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Inner Change and Sustainability Initiatives [Research Paper]

Contributed by
Siri Pisters

A research paper exploring transformative learning from a place-based perspective

This article explores the inner (transformative) learning journeys of members from three different ecovillages: Kurjen, Tila and Väinölä in Finland and Tamera inPortugal.

Siri Pisters from Re.imaginary, and co-authors Hilkka Vihinen (Natural Resources Institute Finland) and Elisabete Figueiredo (University of Aveiro) build on ongoing research on transformative learning further developing the theory by bringing in a place-based and more-than-human perspective.

In an earlier paper[1], the authors present the findings of a literature study from which the first contours of a place-based perspective to transformative learning emerged. Three dimensions were found as cornerstones of place-based transformative learning: connection, compassion and creativity.

In this paper, the theoretical framework is tested empirically using the data from life-story interviews. The paper addresses the following question: Do the experiences of ecovillagers reflect a learning process and if so how? Are the dimensions of connection, compassion and creativity central factors in this process?

The paper concludes that indeed the three dimensions were reflected in the empirical material. Furthermore, the data reflected the presence of another dimension:transgression, the disruption of old systems and creation of new ones. Based on these new empirical insights the theoretical framework develops into a four-dimensional framework reflecting place-based transformative learning.

[1] Pisters, S. R., Vihinen, H., & Figueiredo, E.(2019). Place based transformative learning: a framework to explore consciousness in sustainability initiatives. Emotion, Space and Society, 32(8), 100578.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2019.04.007

 Click here to download the paper

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