It is important to address the key social and cultural theorisations around issues such as freedom, democracy, knowledge and instrumentalism that impact the university and its relationship with and to the arts. This book maps out various ways in which the arts and creative practices are manifest in contemporary university-based adult education work, be it the classroom, in research or in the community. It is divided into three sections that reflect the normative structure or 'three pillars' of the contemporary university: teaching, research and service. The focus is on a programme that stems from the university's mission and commitment to encouraging its graduates to become more engaged citizens, willing to think critically and creatively about issues of global import, social justice and inequality. The Storefront 101 course, a free University of Calgary literature course for 'non-traditional' adult learners, aims to involve students in active dialogic processes of learning and civic and cultural engagement. Using the concept of pop-up galleries, teacher education is discussed. The book contextualises the place and role of the arts in society, adult education, higher education and knowledge creation, and outlines current arts-based theories and methodologies. It provides examples of visual and performing arts practices to critically and creatively see, explore, represent, learn and discover the potential of the human aesthetic dimension in higher education teaching and research. A more holistic and organic approach to lifelong learning is facilitated by a 'knowing-through-doing' approach, which became foregrounded as a defining feature of this project.
Universities have historically generated knowledge outside of specific local contexts. These pure research methodologies produce knowledge that is carefully partitioned from the practical realities of a phenomenon. This book suggests a world in peril requires us to question this approach, particularly in the field of environmental sustainability. Environmental health affects everyone and requires integrated and interdisciplinary answers to complex issues. This requires bold action and a radical take on the world. Derived from the Latin radix or “root”, a radical spirit is one that searches for meaning and affirms community.” The community, in this case, is an environment that supports diverse life.