introduction to Artizein special edition on Art, Ecology and Education

Jan van Boeckel, Guest Editor

To me, one the most compelling expressions of art, ecology and education coming together happened when I attended a lecture, a decade or more ago, by Timo Jokela, a Finnish professor in art education and environmental artist. He gave a presentation on his work, addressing his audience from a platform. In front of him was a glass of water. “This here,” he started his presentation, pointing his finger at the water, “is part of my environment.” He then raised the glass to his mouth and took a deep sip. He paused a moment. “Now it is part of me.”

With his performance or, if you will, artistic intervention, Jokela made something clear. The self and environment are always intertwined and inseparable. I found it, in all its simplicity, a great teaching, a compelling expression of the idea that ecology is not something “out there.” My own initiation and immersion in the field happened, I now see in retrospect, when I facilitated a course titled “Art in place, linking art and ecology” at Schumacher College in the United Kingdom, in 2006, with guest teachers Antony Gormley, Peter London and Peter Randall-Page. The grounding idea was that aesthetic and ecological sensibilities are two sides of the same coin. I was drawn by the following description: “Nature has always inspired artists, and art offers a medium for a deeper environmental connection. This course will offer an opportunity to explore the relationship between humans and the natural world … the union between art and ecology.”

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The World is Breathing Me. Introduction to Artizein Arts &Teaching Journal issue on Art, Ecology and Education. Available from: [accessed Nov 06 2017].