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Is Culture the Core?

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Glenn Sutter

on 5 January 2012

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Transcript of Is Culture the Core?

Is Culture the Core?
Other Key Models
The Human Factor
What is Culture?
Really? Is culture:

A class of activities that a certain segment of society engages in during their leisure time?
A niche of entertainment – one that has some particular educational value?
Something that refers to the past, is embodied in objects, amassed in public collections, and exhibited by institutions?

Worts (2006), J. of Museum Ed 31:41-48
Or is it this?

A basic pattern of assumptions invented, discovered or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration.

Edgar Schein
Culture is central to sustainability and a pervasive force that can foster or hamper social and economic change, so our view of culture needs to be as broad as possible. We need to foster cultural transformation at all levels, including the individual level.

“… development divorced from its human or cultural context is growth without a soul.”

Our Creative Diversity, UNESCO (1995).
Where are You?
How confident are you that markets, science, and technology can put us on a sustainable path?
(1 = not very confident; 10 = very confident)
How many benefits are associated with globalization?
(1 = few benefits; 10 = many benefits)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Social Green
Focus: Economies
some issues, but overall improvement.
poverty, weak growth, market failure, and poor policies are problems.
future = growth, efficiency, market-based incentives, corporate volunteerism.
Focus: Ecosystems
systems are being taxed
central problem is a mix of over- popualtion, excess growth, and over-consumption.
future = new economy with limits to growth and conscious decisions to control greed, exploration, and reproduction.
Focus: Institutions
global crisis possible unless state capacity and effectiveness improves.
problems due to weak institutions and limited global cooperation.
future = globalization harnessed to promote strong institutions and equity.
Focus: Justice
social injustice is the core of the current crisis.
global industrialism a major problem, combined with unequal patterns of consumption.
future = new modes of production that foster local community, autonomy, and empowerment.
Clapp and Dauvergne (2005) "Paths to a Green World"
Eco-social Systems
(Adaptive Renewal)
Why is this important?

We affect and respond to these cycles as we pursue cultural needs*.

* Includes personal needs for empowerment, empathy, connection to place, safety, personal meaning, creativity, etc., and collective needs for civil rights and responsibilities, participatory democracy, etc.

Key question: What feedback is required to ensure our efforts foster a culture of sustainability?
Can we affect how
our cultures evolve?
Models of Culture
Culture & Sustainability
Sobering Signs
Who are you?
Clapp and Dauvergne (2005) "Paths to a Green World"
….the sum total of all values, collective memory, history, beliefs, mythology, rituals, symbolic objects and built heritage which reflect the manner in which a people relate to:

a) aspects of life they can know and control; as well as,

b) aspects they cannot fully understand or control, but to which they need to have a conscious relationship.

Douglas Worts
Douglas Worts
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Learning Outcomes:

Enhanced ecological and community literacy, including:
Knowledge of place and community including how to live sustainably in a place
Knowledge of feedback loops, critical thresholds, and indicators
Systems thinking skills including an awareness of resilience and interdependence
Appreciation for global stressors and their local impact
Head (cognitive) – Understanding how to live sustainably in a given region.

Provides opportunities to learn about and from other cultures and traditions?
Uses first person whenever possible (for example: ethnographic, fine arts exhibits)?
Uses native artist/speaker language in exhibit texts, with translations?
Uses art and science to structure observations of the natural world?
Enhances knowledge through direct engagement with and study of the natural world?
Provides opportunities for assessing social, economic and environmental health? (development of sustainable community indicators)
Increases knowledge of ecological design, through the use of local materials in construction?
Considers scientific interpretations alongside Traditional Ecological Knowledge and non-Western knowledge (where appropriate?
Heart (affective/motivation) – Feeling connected to Nature and the interdependence of human and non-human communities.

Provides a respectful forum where visitor feel safe to discuss issues that affect their communities?
Tells a story through the use of multiple narratives or perspectives?
Enables visitors to make personal connections between their lives and the stories being told?
Encourages visitors to examine personal values, attitudes, and beliefs?
Enables visitors to better understand themselves in relation to others?
Helps visitors appreciate how their worldview is reflected in their daily actions and consumption choices?
Provides opportunities for exchanges that build cross-cultural relationships?
Helps people build a sense of identity and ownership for the museum?
Uses green design and local materials to provide pleasing, aesthetic experiences that celebrate space and place?
Invites people to go outside and experience the natural world firsthand?
Create spaces for solitude and reflection?
Creates safe, well- scaffolded learning experiences?
Hands (psychomotor) – Skills and abilities that foster sustainable communities, restorative economies, and healthy ecosystems.

Provides opportunities for active engagement in ways that further the mission and core values of the institution?
Visitor feedback and assessment processes are used to guide exhibit and program development?
Provides opportunities for individuals to change their behavior and reduce their ecological footprint?
Invites visitors to create, share, and connect with each other around content?
Reflects a respect and appreciation for community and invites community participation?
Provides ways for participants to foster positive change at the community level through neighborhoods, policy, and personal action?
Provides opportunities for hands-on service-learning work, such as ecological restoration or gardening?
Provides opportunities to celebrate nature and human communities through art?
Learning Outcomes:

Enhanced ecological and community consciousness, including:
Appreciation for biological and cultural diversity as the essence of nature and community
Awareness that we are dependent upon the natural world and each other
Clarity about personal and collective values and beliefs re. the environment, justice, and prosperity
A sense of responsibility and empowerment as a citizen and consumer.
Learning Outcomes:

Enhanced capacity for sustainable living and sustainable communities, including:
Conflict resolution skills
Environmental restoration and/or sustainable agriculture skills
Knowledge, skills, and desire to monitor and reduce ecological footprint
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