By-standing memories of curious observations: children’s storied landscapes of ecological encounter

Dunkley, R. A. and Smith, T. A. (2019) By-standing memories of curious observations: children’s storied landscapes of ecological encounter. Cultural Geographies, 26(11), pp. 89-107. (doi: 10.1177/1474474018792652)

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Abstract

Founded in contemporary concerns that children are increasingly disconnected from nature, this paper explores how children re-imagine their memories of childhood experiences within the landscape of a National Park. The concept of ‘re-connecting’ children with ‘nature’ has recrystalised around conceptualisations of ‘slow ecopedagogy’ as a form of ecological conscientisation. Through creative mapping with children from the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, this paper questions whether exposure to such environments pre-disposes young people to an environmental consciousness. Examining children’s creative representations of childhood memories from nonhuman encounters, and building on Philo’s discussion of ‘childhood reverie’, we develop the concept of by-standing memories to articulate how children re-story their own memories, the landscapes in which they take place, and the nonhumans they include. Something of a ‘child panic’ currently surrounds the disconnect between children and ecology. While some are concerned by this ‘child panic’, which positions children as ‘bystanders’ to adult affairs, we argue that by-standing is critical for how children tell stories of their dwellings in, and curious observations of, place. The re-telling of childhood memories stretches the conceptualisation of slow ecopedagogy beyond the place of encounter, to the creative spaces of storying and re-telling, which are equally critical for memory itself.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dunkley, Dr Ria
Authors: Dunkley, R. A., and Smith, T. A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:Cultural Geographies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:1474-4740
ISSN (Online):1477-0881
Published Online:13 August 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cultural Geographies 26(1): 89-107
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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