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The found world: A learning adventure at Eden

Collins, Katie; Gaggiotti, Hugo; Cicmil, Svetlana; Laurent, Sandra; Akinbusoye, Akinloluwa; Lockyer, Judy; Bakare, Abimbola


Katie Collins

Hugo Gaggiotti
Associate Professor in Human Resource Management

Akinloluwa Akinbusoye

Judy Lockyer

Abimbola Bakare


We wish to present a reflective account of a participatory action inquiry in which a cosmopolitan and professionally and educationally diverse group of students and staff explored, in collaboration with our hosts from the Eden Project Trust, the innovation, successes and tensions surrounding the Eden Project as a business and an ecological enterprise. Our paper seeks to explore the many contradictions perceived during a postgraduate field trip to the living laboratory of Eden Project through the eyes, ears and noses, the emotional and intellectual responses, of a group of students, several of whom had studied Eden as an in depth case in the classroom. In this holistic lived experience of the tropical rainforest with its ‘English summer’ smell of hot, wet tarmac on a drizzly Cornish spring day, the attention is refocused from purely techno/economic to ‘bodily felt sense’ of being in the world with its historical, geographical and cultural character. With students, “taking them as full partners and co-researchers” (Fals-Borda, 1995, p. 1), we explore the cross-cultural language of sustainability; contemplate Eden’s ‘new environmentalism’ ideology of grey areas, corporate collaboration and pragmatic optimism; consider the paradox of Eden itself, a project that has developed a mystical formula of commercial and social enterprise, tourism and learning, corporate collaboration and micro-investment opportunities in renewable energy for neighbouring deprived communities. By juxtaposing our personal accounts and interpretations as researchers, teachers, students, and Eden employees, contradictory as they are, we illuminate how a process of conscientisation (Freire, 1970) may emerge from radical and critical dialogue between our moral and political perspectives and the students’ pragmatic engagement with technological and behavioural solutions.

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Start Date Sep 7, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Collins, K., Gaggiotti, H., Cicmil, S., Laurent, S., Akinbusoye, A., Lockyer, J., & Bakare, A. (2015, September). The found world: A learning adventure at Eden. Presented at International Symposium: Learning from the sharp end – implications for sustainability in Higher Education
Keywords Eden project
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : International Symposium: Learning from the sharp end – implications for sustainability in Higher Education


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