Kō Rimurimu ‘To Be Covered in Seaweed’: Sensory Knowing, Holistic Understanding, and Meaningful Encounters Within a Marine Science Centre
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Art+Science collaborations, designed to promote and enhance ecological literacy amongst young people, need to address holistic, sensory and participatory ways of knowing. Through engaging the senses, aesthetics and emotions, deeper more meaningful learning can occur. This research explored how ‘sensory knowing’ can be used to design learning experiences that address our interconnection with the universe, in order to engage primary school children in understanding, adopting and enacting ecological literacy. The research looked to explore “meaningfulness” for primary school children within the context of a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) funded Mixed Reality (MR) experience at the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre. I explored meaningfulness through the creation of an immersive, physical experience, as well as a sensory mapping process. The sensory mapping allowed me to explore different ways of engaging the physiological and emotional senses, which lead into the development of the final physical experience, a life size immersive, participatory kelp forest. Art+Science principles were brought together in order to create an aesthetically pleasing and meaningful experience, that addressed the interconnection of all life on earth, and intended to inspire and empower the students to take action and make change.