Art therapy for frustrated environmentalists… and comic drawing for latent activists

Sunday, 5 July 10-18h
Brendan Dobbie

This two-part workshop will begin with an examination of the use of comic art as a tool to express criticism in regard to environmental and social problems. We will also look at how art has been used in environmental campaigning and how this has shaped the public’s opinions of various environmental problems. In particular, we will focus on the issue of climate change. Using examples from Brendan’s research into the public understanding of climate change, we will look at how popular visual representations of this issue can be very powerfull for awareness raising, but may also created false or incomplete impressions amongst the public about the impacts of climate change.


The now universal symbol for climate change, a polar bear on melting ice. By cartoonist “Polyp”

In addition, we will hear stories of how art has been used by activists and campaigners to express their own experiences of fighting for environmental protection. Using these theoretical examinations as inspiration, we will then create our own environmental artworks in an attempt to reshape the artistic face of climate change campaigning.

In the second part of the workshop we will move beyond the concept of art as a tool for communication, and examine how art can be used as a tool for personal transformation, especially for those working for sustainability and social change. The stresses and challenges of struggling to promote sustainability require calm leadership and attention to detail – art, mindfulness and nature can teach us all of these.

Tree_VilmTo highlight this we will complete exercises in art and mindfulness practice set within the natural world of Freiburg’s urban forest (weather permitting). The exercises will challenge each participant to focus and slow the mind, and to see the beauty and detail of the natural world. The challenge for participants will be to be present with nature, with only their drawing tools to record their attentiveness and experience. The exercises are highly experiential and meditative, enjoyable yet challenging, and aim to allow participants to experience the natural world in a new light. During these exercises, participants may choose to continue to develop the theme of the artworks produced in the first part of the workshop or begin afresh.


Brendan DobbieBrendan Dobbie is an environmental lawyer from Sydney, Australia, who is currently completing PhD studies at the University of Freiburg. Through his legal work, Brendan has supported the campaigns of major environmental NGOs and grass roots environmental activists as part of his role at the Environmental Defenders Office New South Wales. He has also been involved in developing online platforms to promote cycling in Sydney. In addition, Brendan is one of the founding members of the Freiburg Scientific Theatre, a group that uses dramatic techniques to spread the messages of environmental and sustainability science to diverse audiences in Germany. Brendan is particularly interested in the role of art in environmental campaigning, and as a tool for environmental and social justice. He is also a lifelong devotee of comic books and cartoons, and believes that they have an important role to play in the sustainability debate.


Participation is FREE!
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(places are limited and will be allocated on fist come first serve basis)

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    Art therapy for frustrated environmentalists - Sunday, 5 July 10-18h
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