A Floating Colloquium
July 6-18, 2014
& the Yukon River
Why Wild Pedagogies?
An aim of this colloquium is to challenge dominant cultural ideas about control—of each other, of nature, of education, and of learning. It rests on the premise that an important part of education can include intentional activities that provide a fertile field for personal and purposeful experience without controlling the outcomes, and hence wild pedagogies.
While wilderness areas—and also what some would call hybrid spaces—will be the crucible for reflection on these issues, this idea of wildness will guide deeper reflections. This “wild” entrée riffs off of the Old English meaning of wilderness, of self-willed land. The opposite, then, is being controlled—or as John Livingston called it, domesticated. Of course these are not absolute terms, but ones that need to be contextualized, with much hybrid space between. So, in this sense wildness invites considerations about control.
What, then, is there about wild experiences that people value; what are the core elements? And, at this core, are there elements important for everyone in education? If core elements can be framed as wild pedagogies, how can they be welcoming and relevant for people across disciplines? What could self-willed pedagogy or self-willed education look like?
During the colloquium, participants will share in conceptual and ontological experiments in wild pedagogy that will challenge and probe ideas about control. The experiments of this colloquium will take place primarily in wilderness settings—and will seek to locate the wild within our experiences, our teaching, and ourselves. It is, however, important to note that wild pedagogies can also take place in urban settings and other hybrid spaces.
“All things that represent life at its most vital and wild wiggle. Words wiggle into metaphor; sperm wiggles; dancing and jokes and giggling wiggle; the shape and character of tumultuous life is a wiggling one”
(Jay Griffiths, Wild: An elemental journey, p. 66).
The same is true of education and pedagogy; so, this colloquium will wiggle, too.