The Listening Train: A Collaborative, Connective Aesthetics Approach to Transgressive Social Learning
This paper explores a personal iterative retrospective of a series of expansive social-learning processes that were collaboratively developed through practice-based enquiry across 17 South African towns/contexts. This reflexive narrative explores the development of a ‘Climate Train’, a mobile social-learning platform, that was conceived and created through a collaborative social movement of ‘cultural practitioners’ ranging from visual artists, poets, film-makers, theatre-makers, guerrilla-gardeners, musicians, facilitators, to educational researchers, among others, who created new ‘connective aesthetic’ social spaces for dialogue and exchange. Drawing from a variety of artistic genres, including but not limited to theatre and social sculpture (an expanded concept of public/participatory art), I reflect on the formative, foundational qualities of these approaches and share insights into social-learning praxis that emerged on the tracks. Of primary focus is the use of aesthetic praxis as a means that transforms how we engage with our inner capacities as well as how we develop our relational sensibilities. Key findings include the vital role of connective aesthetics in establishing imaginal thinking, moral intuition, empathy, participative parity, and emergence, and how these are important for transformation and establishing new capacities for ecological/global citizenship and collaborative intelligence.
Keywords: Connective aesthetics, transgressive learning, transformation, social learning,
transdisciplinary praxis, practice-based research, commons, ecological citizenship.