This post carries on from the previous one on the relation between ecotones and design education by Pendleton-Jullian. She elaborates a metaphor that might be useful for visualising the terrain of media education. Scientifically speaking, the ecotone is an ecological zone where 2 unique ecosystems are juxtaposed; more precisely, it describes the overlap, a zone of transition and tension at the edges of 2 distinct ecologies eg. where the land meets water in an estuarine tidal area. Natural life forms in this changeable environment are highly bio-diverse, adaptable and used to disturbance. The author contrasts this hyper ‘edge-activity’ with the relatively slower core activities of life forms on either side of the land/sea divide, but recognises the interdependence of all three zones.
If you can’t read it all, I suggest a reading of pages 25 – 45 (this doesn’t equate to 20 pages of pure text) where P-J details 2 intersecting continua: the vertical axis corresponds to modes of learning with Accreditation (or rather Assessment in the practical media education field) at one end and Experimentation at the other; and on the horizontal axis – 20th Century Learning at one end and 21st Century Knowledge Creation on the other.
Two lines are then drawn to demarcate an interstitial zone within the 2nd and 3rd quadrant that equates to the fertile ecotone (see p. 32). Relating this to practical media education, I’m interested in the strengths and limitations of this analogy and its capacity to frame the “seeding of a culture of innovation” and to envision the rhizomic (rhizomatic?) decentralised relations/mechanisms/”digital corridors”/nodal spin-offs that populate this dynamic space.
As a creative media practitioner, I think I can concretely identify the multiple areas in which I operate using this formulation.