The University of Cumbria presents a diverse range of public lectures held at our Ambleside campus. The series provides an opportunity for Professors at the University of Cumbria to share insights into their work and research and its impact on society.
Speaker: Dr Chris Loynes, Reader in Outdoor Studies in the Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies.
The outdoors, and, by extension, outdoor education, can be understood as on the edge of society, a wild space to escape to and, also, a liminal space of new possibilities psychologically and socially. In this space it is possible for personal identities and social norms to be explored ahead of and out of sight of mainstream society’s progress.
Some outdoor education organisations have been identified as ‘movements’ as a result of this socially innovative role, the German Wandervogel ‘Movement’, the Scout ‘Movement’ and the Outward Bound ‘Movement’ are examples. However, others would argue that Outdoor Education is also adept at adopting and reproducing the established norms of society.
Based on archival material, this contribution will examine to what degree some Outdoor Education organisations deserve to be described as ‘movements’, what role this might play in society and whether it justifies or explains the place of Outdoor Education as always partly on the edge of and partially hidden from society. I will argue that the critical and radical pedagogy, supported by the constructions of certain landscapes may play a significant transformative role in some cultures and speculate on what this role might be in the current changing times.