Imaginative Education Final Report
The Symposium on “Imaginative Education: Learning to Know a Place, Care for a Place” brought Wendell Berry and his daughter, Mary Berry, the Director of the Berry Center, and Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Agrarian Studies at Duke Divinity School to campus to help faculty and staff explore with students of the first-year program, Finding Your Place, the imaginative dimension of place and land. Several students and faculty from the Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program at St. Catharine College participated as guests of the symposium. The symposium brought various faculty, staff and students together with our guests over meals. The symposium itself began with introductory talks for the students by Bran Potter and John Gatta on Wendell Berry’s work and a keynote address by Mary Berry. This was followed by a panel discussion, Contemplative Knowing: Ways of Perceiving, Imagining, and Caring for Place with Wirzba, Gatta, and Gottfried. The FYP and visiting students spent the afternoon contemplating nature as an aspect of place. The symposium ended with a public reading by Wendell Berry in honor of retiring editor of the Sewanee Review, George Core.
One enduring result of the symposium has been incorporation of two more-or-less “new” sessions featuring place-grounded contemplative exercises into the schedule of plenary presentations for FYP courses.