Fishbowl Forum: Hope in Hard Times
(Tuesday) 06:06 - 06:06(GMT+01:00) View in my time
‘There are legitimate grounds for hope in hard times, but not one speck of ground for wishful thinking of any kind. We won’t be rescued by more research,
‘There are legitimate grounds for hope in hard times, but not one speck of ground for wishful thinking of any kind. We won’t be rescued by more research, hypertechnology, or some deus ex machina. There is no anonymous “they” who will figure things out … In our situation, as Vaclav Havel has stated, “Hope is definitely not the same as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out”. Optimism cannot be commanded, as Frankl observed, but hope can be nurtured by doing good work, being open to life, and rising above our lesser selves. Hope, real hope, comes from doing the things before us that need to be done in the spirit of thankfulness and celebration, without worrying about whether we will win or lose.’
David Orr, Hope in Hard Times;
from the 2nd edition of his 1994 book of essays Earth in Mind: on education, environment, and the human prospect, Island Press 2004
As part of Borrowed Time’s final session, you are invited to bring something or someone to this session that you have encountered during our three days together which struck you or challenged your understanding of hope, and its relevance to our socio-ecological crisis.
For the visionary environmentalist and educator David Orr hope was an attitude towards living, not an opinion about the future. Orr’s understanding of hope is offered here as a provocation, and an invitation to respond – his notion of it being implicitly present in the framing of Borrowed Time itself.
There are of course many other ways of approaching hope; this session asks you to consider how whatever understanding of hope you arrived here with might have been changed by who and what you’ve met in Borrowed Time.
We’ll gather to share our personal responses to others’ offerings, and take it from there. All are most welcome to join us, whether or not you feel inclined to speak. The conversation will take place using the ‘Fishbowl’ method: at any one time there will only be four of us on-screen, and each time one of us reaches a natural end, we’ll step out to make room for another player. No need to pre-register, and we look forward to hearing your impressions.
[image: we want to thank the wonderful artist Sarah Gillespie for the use of her ‘Fallen Bee’ image which has been the icon that has accompanied us on this long journey of Borrowed Time. sarahgillespie.com]
Speakers for this event
Mat’s a writer and visual artist with an interest in the arts’ role in helping us to understand and confront the dominant culture’s radical unsustainability. His recent work includes an ongoing series of illustrated poetry chapbooks, Strandline Books (which won the British Museum’s 2015 Michael Marks Prize for poetry illustration), as well as image-word collaborations with the poet Em Strang (Stone, 2016) and the painter Kate Walters (The Black Madonna’s Song, 2020). Mat regularly publishes essays that speak to entanglements of art, ecology and spirit within arts practice, including The Schoolgirl & The Drunkard, on storytelling and runaway climate change, An Underswell of Divination, on the illustrational collaborations between Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin, and Black Light, on mass-extinction, regenerative culture and the rewilding of prayer. As part of Falmouth University’s Dark Economies research group, in 2019 Mat curated Negotiating the Surrender, a regional series of talks and workshops with Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine, in support of the regenerative work of the Extinction Rebellion movement. In 2017 Mat led a residential Art.Earth Short Course with the poet Alyson Hallett, Intimate Ecologies, which experimented with writing, drawing and improvised ritual as a means to enter into a reciprocal conversation with place. Mat’s a director of the graphic literature publisher Atlantic Press and of the Art.Earth research collective based at Dartington, where he’s currently leading a year-long series of events on the theme of Death, Dying & Change. Having regularly published his own illustration, poetry and essays with the Dark Mountain Project since its inception, in 2017 Mat acted as art editor for Issue 11 of their Dark Mountain Journal and as guest editor for In Other Tongues: a series of essays flowing out of the Art.Earth summit of the same name.
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