Bethany Copsey and Ireen van Dolderen from RE-PEAT gave a workshop on peatlands and the imagination at Cafe Mellemfolk in Aarhus, Denmark, on April 1st, 2023. You can dive deeper in this organisation’s vision by reading their manifesto.
RE-PEAT applied to receive a grant from ECOLISE to deliver a Climate Outreach Training in the Spring of 2023. This grant opportunity was given by SPARK, a project funded by the European Union. Reimagining Peatlands was one of the five selected applications.
The participants of these workshop were primarily young, female students in Aarhus who had a previous interest in environmental issues. The structure of the workshop was comprised of 4 main elements:
– An introduction to “what are peatlands” including information about peatland formation, the
relevance of peatlands in the environmental crises, causes of peat degradation, and an illustration of the current peatland paradigm.
– An introduction to imagination as a tool for social change, as well as the cyclic relationship between peatlands and imagination.
– An exercise called “interview with a word” where participants were challenged to put themselves into the shoes o
f a word related to change or peatlands. This exercise was inspired by Amira Hanafi’s CreaTures glossary.
– An exercise called “Futures Thinking”, which builds on UNESCO’s Futures Literacy work, where participants were encouraged to envision a probable and a desirable future for peatlands, and have group reflections on these futures as well as the imaginative process of envisioning them.
After the workshop, all participants were invited to have lunch together, to continue talking about peatlands and possible peat-actions which could be undertaken by the participants. The workshop hosts joined these discussions, to also learn about what elements of the workshop worked well for the participants.
From the participation in the conversations and participants feedback, they could gather that the main results were:
– Inspired participants partaking in the workshop to undertake transformational peatland action, in the context of the climate and ecological crisis. Of particular attention was how people can use their own background, work/studies and interest areas to take action;
– Introduced the method of imagination as a tool for realising meaningful action on peatlands as well as other natural phenomena;
– Gathered valuable experience and feedback to develop our peatlands and imagination framework and the workshop further for future occasions. The resources from the two exercises were collected to assist this work. These will also be used for public communications following the workshop on bringing the theory behind peatlands & the imagination to an audience beyond the workshop participants.
Further, this was our first event held in Denmark so represented a new audience for our work.
As a output of this workshop this Zine was created featuring photos of the workshop, other photos and text: Reimagining Peatlands.
This Zine will be used to garner opportunities to develop the trainers methodology further (incl. e.g., joining the Collective Imagination Practice Community and applying for their funding pot with our idea. The Centre for Public Impact, part of the organising group, connects the group to government actors and the public sector and contributes to reimagining government and building the conditions for change). It will also be used to develop interest in the workshop further, including putting it on RE-PEAT’s website to be used as promotion for the workshop, which will be open to a range of actors, including specifically being targeted and tailored for decision-makers in the peatland realm.