Creative, embodied practices, and the potentialities for sustainability transformations

Julia Bentz, Letícia do Carmo, Nicole Schafenacker, Jörn Schirok, Sara Dal Corso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


This paper argues for an integrative approach to sustainability transformations, one that reconnects body and mind, that fuses art and science and that integrates diverse forms of knowledge in an open, collaborative and creative way. It responds to scholarship emphasizing the importance of connecting disparate ways of knowing, including scientific, artistic, embodied and local knowledges to better understand environmental change and to foster community resilience and engagement. This paper draws on the experience of an arts-based project in Lisbon, Portugal, and explores embodied and performative practices and their potential for climate change transformations. It puts forward and enlivens an example, where such forms of engaging communities can provide new insight into how equitable, just and sustainable transformations can come about. The process involved a series of interactive workshops with diverse arts-based methods and embodied practices to create performative material. From this process, a space emerged for the creation of meaning about climate change. Three key elements stood out in this process as being potentially important for the emergence of meaning-making and for understanding the impact of the project: the use of metaphors, embedding the project locally, and the use of creative, embodied practices. This furthers research, suggesting that the arts can play a critical role in engaging people with new perspectives on climate change and sustainability issues by offering opportunities for critical reflection and providing spaces for creative imagination and experimentation. Such processes may be important for contributing to the changes needed to realize transformations to sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687–699
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Art and climate
  • Arts-based approaches
  • Climate change
  • Embodiment
  • Experiential learning
  • Imagination
  • Inspiration
  • Meaning-making


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