You defend what you feel: ‘Presencing’ nature as ‘experiential knowing’

Click to watch Hilary Bradbury interview Gioel Gioacchino about her work.

Newly minted PhD., Gioel Gioacchino, writes about a youth-led action research process carried out in Cuba. Their action research supported a network of youth to champion sustainability in a country that is simultaneously more “sustainable” in an ecological sense than most countries, but with little space for youth to take leadership. The work brought together ten young people, some from Cuba, some from abroad, as co-researchers.First they designed a series of learning workshops across three main cities in Cuba, to which they brought their insights from interviews with experts. Distilling what’s useful, Gioel blends two conceptual models that together emphasize aesthetic as well as cognitive learning. Because of its power, the young people started with attention to their own experiential search for harmony and belongingness with nature. Their felt experience was their catalyst.

Following from this, the action research was practical in supporting further experiments in the flourishing of persons, communities, and the wider ecology. The move beyond overly cognitive learning is not as well practiced as it should be. Others doing similar work can build on this experiential emphasis, which helps balance what are often overly cognitive learning efforts that fail to touch people’s hearts and, therefore fail, to involve their hands in making things better.

We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading this article in the Special Issue of Action Research HERE.

After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!