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By-standing memories of curious observations: Children's storied landscapes of ecological encounter.

Dunkley, Ria and Smith, Thomas Aneurin 2019. By-standing memories of curious observations: Children's storied landscapes of ecological encounter. Cultural Geographies 26 (1) , pp. 89-107. 10.1177/1474474018792652

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Abstract

Founded in contemporary concerns that children are increasingly disconnected from nature, this article explores how children re-imagine their memories of childhood experiences within the landscape of a National Park. The concept of ‘re-connecting’ children with ‘nature’ has recrystalised around conceptualisations of ‘slow ecopedagogy’ as a form of ecological conscientisation.Through creative mapping with children from the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, this article questions whether exposure to such environments predisposes young people to an environmental consciousness. Examining children’s creative representations of childhood memories from nonhuman encounters, and building on Philo’s discussion of ‘childhood reverie’, we develop the concept of by-standing memories to articulate how children re-story their own memories, the landscapes in which they take place and the nonhumans they include. Something of a ‘child panic’ currently surrounds the disconnect between children and ecology. While some are concerned by this ‘child panic’, which positions children as ‘by-standers’ to adult affairs, we argue that by-standing is critical for how children tell stories of their dwellings in, and curious observations of, place. The re-telling of childhood memories stretches the conceptualisation of slow ecopedagogy beyond the place of encounter, to the creative spaces of storying and re-telling, which are equally critical for memory itself.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 1474-4740
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 July 2018
Date of Acceptance: 2 July 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:01
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/113254

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