Background: Propositions comes from a/r/tography , from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, Senses Sustainability Education.

  • Proposing someone to do something which arises from personal practice
    • Giving a chosen theme for the whole group
      • Something that is relevant to the teaching
      • A broad topic like the anthropocene
    • Having some starter task for the proposition, for example:
      • Bring an image that you associate with the theme
      • Something that is affective, that creates something embodied in you
    • In pairs, developing a practice together
      • Each partner looks at the other person’s image, without talking
      • Talking to the partner about the other’s image:
        • How do you think the image relates to the theme? How do you feel about it? What does it generate in you? etc.
      • After, the person who brought the picture responds:
        • Why did you chose the image? What’s behind it for you? What does it evoke in you?
      • The pair creates a practice together
        • For example, they have thought of sustainability and decide to go outside. At first, their idea may be vague and become clearer as they proceed. They might decide to collect rubbish and make a practice out of it.
      • The pair develops their proposition
        • Usually short, 1-2 sentences
        • An open proposition, not instructions on what to do, may be poetic
      • The pair exchange their propositions with another pair
      • End presentations for the full group: may be multimodal or performative
        • Presenting the propositions and the process behind it
        • Reflecting on the process


  • To work with the senses, embodied work in the world
  • The proposition work includes continuous reflection: How does this bring me closer to the theme? How do I approach this? What does this theme and work generate in me? How do I like to formulate it and why?
  • One can embody theoretical concepts this way, such as the anthropocene, and open them up through arts related practices.
  • An invitation to explore a topic
  • Shifting reflection from happening in sitting and reading/writing to doing, to moving in the world
  • It may feel that one is doing very little, when one has the time and freedom and there is no one right way to do it.
  • Encourages slowness
  • Productivity is not a goal. The propositions may be very simple things.

Who for:

  • This method has been used in University of Agder with BA teacher students and with MA arts pedagogy students.
  • A simplified version may work for younger students – propositions has been developed in the context of children’s education.


  • The selected themes and starter tasks create lots of possibilities for variation.

Helene Illeris and Lisbet Skregelid, a shared teaching practice, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.