Content and Connection to the Values of the New European Bauhaus

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The Eco-Empathy Performance event aims at contributing to a better understanding of ecology, in its multiple individual/social/environmental dimensions, through the performing arts. It consists of a multiform performance programme made up of short theatre performances, informed readings, participatory debates and presentations given by student-artists on diverse ecological topics. 

This event is inspired by the awareness that we need to connect environmental ecology to social ecology, and that it is both urgent and desirable to involve the performing arts in this mission, so as to develop an embodied resonance with our ecosystem and cultivate a sense of responsibility for the future of all life on Earth. The fulfilment of these goals requires the development of ecological empathy. Empathy marks the ongoing need by human beings to understand the complexity of how we experience the world and, in turn, of how we may conceive of others’ experience of the world. An ecological empathy consists of a transposing process whereby we manage to imagine ourselves in the position of the other: be it non-human or human. 

This event is coordinated by Graça Corrêa, researcher in science and art at the Faculty of Science of University of Lisbon, and developed by student-artists at EPTC, a secondary school with a professional program in theatre owned by the Cascais Professional School of Theatre Association (merger of Municipality of Cascais & TEC-Experimental Theatre of Cascais). This school has trained hundreds of students currently working as celebrated actors in Theatre, Television and Film and celebrates 30 years of existence in 2022. 

The eco-empathy performance event will be prepared through a 3 weeks workshop that addresses empathy towards otherness. Various ecological topics will be explored and artistic activities developed, especially through theatre, which is an eminently collective art utilizing a wide range of expressions: verbal, kinaesthetic, visual, vocal and musical. Indeed, theatre is an ideal artistic activity to practice eco-empathy because it provides a dynamic environment for learning and developing a personal and professional ethics.

In terms of topics, we will approach the global climate change and various local/individual ways of mitigating it, the significance of biodiversity, of circular economies, of local production, of reuse and repair, and the notion of small cultures as ecosystems, among others. Subsequently, the challenge is to jointly build a path that can lead us to create multiple performance sequences inspired by these topics and produced either individually, in small groups or collectively.

On June 9, from 10 am to 1 pm, student-artists will present the EE performance event, both in outdoor and indoor spaces of EPTC, as a festive celebration and culmination of a work-program on ecological empathy. It will be filmed by a voluntary professional video director from ArtCom (J. Marques), and live-streamed by EPTC. Lunch will follow as an extended celebratory moment of encounter between student-artists, collaborators and participant-spectators.

The eco-empathy performance event demonstrates the crucial part that student-artists may take in ecological involvement, and constitutes a showcase of ecological attentiveness and action within a wide sense of ecology.

Professora Dra. Graça P. Corrêa | Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências

DHFC-Department of History and Philosophy of Sciences CFCUL-Center Philosophy of Sciences/ Researcher in Science & Art