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University of the Arts London

Arboreal pedagogy: Tree climbing for better learning


Seeking to reclaim the term ‘speculative pedagogy’ from its neoliberal connotations, this article adapts James Auger’s notion of speculative design, imagining alternatives to current forms of education. Reclaiming this concept, we propose a speculative pedagogy which prioritises learning in nature, more particularly, in trees. This mode of teaching and learning – dubbed ‘arboreal pedagogy’ – attempts to take advantage of the numerous cognitive, physical and emotional benefits associated with trees to boost learning and well-being amongst students and staff.


pedagogy, nature, well-being, exercise, trees, speculative design


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Author Biography

Lewis Bush

Lewis Bush is a photographer, writer, curator and educator. After a background in history and international development he began to practice documentary in 2012. His work explores forms of contemporary power, ranging from the destructive impact of corporate redevelopment on his home city of London, to the systemic inequalities of the art world. Bush has written extensively on photography, and between 2011 and 2016 he also ran the Disphotic blog. He has curated numerous exhibitions and is lecturer in documentary photography at London College of Communication, and a visitor at many other institutions.

Taylor Norton

Taylor Norton has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. She is a writer and photographer whose work explores the relationship between words and visual expression. Her work includes a variety of mediums including photography, film, essays, and books.


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