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Open AccessArticle

Making (Non)Sense of Urban Water Flows: Qualities and Processes for Transformative and Transgressive Learning Moments

Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, Makhanda 6139, South Africa
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6817; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236817
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 18 November 2019 / Accepted: 23 November 2019 / Published: 1 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transgressive Learning and Transformations to Sustainability)
Urban sustainability and justice depend upon the flow of water across complex urban space. Yet, the characteristics of urban space produce a fragmented sense of our water resources. Cape Town, South Africa, the context of this research, is one such city whose water challenges have been exacerbated by climate change-induced drought, to the extent that the city nearly shut off the water running to residents’ taps. This context presents a particular challenge for the focus of this special issue, transformative and transgressive learning, an emerging arena of thought and practice concerned with learning processes that might foster more sustainable socio-ecological relations. The empirical material for this research draws from 12 arts-based inquiry workshops run with youth in an environmental organisation over four months, exploring a local water crisis. The data were generated through an engaged arts-based research process. The paper traces how transformative and transgressive learning in the context of urban water crisis might be characterised as making (non)sense by bringing the empirical material into dialogue with five entry points of transformative and transgressive learning literature rooted in Freirean educational praxis. This paper crafts and engages the concept of making (non)sense, a way of thinking about qualities and processes of learning praxis that responds to the wicked sustainability challenges we face today, particularly in terms of a Global South perspective. I argue such a praxis needs qualities and processes that disrupt and trouble the norm in the context of the socio-ecological challenge of urban water. View Full-Text
Keywords: transformative and transgressive learning; urban water; arts-based participatory inquiry; making (non)sense transformative and transgressive learning; urban water; arts-based participatory inquiry; making (non)sense
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James, A. Making (Non)Sense of Urban Water Flows: Qualities and Processes for Transformative and Transgressive Learning Moments. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6817.

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