Workshop “Teaching the Wadden Sea through Literature”

National parks and other nature reserves are key sites for education. They are places in which we rethink our relationship to the environment; through exhibitions in visitor centres and tourist information signage, for example, we are encouraged to investigate how we value natural sites and how we relate to them. The arts, and literary texts in particular, are additional tools that can help us reflect on our relationship to natural sites. In these times of environmental change, which threaten the Wadden Sea very directly, novels, poetry, and nature writing can help people understand how our relations to the environment change over time, and how we can cope with a changing environment in the future. Including literary texts in education about the Wadden Sea makes for a broader scope of cultural heritage education, which now often focuses on cultural historical heritage. Finally, literary education is often national in focus: it looks at the products of one language in (mostly) one national context. Reading the Wadden Sea landscapes through the national literatures of the Wadden Sea countries is a way of illuminating the fundamental cultural significance of National Parks in a broader international landscape of conservation initiatives.

Workshop Aims

This workshop will bring together practitioners from Wadden Sea National Parks and conservation organisations and scholars in German, Dutch, and Danish history, literature, cultural heritage and arts to explore how arts and conservation education can profit from one another. We aim to discuss different literary texts, educational formats such as exhibitions, guided walks, classroom syllabi and podcasts, and share expertise from our respective fields. Since the Covid-19 crisis has also stimulated thinking about the advantages and limitations of digital education, we are interested in thinking about ways that literature can be used to teach aspects of the Wadden Sea area remotely, to audiences or classrooms at a certain distance from the Wadden Sea.

This workshop is exploratory and informal, but we hope to follow it up with a more in-depth and hopefully also in-person workshop in which we can work together to create an open-access toolbox of useful resources and teaching materials for different parties interested in bringing together education on nature reserves and literature.

Workshop Details and Schedule

This workshop is for invited participants only and will take place online; participants will be sent further details (including links for the online sessions) via email. For further information, please contact the organisers Eveline de Smalen or Katie Ritson.

Tuesday 22 June 15:00-16:30 – Introductory Session

Wednesday 23 June 10:30-12:00 – National Cultures, National Literatures

Wednesday 23 June 13:00-14:00 – Next Steps

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