Laura Donkers

Current research/thesis title:

Deploying collaborative artistic co-creative methods to strategically promote eco-social sustainability for small island communities

"I am an environmental artist based in North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. As part of my research I have devised and led a series of community food growing projects."

Knowledge accumulated through lived experience can improve ecological sustainability in small communities. This research is focussed on facilitating long-term sustainability by revealing the eco-social and cultural importance of embodied knowledge. My theory is that community embodied knowledge is a valuable resource that is not properly understood and therefore cannot be truly valued.

I consider that this knowledge manifests where people, who know each other through familial and experiential ties, and who live in a way that is connected to their place, environment or land, utilise intergenerational knowledge to inform, develop and sustain their existence. If better understood, the recognition of community embodied knowledge could be a deep leverage point in fostering transformative change and sustainability. Communities who value practical wisdom are invested in developing a sustainable future for their own people. The more we understand the benefits of community embodied knowledge the more practical and sensible will our strategies be for engaging effectively with those communities.

I am an environmental artist based in North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. As part of my research I have devised and led a series of community food growing projects. Most recently, Grow Your Own Community  (funded through the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund) aims to deliver creative strategies that harness the community’s embodied knowledge to develop Carbon Literacy and contribute towards delivering sustainable, meaningful futures. This project supports local communities to take decisions and actions according to their own knowledge that helps to develop food growing facilities for themselves to reveal the value of community embodied knowledge to external organisations, but also to the community itself. Part of my research is based in New Zealand to learn how traditional Maori knowledge develops thinking and action on local eco-social issues. 

Names of Supervisors: Prof. Mary Modeen, Prof. Ioan Fazey, Dr. Iain Biggs