“We know quite enough facts now, what we are still miserably retarded in is in our emotional and aesthetic relationships”
– John Fowles, The Blinded Eye.
There is sometimes a narrow definition of aesthetic which relates to a sense of beauty gained through the arts or nature. Here it is used as a broader concept to encompass feelings, perceptions and understanding that arise from emotional experiences in the outdoors. who struggle with traditional cognitive learning. Aesthetic approaches can motivate, inspire and encourage creativity.
This handbook presents the theory and practice of Aesthetic Approaches in outdoor learning. It represents current thinking and contributions from a range of researchers and outdoor educators. It should, however, be recognized that it is presented from a largely western European perspective and does not include other views and approaches to Aesthetics from different cultures. It is hoped that the ideas, methods and activities will inspire and support the development of outdoor learning across Europe.
The project kick-off was back in 2018 at bsj Marburg and set the scene and timetable for the project and allowed the partners to present their existing philosophy and methods and a variety of practical outdoor activities to each other.
A “Training the Trainers” meeting was held in Slovenia in October 2018 when the four partners each presented a day based on a range of activities and methodologies. This was followed by an Implementation phase when the trainers introduced the activities to young people and outdoor leaders in their own countries.
A meeting at Brathay Trust, UK in July 2019 reviewed and evaluated the implementation and made preparations for this handbook to disseminate the project’s findings.
There was considerable interest from other European outdoor education centres in ENOC and the current Aesthetics project. Two points of contact have been made to share ideas and good practice and engage more outdoor centres in ENOC’s projects.
The European Network of Outdoor Centres (ENOC) is a special interest group of the European Institute for Outdoor Adventure and Experiential Learning.