MARGALIT BERRIET (22)
The Rio+20 Summit, when addressing poverty as the core issue of sustainability, called in fact for a revision of the original concept, going beyond the so-called TRB (triple bottom line, considering the environmental, social and economic dimensions). Yet, a new understanding needs to build from human understandings and cultural diversity is crucial, and a new specific framework of reference is required, to address the challenges of Rio+20 and to converge with other global initiatives, such as “Future Earth” and the proposed “International Year of Global Understanding” (IYGU).
The strategic partnership Apheleia / Ἀφέλεια aims at structuring a convergent set of tools that will foster the need for a properly Integrated (as opposed to dispersed) Cultural (i.e. human and diverse) Landscape Management (rooted in human understandings and leading towards governance through awareness and critical thinking) for Local and Global Sustainability (addressing the great global dilemmas, but also focused on individual anxieties and needs). Such a program implies a high degree of complexity to be dealt with by the academia, but also requires efficient operative tools, that render such complexity simple for non-academics and for daily lives.
An European contribution must, per definition, be open to other cultures, interests and perspectives, make the most of European diversity itself, and involve universities, the private sector, NGOs and local and regional public authorities, i.e., be based on a multi-stakeholders basis. At the same time, partnerships should be focused and leading to clear and tangible results… Thus aiming
” To establish a solid consortium, involving academic and non-academic partners, focusing in education and best practices that for students’ applied training in transdisciplinary innovative approaches to integrated cultural landscape Management. “(23)
The International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) begins with the premise that transformations of nature are based upon human actions, and that human actions are based upon schemes of interpretation. With globalization, the conditions for human action have changed dramatically. Dealing successfully with cultural, social, and climate changes, on a global level, requires people to understand their locally embedded lives in a global context. Global understanding becomes a new conditio humana. It necessitates bridging a gap between local and global effects—as thinking globally and acting on an appropriate social, ethical, and aesthetic level presupposes. A lack of understanding of the consequences of our actions may have a disastrous impact on our future. Individuals, and societies, must unite in order to live together in awareness of one another. Each can make a difference by proposing actions and providing solutions.
Arts and cultures are powerful and ideal mediators in the constitution of social realities, via learning and interchange. With the ongoing rise of world free-media tools, digital platforms, and sociocultural practices, knowledge theoretically has a global reach.
Arts and cultures are a journey into the world of mankind, beyond political or religious limits. Art is an expression and emulation of the human mind. It criticizes, proposes, invents, thinks, transforms. It records our pluralism.
Artists demonstrate and reflect upon all questions of society. They create encounters between people, while often connecting global problems with propositions or solutions. We must encourage global implications, and enhance participations and collaborations beyond borders on issues such as education, the environment, natural and human sciences, ethics, and esthetics:
” There is really only one liberal study that deserve the name (liberal) because it makes a person free—and that is the pursuit of wisdom. “(24)
The scientific community states and evaluates the ways in which we inhabit our increasingly globalized world: How do we transform nature? How do we empower new social and political relationships for the emerging global reality? Societies and cultures often determine the ways in which we live and shape the environment. Nowadays, scientific communities recognize that there are different cultural paths to global sustainability. Each and everyone can make a difference.
Artists can make a difference by proposing actions or even providing solutions. The principal emphasis of our approach is the assumption that intuition and creativity are essential for our capacity to understand the world and propose rational constructions, while contributing to new outlooks on social, political, and ecological matters.
Within this realization, Mémoire de l’Avenir (MDA) and Arts and Society (A&S) contribute to this premise by suggesting that the arts are a replica of humanity, by soliciting our senses and reason, and by demonstrating creativity, innovation, pluralism and diversity, similitude and universalism at once. In this spirit, members of the Scientific Panel (IYGU, CIPSH, and UNESCO-Most) gave their backing to a global movement of artists, inquiring about the role of the arts and artists in a world facing major changes.
Artistic initiatives favor access to knowledge and to learning, to progress, and to critical thinking. A&S seeks to connect propositions and solutions. We must encourage global understanding and enhance participation and collaboration on all issues—education, the humanities, the environment, natural sciences, economics, ethics, and esthetics.
Artist projects offer an active and dynamic movement of shared methods, research, knowledge, and expertise around the globe. The premise is that lack of knowledge is the root of stereotypes, prejudices, and ignorance. A&S can illustrate, via a general schema of communication, that Individuals and societies must bond in order to live together in respect, while recognizing diversities and pluralism.
The goal is to overcome a lack of comprehension of cultural and/or individual diversities, to raise awareness of the impact of individuals and of local implications on all political, social, ethical and esthetical actions.
A collective of artists, transcending locations and personal differences, will illustrate our various realities—our limits, our tools, our objects, our symbols and languages, philosophies, histories, and civilizations, as well as our outlooks toward the future.
” Intangible cultural heritage is a living set and a perpetually constant re-creation of practices, knowledge and of representations, that enabling individuals and communities at all levels of society to express ways of seeing the world through systems values and ethical standards. (UNESCO 2003) “(25)
Organizing a worldwide movement of artists is a contribution to the preparatory debate on the World Of The Humanities and its future.
Through the arts, we illustrate a pattern of communication transcending eras and difference. The originality of this approach is the emergence and promotion of universal and common values, in parallel to cultural differences, while valuing and preserving individual pluralism.
The IYGU project was born from a global scientific panel dealing with climate and social change, biodiversity, and ecosystems loss. IYGU aims to enhance global understanding of socio-cultural contexts. It calls attention to a lack of awareness of the global implications of ordinary living. It reinforces the idea that knowledge is essential to all actions. Global problems require global solutions. Individuals make choices and drive policies at local, regional, and national levels. Global understanding creates awareness of the global consequences of individual choices within civic societies.
Daily life and science must act together. Research should address to the logic of ordinary life. IYGU calls for a reconciliation between global and local, between science and practice. IYGU empowers people to make connections beyond borders. IYGU’s goal is to promote actions and decisions that will harvest sustainable outcomes, daily and globally.
A trans-disciplinary approach, integrating academic facts with other types of knowledge has led to a global movement of artists and projects, proving the impact of the arts within societies. It stresses the need to take advantage of this to pursue a convergence between the natural sciences, the humanities, and the arts, looking to match short-term needs with visions of medium- and long-term solutions, fighting skepticism and ignorance.
A Global Action Platform for the Arts will connect artists around the globe, demonstrating their applications to society, making it possible to bring together tools and methods from the world of the arts on issues that are under discussion. The arts do not replace science, and are not reducible to the concerns of science, but participate in the process of enhancing creativity and innovation.
22 – Mémoire de l’Avenir. Editing by Dan Meinwald
23 – http://www.apheleiaproject.org/apheleia/index.php/escondido-about
24 – Seneca, Letter LXXXVIII on liberal and vocational studies (circa 55 CE)
25 – UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage