Situated On-Site

June 11th, 2021

An exchange on how learning to be fully present in a place requires us to embrace entanglements with broader geographical contexts and ties to far-away locales.

In conversation: Joe Underhill, Michael Swierz

The global climate crisis, with its uncountable local manifestations and drivers, calls for new modes of personal and collective learning beyond the scientific facts. In this recording, educator Joe Underhill and participatory ecologist Michael Swierz get together to talk about their individual practices, which occur in two distinct locations. Exposed to the elemental drifts of weather and climate, Joe is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and frequently takes students canoeing on the Mississippi River, while Michael inhabits an experimental homestead in rural Illinois. What methods and temporalities prove effective when attuning to a particular site? As becomes clear, learning to be fully present in a place requires us to embrace entanglements with broader geographical contexts and ties to far-away locales. Situating one’s practice also means acknowledging the history and positionality behind our own presence in a space—it means asking: how did we get here in the first place?