3 challenges, 3 aims

by ariadnesthread101

Calling these meetings ‘sessions’ makes me think of corrective education or psychotherapy, but oh well. We had our first ‘session’ this afternoon!   I’d love for others to weigh in and comment but we’ll only be discussing our joint plans for this blog next week.  I’ll (wo)man the fort in the meanwhile.

Today I gave the new students a general introduction to the aims of Ariadne’s Thread and what I hope we will do every week.

Very roughly, the point of the whole thing is to be able to provide the space, and tools, required to navigate the interdisciplinary maze that is environmental studies. Students on these course face 3 key challenges:

1. Getting used to the methods and requirements of Masters-level scholarly work in multiple disciplines to the required standard. We’ll spend time reviewing course requirements, assignments and the basics (and beyond) of referencing, researching, writing and reading for academia.

2. Meeting, and getting to know, multiple disciplines in both natural and social sciences and most importantly, being able to build bridges between the two. Recognising how insights from different places inform real-world problems, illuminate the heart of the problem and spark the imagination towards novel solutions. Cross-disciplinary thinking is more than scholarly acrobatics. It is a means towards which we can gain a relevant understanding of the real world.

3. Third: if you study ‘this stuff’ in some depth, or any, you’re going to have questions and concerns that are deeply personal. I don’t think we gain anything by pretending that these personal concerns are separate from the main activity of getting an education. The ‘environmental’ journey is nothing if not deeply personal. ‘The ultimate penalty of an ecological education is that one lives alone, in a world full of wounds,’ bemoaned Aldo Leopold. Yes. But why live like that. Those wounds exist in the outer world, we acknowledge that. Why not also acknowledge their effect in our inner world, so that we can begin to transcend these and move towards a more productive and effective stance?  The hope is that being open in a trusted group setting will allow this process to begin.

I’m looking forward to next week!

Still to come in this series of introductory posts: Why ‘Ariadne’s Thread’? So what will we do during our 2 hour slots? More on these mid-week. Until then, a great weekend, everyone!

– Zareen