SYMBIOSIS – Ecological and Social Sustainability

Footnotes Summer School Theme

SYMBIOSIS - Ecological and Social Sustainability

SYMBIOSIS articulates questions and concerns around sustainability, diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity in higher arts institutions and beyond, particularly how ecological and social sustainability cannot be considered separately.


SYMBIOSIS with Ama Josephine B. Johnstone

About Ama Josephine B. Johnstone

SYMBIOSIS with Johann Otten and Lena Schubert, Klasse Klima

About Klasse Klima

About Johann Otten

About Lena Schubert

How to time travel?

Learn more about traveling in time, futures thinking and Live Action Role Play

SYMBIOSIS Working Group

At the Footnotes Summer School, a group of creative thinkers gathered to work, think and play around “Ecological and Social Sustainability in Art Schools.” For this, they travelled to the year 2045 together.

Get to know their world and work…

“In indigenous ways of knowing, other species are recognized not only as persons, but also as teachers who can inspire how we might live. We can learn a new solar economy from plants, medicines from mycelia, and architecture from the ants. By learning from other species, we might even learn humility.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Nature Needs a New Pronoun

SYMBIOSIS came together in the 2020s, a time when social and environmental sustainability on Earth was lacking. Embracing the Anthropocene era as an opportunity for positive change, the group strives for holistic sustainability – calling for a shift from human-centred to environmentally-centred approaches, technological advancements, open-source knowledge, and global accountability. They aim to find new ways of communicating with both non-human and human species to address urgent environmental issues and promote social and environmental sustainability. The group sees enormous potential in the arts and arts education to support the shift towards a more sustainable world.

SYMBIOSIS discusses concerns and ideas as the need for radical social revolution, open arts education, diversity, inclusivity, and sustainable practices and explores concepts such as degrowth, resource reuse, critical evaluation of conventions, and the role of financial support in the arts. Raising questions about the relationship between humans and the environment, the impact of art on non-human species, and the need for a paradigm shift in the arts. SYMBIOSIS aleays highlighs the importance of sustainability, communal work, and addressing internal conflicts.

Love Letters for Sustainability

SYMBIOSIS presents a love letter addressed to fellow humans, expressing pride in their acknowledgment of the climate crisis and urging them to take action to save the planet within the next five years (2045-2050).

  • Thank you for being you, you’re so funny.
  • Wow, you really took me by surprise by asking me to dance with the alien.
  • I really enjoyed your concert with the inter-species choir.
  • I admire how you could cut down the use of natural resources in the building.
  • You are always two steps ahead. Wow, you’ve taught me a lot.
  • You always surprise me by cooking wonderfully with almost nothing.
  • Thank you for continuing to insist on the right to repair.
  • Your commitment to your students is always so appropriate. Thanks for that.
  • Thank you for downscaling the use of private transport in our institute.
  • Thank you for being authentic and respectful to your colleagues.
  • Thank you for taking the hot potato in the debate and putting it into action.
  • Great that you keep the focus on what will be the consequences for others.
  • Thanks for putting curiosity in the first place.
  • Thanks for looking me straight in the eyes.
  • Thank you for appreciating other perspectives and the attempt to look into the depth of their meaning.
  • Thank you for being so playful without ignoring what’s at stake.
  • Great job you did by just jumping into action for climate victims.
  • Thank you for making our community more accessible.
  • You are great at communicating in a way that everyone is included.
  • I admire that you never use more than needed and ask others to do the same.
  • Thank you for challenging us to reflect for the better.
  • Thank you for shifting your perspective toward the next seven unborn generations.
  • Thank you for reclaiming your capabilities to speak on behalf of Nature. Our connection with the natural world will help us fight to protect the more-than-human natural world we love.
  • I’m amazed by how you’ve expanded your sense of time and connected with a sense of the “Deep evolutionary time”. You’ve truly changed your perspectives and detached yourself from the urgency of the everyday. Thanks.
  • Thank you for re-indigenising and forging a belonging to the places we love. By connecting with the land, the soil, the physical space and its history.
  • Thank you for listening to your other-selves and to other beings wanting to be heard.
  • Thank you for unflattening, for re-embodying a complete sense of being. For perceiving the full spectrum of who we are, what a good human life is made up of, and the magic and possibility of human life and the world that surrounds us.
  • Thank you for creating and facilitating spaces for cultivating imagination, uninterrupted play and enchantment.
  • Thank you for being an ambassador and accelerator for deep and radical creativity.
  • Thank you for helping to make space, cultivation and practice your boldness, collaboration, courage, creativity, and imagination.
  • Thank you for supporting to spread of rigor of feeling, to change systems, the future and the culture we need to feel it differently.
  • Thank you for your rigorous imagination, for de-numbing our perceptions and senses. For getting a renewed sense of value, perspective or virtue.
  • Thank you for embodying and exploring the unseen, the unfelt and giving a voice to the unheard.
  • Thank you for opening up new portals to adjacent possibilities.
  • Thank you for pursuing pleasure.
    I/we love how you persist in including as many different bodies.
    Thank you for joining us in this journey of reconnection.
  • Thank you for believing in different futures!
  • Thank you for enjoying life.
  • Thank you for giving, sharing, and caring for yourselves and others.
  • Thank you for using your voice and recognizing the worth of yourselves and others.
  • Thank you for concentrating on your needs and making space for others.
  • Thank you for believing in what is potential.
  • Thank you for sharing your resources.
  • Thank you for sharing the space. We love living together, moving through spaces.
  • Thank you for putting mutation as a central goal for survival.
  • Thank you for creating a world for more than survival.
  • Thank you for redefining families and kinship.
  • Thank you for investing in sharing knowledge between species.
  • Thank you for perceiving identity as fluid, and being open for identity exchange.
  • Thank you for deconstructing old patterns and continuing to evolve.
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Do you have more ideas for SYMBIOSIS love letters helping to save the planet earth? Write them in the comment function below!


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