opportunity for change and improvement. The activities require participants to focus on using skills such as planning, analysing, organising and communicating.
SNM engage with workers through before and after work training and providing those identified as at risk with case management support that connects them to suitable professional support. SNM Field Workers are trained in nature deficit disorders and have social experience with creating cultures in Building and Construction Industries. This allows them to engage easily with the workers on site.
Health experts recommend employees not work more hours to be productive, rather they take breaks to come back fresh and effective.
Southern Cross NZ say that health and wellness programs contribute to increased productivity and less sick days.
A healthier workforce also results in championing of the company to others a.k.a good role modelling.
We break down barriers of participation, work to your schedule as to not inconvenience anyway or get in the way of work. So if you already know common quiet periods at work or workers needed less at particular times, then these are perfect periods to plan excursions with SNM.
Perhaps we create a walking, running, cycling, kayaking, paddle board, climbing group at lunch time; possibly an extended-lunch break.
Don’t worry about employees taking time out of work as they will come back more attentive; making up for it!
The future of workplace wellness
The health and wellness industry is expanding rapidly. You can’t walk down the work halls without overhearing conversations about fitness trackers, on-demand workouts, business-sponsored activities and plant-based diets. Everyone is writing about it and reading about it.
There is increasing competition to recruit and retain staff, struggles for being green, sustainable, getting positive media attention etc. So the question will soon be, how deep and innovative you can go as a business. Often this involves collaboration, which together we can pave the way into 21st century employment and work.
As the industry grows, so does its influence on businesses. Making the Deloitte top200 or fast50, cushy pay checks, fancy Christmas parties, expensive conference venues etc. won’t last and is bound for change. Being an authentic ‘employer of choice’ and an ‘exceptional workplace’ means taking care of work-life balances. Doing so improves your organizational reputation, because without our staff we don’t exist.
Companies are looking into holistic health benefits — of the mind, body, soul and beyond; existential value helping human beings be human with purpose and meaning in their lives.
You will increasingly compete with others to attract talent based on your health and wellness benefits. More organizations are offering employees a wellness menu. As trends continue to accelerate, it’s clear that organizations lacking these offerings could be left behind while others will excel in offering unique benefits. So, get ahead of the curve as a company leader and keep this business wellness trend on your radar in the years ahead!
Some say we’re only as healthy as our communities. Everything we do has a purpose by connecting our events back to your business and creating a positive culture. In creating business cultures, we start learning about your company, team and goals. Whether that’s injecting a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) component, or simply bringing our fresh and fun ideas to the table – we’ve got you covered.
Get ahead of the curve: the feathers of the status quo need to be ruffled from time to time. You may think you are doing everything correctly, but that is exactly what habits tell you. Let us help you prevent any declining rates of antisocialism, nature deficit disorder and immobility before it is too late and you need to spend more time and money curing it.
Finding work-life balance
The pace of our modern times seems to leave us with less and less time to do the things we love. Now more than ever, Social Nature Movement understands the need to adapt the way we work and live to create balance within our busy lives. It is our mission to reconnect society with the essence of natural living, and through movement and exploration, show that health really is the new wealth!
Social Nature Movement believes there are mutual benefits in forming a business partnership or strategic alliance and pooling resources in order to pursue common objectives.
Our adventures cater for everyone regardless of their dispositions. Activities are healthy and safe, covering wide ranges of interests.
Everyone gains new skills, knowledge and experiences enabling them to safely undertake their own – or more advanced – pursuits.
We work around your specific needs to create the best experience for your workforce.
Business collaboration results:
Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability
89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work
96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention
Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year.
61% of employees are burned out on the job.
61% of employees agree that they have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program.
89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.
87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.
“High employee churn remains a central challenge for one in five (20%) New Zealand HR professionals”
“over two-thirds (67%) of HR professionals in New Zealand believe there is a skills shortage within their industry.”
“The competition for talent in New Zealand is ripe, challenging 64% of respondents” (attracting talent is another reason to do SNM)”
“Two in five (41%) HR professionals are indifferent about the effectiveness of their rewards and recognition program, with one-third (33%) feeling their program is ineffective or extremely ineffective.”
“17% is the average employee turnover rate across Australia and New Zealand”
Increased support capacity
– Increased social connectivity
– Improve bottom lines
– Help your staff live happier and healthier
– Combat a sedentary work environment.
– Reducing absenteeism because of stress.
– Reducing financial stress.
– Setting up team-based initiatives.
– Combating lack of senior involvement.
– Show you care about your people; actively prioritising health, safety and mental wellbeing.
– Become part of a growing family of like-minded organisations.
– Promote your business as a responsible and engaged partner in your people’s lives.
– Goes beyond the workplace and into our every-day lives.
We are known to create positive cultures within ones workplace and lifestyles.
We create cultures of:
– Team development
– High performance
– Healthy habits
We interact with your staff and interview them; getting their insights on tips and tricks to be social in nature while moving, e.g.:
– How are you managing daily routines?
– What do you do when needing help?
– What do you do when feeling stressed?
– What do you do when feeling lonely?