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Earth Education and Communication

"I find it very worrying that we don’t talk about nature anymore. We talk about natural resources as if everything had a price tag. You cannot buy spiritual values at a shopping mall. An old-growth forest, a clear river, the flight of a golden eagle, the howl of a wolf, the vitality of a tiger, space and quiet without motors, TVs, mobiles — these are intangibles. Those are the values that people need, that uplift our spirit."
~ George B. Schaller

"We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves."
- Andy Goldsworthy

Sarvam, Sarvatmakam - Everything is related to the whole, Vyasa, Yoga Sutra Bhasya

Embodied Practice: Students working to reclaim urban wasteland across the N4 campus to set up action points, Mati Eco Club and a charter for a sustainable institute. Project initiated by second year students of EEC and supported by students of IAIDP. PC: Vaishnavi Giridharan and Stuti Jiandani


The Earth Education and Communication course at Srishti encourages students to get inspired by the relationships they personally form with the natural world as a complex system of interdependence and co-existence amidst survival and sustenance. We observe and investigate the porous boundaries that connect the human and more-than-human worlds with wonder and celebration. Most environmental concerns do not fit neatly into any one disciplinary knowledge system. We place significant value on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary problem solving.

Species Watching: Justine captures a squirrel sprinting across at the Bhoganandeeshwara Temple, Bangalore. PC: Justine Stortz

While there are many worldviews and contentious viewpoints in allied fields that deal with environmental issues, in this course we critically inquire into "being human" and if it is possible to achieve a symbiotic relationship with the evolving natural world around us. We see humans as a species powered through centuries of evolution and the environment, a piece in a complex intricate puzzle and not at the top of the food chain or at the apex of power. We choose to ask- As an intelligent species how do we consciously engage with the natural world at work around us? Can we create symbiotic relationships that are driven by the intelligence of the body in its sensorial relationships with life?

Educating for ecological consciousness: Nidhi discovers ways to engage young people in connecting back with nature through art based exercises in bird watching. PC: Nidhi Shah

Frog Watch: Students learn to identify different frog species with batrachologist, Dr. K.V. Gururaja at B.R.Hills. PC: Srivi Kalyan

What are the ethics and philosophies that can help us engage with conflicts, painful realities and contentious debates? How can art, design and technology be used to push the boundaries of ecological discourse and create points for action? What can traditional practices from different cultures offer in the way of wisdom to all that we grapple with in environmental issues today? These and more questions serve as a guide map to engaging with and creating within this program. This course is an attempt to explore how polarised, `silo-ised’ views in conversations and debates around environmental issues can be made to gradually come together and overlap, dissolving discipline based perceptions and preconceived ideas, allowing for new discourses to emerge.

Co-existence and EcoJustice: Rushika’s film for her capstone project “The Forbidden Fruit” is about a tree planting drive undertaken by the Korku and Gond adivasis of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh. Her film has won the third prize in the Samvaad National Short film competition, 2018. PC: Rushika Tyabji

Rushika shares her photographs and film at the Srishti Collective Expo, 2018. PC: Mahesh Bhat

This course focuses on experiential learning and deep engagement with specific sites to develop context –sensitive and reflexive frameworks. It also builds theoretical frameworks that support students in understanding contextual and critical perspectives in this area of work. In these sites, an exploration is about a hands-on engagement with people and their lives, local flora and fauna and the land itself. As Jane Goodall articulates “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” The axis of the course revolves around Self & Contemplation Context Sensitivity, Environmental Stewardship and Ecological Consciousness.

Wonder and storytelling: Devika worked with Centre for Wildlife Studies for her internship to develop educational materials based on the ecosystem and wildlife around Bandipur. PC: Devika Saraogi

This course is open to art and design practitioners and non-practitioners alike. We believe in creating student cohorts from diverse disciplines to allow for critical debates, engagements and new discourses. The goal of this course is to inspire people from diverse disciplines who seek to build their practices in an ecological frame. It is for people who desire to inspire intrinsic action through their communication methods, using diverse media, educational interventions and lived experiences. The impact of this deepening awareness is finally seen in art and design solutions, thought frameworks, critical discourses that emerge, transdisciplinary thinking, and involved engagement that is context sensitive and reflective. It also reflects in fostering long-term relationships with people and organizations on the ground. Through this course, we hope dissolving boundaries will open new relationships with LIFE in all its diversity and wonderment embedded in ecological consciousness.

Documentation and Inspiration: Rohini Mani documented the stories of differently abled workers at Aranya Naturals and the history and evolution of the organization in Munnar to capture their work with natural dyes and their relationship to the natural world. PC: Rohini Mani

Cognitive Justice and Narrative: Hafiz documented the rich relationships that Todas share with nature, their myths and how these values, beliefs and stories find way into the beautiful, rich and seemingly abstract geometric embroidery ‘Pugur’. PC: Hafiz K. Mohamed

Key Values

Embodied and Reflective practice - Being able to bring, mind and body into focused practice to be able to move from a frame of Cartesian duality to oneness and build capacity to experience the world in its multiple realities

Compassion and Interdependence - Being able to reflect and bring awareness to our presence in the planet with awareness of all life and our relationships with them.

Courage in Choice making – Being able to take critical decisions with reflectiveness, dealing with uncertainties, challenging dominant paradigms and changing personal life-style

Humility in approach -  Being able to bring care and thoughtfulness to all actions from a place of humility, listening and openness. Listening through all the senses and being able to unravel other worldviews with reflection and respect, providing cognitive justice

Equity and Justice – Being able to inquire equitable and just access to resources and opportunities

Thoughtful Restraint – Being able to reflect on what we really need and where we can minimize our use of the earth’s resources, move away from a frame that the earth and all its inhabitants are there for our use to a place of interconnectedness of life

Environmental Education and Communication: Ampika works with students on environmental education during her Yes Foundation Media for Social Change Fellowship, a 2-month program to develop socially conscious youth leadership, followed by an internship with Centre for Environmental Education.

Finding oneself: Walking in rain, rediscovering terrain, finding frogs and learning ecosystems near Mannapaapu Mane, Udupi District, Western Ghats. PC: K.V. Gururaja

History and finding ancient links to the now: Field trip to Kathlekan forest in the Western Ghats. Students listen to Dr.Rao about the ancient plants of this region as he traces their history to the Gondwana land. PC: Srivi Kalyan

Grief and Comprehension: Field trip to Muppane Wildlife Sanctuary. Students reflect on the impact of dams on forests, soil and wildlife. PC: Srivi Kalyan

Wonderment and Curiosity: Field trip to Yana, Kumta. Students reflect on natural rock formations, terrain and diverse ecosystems. PC: Srivi Kalyan

Course structure

  • Disciplinary Studies
  • Trans-disciplinary Projects
  • Theory and Understanding Units
  • Practice
  • Self-Directed Inquiry/Research
  • Knowledge Enhancement (Ability or Skills)

Teaching and Learning: Sreemoyee and Manasa conduct a storytelling session with local school children in Bandipur. If I were Sky, If I were Story Project, PC: Srivi Kalyan

Intuition and Expression: Diya reworks a mystical dream into a storybook that draws the interconnectedness of our lives with all beings. Becoming River, Wing, Tree, Tail project. PC: Diya Subramanian

Rethinking Obsolence: Sairam Ramesh uses artistic inquiry and travel as a tool to observe, learn and experience different landscapes and recreate them into a multi sensory experience for people to interact with in order to help build their relationship with nature. PC: Sairam Ramesh

Learning Approach

This course uses the following learning approaches to deliver the 3 modules that have been described.

  • Designed as case studies. To foster a deep understanding of biogeography, human geography, state policies, local communities and livelihood practices, endemic and native species of flora and fauna by immersion in one or more sites.
  • Immersion at site and designed for action. To take the learnings from immersive field trips and expeditions; and extend, deepen and transform them into action.
  • Participatory approaches.  To understand the diversity of a space and those who inhabit it in a deep and nuanced way, over a period of time, using well designed sensitive and equitable tools and methods.
  • Project Based Learning. To actively explore real world challenges, conflicts and problems within timelines with context-sensitivity.
  • Art and Design Research Methods: To engage with art and design research methods to push the boundaries of discourses in conservation, ecology, eco-ethics and eco-philosophy and eco-aesthetics.

Capability Sets

  1. Capability for deep reflection as a way to review biases, contemplate and engage with life in all its forms
  2. Capability to be discerning with a critical understanding of diverse positions and movements that inform environmental conservation and education
  3. Capability to transact meaning with audiences and build context-sensitive practices
  4. Capability to perceive gestalts, navigate complexity and negotiate intelligences through transdisciplinary engagement.
  5. Capability for leadership as action in art, design and/or technology praxis
  6. Capability for responsible creativity that emerges from social, ecological, ethical and learning design
  7. Capability to reflect on interdependence and co-existence that we share with the natural world

Reconnecting with land and community, Mati brings alive beingness and our connection to the soil. PC: Srivi Kalyan

People, Power and Policy: Priyanka researches into an art and design intervention possibility that delves into notions of Ecojustice and Cognitive Justice for people displaced by Dam projects. PC: Priyanka Agarwal


The above mentioned capability sets could lead to opportunities such as:

  • You can work as curators in museums and galleries.
  • You can work with publishing houses, design studios, to create awareness campaigns, environmental films and documentaries.
  • You can design teaching and learning aids that foster environmental sensitivity.
  • You can work at NGOs/ organizations that work with social and ecological concerns.
  • You can continue your art/ design practice, be an entrepreneur or a design consultant with a strong environmental ethic.
  • You can work in zoological parks and aquaria.
  • You can pursue your research and continue to do a PhD.
  • Develop your own projects and apply for grants.
  • Some jobs profiles could be
  • Design Strategist, Project Manager – Community Programme Services, Entrepreneur- Visual Designer. Artist. Arts Manager, Design consultant, Environmental Educator, Social & Ecojustice Coordinator, Multicultural program coordinator, Cultural Design Practitioner, Creative Director, Program Manager, Creative and Cultural Researcher, Storyteller, Systems designer/ Consultant, Design Consultant, Educational designer, Eco-artist/ Eco –Designer

    Disciplinary Intersections

    The program in Earth Education is informed by the following learning disciplines:

    Critical Geography
    Ecology and Environment
    Environmental graphics
    Experimental Media Arts
    Information Technology
    Language Arts
    Mathematics and Physical Sciences
    Policy Studies and Environmental law
    Sustainable Studies
    Systems Design
    Textile Arts
    Urban Studies and Design
    Visual Communication Design